February 20th, 2010
03:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Chaffetz: Trouble brewing for Bennett in Utah

Chaffetz addressed CPAC Saturday.
Chaffetz addressed CPAC Saturday.

Washington (CNN) – If an anti-incumbent tide sweeps Sen. Bob Bennett out of Congress later this year, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a fellow Utah Republican, doesn't sound like he'll be too upset.

"The people are restless, they want to see change, and Sen. Bennett, with all due respect, he is going to have to go out and defend his record and explain some things to voters," Chaffetz told CNN Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Bennett is seeking a fourth term, but is battling a tough anti-incumbent mood and multiple Republican challengers who are upset with his votes for the banking and auto bailouts.

Chaffetz, an up-and-coming voice in the GOP, was first elected to Congress in 2008 despite opposition from Bennett and Sen. Orrin Hatch, both of whom backed incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon in that year's Republican primary. Chaffetz has publicly split with Bennett on a number of issues and even considered challenging the incumbent senator before ruling it out last year.

"More than ever policy and principles are paramount," Chaffetz said, offering praise for the Tea Party movement and its growing influence. "You have to go out and articulate your position and justify how you voted. If you don’t do that you could very well be on your way home with a one-way ticket."

"The people that are in trouble politically are maybe the ones that aren’t as good at listening and paying attention to what's going on at home," he added.

Questioned about the anti-tax Club for Growth, which has vowed to spend money opposing Bennett's re-election bid, Chaffetz answered: "Free speech is free speech."

Chaffetz also defended himself and other Republicans who have sought stimulus money for projects in their home districts after voting against the Recovery Act. Democrats have blasted them as hypocrites.

He said it's legitimate to seek the federal money because it is funded by Utah taxpayers. "What, are we just going to give money, federal funding to just Democrats who voted for these bills?" Chaffetz argued.

"If I could exempt us out of having to pay for [the stimulus], I think it would be a totally different equation," he said. "But the fact of the matter is, my constituents are going to have to pay for it, so there better be some benefit that comes back with it."


Filed under: Bob Bennett • CPAC • Jason Chaffetz
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. harold

    Just how many planes does the Tea Party Air Force have?..I guess the Tea Bags would prefer to drive Chinese and Foreign cars since they did not want to save the USA auto industry....huh?

    February 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. harold

    They voted agaisnt the stimulus and then just lapped it all up at ribbon cutting ceremonies in Utah.. Bunch of phonies and fakers the tea bags and the Republicans...

    February 20, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. One more spend and tax Democrat.....

    on the way out....love it....go Tea Party.....

    Sarah Palin/Liz Cheney/Michelle Bachmann RULE.

    February 20, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    People need to actually THINK this November, and not just vote people out because they are an incumbent.

    Republicans are hoping everyone will be so mad and afraid that they'll vote out the (Democratic) incumbents and vote in Republicans – and then what?

    Another round of tried-and-failed Republican policies?

    Folks need to accept that the mess the Republicans lead by Bush & Company got us into is going to take awhile to get out of.

    And folks also need to accept that "tax cuts for the wealthy" will only damage our country further.

    Get real and grow up!

    February 20, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Fearful and unthinking – that's what the Republicans want from voters in November.

    Only a fool would go back to the tried-and-failed policies of the GOP.

    30 years of tinkle-down voodoo Reaganomics has devastated our Middle Class, shipped jobs overseas, and made the rich richer, while impoverishing the rest of us.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – and that's just about all the GOP has to offer.

    Stand up, grow a pair, and don't succumb to the Republican fear machine!

    February 20, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Jin

    All of these sad Repugnicans are trying to make use of the poor tea baggers. Someone needs to explain to them the concept of participating in their own oppression. It is something like your grandmother meant when she talked about cutting off your nose to spite your face!!

    February 20, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Kathleen

    Bennett is a good Democrat. fighting for Medicare, Medicaid, HCR, S.S. and "the people. TAKE OUT ALL THE GOOD DEMOCRATS that are fighting to save Medicare and Social
    Security, Unemployment, etc. and we are truly screwed.

    While Quinn, Gov. of Illinois( Republican Kirk will be not better.) neglects to mention that the state will /has received $11.5 BILLION in federal stimulus funds. And what did he spend it on and how long will/did it last with all the lavish money per month being paid out!!!!!

    While State of Illinois, Gov. Parick Quinn wants to raise
    our state income taxes by 50%, even the poor people, single
    mothers and people working two jobs to make the bills, and
    feed their children.

