The Romney campaign has been sending representatives to Newt rallies in the hope of distracting media attention away from Newt.
I think it’s a silly ploy which reflects a campaign that can only gain ground by attacking and disrupting others.
But why is rising star Jason Chaffetz participating in this? Why would he turn himself into what amounts to a stalker and publicity hound?
Via The Hill:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) found his own tactics turned against him during a Newt Gingrich event here Friday afternoon.
Chaffetz, a Mitt Romney supporter, has been turning up at Gingrich events during the past two days, though he denied in a brief interview with The Hill that he was doing so in order to goad the former Speaker. He said he was merely there to “offer some perspective.”
But Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond decided it was time to do some goading of his own, as he briefed reporters. Hammond first waved with faux-glee at the Utah congressman and invited him to join the briefing. When Chaffetz ignored him, the spokesman instead marched the press over to where Chaffetz was standing with fellow Romney supporter Bay Buchanan.
Hammond told Chaffetz that Sen. John McCain, a Romney supporter and former GOP nominee, has expressed distaste for the tactic of having campaign surrogates shadowing an opposing candidate’s events. Chaffetz replied, “I am just here attending.”
This video shows Chaffetz being confronted by Hammond (not clear if it’s the same rally as The Hill story), via CBS News:
Of the 1000 or so people at Newt Gingrich’s morning rally in Mt. Dora, FL, at least two weren’t there to support the former speaker of the House. They were there on behalf of his chief rival.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has endorsed Mitt Romney, and Dave Kochel, a Romney staffer, mingled with reporters while Gingrich spoke. Gingrich spent most of his speech railing against Romney, calling him “dishonest” and a “hypocrite.”
Perhaps Rep. Chaffetz and Kochel overstayed their welcome though. After the event, Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond – tape recorder in hand – confronted the Romney surrogates, pestering Chaffetz with questions on whether he’s lobbied for government-back mortgage lender Freddie Mac. It’s the same charge the Romney campaign has leveled at Gingrich.
There’s nothing wrong with Chaffetz supporting Romney, if that’s his choice. But this stalking is demeaning — to Chaffetz.
Add Jason Chaffetz to the list of things damaged in the goal of electing Romney.