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Why is Jason Chaffetz stalking Newt rallies for Romney?

Why is Jason Chaffetz stalking Newt rallies for Romney?

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.


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So, while the country is going down the river, a US Congressman from Utah can’t find anything better to do than stalk Newt in Florida? Wow, what a loser.

Now Rep Connie Mack and his wife Rep Bono Mack are also stalking at Newt’s rallies. Does not seem like a smart play for a guy who is running for Senate and needs Tea Party support. Why alienate a constituency that could be big in your nomination. Does not make political sense to me.

RefudiateObama2012 | January 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

This morning, Jayme Dupree tweeted that Rep Connie Mack R-FL, Rep Mary Bono Mack R-CA & Rep Charlie Bass R-NH are doing the shadowing for Mitt.!/jamiedupree/status/163288869385674753

Windy City Commentary | January 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

Romney can’t win without using every tactic possible, because he is such a weak candidate. I’m sure Chaffetz wouldn’t have the guts to stalk an Obama rally and that’s the problem. All these tactics that Romney is using to win the nomination aren’t going to be effective at all in the General Election. McCain is out there saying the Gingrich won South Carolina because of anti-mormonism. McCain wouldn’t call an Obama voter anti-anything. The Tea Party voters are treated like dogs.

RefudiateObama2012 | January 28, 2012 at 11:19 am

At each of his rallies, Newt should “introduce” these shadows to the crowd and let them know they’re there on behalf of Romney. Their reaction would be interesting.

    Gayle Spencer in reply to RefudiateObama2012. | January 28, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Decent idea. Takes Romney to task, embarrassing him.

    Pressure doesn’t so much build character as it reveals it. Romney is showing yet another reason why he should NOT be the nominee.

    Excellent idea – let the audience have an opportunity to ask a question or two.

    THIS! I don’t understand why so many “professional” advisers are two blind or dumb to tumble to this. Newt’s opening should be:

    ‘Hi, I’m Newt Gingrich, and I’m so glad to be in (blank. 1-2 sentences of boilerplate). Now, before I get down to my prepared remarks, I’d like to take the moment to introduce some special guests here today. Apparently inspired by the “OWS” crowd, my opponent Mitt Romney has started his own “Occupy Gingrich” movement, and we’re honored to be joined by several of his minions. They’re here today to witness what a true grassroots movement looks like, and also to spy on me in case I advocate (something crazy, er, crazier than usual for Newt, or even better, an Obama policy, say “borrowing a trillion dollars to get out of debt”). First we have (Key here, introduce them respectfully. The goal is to kill with dry wit and implied ridicule without going overboard. Newt’ll have to work with these wankers if he wins) Rep. Jason Chaffetz from the great state of Utah, one of the brightest young Congressmen on the Hill. Give us a wave, Jason, so these folks know what you look like. There he is folks, Romney supporter Jason Chaffetz. Next, we have….” and right on down the line. He would KILL if he did this, and the Romney folks would slink away humiliated. If I can see this, why can’t the professionals?

Chaffetz doesn’t go to Gingrich events, he is sent, by order of the GOP establishment. Because he’s from Utah, a largely Mormon state in full support of Romney, he won’t suffer political damage locally, in fact, will likely gain from it. Besides, Romney is already promising jobs to supporters. According to Pam Bondi of Florida, Romney has already offered her a post.

    Or Chaffetz, who is a Mormon, volunteered because he supports Romney.

      hrh40 in reply to janitor. | January 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Chaffetz supports Romney because he’s Mormon?

      What does being Mormon have to do with running the nation?

        Henry Hawkins in reply to hrh40. | January 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Naw. The GOP wanted to send in shills to Gingrich events. At the same time they don’t want to politically damage the shill for doing it. Chaffetz is from Utah, center of Mormonism. Romney is Mormon. Therefore, any fallout from the dirty tactic won’t hurt Chaffetz, because he’s a Utah representative. Mormonism has nothing to do with it, per se. It’s a political calculation.

    You’re undoubtedly right about not hurting himself in Utah. I would think that Gov. Romney, like Pres. Obama, would bring a majority of the people who self-identify with him to his voting bloc.

    However, Chaffetz has been getting a larger hearing. Some conservative bloggers in my state have put videos up of his good responses in Congress. This shadowing of an opponent is tarnishing an otherwise bright star because it shows both personal and political immaturity. He looks like a junior higher who shadows the dates of a girl who turned him down.

