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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 14 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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ECR
Burke, VA

Thanks for writing Scott. I alays appreciate a man willing to state the honest and difficult truth. That's what you did and I, for one, appreciate it.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

Besides your great points, the Romney "strategery" includes a whole lotta lyin'! Google 'fact-check Romney' if you don't believe me. I'm guessing this is a moot point for Romney Faithful.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

It's interesting that someone would try to tie negative advertising to religious intolerance or religious bigotry. Is there a connection?

Must Romney, or any other candidate "tolerate" other candidates telling the world what Romney is, or what Romney thinks, or what THEY think Romney will do? Is Romney barred from using FREE SPEECH to defend what he is, what he thinks, and what he will do? Is Romney barred from telling the world what others have done?

Saying that Romney must turn the other cheek in a political campaign would be saying that he is NOT running for President of the United States, but that he is somehow trying be elected Bishop, or Stake President, or primary teacher.

Make no mistake, Romney has the same right to speak negatively, just as the letter writer DID.

deep in thought
Salt Lake, UT

As the front runner, Romney is exposed to millions of dollars of negative stories from the press. I have read many of them from liberal newspapers and am appalled at the overtly negative slant they take to an otherwise neutral story. So I consider the Super Liberal Media PAC is against Romney.

Generally the other candidates have been given a free pass. I have read a few negative stories on the others, but it is at a ratio of about 5 to Romney to 1 for the others. The only time I see a spike in news stories is when one of the others briefly pops into first place. There was one just yesterday that said Romney did nothing for the Winter Olympics at all.

People generally vote for those people they have heard the least negative about, assuming they are better people. There is in reality plenty of negative history about the other candidates but it isn't talked about. For example, Gingrich's ethics violations. Most people don't know or recall many details about the sordid political past of this man. When people find out who he is, they don't vote for him.

I disagree that Romney's ads are full of inaccuracies. I have also read the political fact checker sites and the so called inaccuracies are almost inconsequential compared to the main facts that are being presented. For example, in one ad he talks about how Gingrich worked for Fannie Mae as the housing market crashed. The fact checker sites say it was inaccurate because it insinuates that Fannie caused the housing market crash. But the fact still remains that Gingrich worked for the company.

I don't like the negativity either, no one does. But studies show that it sticks with people more than the positive stuff. All of the candidates do it. Rick Santorum hasn't much because he has no money and he hasn't been ahead, but now he has had a taste of success he is jumping on the same bandwagon. He lashed out at Romney on the news yesterday calling him "desperate." Ron Paul's negative ads are legendary and Gingrich's 30 minutes attack movie against Romney was called "The biggest hoax since big foot."
Obama will be 40xs worse. His PAC's ads against Romney won some of the awards for the most dishonest PAC ads in ANY political race this year.

A wise friend once told me, in politics you vote for the lesser of all the evils. I would vote for Santorum if he had ANY experience in business or marketing. He is to me, the evangelical anti-Mormon candidate. I see absolutely nothing going for him besides the fact that he isn't Mormon, and I have studied his political history to a good extent.

The best of the bunch right now is Romney.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Scott, you forgot the punch line. The 5% of positive ads run by Mitt's super pac were in Spanish!

With Santortum polling well in Michigan, we'll have to sit back and wait and see if the Romney pac ads turn negative.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Excellent questions.

Esquire
Springville, UT

I think you know the answers to your questions.

There is no way that Utahns and this paper would support an East coast moderate (at best, and perhaps tends liberal based on his public statements) who hails from Massachusetts, raised with a silver spoon, and had no clue about the middle class, if the guy was not Mormon.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

Ok, just what did Romney say about Newt that was a lie? And what did Newt say about Romney that was the truth?

Mark B
Eureka, CA

If Scott were to ask his question to Mitt face to face, the answer he'd get would be "Yes, I've noticed many negative ads, but all of them come from the Super Pac which happens to support my campaign. The Supreme Court bars me from communicating with them in any way, and they have this huge pile of money (I have no idea where it all came from) that they have to spend. I'm sorry, but I just can't help you because THEY are independent." Thus we see the world SCOTUS created with "Citizens United". Scott will have to take his question to Scalia. He shouldn't expect a sympathetic answer.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

We have examples of Romney using quotes about a John McCain aid...

as Obama's words:

**'First Romney TV ad blasts Obama' - By Mercedes White, Deseret News - 11/22/11

It appears that in that instance, Obama was quoting an aide to then-2008 opponent Sen. John McCain (sic) That might be beside the point though because...' - article

Romney's very first ad!

We have examples of Mitt Romney making bets:

**Taking heat over his $10,000 bet, Mitt Romney responds with the story from his LDS mission By Jamshid Ghazi Askar Published by DSnews - 12/12/2011

And yet this is all considered 'acceptable' by some Mormons I have spoken with in regards to Mitt Romney...

but does NOT reflect the belief structure of the LDS church.

So, which is it?

