In Charlotte, he’s tasked with being a spoiler — ruining the surrounding Democratic fiesta, and doing so with a cheery disposition.
“I was walking around downtown the other day, past an SUV. They rolled down the window, and I heard them say, ‘Utah, Utah!’ I looked back, and it was Jesse Jackson Sr. He says, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ There were five or six people with him. I shook all their hands.”
Trading verbal jabs on the air, Mr. Chaffetz gave as good as he got. When Mr. Malloy touted job creation during Mr. Obama’s presidential term, Mr. Chaffetz countered with unemployment statistics; when Mr. Gibbs praised the Obama administration’s record on financial regulation, Mr. Chaffetz argued that the banking system now contains greater systemic risk.
“Here’s the deal,” Mr. Emanuel said. “We want to get a poster of this picture and hang it all over Utah.”
Mr. Chaffetz laughed.
“I teased Rahm afterward, told him, ‘I went easy on you,’ ” he said. “He said, ‘I know. I was making sure you didn’t get a chance to say anything!’ He’s a pro that way.”
‘In the arena’
Mr. Chaffetz, already considered an up-and-comer in the House GOP caucus since arriving in Washington in 2009, is fast becoming a pro. Since signing on as surrogate for Mr. Romney last year, he has spent as much time on the campaign trail as at home, learning to love his wheeled, blue-silver carry-on bag and fully refundable airline tickets.
“The hardest part is being away from my family,” he said. “I think I spent 30 of the first 35 days of the year on the road. But I love being in the arena. I don’t want to be on the sidelines.”
As Mr. Chaffetz entered the RNC war room at the NASCAR museum, he was informed that Mr. Obama’s convention-capping speech had just been moved from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Arena, ostensibly owing to concerns over bad weather. “On Monday, the Democrats said there was a 100 percent chance the speech would be outside in the football stadium,” he said. “Now, it’s inside. I guess it takes the pressure off them trying to find an extra 50,000 people to attend.”
Mr. Chaffetz paused, all but licking his lips.View Entire Story
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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.
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