Now there is an “Occupy Gingrich” movement.

listingstarboard | January 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

If only Republicans had the courage to stand up to Democrats instead.

    Most people look at it as Dem vs. Rep. But what we are seeing during this primary season is Progressive vs Conservative as witnessed by all these Alinsky type attacks being used by Romney.
    There are Progressives on both sides of the aisle.

Stalkers or “Occupiers”?

Do opponents think they have a right to occupy Newt’s campaign?

This seems more like a “Rules for Radicals” tactic.

“RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)”

Makes sense, this stuff is right up Romney’s smarmy alley. But I like this R.C. Hammond. Confrontation — there is no substitute.

RefudiateObama2012 | January 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

I bet Newt won’t call them “macacas”. 🙂

    DINORightMarie in reply to RefudiateObama2012. | January 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    My thought exactly – I believe they are both snooping to get some info. to counter Newt’s message, and trying to provoke a “macaca moment” if they can.

    Newt and his team are on it, thank goodness!

Ever seen what happens when a honey badger happens to get a hold of a jackal?

It’s not a pretty sight.

WTH! “We’re Screwed… Florida AG Pam Bondi Says Mitt Wants Romneycare In Every State (Video)”

    Midwest Rhino in reply to NewtCerto. | January 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    She was on Greta claiming everything Rush said was wrong on this. Of course not all states would do it, except Romney has spoken of supporting states that do. IIRC, that was an Obama tactic … a state could opt out of some elements, but they still had to pay in. Of course the feds already have the squeeze on states by threatening to withhold various funding if they don’t fall in line. Or they just sue them … like NC and AZ.

    What will Mitt REALLY do if president, to help states decide Romneycare is the Ritz?

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

Gee … have they tried this at all on Newt.

They made light of his deep connections with the conservative movement during the Reagan years.

Laughed at his idea that the first moon base should be American, not Chinese.

He met and later married two women, while separated from his wives. But that “infidelity” is cast in stone as a deep character flaw and comedy gold, while so many others just cheat. (including JFK by the way)

I’ve known this for years. Scratched my head why people mocked Newt about a base on the moon.

“NEWT’S MOONBASE Could Provide Enough Helium-3 to Power ENTIRE US For Years”

StrangernFiction | January 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm

And Chaffetz tries to pass it off as a Gingrich idea, because Gingrich wants to follow Obama around to put pressure on him to debate. Does Romney want more debates?

What an unbelievably sad state of affairs. Chaffetz is supposed to be one of the better good guys.

I would not go so far as to call this stalking, although this behavior certainly appears intimidating. Shadowing is the better term.

I question why Chaffetz is doing this: Is he hoping that Newt supporters will notice him (he is dressed in a noticeable shirt-and-tie uniform) and give him an opportunity to convert them to Romney-ites?

Chaffetz would be better off spending time making town hall appearances in support of Romney.

Mr. Chaffetz’s uneasy comportment upon being confronted by Mr. Hammer is probably not unlike Seamus’s bewildered state upon being released from his travel cage after a cross-country trip on the interstate highways.

LukeHandCool (who thinks it’s one thing to have the top down on a short drive with the breeze blowing through your hair … and quite another to travel across the country inside an experimental wind tunnel).

    Midwest Rhino in reply to LukeHandCool. | January 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    yes, the truth on Seamus must be revealed … a short trip into socialism might be an interesting and bearable experience, but being caged in by communism for the long haul has been tried in the USSR. It is not bad if you are the driver pretending the captives enjoy the crap.

    Obama was portrayed as safely driving his bus over a cliff. Mitt will safely entrap us in Romneycare and ignore our howls, as he drives us toward his socialist utopia.

    Hope Change in reply to LukeHandCool. | January 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I agree, LukeHandCool. Jason Chaffetz seemed uneasy and yet also arrogant. Just like his Key Master, Vince Clothor. I understand Vince is now offering jobs to people in his putative administration in exchange for their support. Niiiice. I guess things being illegal is only for the little people.

    Have you seen Newt’s interview with Greta Van Susteren? Newt is so down to earth. He answers all her questions. He is reasonable. He values the American people. He values the office of the presidency and he wants to comport himself with respect and dignity so he will be a fitting president.

