Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants an apology from Utah's senior senator after Orrin Hatch said Monday that anti-President Bush protesters, led by Anderson, were "nutcakes."
The call for an "I'm sorry" was rebuffed by Hatch's office Wednesday, with the senator saying it was the mayor who should be contrite.
Anderson told the Deseret Morning News Tuesday that Hatch should apologize, ticking off a list of influential anti-Bush protesters who were "among the people that Orrin Hatch referred to as nutcakes."
The leader of one of Salt Lake City's largest Jewish congregations was there, as was a representative of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. Also, Anderson noted, several mothers, whose sons had lost their lives in Iraq, were in attendance. There were lawyers, architects and even several veterans, including one who wore his green beret.
"This was a very broad range of great people who came out with heart-felt concern about the direction which our nation has been taking," Anderson said. "I don't think calling people names, especially by a United States senator, has any place in civil dialogue."
So, should Hatch apologize?
"Absolutely," Anderson said. "He ought to acknowledge that these people do have a great concern about their country and they are great patriots for getting out and expressing their views."
Hatch said the mayor shouldn't hold his breath.
"If any apology must be given, it should come from Mayor Anderson to the president and Mrs. Bush," Hatch said in a statement.
The protest coincided with Bush's speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention at the Salt Palace Convention Center downtown. In an e-mail last week to several liberal political groups, Anderson encouraged the anti-Bush troops to protest about a litany of issues from Social Security to abortion. Monday's protest, however, largely centered on the war in Iraq a war that national polls show Americans are increasingly doubting.
Speaking with KSL TV Monday about the protest, Hatch said, "You're always going to have nutcakes out there, no matter what you do."
Dee Rowland, legislative liaison for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, attended the protest with her family and Connie Griffiths, a Utah mother whose son was badly burned while serving in Iraq and is now recovering in San Antonio. Each week, Rowland, Griffiths and others gather at Our Lady of Lourdes church and school to pray for an end to the war.
"I've opposed the war from the beginning, and I felt it was appropriate that I continue to," Rowland said. "I have had conversations with Senator Hatch about the war before it started in hopes that it could be avoided."
Asked if she was offended about being labeled a "nutcake," Rowland shrugged it off.
"I'll just have a good laugh about that and enjoy a new nickname," she said.
Former City Council woman Deeda Seed, who now serves as Anderson's spokeswoman, said her son attended the protest.
"Lots of little kids were there. Are they all nutcakes?" she asked.
Media accounts of the protest have varied with some reports tagging the crowd as mostly young students and hippies to others reporting that the crowd was a good cross-section of people from various socio-economic backgrounds.
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