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Democratic leaders took on Sen. Orrin Hatch on Thursday, criticizing him for linking their party to gay rights and his votes on drug enforcement funding.

Wednesday, in a speech in St. George, Hatch said the Democratic Party is too closely tied to special interest groups, saying it is the "party of homosexuals, pro-abortion advocates . . . " and other liberal groups. State Democratic Party Chairman Randy Horiuchi called a press conference to demand an apology from Hatch for those statements."The name-calling, stereotyping in his speech caused a flood of outraged calls to my home, Utah State Democratic headquarters, Brian Moss headquarters and the offices of (gubernatorial candidate) Ted Wilson," Horiuchi said.

Hatch campaign manager Bud Scruggs said no apology will be made. "None is required. Any reading of the national Democratic Party platforms in past years proves exactly what the senator said."

Horiuchi said Hatch at first tried to say he didn't make such remarks. Scruggs said the senator never denied making the statements but did complain that an Associated Press story took the homosexual remark out of context. "The senator said the Democrat Party is the party of a number of special interest groups, among them gays and pro-abortion advocates. The AP story didn't include the other groups."

Meanwhile, Democratic senatorial candidate Brian Moss criticized Hatch on Wednesday for voting against spending more money on drug enforcement.

Moss has turned up the heat lately in his race against Hatch, a Republican seeking a third term. A week ago, Moss criticized Hatch on education votes, a criticism Hatch's campaign spokesman called hogwash. Hatch leads Moss by almost 50 points in the polls.

Moss said that on April 25, 1984, Hatch voted in favor of a bill that would have frozen all federal spending, except defense and Social Security, at 10 percent below current budgets in an effort to reduce the federal deficit. The law would have cut drug enforcement money by 10 percent also, said Moss, "an act so irresponsible it borders on the irrational."

"This is just one more example of where (Hatch) is out of touch with Utah. It shows he is more interested in following some far-right-wing agenda than serving the people of this state," who are very worried about drugs, Moss said.

Two weeks before his vote on the 10 percent freeze, Hatch voted against a Ronald Reagan-backed bill that would have required corporations to pay a minimum income tax on profits above $50,000, Moss said.

"At that time, any Utahn who paid even $1 in federal income tax paid more than some of the biggest, most profitable corporations in this country. Some of these corporations, with multibillion-dollar profits, were even getting rebates from the government." The bill would have raised $10 billion in additional income and helped the deficit. The bill failed. "In my opinion, Orrin has a lot of explaining to do," Moss said.

Scruggs said Moss still doesn't understand that Hatch sits on the two committees that deal daily with drug enforcement and drug abuse and that Hatch has continually supported more funding for those programs. "This shows that Moss is willing to take the senator's record and distort it. That's all," Scruggs said.