Hatch uses harsh words against Obama team in chat with students

Published: Thursday, Oct. 18 2012 11:41 p.m. MDT

In this Thursday, June 28, 2012 photo, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talks with The Associated Press at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. With his re-election to a seventh term all but assured, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch can think about his legacy. He’s very clear about what he wants: a deal that restructures the tax code while also slowing and even stopping the government’s accumulation of debt. To get it, he says he’ll practice the art of compromise.

Associated Press

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WEST JORDAN — Sen. Orrin Hatch used some harsh language while speaking to a group of college students Thursday.

While urging them to volunteer for fellow Republican and 4th Congressional District candidate Mia Love, he told them what he thinks about the Obama campaign.

"You can buy off on all the b.s. that they put out there, and there's plenty of it, and all this hope and change s - - -," he said, causing the room to break out in laughter after using the profanity.

Hatch and Love spent the afternoon campaigning together, including a question-and-answer session with about two dozen college students at Love's Victory Center. His remark against the Obama team came while touting Love, whom he said would become one of the nation's great congresswomen.

"We'll have the only two conservative black people in the whole country and they're both terrific," Hatch said referring to Love and Florida Congressman Allen West.

Asked after the meeting what he really thought about President Obama's hope-and-change mantra, Hatch chuckled and said, "It's been a noticeable failure … I don't have any animosity toward him. We're friends. But he has no clue."

Hatch also talked up GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, saying everything he does is successful. As he explained how Romney balanced the state budget in Massachusetts for four straight years, a student asked why Romney didn't seek a second term as governor.

"Well, remember it's the most liberal state, and they had four years to screw him. And that's what they were doing," Hatch said, again eliciting laughter from the students.

Hatch, who is running against Democrat Scott Howell, has hitched his bid for a seventh term to Romney.

Utah Valley University junior Justin Smith said he thought Hatch and Love mostly talked the party line during the hourlong exchange.

"They just talked in circles. Orrin Hatch said b.s. a whole bunch," the political science major said.

Between making their cases for election, Hatch and Love fielded questions from the students on federal college student aid and what the future holds for those seeking higher education.

"I'm sure you've seen all the commercials out there," Love said, referring to TV ads blasting her for saying she wants to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and floating a budget plan that would cut student loans and grants.

"I believe there's so many false choices out there where people are saying if you do not receive federal loans you're not going to school, which is absolutely not true."

The ads show video of Love saying she wants to get rid of the Department of Education.

After the meeting, Love said she thinks the students understand that "first of all, I didn't say that I wanted to get rid of all those things. I didn't talk about that. I want to make sure that we have options and there's not a government take over of all that."

Love said she wants to do everything she can to "open it up so that more people can provide college loans than just the federal government."

Revamping the education department is not an event but a process, she said.

Love's opponent, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson has attacked Love's statement on higher education throughout the campaign. He said Thursday he doesn't know if Love is trying to back away from wanting to do away with the education department but said her position is well documented.

"It's pretty clear she's said this many times," he said.

The department, he said, administers student loans, grants and work study programs. "If you get rid of the Department of Education, they're gone. It's that simple. It's not a complicated one."

Matheson said Love's "extreme position" goes beyond that of Republicans nationally and locally.

Hatch said he has always supported student loans and grants. But he said he's concerned about eligibility issues. The money, he said, needs to be watched carefully so it's there for young people when they need it. He said he also worries about them going into deep debt for college because it's difficult to pay back.

Hatch said his impression of what Love has said about the education department and college aid is that she's not really against them but wants things to work better.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com Twitter: dennisromboy

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