GOP Sen. Bob Bennett Blasts Tea Party: You Can’t Govern with ‘Screaming and Anger’

May 17, 2010 6:00am

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports:  Utah Senator Bob Bennett says he’s not bitter, but he has some tough words about the Tea Party movement exiled him from the Republican party in Utah and soundly defeated his efforts to win the GOP nomination to run for a fourth Senate term. “You can win an election on screaming and anger but you cannot hold and govern for a significant period of time on screaming and anger,” Bennett told ABC News, as part of the ongoing “Subway Series.”  Bennett’s stunning defeat – he came in third at a Utah GOP state convention – is a wakeup call to his Senate colleagues, including many of his fellow Republicans. “The degree of anger about Washington in general and the Congress in particular is much higher than I think a lot of people around here realized,” “One woman said ‘I love my country but I’m afraid of my government. For the first time in my life I fear the government.’ Well, who is the most obvious manifestation of the government than my senator?” Bennett told ABC.  Bennett said voters “hated” that he sat on the appropriations committee, using it to paint him as a Washington spender even though many of the projects he supported brought federal dollars to Utah.  “That’s what they hated,” he said. “It was ‘You are a part of the fiscal problem that we have, if you’re spending any money at all.’”  Bennett said his votes for the Troubled Assets Relief Program was unfairly characterized as a vote for other spending initiatives, including money for the Recovery act, the auto industry, and for health care reform.  While Bennett said he didn’t need to have “senator” in front of his name in order to feel like a “whole person.”  “I am far more comfortable with the sense that I have done the right thing long term than I’ve been a senator long term,” he said. Bennett says he is still “a loyal Republican,” but he does not rule out running as a write-in candidate in the fall. Watch the full interview HERE. 
ABC News' Kristina Wong contributed to this report.

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