In terms of national publicity, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, did not have one of his better weeks.
In fact, the best thing about it for him was that it came after the election.It started with stories in the Atlanta Constitution claiming that someone was impersonating Muhammed Ali - maybe Ali's lawyer - in phone calls to Hatch and other senators, and that Hatch and the others had been duped.
Next, a new book about Vice President-elect Dan Quayle's work to pass the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982 quotes Quayle describing Hatch at the time as "completely disorganized," someone who never accomplished anything and someone who wanted to steal Quayle's bill as his own.
Then to top it all off, C. McClain Haddow - a former aide to Hatch - was sued by the Justice Department for $188,000 in restitution and penalties for money that he was already convicted of mishandling when he was the chief of staff in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Most of the stories seem on the surface to have turned out all right for Hatch and his national reputation: Ali showed up and admitted he lied to the Atlanta Constitution about not making phone calls personally to senators, just to get a reporter off his back; Quayle called Hatch to apologize for his remarks; and the Haddow story is old - he's already served jail time on criminal charges from the case - and most national media have quit referring to him as a past Hatch aide.
But as time goes on, the stories have the potential to raise doubts about the type of people with whom Hatch associates, and his relationship with the new Bush-Quayle Administration.
The Ali and Haddow stories particularly suggest, as one Washington reporter said, that Hatch is especially attracted to people he sees as "celebrities or wounded puppies."
When the Ali story broke, Hatch quickly defended his friend Ali and his lawyer, Richard Hirschfeld. Hatch said that when he first started working with Ali, Hirschfeld confided that he had been a brash lawyer and had done things for which he could be attacked and which might cause Hatch trouble. Some say Hirschfeld's past may be even more checkered than he suggested, and that he has ties with people whom some claim tried to stage a coup in the Philippines to return Ferdinand Marcos to power.
But Hatch said Hirschfeld has always been honest and straight forward with him. He added that Hirschfeld and Ali have also never asked for anything that was out of line in their dealings with him.
Critics would question whether a senator should deal extensively with such people anyway. But his supporters surely would say that Hatch's willingness to listen to even unpopular people and help them if he feels they are deserving - a la defending Oliver North - may be one of Hatch's most redeeming values.
Haddow was also an unpopular "wounded puppy" when he came to work for Hatch. Haddow had been maligned when he was a Utah legislator for his outspoken views and such actions as telling a law officer that he couldn't give him a ticket for speeding because he was a legislator.
Haddow also talked some legislators - including now Gov. Norm Bangerter and incoming Speaker of the House Nolan Karras - into accepting with him a controversial golfing junket on a private jet from a company wanting to influence legislative decisions on the Intermountain Power Project.
Some may question whether a senator should hire such a man. But his supporters could again say it shows Hatch's willingness to give the maligned a chance. And besides, Haddow up to that point hadn't really done anything that Bangerter and Karras hadn't done either.
The Quayle story raises some interesting questions also about Hatch's relationship to the new administration. At least, it shows the relationship between Quayle and Hatch has not always been rosy.
Quayle and Hatch, though, tried to downplay Quayle's quotes as spoken in a fit of anger years ago, and said they work together well now. But it wasn't the first time reports of conflicts between Hatch and Quayle were reported.
Hatch was asked by the Deseret News at the Republican National Convention about old Congressional Quarterly stories saying he and Quayle had butted heads several times on the Labor and Human Resources Committee. Hatch said that wasn't really true, and that he supported Quayle.
Some close to Hatch said he had to struggle to support Quayle's nomination at that convention. They said the choice of Quayle there left Hatch almost in shock because he thought many others were better qualified. They said he wouldn't leave his hotel until he could calmly state a few reasons to support Quayle - suggested by the Bush campaign - in case reporters asked him.
Being such a good trooper might have helped Hatch overcome any past differences with Quayle and any grudge Bush might have had for Hatch's early support of Sen. Robert Dole for president. But all that still may not exactly make him an insider with the administration either, or make him the administration's top choice for such positions as a possible U.S. Supreme Court justice.