Is Romney following Mormon teachings...

or is he getting a free pass because he is running for President?

Scott nailed this one.

And no one can present a valid defense as to 'why' there is a Double. Standard.

Demosthenes
Rexburg, ID

While lies are universally reprehensible, there is some question about the label "negative" concerning political ads. Often the simple act of pointing out an opponents's voting record or statements is labelled "negative." What really constitutes a "negative" ad -- lies? Taking statements out of context? Stating facts about personal history? Scary music? A deep-voiced announcer?

Before decrying a "negative" campaign, we should all first define what "negative" includes. Statements of fact should not be included, nor should direct quotes taken in full context.

And when making assertions about lies, as in this letter, one should always include the offending statements and explain how they are untrue. Evaluation by "third parties" is not necessarily reliable, as all humans are opinionated, biased, and fallible.

Nonconlib
Happy Valley, UT

Amen, Scott. As an unaffiliated (partywise) LDS voter, I have been troubled by Mitt's willingness to lie and grossly misrepresent reality. Unfortunately, this is the nature of politics. To be elected to the highest office in the land, apparently you have to be willing to say ridiculous things that the extreme (and controlling) element of your party believes. It's sad that the greatest casualty of presidential politics is the truth. Too bad Mitt is willing to say just about anything to win. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in his next temple recommend interview, when that question about being honest in all your dealings comes up. It would be even more fun if his bishop happened to be a Democrat.

Nonconlib
Happy Valley, UT

Has anyone noticed that on the DNews website there is no way to comment on Thomas Friedman's marvelous editorial about the Republican Party that appeared in today's paper, or even to read it online? Is there some restriction by the NY Times on Friedman's columns, or is this just another ploy by the DNews to restrict access to anything left of center? Just curious.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

Once again we have Mike Richards saying one thing one day and another the next. The letter is clear. Deseret News and other publications have asked (yet again) for civility.
None of the candidates hold any punches in their ad campaigns around the country.
The Deseret News and other Utah news outlets conveniently forget that Mitt does this just like other candidates, and they cast the negative light on the others but not Mitt. A clear and tangible double standard.
No one said Mitt doesn't have the right to do this. Although many might ask why someone who is supposedly following the teachings of Christ would need to resort to this type of campaign.
Has anyone ever TRIED running a campaign that didn't involved negative ads about your opponent? Wouldn't that be a breath of fresh air?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Great point.

WWJD?

Jon Huntsman dropped out, rather than go negative.
Who's the better Mormon?

==============

@Mike Richards | 6:16 a.m. Feb. 14, 2012
South Jordan, Utah
It's interesting that someone would try to tie negative advertising to religious intolerance or religious bigotry. Is there a connection?

---- Mitt Romeny is HARDLY a good example of Mormonism.
YOU might think he is a Saint, others of us don't.

But - whatever's good for the "Party", justifies the means.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Scott, which of Romney's opponents religions did he attack?

I pity Romney, actually. He has Fox News openly campaigning for any republican but Romney and every other news media outlet openly, actively, and vigorously campaigning for BO.

L White
Springville, UT

Mr. Midvaliean,

Isn't it clever that you think that you can attack others and at the same time defend yourself by saying: "Although many might ask why someone who is supposedly following the teachings of Christ would need to resort to this type of campaign."?

Bad-mouthing other posters is nothing more than negative campaigning.

Just what did you mean when you said, "Once again we have Mike Richards saying one thing one day and another the next."? You did not tell us what your problem with Mr. Richards is. You left it up to us to guess you mind. It is not hard to see that you use every opportunity to attack Mr. Richards. What is surprising is that when he responds, he makes the issue perfectly clear.

That is exactly what Mitt Romney also does. When he is attacked, he does not make some absurd remark and then run and hide. He gives enough details that anyone reading or hearing can see for themselves that he is speaking the truth.

You might try following Mr. Romney's example.

deep in thought
Salt Lake, UT

This whole line of discussion demanding that Romney lives up to some level of zero attacks BECAUSE he is Mormon seems a little backwards.

Gingrich - Catholic
Santorum - Catholic
Paul - Baptist
Romney - Mormon

Obama - Christian? (and Pagan don't freak out I honestly am not sure which religion he belongs to)

To my knowledge all of these religions preach "do unto others" sentiments. Why act like all of Romney's supporters should run away because he goes negative AND he is Mormon.

My question is ... where should we run to?

Bebyebe
UUU, UT

It's only wrong if you're not a republican, or in this venue, a mormon

The Politics of Listening
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

Don't worry about Mitt Romney, he's done.

So to are these fools:

Gingrich - Catholic
Santorum - Catholic
Paul - Baptist

I guess the Democrat's are fixing this election when the voting system is in confusion, with about 1.8 million dead people listed on the rolls, some 2.8 million with active registrations in more than one state and 12 million with serious enough errors to make it unlikely that mail, from any political party or election board, can reach the right destination. In all, some 24 million registrations contain significant errors.

Obama
2012

In a land-slide.

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