An outburst between press secretaries Thursday would lead an observer to believe Reps. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, and Wayne Owens, D-Utah, are running against each other.

It started when aides to Hansen called Republican Genevieve Atwood - Owens' real opponent - to alert her that the Deseret News was writing a story about the use of franked, or free, mail by Utah's House members.Because Owens used twice as much as Utah's other two House members combined, Hansen's aides suggested she contact the Deseret News to attack Owens - which she did.

When Owens' office was informed and asked for a response to Atwood's attack, Owens' press secretary Art Kingdom complained, "Did they use their government WATS line to call her? I'd be willing to bet the ranch they did. It is somewhat disturbing to see use of federal taxpayer dollars to aid a candidate."

When Hansen's press secretary, Rick Guldan, was asked about that, he said, "Our campaign manager, Peter Jenks, is in town and he made the call from the National Republican Campaign Committee. And where do they get off complaining - they have passed a lot of campaign information on to Kenley Brunsdale."

Democrat Brunsdale is Hansen's real opponent and was the former top aide to Owens. Hansen often attacks Owens and Brunsdale with the same volley. Owens and Hansen have sparred on most issues for years.