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'I'm not a true Republican because I don't go on Fox and CNN and scream'

My colleague Amy Gardner traveled to Utah to find out why Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) is having such trouble locking up support from fellow Republicans for re-nomination.

Read it all, take note of Bennett's exasperation at getting no credit for calmly working behind the scenes (instead of rushing to TV cameras), and feel the pity in anecdotes like this:

While supporters crowd around [frontrunner Mike] Lee and cluck approvingly while he talks about defending the Constitution and repealing the "grave monstrosity" of health reform, listeners are often silent (and look a little bit lulled) when they stop to hear Bennett. At the Utah County convention Saturday, Bennett spent more than 10 minutes explaining the dispute between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton over whether the Constitution allowed for the formation of a national bank.
The point: "If the people who wrote it can have disagreements over what it means, don't demonize people 200 years later for disagreeing over what it means." But it wasn't enough to sway his listeners.

The problem, of course, is that Bennett backed TARP and a compromise health-care bill -- and he tentatively supported immigration reform. He can quote the Constitution all he likes. It won't convince these activists.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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