Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leaving his district for several town hall meetings across the state and so far, the probable Senate candidate has spent considerable time talking about Sen. Orrin Hatch.
The Salt Lake Tribune has a good write-up of a Wednesday town hall meeting, while conservative Utah blogger Michael Jolley has video clips. Chaffetz looks and sounds like a candidate already in campaign mode.
"Remember, when I ran for Congress, it was Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, President Bush who came out and endorsed for his candidate against me. I love that. Bring it on. Bring it on," Chaffetz said at one point.
It's notable that Hatch and Chaffetz have begun to engage more in recent months, whether through direct barbs or via responses from spokespeople. In early June, I took a closer look at Hatch's preemptive outreach to the Tea Party earlier in 2011, an effort made considerably easier with no other candidates in the race.
This summer, that situation's changed, even though Chaffetz hasn't officially said he is running (he's said a decision will come during football season). Chaffetz has begun test driving an argument against Hatch, and more and more of his barbs are ending up as quotes in the local media. The Club for Growth also ran an ad in July warning Hatch on the debt ceiling.
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