August Miller, Deseret Morning News
Vice President Dick Cheney spoke Friday about the war in Iraq during a brief visit to the Council for National Policy, according to people who heard his speech.
The event was closed to news media, but Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert said the vice president's speech was given to a "very friendly audience" of maybe 300 to 400 people.
"He talked about how it is not an option to lose," Herbert said about Cheney's remarks on the war.
The speech was held in the Imperial Ballroom at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also spoke to members of the Council for National Policy, which is described as a secretive conservative networking group.
Herbert is not a member of the Council for National Policy but had been invited to speak Saturday during the group's four-day conference here. Joe Cannon, editor of the Deseret Morning News and former chairman of the Republican Party in Utah, also was scheduled to speak to the council about media coverage in Utah.
Former Utah lawmaker LaVar Christensen, who also attended Friday's event, declined to comment on the vice president's remarks. He said Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, gave a speech that touched on family and conservative values.
"We don't talk about the specifics outside, but in general, regarding the governor, the speech was sincere and substantive ... it was from the heart," Christensen said.
Herbert told participants in a "Rally for Romney" fund-raiser Friday afternoon that the highlight of Romney's remarks was when he talked about his family.
Loud applause could be heard from the ballroom both during and after the speeches by Cheney and Romney. Salt Lake City police and other law enforcement officers guarded the doors into the ballroom and checked people with hand-held metal detectors before they could enter the room.
Romney was approached by news media as he entered the event but declined to comment.
As for Cheney, he was greeted at Salt Lake City International Airport by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman, Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert and other dignitaries.
The vice president had no public appearances. He was scheduled for another fund-raiser Friday at Teton Village, Wyo.Cheney was last in Utah in April to deliver the commencement speech at Brigham Young University.
Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche and Associated Press
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