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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 12May00

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 announced.

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.


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