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Jason Chaffetz was a political celebrity almost from the start

Jason Chaffetz was a political celebrity almost from the start

(KUTV) He blew into Washington at the same time Barack Obama became president.

Obama moved into the White House, and Jason Chaffetz moved into his office.

“I will save $1,500 a month doing this,” Chaffetz told CNN in early 2009. “I’ve got a wife and three kids.”

Instead of renting a pricey apartment near the U.S. Capitol, Chaffetz had a cot in a congressional office building, and took showers at the House gym.

Soon after being sworn into office, Chaffetz -- a former BYU place kicker -- made his debut on Comedy Central, leg wrestling with

Stephen Colbert. Colbert won, Chaffetz lost.

But the new congressman would later rack up victory after victory at the polls, establishing himself as a go-to politician for the press, and was not shy about high-profile fights with the federal bureaucracy.

“He is an unconventional candidate in most respects,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. “And he approaches things in a very unique way.”

Chaffetz, in his first term, took flight against the TSA, and called for banning body imaging machines he thought were too invasive.

At Salt Lake International Airport, TSA agents accused him of being overbearing at a security check. Chaffetz denied it, and called for the TSA to show the surveillance video. Eventually the video was released, and the congressman did not appear belligerent.

Later, he would clash with the Secret Service over White House Security breaches, while Obama was in office, demanding better protection for the president. In one case, a man bounded the fence and made it into the White House.

“That can’t happen ever,” said an incredulous Chaffetz to 2News. “Seriously, the front door was open? There’s nobody standing between the fence and an open door at the White House?

“The Secret Service has got to make sure he doesn’t get to the White House. If they have to shoot him, send dogs toward him, send people at him, whatever it takes, he can’t get to the White House.”

As retaliation, somebody at the agency dug up the Secret Service’s rejection of Chaffetz, when he applied for a position there years before he first ran for Congress.

Chaffetz also made news blasting the Obama administration over the deadly Benghazi attack, grilled the FBI director over Clinton emails on a private server while she was Secretary of State, and endorsed President Trump---withdrew it---only to vote for Trump.

He rose to chair of the Oversight Committee in the House, and briefly went after its most powerful position -- Speaker.

“To what degree is he a showman?” 2News asked Perry.

“I think all elected officials have the show in them to some extent,” he replied. “He’s very good at it.”

Recently, the man who kicked field goals and extra points in Provo, faced a much tougher crowd during a raucous gathering at a Town Hall meeting.

Perry suspected it was not one of Chaffetz’s final political acts.

“I think he has the skills, the experience, and the ambition to do something else big,” Perry said. “I don’t think for a second we’ve seen the last of Jason Chaffetz.”

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