LAST CALL: Message leaves Hatch at peace with his 'Traffic' cameo

Does Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) regret his cameo in the film Traffic?

The Associated Press reported that he does, so it must be so, right? Well, no, according to Christopher Rosche, Hatch's spokesman.

The film tells three interrelated stories about the drug trade in America.

It has been widely praised for its unflinching look at the devastating impact of the drug culture.

Sen. Hatch appears in a small role at a party where he offers advice to the fictional drug czar, played by Michael Douglas.

Hatch's press office received many e-mails, letters and calls from his Utah constituents, reflecting concern over his appearance in the R-rated film, particularly given his well-documented religious background.

In response, Hatch issued a press release that read, 'I was shocked at the gratuitous amount of violence and profanity in Traffic. It was more than was necessary to reveal the devastation caused by drugs. I do not condone it. It detracts from its anti-drug message.'

But his statement also said, 'I have always believed it is important to get out the message that drug abuse destroys families and degrades and demeans our society. Movies can be a tremendous force for good.'

Rosche said although Hatch decried the violence, he does not regret appearing in the film. The spokesman was annoyed that no media (except for PRWeek, natch) called Hatch's office to confirm the story after it ran on the AFP wire. The item was picked up by AP last weekend and Rosche said the news giant never called to check it.

Broadcasters have also covered it. 'It's interesting how a short story can run from the wire,' Rosche said. 'All the Salt Lake City TV stations had the story, and not one called us first.'

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