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Jason Chaffetz Supports Mitt Romney but Is Coy on Ambitions

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

“I’m a patient person. I’m not trying to climb the ladder so fast and elbow everybody out of the way,” he said.

Some close to Chaffetz said they could see him in some kind of communications role in the White House.

“Chaffetz would be phenomenal as White House spokesman or working as some type of legislative liaison capacity,” said Chaffetz confidant Kirk Jowers, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. “If President Romney felt he really needed Congressman Chaffetz to serve some role for him, he would probably be open to doing it.”

Others, however, dismissed the prospect of a Congressman stepping down to spin the White House press pool, implying a Member would leave office for nothing less than an ambassador job, Cabinet position, chief of staff post or something similarly prominent.

Chaffetz, in fact, used to be chief of staff to Romney’s opponent-turned-backer Huntsman, but the two-term Congressman may not have the experience to play that role in the White House.

So while he might not fit the mold of a Cabinet secretary or chief of staff, for now, Chaffetz, 44, said he is content in the Capitol and could help advance Romney’s priorities there.

“I do foresee myself as being one of the key conduits in the House to what a President Romney would be doing,” Chaffetz said. “To be somebody who has that sort of working relationship with the White House would be a dream come true.”

Others close to Chaffetz suggest his dreams ultimately point back to Utah, perhaps in the governor’s mansion. If that is the case, it wouldn’t hurt to have Romney on his side.

Romney is a safe bet in the Beehive State, where he is known for heading the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He won about 90 percent of the state’s GOP presidential primary vote in 2008, and more than half of the population shares his Mormon faith.

Characteristically, Chaffetz did not rule out a run for the governorship.

“I may do that someday, but again, there’s no rush,” he said.

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