- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Surrogates play high-stakes game of political football
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As a placekicker for the Brigham Young University football team, Jason Chaffetz loved nothing better than lining up in an opponent’s stadium, drilling the ball through the uprights and hearing the assembled throngs fall silent.
Small wonder, then, that the second-term Republican congressman from Utah relishes his role as a Mitt Romney surrogate at the Democratic National Convention here this week, pressing his party’s electoral case behind rival political lines.
“It’s riskier, politically,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “But I love it. It’s sort of my inner placekicker coming out. When you go out [to kick] in front of 65,000 people, and they’re yelling and screaming and swearing at you, you can’t let it faze you. It’s the same thing here.”
For Democrats, this week’s convention is nothing short of a political Super Bowl: part partisan infomercial, part jamboree, an opportunity to meet, greet and put a collective best foot forward to the national electorate.
For Republicans, by contrast, the event is a juicy, target-rich environment — an opportunity to poke and prod, issue rebuttals, and generally make like the snarky Statler and Waldorf from “The Muppet Show.”
Mimicking a similar Democratic effort at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., last week, the Republican National Committee has set up a temporary base camp at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, located across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center and a few blocks from Time Warner Arena, where President Obama will accept his party’s renomination Thursday night.
While the RNC delivers critical daily news conferences from a studio decorated with a stock-car advertising, Mr. Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, the round-the-clock, boots-on-the-studio-floor work of cheerleading the Republican ticket while tsk-tsking Mr. Obama largely falls to surrogates such as Mr. Chaffetz.
Following first lady Michelle Obama’s Tuesday night speech, Mr. Chaffetz criticized the president’s economic policies on the Fox News Channel; six hours later, he was sparring with Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy on a CNN morning show.
“You just have to be immensely flexible,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “Ready to roll. You don’t want to let [Democrats] make over-the-top assertions without a response. I’m here to offer a little perspective.”
Mr. Chaffetz grinned.
“I am deep in enemy territory,” he said.
In Tampa, Mr. Chaffetz addressed GOP delegate breakfast meetings alongside Tagg Romney, son of the presidential standard-bearer, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, making a positive case for Mr. Romney.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
- Taking to Twitter: Everybody's Oscar night in 140 characters
- Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
- Oscar Pistorius and the 'roid rage' defense: It's no Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card
- Spatial media: Astronaut Chris Hadfield live chats from 220 miles above earth
- Hero-worship for a cold-blooded killer: The cult of Christopher Dorner
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Paul takes veiled shot at Cruz, says GOP must focus on growth
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- VIDEO: Emily Miller on Fox Business "The Independents" special "The Gun Show"
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again