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Mitt Romney • Former GOP presidential candidate
News roundup: Mitt Romney less popular now than at election time

Poll: Mitt more unpopular now. Lee: Government is getting in the way. State of the Union: Good.

Happy Wednesday. Mitt Romney's approval rating has dropped since the election, hinting that some Republicans "might have liked him because they felt they had to," according to Public Policy Polling. Romney had a 47 to 50 favorability rating before the general election last year but now sits at 39/48. It's unclear if there could be a "Mitt" documentary bump now, though. [PPP]

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Topping the news: In the tea party response to the State of the Union, Sen Mike Lee said the government is getting in the way of the American dream. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [UtahPolicy] [Politico] Full text of Lee's remarks [Trib] Sen. Orrin Hatch [KUTV] and Rep. Rob Bishop [KUTV] also released statements.

-> A group supporting and a group opposing same-sex marriage held opposing rallies at the Capitol. [Trib] [Herald] [Fox13] [KUTV] [ABC4]

-> House Republicans are working on a plan to show how the state would manage the federal lands lawmakers want if they were to gain control. [Trib] [DNews] [UtahPolicy]

Tweets of the day: From @daveweigel: "Temporary 3-2 liberal-conservative SCOTUS majority at #SOTU Time for some surprise decisions. Gay marriage now mandatory!"

From @JeremyBRoberts: "The State of the Union: 'Some things are good, some things are bad.' Responses: 'Some things are bad, some things are good.'"

On the Hill: It continues: day three schedule [Trib]

-> Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, is proposing a bill to create a box on state income tax forms allowing filers to donate a portion of their return to Utah's defense of Amendment 3. [Trib] [KUER]

-> The Senate passed legislation moving state party conventions a week in order to avoid conflicts with Easter and LDS General Conference. [Herald]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert and House Speaker Becky Lockhart are at odds over Medicaid expansion. [KUTV]

-> Lawmakers begin to work out public and higher education budgets for the year. [DNews] [Chrony]

-> Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, is proposing legislation to fund an after-school program aimed at lifting children out of poverty. [DNews]

-> Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, is working on a bill to fund pre-school in order to help close the achievement gap between high- and low-income students. [DNews] [Fox13] [ABC4]

-> Students from the U. and USU will present research project to lawmakers on the Hill. [DNews]

-> Sen. Karen Mayne says the Legislature needs to protect the privacy of voters. [UtahPolicy]

-> USTAR presented its own audit to a legislative committee showing that the initiative is accomplishing most of its goals. [KUER]

-> A proposed bill would allow UDOT to raise speed limits on freeways. [DNews]

-> Air quality activists gave almost two-thirds of Utah lawmakers unsatisfactory grades based on their votes from the past two sessions. [Trib]

-> Day two of the Legislature in photos. [DNews]

In other news: Doug Owens, the son of former Democratic Rep.Wayne Owens, announced he will run for Rep. Jim Matheson's seat. Owens is the only Democrat who is running so far. [Herald] [Fox13] Paul Rolly's take on Owens' announcement [Trib]

-> Water restrictions are likely over the summer unless more wet weather comes. [Trib]

-> The same judges will hear both Utah's and Oklahoma's defenses of their bans on same-sex marriage. [DNews] [Fox13]

-> The proposed federal farm bill includes funding to help rural counties compensate for the loss of tax revenue due to federal lands. The program primarily helps Western states such as Utah. [Trib]

-> The state liquor commission is going to discuss issuing educational permits, that allow classes and tastings, to non-food-industry businesses such as painting studios. [Trib]

-> A Utah business man sat in the First Lady's box at the State of the Union. [Trib] [Herald] [KUTV] [ABC4] He was the first Utahn to do so. [UtahPolicy]

-> Pat Bagley outlines some responses to the State of the Union. [Trib]

-> Mormons, and some other religious, ethnic and national groups, are more successful than Americans in general. [NYTimes]

Nationally: President Barack Obama in the State of the Union address said he is not going to wait Congress any more to accomplish his goals. He touched on issues such as immigration reform, equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage and healthcare. [WaPost] [NYTimes] [CNN] [NBC] Full text [WaPost]

-> Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, spoke about narrowing the opportunity gap, improving health care and other issues in the official GOP response. [Politico]

-> The Washington Post fact checked the president's speech and the Republican response. [WaPost]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz interviews on WCBM radio, meets with Close Up students and Utah National Guard Adjutant General Jefferson Burton and departs for Congressional Institute Republican meetings.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart meets with Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., API, also meets with Burton and leaves for Congressional Institute Republican meetings.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert gives the State of the State address.
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaks to the Christian Home School Association and attends the State of the State.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams hits Local Officials Day at the Legislature and meets with the Deseret News editorial board
  • President Barack Obama tours a Costco in Maryland and speaks on the minimum wage. He will also tour U. S. Steel Irvin Plant in Pennsylvania and speak on retirement 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 and Topher Webb

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/topherjwebb

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