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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leaves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Belmont, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
News roundup: Strategists: Romney needs a 'defining moment'

Romney, Obama prepare for Wednesday debate. Crockett to refund donations. 36 days until Election Day.

Happy Monday. Mitt Romney needs a defining moment, GOP strategist say, to break out of a rut that the presidential candidate finds himself nearing the election. Romney has staged myriad events that were staged specifically to draw attention but none of them have stuck in voters' minds. Time to go big, the strategists say, and make it his moment. [Politico]

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-> Romney is recalibrating his message and trying to interact with reporters more to regain a better standing ahead of Election Day. [LATimes]

Topping the news: Romney and President Barack Obama continue to practice, practice, practice for the upcoming debates. [NYTimes] The Washington Post lists some questions it would like to see. [WaPost]

-> Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt heads Romney's "Readiness Project," a group of close Romney allies working to produce a smooth transition should the Republican nominee win in November. [Trib]

-> Utah has purged some 70,000 voters from the rolls, though election officials say this is a normal move to clean up the lists. [UtahPolicy]

Tweet of the day: From CBS Radio White House reporter @markknoller covering the president: "Still dark in Las Vegas. Too early for breakfast. If only there was something to do here that's open all night."

Happy birthday: To former state Rep. Trisha Beck, state Sen. Wayne Niederhauser and Bill Keshlear.

Opinion section: The Trib endorses Democrat Ben McAdams for Salt Lake County mayor [Trib] and Democrat Jim Bradley for re-election to the SL County Council. [Trib]

-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb say Medicaid expansion, education funding and Utah's push to control federal lands are public policy issues that could use more attention in the state's coming elections. [DNews]

-> Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf says Gov. Gary Herbert's policies are damaging the recreation businesses. [Trib]

-> Pete Ashdown says that UTOPIA isn't profitable but what type of city infrastructure is? [Trib]

-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says the presidential race is far from over. [DNews]

-> Jim Pike discusses the need for flexibility with welfare work requirements. [Trib]

-> Weber State Democrats President Turner C. Bitton argues that the current president is "the greatest ally that young Americans have ever known." [Trib]

-> David Mason argues that Romney's Mormonism doesn't shed a fair light on the LDS Church's diverse faith. [Trib]

-> Bud Scruggs, writing from Australia, says if voters accept the idea that their rivals are uncivil then we shouldn't expect anything different from politicians. [Trib]

->Pay Bagley offers his take on Mormons fasting on behalf of Romney. [Trib]

-> Bagley also notes the many Mormons who have run for the White House previously. [Trib]

Weekend in review: Salt Lake County mayoral candidate Mark Crockett has been asked to refund $5,500 worth of donations for exceeding individual donor limits. [Trib]

-> Crockett waffles in his once-established support of the SkiLink transit project. [DNews]

-> In Saturday's debate, Rep. Jim Matheson criticized Mia Love's lack of experience while Love criticized his lack of accomplishment. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly discusses the recent retirement of a controversial judge from a position of power and SL County Sheriff Jim Winder's almost accidental breaking of a Utah law. [Trib]

-> Robert Gehrke notes the inaccurate Weekly Standard claim that the Democratic Party doctored a photo of Love to make her appear darker on an anti-Love campaign flier. [Trib]

-> Some details regarding Love's parents' American journey and background remain unclear. [Trib]

-> Jon Huntsman may not be in Washington for the inauguration but he may be at Sundance to watch a film about him in China. [Trib]

-> Mary Kaye Huntsman says there's too much pandering in today's presidential bids. [Fox13]

-> A pro-Matheson PAC ad shows a crime spike in Saratoga Springs, but the city's crime rate is only one third of the state's average. [Trib]

2012 watch: Romney's energy positions have gradually undergone a rightward shift, perhaps a sign of a long-planned run for presidency. [NYTimes]

-> New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, setting expectations high, says it will be a "brand-new race" after Wednesday's debate. [WaPost]

-> Meanwhile, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan downplayed the role of the debates, saying that a single event won't "make or break this campaign." [WaPost] [Politico]

-> Bryan Schott finds a Romney toy in a claw-machine at a local SLC diner. [UtahPolicy]

-> Though behind by four points, Romney's chances in Iowa could turn around if he can prove his economic prowess to the 59 percent of the state who disapprove of Obama's handling of the country's finances. [USAToday]

-> Obama in predicted to win the popular vote in eight of the 13 election scenarios published in a political science journal. [WaPost]

-> The stars of recent GOP ads don't say much. In fact, they still wear diapers. [NYTimes]

Where are they?

  • Gov. Gary Herbert hits the groundbreaking of the Museum of Natural Curiosity in Lehi.
  • SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon meets with Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan at the Sandy City Hall.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker attends the National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and Security in the 21st Century.
  • President Barack Obama is prepping for the debate while staying in Henderson, Nev.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Betsy Blanchard

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/betsyblanchard



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