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Politics

Hatch's Continued Rightward Drift

March 2, 2011

Seeking to burnish his conservative credentials, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted against a continuing resolution that would avoid a government shutdown - joining just eight other senators, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). It's the latest move from Hatch, facing the prospect of a tough fight for the GOP nomination, catering to his party's base of activists.

Hatch even managed to out-conservative tea party stalwart Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who cast his vote for the legislation.

"The cuts in this bill are a start, but don't go far enough to bring fiscal sanity back to Washington," Hatch said in a statement. "Our national debt is more than $14 trillion and will hurt our economy and mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren unless we act now to put the brakes on this runaway spending."

It's worth noting that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a possible Hatch primary challenger, voted for the House version of the legislation.

And Hatch has ratcheted up his red-meat rhetoric this past week. During a Friday appearance at Utah State University, he called the federal health care bill "a one-size-fits-all federal government dumb-ass program" and "an awful piece of crap," before apologizing for swearing and saying he would "repent" for it. He also showed up at a FreedomWorks party Tuesday night.

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