    While a retiring schoolt eacher will and do receive a yearly retirement of $100,000 A YEAR, a total retirement income of $3,100,000. That is
    over 3 Million, while our schools our suffering.

    A former Illinois government schoolteacher is receiving $238,884 AEACH YEAR in retirement benefits. That's a retirement pension of
    $19,907 A MONTH.

    SOLUTION according to (NTUI) go to site. is

    1) Require all new state and local government hires to save for their retirement with their own contributions to 401K programs. Then there will be no new unfunded government pension liabilities!

    2) Increase the amount of govt. emplpyes have to contribute to their pensions by 5% This will reduce unfunded pension liabilities by
    20 BILLION.

    Your state may be bankrupting you too. They do this, take care
    of the rich and appose the programs that will bankrupt hard working
    Americans. THIS IS HOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS RUN. AT FEDERAL
    AND STATE LEVELS.

    i HAD TO STOP COUNTING BUT YOU CAN SEE THE LIST AT

    (ntui,org)! Please take time to look and you can therefore decide on 1. what, exactly is your STATE SPENDING on these outrageous retirements for TEACHERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM and RETIRED
    GOVERNMENT SYSTEM. I believe in a nice retirement for teachers,
    but Illinois, for one, has gone overboard. Your state retirement
    pensions may be the bills that skim off the very top never reserving
    anything for the hard working people and their S.S. retirement.
    who deserves your vote during the coming Mid Terms. And
    it isn't Republicans who want NO BIG GOVERNMENT! which
    means no entitlements. Just War and spending on their own
    salaries and Health Care and Big Corporations.

    P.S. Let's get the right people in and get this New Supreme Court
    Ruling that Politicians can spend as much as they want on lying
    attack ads against, (basically) the good people!

    February 20, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. DemocraticVoterMaryland

    Chaffetz also defended himself and other Republicans who have sought stimulus money for projects in their home districts after voting against the Recovery Act. Democrats have blasted them as hypocrites.
    He said it's legitimate to seek the federal money because it is funded by Utah taxpayers. "What, are we just going to give money, federal funding to just Democrats who voted for these bills?" Chaffetz argued.
    "If I could exempt us out of having to pay for [the stimulus], I think it would be a totally different equation," he said. "But the fact of the matter is, my constituents are going to have to pay for it, so there better be some benefit that comes back with it."

    February 20, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. SPacific

    You would think that the so called "anti-tax" folks would have applauded Obama cutting the taxes of 95% of America's working families this year, making less than $250,000.00 as he promised during his campaign. Sure glad partisan politics doesn't get in their waOr the fact that the richest 5% are able to convince about 40% to vote against their own interests......

    February 20, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Kathleen

    I meant and IT IS the republicans that who want NO BIG GOVERNMENT which means no entitlements for us. Just War and spending on their own salaries and suporting big businesses
    like Health Care Companies and Big Corporations while keeping
    the minimum wage down, the war going, and the rich getting richer,
    and destroying the Middle Class.

    IT IS HAPPENING! Their scare tactics like, Kill Gramma" cannot
    be believed. They just want all "entitlments to go away!

    February 20, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. DemocraticVoterMaryland

    Ironically, Representative Chaffetz, I never thought that I would live to see the day that I would support a decision made by Senators Bennett and Hatch, such as, opposing your primary challenge to US Rep. Cannon!

    Chaffetz also defended himself and other Republicans who have sought stimulus money for projects in their home districts after voting against the Recovery Act. Democrats have blasted them as hypocrites.
    He said it's legitimate to seek the federal money because it is funded by Utah taxpayers. "What, are we just going to give money, federal funding to just Democrats who voted for these bills?" Chaffetz argued.
    "If I could exempt us out of having to pay for [the stimulus], I think it would be a totally different equation," he said. "But the fact of the matter is, my constituents are going to have to pay for it, so there better be some benefit that comes back with it."

    Well, Chaffetz, that being the case, the only stimulus monies that comes back to your district in Utah should be, absolutely, right down to the penny, only the collective amount that the taxpaying citizens paid in your district, towards the national funding. In other words, if it was $10,000.00 or $100,000.00, then, that is it! No more and no less!

    Chaffetz, don’t you DARE include the taxpayer dollars of the entire state of Utah into funding your district alone, much less the other 49 states!

