It had to be difficult for any woman to see her husband constantly torn to shreds by people who don’t even deserve to carry his shoes. —Sen. Orrin Hatch

TAMPA, Fla. — With the first day of the four-day Republican National Convention cut short by Tropical Storm Isaac, the Utah delegation quickly assembled 1,000 hygiene kits that will be distributed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, possibly to storm victims.

"Our goal here is to leave Tampa better than we found it," Wright said. 

Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Ogden, said the state has a reputation for showing compassion. "It's important to give back," Dee said. "We have so many blessings that come into our lives."

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, thanked the participants for their work.

"It reflects well of our state and of our party," Lee said. "It's good to be a Republican. Most importantly, it's good to be getting a new president of the United States."

The group sang songs while packing plastic bags with toothbrushes, soap, towels and other items, including, "God Bless America" and the fight songs for both Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.

Several Mormons from other delegations joined the service project, including Richard Fale of Hawaii. Fale told the group how difficult it is to be Republican in a state dominated by Democrats.

There were boos when Fale said Obama claims Hawaii as his home state. "If Hawaii was not as liberal as it is, I do not believe we would have produced one the most liberal presidents," Fale said.

Arizona delegate Heather Sandstrom led them in chanting "yes" to a list of Romney's positions, including repealing Obama's health care plan. Romney, she said, "will strengthen our country at home and abroad."

Mitt Romney will survive “that meat grinder called a presidential election” and win in November, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch told members of the Utah delegation to the convention at their first breakfast meeting Monday

“I’m so proud of Mitt Romney,” Utah’s senior senator said at an “Omelets with Orrin” breakfast honoring his 36 years of service that included a rallying speech by Josh Romney, one of two Romney sons who lives in Utah.

Hatch, lauded by Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Mike Lee and other members of the delegation, said Romney isin a tough battle to defeat President Barack Obama.

“To go through that meat grinder called a presidential election and keep his chin up with all of the rotten things that the administration has been doing to him, and their allies, and keep coming back, and keep that smile on his face, I’ve got to tell you, we all owe him a great debt of gratitude for hanging in there,” Hatch said.

He praised Ann Romney for keeping her chin up as her husband is criticized on the campaign trail.

“It had to be difficult for any woman to see her husband constantly torn to shreds by people who don’t even deserve to carry his shoes,” Hatch said, slamming the media for finding fault with Romney because he shaved a fellow student’s hair as a teenager and once drove with the family dog on the roof of his car.

“Guess what Obama was doing back then,” Hatch said. “Mitt has led a pretty pristine, pure and good life and that’s coming through to the American people. It scares them. They’re not used to something like that.”

Josh Romney, who lives with his family in Millcreek and has considered running for office in Utah, said the same enthusiasm voters had for Obama four years ago has been transferred to his father.

“I have yet to meet someone who says, ‘I voted for (2008 GOP nominee Arizona Sen. John) McCain four years ago and this time, I’m going for Obama,’″ Josh Romney said. “The same thing President Obama had four years ago, we’ve got it now.”

Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright showed a brief presentation outlining how Romney can win the presidency by taking swing states like Nevada, Indiana and Virginia along the I-80 corridor, one of the scenarios mapped out by the Romney campaign.

Wright said the “I-80 plan” banks on Republican gains in those states in the 2010 election as well as declines in Obama’s job approval rating and support for his health care plan.

23 comments on this story

It looks like 4th District congressional candidate Mia Love will speak earlier that originally scheduled. Her address to the convention is now expected to come shortly after 5 p.m. MST on Tuesday.

An exact time is still being deterimined.

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com Twitter: dnewspolitics