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Inhofe Is Happy to Stand Apart

Bill Clark/Roll Call

But “every time I think about being angry, I think about the time he spent in Hanoi,” and realize that “we have two pretty strong-willed people with opposing views on a lot of things. But I’ve told him I love him,” Inhofe said.

While most Members look to avoid intraparty confrontation, Inhofe appears to welcome it, taking pride in often being the most hated man in the room.

He boasted of his role at international climate change talks last year in Copenhagen, in which he was vilified by virtually the entire world. “It was really quite enjoyable,” Inhofe said, recalling when he caused a commotion by announcing to attendees that the United States would never ratify a climate change deal.

“I always remember with all those people in the room, hundreds of them, and all the cameras. And they all had one thing in common: They all hated me. It’s kind of like the thing I’ve just gone through” with earmarks, Inhofe said.

Of his style, Inhofe said: “It started a long time ago,” pointing to his work in the 1970s as a state legislator. Then-Sen. Carl Curtis (R-Neb.) enlisted Inhofe to help round up states to ratify a balanced-budget amendment to try to force Congress to move on the issue.

Inhofe threw himself into the effort, coming within two states of ratification.

The endeavor won him special acclaim in conservative circles, and several years later conservative writer Anthony Harrigan wrote about the episode, describing how “way out in Oklahoma, there’s this guy that’s going to balance the federal budget. ... That is where the lone voice in the wilderness started,” Inhofe said proudly.

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