The chairman of the Utah County Democratic Party wants national and state Democratic leaders to stop their new attacks on Republican Mitt Romney, unless he actually becomes the running mate of John McCain.

"It is not appropriate, and we (Utah County Democrats) don't want to be associated with that," Richard Davis said.

That comes a day after the Democratic National Committee hosted a national conference call where politicians from Massachusetts and Michigan — two states that Romney has called home besides Utah — criticized him to draw attention to a new party Web site attacking Republicans who are rumored to be on McCain's short list for vice president.

After that conference call, Utah State Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland also issued a press release attacking what he said are Romney's "policy shifts, failure as a presidential candidate, business track record and brief public service that produced a trail of unemployed workers."

Davis, in conservative Utah County, disliked those attacks, and issued a press release saying so — and gave an interview about it. "This is the wrong time to be criticizing Romney. He's not on a national ticket yet, and may never be on a national ticket," he said.

Davis said if Romney does become McCain's running mate, "Then his record as a governor and businessman is fair game for criticism." But he said some of the attacks made this week may have gone too far.

Criticism Thursday included Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., saying of Romney, "He is the most intellectually inconsistent politician in the history of politics. I have never seen anyone so completely without any commitment to any particular principle and so willing to say whatever he thinks will help him win the next election."

Davis said many county Democrats are proud of Romney's accomplishments and agree with him on many issues.

"Utahns and Latter-day Saints across the nation — both Republicans and Democrats — feel proud of Mitt Romney for his accomplishments as a political figure," he said.

"Mitt Romney has gone further than any other Utahn or LDS Church member in reaching the pinnacle of American politics — the presidency. Those of us who are LDS, regardless of our political affiliation, are proud of that," he said.

Davis said that based on his county party's platform of beliefs — which is different than the state and national platforms — "Romney is against abortion, so are we. Romney is against same-sex marriage but also against discrimination against people who are homosexual, so are we."

The draft national platform, however, says, "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports ... a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay."

The draft platform — which will be considered by the national convention at the end of the month — also says, "We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue (opposing gay marriage) to divide us."

Davis said he is unsure if national and state attacks on Romney will hurt Democratic candidates in his county where Romney is popular, "but we just didn't think it was right, and wanted to say so."

Bill Keshlear, spokesman for the Utah Democratic Party, said the state party has no comment on Davis's action.


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