Did Hatch flip off Parkites?
July 29, 2006
It’s still unclear whether U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, meant to give Park City the bird when he starred in a promo on Park City Television last year.
After reportedly calling some who protested a visit to Utah by President George W. Bush "nut cakes," Hatch attempted to explain in the roughly 15-second clip the context on his remark.
"We have the raw tape. Sen. Hatch definitely flips the bird," Ori Hoffer, a PCTV host states on the television station’s Web log.
Hoffer rejected claims from a Hatch spokesman that the senator did not wag his middle finger at viewers while taping the promo in Hatch’s office in Salt Lake City.
"No, we’re not going to publish the uncut version on the [Web] or run it on TV, so don’t get your hopes up," a blogging Hoffer continues. " the whole flipping off the camera thing was [Hatch’s] idea, and one of his staffers was in the room with us the whole time, so they surely know about it."
Hoffer said Hatch was describing hand gestures Bush received from protesters when the senator flipped the bird on camera. But Federal Communication Commission standards prohibit showing the footage over the airwaves, he added.
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"We couldn’t show him doing that," Hoffer said during a telephone interview Wednesday. "We’re not trying to make him look bad."
So editors blurred Hatch’s finger on the version shown on TV, he added.
"It was all done in fun and to show that [Hatch] has a sense of humor," Hoffer said. "I never would have guessed that Senator Hatch even knew how to give anyone the finger it was pretty funny."
Hatch "wasn’t making any kind of statement," Hoffer said.
"It wasn’t like he was flipping off Park City," he added.
But the senator’s gestures stunned the television producer.
"He knew the camera was on, there is no question about it," Hoffer said.
The edited clip can be seen at mtnviews.blogspot.com. For several months, the Web site, youtube.com, has also been showing the footage.
"I was sitting in there and I usually just panic at stuff and I didn’t realize his middle finger was up," Hatch spokeswoman Heather Barney said. "I thought he just kind of waved his hand up, I didn’t see the actual, here-you-go bird."
Meanwhile, more than Hatch’s wagging middle finger, Pete Ashdown, a Democrat vying against Utah’s senior senator in November, says he was offended by the senator’s attempt to back away from the "nut-cakes comment."
"I find that that kind of disdain for your constituency is not unique to Senator Hatch and that’s why we need real sweeping change in Washington," Ashdown said. "He thinks he’s invincible, that nobody can beat him."
It’s time politicians practice more "tact," Ashdown said.
"We heard Cheney on the floor of the Senate and Bush at the G8, and now Senator Hatch is unable to control his utterances," Ashdown said about the high-profile use of profanity by the president and vice president.