Sometimes presidential politics reaches down and tweaks some local noses. That's the case this week as Utah Bush For President officials and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson issued statements about Michael Dukakis' defense spending plans.

Bonnie Stephens and Delonne Anderson, co-chairmen for Bush's Utah campaign, and Craig Moody, state GOP chairman, say Dukakis' plans to

cut spending on SDI and eliminate the MX and Midgetman missiles would cut 5,000 jobs in Utah's defense contractor sector. In addition, they said, Dukakis' actions would remove $60 million from subcontractors of Morton Thiokol and Hercules, destroying another 7,000 to 10,000 jobs in Utah's economy.

The day after those statements, Wilson issued his own statement. While saying he supports Dukakis fully in the presidential race, Wilson warned that defense spending cutbacks could harm Utah. Such cutbacks could "result in many harmful economic consequences and that these cuts must be carefully considered."

More than 40,000 jobs in Utah are defense-related, Wilson said in a letter to Dukakis - with whom Wilson attended a conference over the weekend.

Wilson said if he's elected governor, he intends to seek more defense and aerospace contracts for Utah companies from the federal government.

Stephens said that Utah Democrats can't separate themselves from Dukakis' defense spending plans.

"Utah Democratic leaders who claim their goals are to bring us jobs and prosperity, yet support Dukakis, may see no discrepancy. But it is difficult to champion both. Maybe Democrats should reconsider their presidential vote," Stephens said.

(BU) In his letter to Dukakis, Wilson also outlined what he expects from the federal government under a Dukakis administration. "I urge you to support the ABC Day Care bill presently in Congress." Wilson also urged more federal job training money to assist workers dislocated from traditional jobs and asked for continued federal support to complete or improve important highways, specifically I-215 in Salt Lake County and U.S. 89 in Sardine Canyon.

Wilson wants the federal formula on education spending changed to better reflect the needs of high-birth-rate states, like Utah. And he wants Dukakis' support in finishing the Central Utah Project.

(BU) Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and his Democratic opponent, Moss, continue to exchange words.

Hatch has for several months been sending out direct-mail fund-raising material, which, if you read it, makes it sound like Hatch is in the race of life - threatened on all sides by evil.

Moss dislikes the rhetoric and accused Hatch of "mudslinging" and "attacking my character."