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FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2009, file photo, then President-elect Barack Obama watches as then-President George W. Bush speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, during a meeting with Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, not shown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
News roundup: Bush, Obama find similar spot in polls

Polls show Bush and Obama not so far apart. Papers: Shurtleff, Swallow charged thousands in expenses to convicted fraudster. Utah voters getting more diverse, still 90% white.

Happy Thursday. There are more similarities between Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama than you might think. Voters, according to polls, grade the two commanders in chief about the same, despite the fact the anti-Bush sentiment helped fuel Obama's rise. In the end, though, polls show the country remains deeply divided along partisan lines. [WaPost]

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Topping the news: Then-AG Mark Shurtleff and his successor charged thousands of dollars in travel expenses to a man the office had charged with six felonies, according to the now-convicted fraudster and the receipts he gave The Tribune. [Trib]

Utah voters are getting slightly more diverse, though nine in 10 voters last election where still white and the Census can't even give a statistically sound estimate of how many black voters there were. [Trib]

-> The top U.S. diplomat in Libya after the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens tells a House panel that the administration misled Americans. He also noted that the State Department refused to let Rep. Jason Chaffetz interview him. [Trib] [KUTV] [WaPost] [DNews]

Tweet of the day: From @martycarpenter: "Well, that certifies it. I have never heard of any of the bands playing SLC Twilight this year. Oh wait, that happened last year, too."

Happy birthday: To Diane Wiley-Turner, Councilman Randy Horiuchi, Liddy Huntsman and Diana Lee Hirschi.

Oh, Conan: The late-night host pokes fun at Mitt Romney, editing his speech at Southern Virginia University to show him saying, "I don't think God cares." [RS]

In other news: Rep. Chris Stewart gets four Pinocchios from The Washington Post for his claim that climate change research has been "repeatedly discounted." [WaPost]

-> Former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt returned to the agency this week for the unveiling of his official portrait. [DNews]

-> The UTA board is looking at whether to change its police force to focus on bigger crimes or contract out its services to another agency. [Trib]

-> Byron York looks at Sen. Mike Lee's amendments to the immigration bill and concludes that the Utah Republican really just wants to squash the legislation. [Examiner]

-> The Sierra Club's report card is out for Utah lawmakers and not surprisingly, Democrats fared well while Republicans flunked. [Trib]

-> The SL County Council wants a say in if and where the prison moves but wants to ask nicely. [Trib]

-> Five Utah educators were honored by Gov. Gary Herbert with Arch Coal awards and $3,500 checks. [Trib]

-> Sen. Mike Lee has introduced legislation to ban abortions in Washington, D.C. after 20 weeks of pregnancy. [Trib]

-> Bryan Schott offers several ideas he would put in place if he were governor. [UtahPolicy]

-> A Republican state Senate leader wants to allow the public to weigh in on performance audits while a Democratic senator is suggesting caution to that approach. [UtahPolicy]

-> A former Romney senior adviser says in a new book that the candidate's response to the Benghazi attack was one of the big low points in the campaign. [Time] [Globe]

-> Romney, meanwhile, met with the San Diego mayor about the city's proposed bid to the 2024 Olympics with its cross-border sibling, Tijuana. [LaJollaLight]

Nationally: Gun control and immigration reform may be hot topics in Washington, but they rank at the bottom of the top 12 priorities for most Americans, according to a Gallup poll. [Politico]

-> New data released Wednesday shows a wide disparity in what hospitals are charging Medicare for the same services. [NYTimes] [WaPost] A look at the variations at Utah hospitals: [Trib].

-> The Air Force has removed 17 officers from their ability to launch nuclear missiles and the group's commander says there's "rot" in his ranks. [AP]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Rob Bishop chairs a Public Lands and Environmental Regulations subcommittee hearing and participates in a conference call with members of the Utah Rural Electric Co-op.
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz hits a Homeland Security mark up, meets with Hinckley Institute students and offers the keynote address to the State of the Mobile Net conference.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart Attends a breakfast with Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Attends aHomeland Security Committee hearing about The Boston Bombings, Meets with the Mayor of Ephraim David Parrish, Meets with Rep. Bonamici, Meets with Idaho National Laboratory, Flys back to Salt Lake.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert hits a Molina healthcare discussion, attends the Governor's Award for Excellence for Outstanding State Employees and the Salt Lake Community College luncheon and then the SLCC commencement.
  • AG John Swallow meets with Sandy Honorary Colonels.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams holds a Breakfast with Ben community event at the Millcreek Community Center, appears on X-96 Radio From Hell Appearance and sits down with his county communications team.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker meets on the performing arts center, chats with community liaisons, joins a National League of Cities conference call, opens his doors to constituents and later stops by an Urban Land Institute reception.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder meets with disability specialists with the U.S. Access Board, attends a Utah Transit Authority event and records a Take 2 interview with Rod Decker.
  • President Barack Obama heads to Austin, Texas to speak at Manor New Tech High School about middle-class jobs and later tour Applied Materials Inc before returning to Washington.

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


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