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ARMEY’S RARING TO RETURN IF ORTON FULFILLS VOW TO PAY

SHARE ARMEY’S RARING TO RETURN IF ORTON FULFILLS VOW TO PAY

Republican congressional candidate Chris Cannon enlisted U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey for a little campaign help in Utah last week. And now Armey wants to invade again - only this time at Democratic Rep. Bill Orton's expense.

A comment Orton made has the Texas congressman ready to pack his bags for another trip to Provo.While Armey and Cannon munched cold cuts and swigged soft drinks in a Provo back yard last Thursday night, the Associated Press asked Orton, who was in the hospital recovering from back surgery, what he thought about the majority leader's visit.

"I wish I'd have thought of bringing him here earlier," Orton said of Armey, according to the Associated Press.

Sounds strange coming from a rival party member. Had the pain killers gotten to him? Apparently not. Read on.

"It shows better than anything else the kind of extremism that is leading Congress. Had I thought about it, I would have paid his way out here to campaign for my opponent. Nothing will suit me better," Orton said.

Well, nothing will suit Armey better than to have Orton pick up the tab for him to fly to Utah again.

"I hope to visit the 3rd District again soon, and your offer will provide me the resources to do so," Armey wrote in an Aug. 27 letter to Orton. He said he appreciates Orton's generosity and would willingly take him up on the "offer."

Orton, who's seeking a fourth term, told the Associated Press that he believed Armey's stop in Utah Valley would help more than hurt his re-election bid.

"I guess my opponent would be a Dick Armey-Newt Gingrich radical idealogue who will vote the way they want him to vote, rather than his constituency," Orton was quoted as saying.

Cannon said he's proud to be associated with Armey, adding that Orton's views are substantially different than Utah's basically conservative beliefs.

Most of this, of course, is political rhetoric, candidates trying to put a spin on anything and everything an opponent says or does. Yet, there's an undercurrent of biting sarcasm here that might be a prelude to another nasty 3rd District election.

But because it's only August, maybe this can be written off as good, clean, dog-days-of-summer campaign fun. If Armey were to make it back to Utah, wouldn't it be entertaining to hear Orton and Cannon jaw over who's getting the most bounce out of the majority leader's visit?