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D.C. Notebook: Blue skies in SLC, Tampa... not so much

Published August 25, 2012 11:49 pm

Politics • Republicans may have picked the wrong city for party's big week
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

In case you were wondering, Salt Lake City is not in the path of a hurricane. Neither is Phoenix. But that doesn't matter right now since Republicans are heading to Tampa this week to gather for their national convention and nominate Mitt Romney as their flag-bearer.

The Republicans canceled Monday's festivities because of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to become Hurricane Isaac before hitting the United States. The incoming storm could bring other scheduling changes to the four day event, greatly impacting the 50,000 delegates, activists and journalists in town.

A possible hurricane was a consideration going into the GOP's decision to pick Tampa over the other two finalist cities, but ultimately the powers-that-be thought that the convention planners had those concerns under control, and what chances were there for a hurricane anyhow?

"It was a purely business decision. All three cities were viable cities to have a convention at," Holly Hughes, the Republican National committeewoman from Michigan told The Tribune after the decision was announced in 2010. "Tampa came out on top."

When the bid committee visited Salt Lake City in April 2010, they got to see a mock forecast by then-ABC4 weatherman Roland Steadham that noted the hurricane concern.

But Tampa it is, and that may be too bad for conventiongoers now.

Weather.com sees a long week of torrid rain for Romney's nomination convention. Salt Lake City's forecast? Blue sky all week.

Scared ferrets • Mitt Romney compared tea party supporters to a "ferret in the dishwasher." Don't worry, if you have no idea what that is supposed to mean, we didn't either.

The comment comes from author Michael Grunwald for his new book The New New Deal and he attributes it to former Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.

Time magazine ran an excerpt of Grunwald's work that included Bennett's recollection of a conversation he had with Romney, shortly after losing to Mike Lee, largely because tea party Republicans opposed him.

Here's the excerpt: "Bennett says his friend Romney commiserated with him about the tea party's ingratitude, telling a presumably apocryphal story about getting bitten by a ferret he had tried to rescue from a dishwasher. 'Mitt said the tea party people are like that ferret in the dishwasher,' he says. 'They're so frightened and angry, they'll even bite Bob Bennett, who's trying to get the country out of this mess.'"

Some have interpreted the comment as a slight against the tea party, but Bennett says Romney has unified the party. Heck, even Lee, the last major Republican in Utah to endorse Romney, has been on the road rallying the tea party behind the GOP candidate.

"Any suggestion that Governor Romney won't have a solid Republican base behind him is wishful thinking on the part of those who want a different result," Bennett told The Tribune.

The air war • The National Republican Congressional Committee launched its fall assault against Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, on Friday using 2-year-old footage from a state Democratic Convention where the congressman noted his support for the economic-stimulus bill.

The 30-second spots will run through this week, costing $250,000. It is part of an early wave of ads focused on Utah's 4th Congressional District that will only increase in intensity as Election Day approaches.

So far, the American Chemistry Council has run an ad touting Matheson as a politician serious about job growth and his Republican challenger Mia Love has produced a spot highlighting her experience as mayor of Saratoga Springs.

Get ready, more are coming and more, like the NRCC ad, are likely to be negative in tone.

Morning email • Snack on Political Cornflakes, our morning dish of political news. Email cornflakes@sltrib.com to join our mailing list or follow us on Twitter @SLTribPolitics and check back at http://www.politicalcornflakes.com for regular updates.

Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at tburr@sltrib.com or mcanham@sltrib.com or via Twitter @thomaswburr or @mattcanham. —

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