    “AFTER ALL, WE’RE ALL AMERICANS” – Newt with Great Van Susteren – PARTS 1 & 2 – 1/27/2012 –

    Also, here’s “Newt’s Town Hall Meeting on Space Policy” – January 25, 2012 – Cocoa, Florida – 33:42

    Newt’s speech is fabulous if you’re an adventurer who can imagine the future — like Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Thomas Jefferson, Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein, JFK and Abraham Lincoln. Even more fabulous if you actually know something about space travel and space policy. How about some big dreams and excitement, America? I’m tired of this socialist Establishment decline. It’s soooo last century.

formerlyanonymous | January 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

While not a Utahn, I’ve encountered Chaffetz a couple times and supported his recent reelection campaign. I had a strong sense that he was not a real establishment type, but his fairly early endorsement of Romney was interesting — before his election to Congress, Chaffetz was Huntsman’s Chief of Staff and former campaign manager.

Don’t think it so much a Mormon thing as an establishment thing. How quickly Chaffetz seems to have forgotten his own positions, which were a lot like Gingrich’s when he was speaker.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to formerlyanonymous. | January 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    It might be a Mormon thing not by the religion, but by the political power the Mormon church has in Utah. I confess I don’t know how much power the Mormon church has in Utah, but there must be some.

Check the news stories from the past few months: the big banks that had been behind Mr Obama are now putting a great deal more money behind Mr Romney. In an opinion piece from a few weeks back, the author basically said that the money men had bought the presidency for Mr Obama and were unhappy with their purchase; so now they will be buying the office for one of their own. I’m pretty sure it was in the WSJ around the New Year.

This is very simple for Mr Romney: I have lots of friends with lots of money who are supporting my campaign. They would just love to support the campaigns of my friends, because my friends are their fiends.

Cool huh?

Oops, the truth came out; that last one should not be “fiends” but “friends”.

Per janitor@January 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm, Chaffetz is an LDS convert. Afaic there is nothing anomalous about Mormon support for Romney: no more than Catholic enthusiasm for Al Smith and JFK, the latter of which I recall from my childhood.

I recall the anti-Mormon bigotry against Romney, both recent and in 2008. (Huckabee 2008: Don’t Mormons believe Jesus is Satan’s brother? Just askin’.) It has been eclipsed by Romney’s dirty tricks and his outing as a Harry Reid Mormon, but IMO the bigotry would exist even if Romney were an impeccable small-government conservative.

There is no parfait gentle knight among the Republican contenders.

    janitor in reply to gs. | January 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Romney is not just a casual member, but a minister and leader of the LDS. Beliefs influence people’s attitudes, how they perceive and treat others, and their decision-making. The Mormon church, wealthiest landowner in America, approves of lying to benefit the church, and has had numerous modern-era tenets that that I find distasteful, e.g. racism, polygamy, dead Jew baptisms, tithing for membership rules, and more.

    Mormons of course are free to believe anything they want to. And you’re free to call me a bigot for not wanting those beliefs applied to me even indirectly via the decision-making and attitudinals of my government leaders.

      Ragspierre in reply to janitor. | January 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      As a very much non-LDS person…

      you are full of crap.

      “The Mormon church, wealthiest landowner in America”

      No, binky. That would be the Federal government. By miles.

      LDS leadership is LAYPERSON leadership (until you get WAY up their hierachy). Meaning, ordinary working people lead the LDS church at the local level.

JackRussellTerrierist | January 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

It ain’t rocket surgery. Chaffetz is a UT ‘pub. You know, Utah – home of the Mormons. You know, Mormons – lotsa money and lotsa influence and power within their own fiefdom of Utah. Mittens is a Mormon.

This isn’t a slam against Mormons, but it just is what it is. Jason is doing their bidding. He’s from one dictrict in Utah and has no other bidness in FL except as a representative from…..Utah.

Kinda like a syllogism or Occam’s Razor type of thing.

Mitt Romney, much like Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama before him, makes my skin crawl.

I always listen to my skin.

BannedbytheGuardian | January 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I am surprised no one has mentioned this.

Chaffetz put out a challenge for Orin Hatch’s Senate seat. Chaffetz was pedalling Tea Party credentials .

Sarah Palin came out & endorsed Orin Hatch . Hatch survived . Lots of Tea Partiers upset & bewildered by Palin’s actions.

It is personal with Chaffetz & is not about being a mormon . Palin saw right thru him . By destroying Gingrich he seekd revenge on Palin.