Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Hatch calls GOP booing disgraceful
Deseret News 9May00 D2
By Bob Bernick Jr.: Deseret News political editor
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The message came through loud and clear on
Saturday when Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, current Gov. Leavitt, former
Gov. Norm Bangerter and former LDS Church Relief Society President
Barbara Smith were booed and jeered from the floor of the E Center at
the State Republican Convention. Hatch called the incidents a
"disgrace" and called for Utah GOP leaders to consider allowing only
credentialed delagates into future state party conventions.
"I can't believe they booed Norm Bangerter, one of the best governors
we've ever had, and booed Barbara Smith, a woman known throughout the nation
for dedicating her life to families. And what they did to the governor -
disgraceful," Hatch said.
GOP state chairman Rob Bishop, or any of the others conducting the
nine-hour session, did not at any time ask the audience to stop. Leavitt
was booed and jeered so loudly that the audience couldn't hear him or his
nominators. Hatch ended up giving only half of his five-minute speech
because a clock, which was supposed to count down his time, malfunctioned.
There were approximately 3,500 delegates given credentials Saturday, but
officials estimate that 5,000 people were in the E Center when the
candidates attempted to speak. It is believed that non-delegates were
possibly voting on convention rules and other voice votes.
"Everyone I talked to, even the most conservative delegates, thought it
was wrong, were disappointed in what happened," Bishop said. "I hope this
is a one-time event. All I can say is someone else will have to worry about
this two years from now. I'm done being the party chairman," Bishop
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, was also at the convention, but does not face
re-election this year, was not the target of any of the cat-calling on
Saturday. "Clearly, the fact that Sen. Hatch and Gov. Leavitt were endorsed
by the National Rifle Association had little impact; they weren't impressed.
They wanted to punish both of them," Bennett said.
"I have no respect for that group [Gun Ouners of America], none," said
Hatch. He accused the GOA of lying about his 2nd Amendment record. "No one
has stood up for 2nd Amendments rights more than I. And the NRA knows that
and has endorsed me every year," Hatch added.