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Charlotte, N.C. • Democrats took aim at Mia Love, the Republican running against Rep. Jim Matheson, during the breakfast gathering of Utah delegates to the national convention.

The toughest shot came from Lily Eskelsen, the vice president of the National Education Association and a Utahn who ran for Congress in 1998 but lost.

"I ran against Merrill Cook. You would think that it would help that you were running against a crazy person," Eskelsen said. "As Jim Matheson is finding out that doesn't necessarily disqualify a candidate."

The Utah delegation also heard from former basketball star Kevin Johnson, who is now the mayor of Sacramento. A charismatic speaker, he had the Utah group fired up, telling them who would take the convention stage Tuesday night.

He mentioned Julian Castro, the San Antonio mayor who is giving the keynote address, and first lady Michelle Obama. Then he switched course to talk about Utah's Love.

"I'm proud to say I'm a big fan of this lady, I only met her about a week ago but she will not be speaking. Mia Love will not be speaking. We are not letting her get on the podium."

Halftime • Johnson noted that as a Phoenix Suns player he faced and many times lost to the Utah Jazz.

"And who was that point guard you used to have? John Stockton. I still got a pain in my butt from him," he joked.

He used a basketball reference as he promoted a second term for President Barack Obama, referencing the themes of the 2008 campaign and some of his accomplishments as president, from ending combat in Iraq to passing health reform.

"Do you remember that hope and optimism? It is still here. He is the same guy," Johnson said. "You guys know sports. It is just halftime. His job is not done."

mcanham@sltrib.comTwitter: @mattcanham

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