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Rolly: Be careful with what you say to political cronies
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Here's one reason it is fun covering politicians.

I wrote in Wednesday's column about Cody Stewart's account of going to lunch with staff members of the clean-environment group HEAL Utah. The story included the ironic twist of Stewart, Gov. Gary Herbert's new energy adviser criticized for being cozy with the fossil-fuel industries, driving off in his hybrid and the environmentalists driving off in an SUV.

That outraged HEAL Utah policy director Matt Pacenza, who shot Stewart an email scolding him for making fun of the environmentalists in the press and hinting that the exposure might compromise any progress the two sides made toward a mutual understanding during the lunch. HEAL Utah had been a vocal critic of Stewart's appointment.

But Stewart didn't share the story with me. Ally Isom, the governor's director of communications, is the one who contacted me about the vehicle choices of Stewart and HEAL Utah.

Stewart apparently thought he would score some political points by telling the humorous story about environmentalist hypocrisy to cronies in the Governor's Office. He told me he was dismayed that it got out.

Isom took the fall. She said that after Stewart told the story, he didn't know she had contacted me about it.

"My bad," she said.

All in the family? • Weird stories like this about the Stewarts are getting to be familiar.

Cody Stewart is the nephew of Tim Stewart, the former supporter of ex-Sen. Bob Bennett who was implicated in the infamous "temple mailer" in 2010 that falsely portrayed Bennett's Republican convention opponent Mike Lee as questioning Bennett's loyalty to the LDS Church, which offended delegates and hurt Lee in the convention.

He also is the nephew of Chris Stewart, who was at the center of questionable shenanigans at the State Republican Convention that helped him secure the GOP nomination for the 2nd Congressional District. Several of Stewart's opponents still say the whole thing stunk.

The t-shirt vote • Mitt Romney may be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and either Romney or Barack Obama will be the crowned president come inauguration day in January 2013. But Ron Paul remains the people's choice — at least if you go by t-shirt sales.

CafePress, an e-commerce site, has been tracking 2012 presidential candidate support using what it calls The Meter graph since November.

With an average of over 130,000 new designs uploaded every week, CafePress has compiled weekly demand for t-shirts with messages and images of the presidential candidates.

As of last week, 44 percent of the design uploads for presidential candidates have been for Paul merchandise. But Romney is gaining on Obama.

Romney claimed just 15.6 percent of sales in the first week of 2012, leveling out to 30 percent last week before he officially won the nomination.

Obama has lost support over time, selling 84.4 percent of merchandise in the first week of 2012, but just 69.2 percent last week.

prolly@sltrib.com

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