    You misrepresent or spin doctor or lie “like a dog”, like an “incumbent” already, given your so-called “pork barreling” for your district, even though you are still a first-term freshman in the US House of Representatives. So much for the term limits “big lie” theory: Automatically making politicians “honest”. Obviously, people learn how to lie before they are elected to Congress, such as you!

    February 20, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Republicans are going to throw out all moderate conservatives. Everyday the Republicans look more and more like those men in brown shirts from Germany's past!

    February 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. inuk of the north

    Why does CNN and others refer to the mood of voters as 'anti-incumbent' when everyone on planet earth knows it's an anti-Democrat sentiment.

    Dems are governing the USA like it's California and that little experiment is now winding down and will end completely in November.

    February 20, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. j

    I sure wouldn't be unhappy at all if ALL the Conservatives lose. The more the better.

    VOTE PROGRESSIVE 2010!

    February 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. BeverlyNC

    Republicans are going to be in trouble all over America this year. They have nothing to run on except the same old worn out false criticisms of President Obama and how they blocked and slowed down all pieces of legislation designed to help our country recover faster.

    When the People see how they have worked against them all year and the fact they have done NOTHING but lie, criticize, spread hate an fear and offer NO solutions for what is important to the People – the Republican Party wil face defeats greater than in 2008. They have been worthless to the People and still working hard for the corporations, banks, and insurance companies who abuse us.

    February 20, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Stop the Nonsense

    Conservatives didn;t want bank bailouts but dont minfd that the government insures their deposits. ( FYI- 60% of that money has already been paid back) They didn't want the auto companies bailed out but didn't care if directly 75,000 people and indirectly nealy 2 million people were unemployed and being paid benefits from the government.
    Do these people think beyond their nose? Do they read or even think issues through? The answer is no- look at the poll out today on healthcare. A majority thought the plan was a bad idea when Obama's name or the phrase " The healthcare reform package" were used. yet when asked about specifics of if an overwhelming majority want the 5 core aspects of the plan.
    Wake up America- look beyond the sound bite.

    February 20, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  17. Minnesota gal

    You know why the republicans have pounced on Bennett. Ran ads about him and tried to stir up the pot. He is the one who sent the letter to go for a public option.

    Republicans are scared to death it will pass and show the people they are a rotten bunch of cowards, willing to suck in that money from the health industry and tell the sick and dying in this country to go to Hades.

    What do republicans do anyway but lie, slur, flame and obstruct. They should all be thrown out of office.

    February 20, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. Good news

    Both Bennett and Chaffetz have been good for Utah and the US. I wasn't happy that Bennett supported some of the big government spending, but I also think that Chaffetz needs to be careful. Washington seems to be able to steal politician's souls.

    February 20, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Center left-out

    Two face Rep. Chaffetz taking stimulus money on the sly. What's the difference if a Democrat take stimulus money and a Republican take stimulus money. None, Chaffetz thinks the rules don't apply to him. Chaffetz is a HYPOCRITE!

    February 20, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. Shelly

    My dear Americans, the Tea Party and The Republicans are the same....HYPOCRITES. They all use or benefit from the Government in the form of Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, Health Coverage for Senators, Public schools, our roads and highways, protection from our police and armed services etc etc. And yet the one that protects them is suddenly a demon. And where were these people when King George and his jester Cheney were squandering on the false Iraq War; when they overhauled the 'socialized' Medicare system without budgeting for it;cutting taxes for the rich and corporations and filling their pockets, while banks/finance institutions were running wild and deceiving us people? Where were the Repubs/ Tea party nuts when Bush/ Cheney were wiretapping citizens and had complete contempt for the Geneva Convention by torturing prisoners? HYPOCRITES and FEAR mongerers.

    February 20, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Hugo

    "The people are restless, they want to see change, and Sen. Bennett, with all due respect, he is going to have to go out and defend his record and explain some things to voters," Chaffetz told CNN Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
    __________________________________________________

    Talk the talk but not Walk the walk Incumbents better look for a new meal ticket ! You can look at stimu-less money as the tax payers money and if your representative didn't grab all they could, then you let those Districts with "special citizens" and representatives that specialize in funding their little BS projects with other peoples money get your constituents share.

    One and Done!

    February 20, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. Tyler moore

    He is as hypocritical as all the rest of the republicans;and very uneducated on the economy and how to best move this country forward. Although it will be good if. Utah gets new blood to represent them in Senate. Hatch & Bennett need to go they have been there.too long.

    February 20, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. Preston kk

    Go ahead and run man run i love people who have some thing to hide another gop loney

    February 21, 2010 03:43 am at 3:43 am |