Jason Chaffetz announces run for Speaker of the House

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz joined Glenn on radio Tuesday to share why he wants to run for Speaker of the House.

Glenn introduced Chaffetz as a good friend who he hasn't had a chance to catch up with for quite some time.

"I've kind of lost track of Jason and what he's been up to lately," Glenn said. "We wanted to talk to him firsthand and hear his case."

Listen to the exchange or read the transcript below.

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

GLENN: Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He's from Utah. He's a guy who actually sleeps at his office. He's been -- when he was at Fox. He was one of the refounders. He was a guy who was right there on the front lines and has been working hard to change the way things are done in America. Has been a good time -- or good time? Good time friend. A long-time friend and a good friend for quite some time. We haven't -- we haven't had a chance to catch up with each other for I don't know how long. So I've kind of lost track of Jason and what he's been up to lately. But I saw he was announcing he wanted to be Speaker of the House. And we wanted to talk to him firsthand and hear his case.

Hi, Jason, how are you, sir?

JASON: Hey, Glenn. Glad to be with you.

GLENN: Good. Tell me, you've decided to run for Speaker of the House. A, is this real? I'm not putting you in this category. I hear some people are doing it just to get their name out, et cetera. Et cetera. Is this real, and why do you want it?

JASON: You know what, it's time for a fresh start. And when John Boehner was up last time, nobody ran against him. And I thought, "Shame on us." There should be choices. You're either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem. And so I think if I got better, smarter way to do it, I should throw my name in the bucket. And, you know, guys like me who are underdogs, there's no way we're supposed to be able to do this. But, gosh, you can't win if you don't try. So I'm throwing it all out here. I don't plan to be in Congress for very long. But when I'm here, I'm going to give it everything I got.

GLENN: So, Jason, tell me what the biggest problem, and what you're going to change.

JASON: Internally, we're breaking apart. We don't have the process to allow that groundswell of expertise so that members can represent their own districts and that they can actually bring forth amendments and vote on things that they want to vote on. It's been too much of a top-down process. I'm tired of reading my phone, what the speaker is going to tell me, and then go into a meeting and the Speaker says, "This is what we're going to do."

It's supposed to happen organically from the bottom, up. I also do believe that once the conference gets behind something, we have to go fight for it. We have to take that battle to the Senate, to the White House, and to the American people. We don't -- we're not very good communicators. I actually want to be a Speaker who speaks and goes out and makes the case to the American people why the conservative viewpoint -- why what Republicans stand for is the right thing to do in this country.

GLENN: Okay. So give me a couple of -- the biggest mistakes, the things that we should have done that Boehner just didn't do.

JASON: Well, look, the debt and deficit is right near the top of my list. I was elected same time as Barack Obama. The debt has gone from 9 trillion to $20 trillion.

The president the other day said he's not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling. He's not going to negotiate on -- well, what he's saying is, he's okay with borrowing more money from China as opposed to actually fixing the underlying problem.

We were elected not to perpetuate the status quo, to actually fix the problems of this country. And we fixed some of them, but I want to start scoring some touchdowns and putting bills on the president's desk. And that, we haven't done. And I'm not here --

GLENN: Tell me about the continuing resolutions.

JASON: Well, I voted against the last one. That's a terrible way to do business. We want to have more open process so that you can actually go through what's called regular order where members are allowed, page by page, line by line, to offer amendments. And then you vote on those.

And on some of those, we did that. You know, when I was here when Nancy Pelosi was running the place, we never even did that. So we started that process. We came almost halfway. But I'd like to keep pushing that. Pushing that. Because regular order and better process yields a better product. It won't be everything I want or Glenn Beck wants or any other member wants. But it does yield a better, more respectful process. That's what we're here to do.

GLENN: Jason, I will tell you this, based on just your voting record, you're our guy.

JASON: Well, good. I better hang up now.

(laughter)

GLENN: Daniel Webster, however, was on with us, and he was quite clear on the process. Now, he wants to run for Speaker of the House too. According to his voting record, he's not the guy I want. However, when he was talking, he talked solely about the system. And he's like, "Look, the system will work itself out if the system is used." And the continuing resolution is something that is really, really boring to a lot of people.

JASON: Right.

GLENN: But it's probably the most critical thing we have in the process to stop the Republicans from this constant retreat. It's not the way our system was meant to be done. And it's why they always have a government shutdown if you say I want to change The Birdcage paper. Oh, you want to shut down the government. It's because of the continuing resolution. So how can you -- what you just said to me, I want to keep moving forward. No, I don't. I want our government to run the way it was designed. Will you as a Speaker of the House take that stand?

JASON: That's what -- that is what I'm saying. There's a lot to learn from Daniel Webster because what he did in Florida is very important. And he's very smart on these issues. He and I have very different voting records. But I'm not there as the Speaker to impress upon everybody else my political agenda.

The role of the Speaker is to make sure that the process is such that the will of the body actually surfaces. And to that extent, the process is broken. And there has to be changes on how we pick committee chairmen, on how we go through the process of the regional representatives. A lot of the internal structure stuff that no matter where you are on the political spectrum, we have a lot of people that are terribly frustrated.

And if you can get the process right, this is where I think I agree with Daniel Webster. You get that process right. I think then you're going to get a better product. And I want it to be as conservative as possible. But I recognize I'm probably much more conservative than the bulk of other members. And that's okay. But I'm not here just to dictate to them, "Oh, you have to do it my way." I've been on the receiving end of that, and I don't like it.

GLENN: According to my notes, you took Mark Meadows off his committee assignment, presumably for voting against John Boehner. Was that retaliation? What happened there?

JASON: That wasn't the only reason. It was about some other things. But, you know what, I overreached. And, you know what, we all make some mistakes. I would like to think as a leader, I was smart enough and humble enough to listen to my committee members who thought I was too harsh. And it was a good lesson for me, that you're not going to build unity and move the ball forward by breaking knuckles. I overreached. And I shouldn't have done it. And I recognized it. And we reimplemented him a few days later.

And Mark and I have a good working relationship. He has to represent his constituents from North Carolina, I have to represent mine from Utah. If we agree, we agree. But that's a valuable lesson that I learned.

GLENN: May I just delve a little further into that?

JASON: Sure.

GLENN: What -- how did you learn that lesson? Why did you learn that lesson? And when you said there were many things, it wasn't just that, why did voting --

JASON: Not many things, but yeah --

GLENN: But why did the Boehner thing even come into play? Why should anyone be punished for standing up against the leader?

JASON: First of all, I never spoke with the Speaker about this. I never spoke with his staff about it. That was my decision. But I -- I had some discussions, very candid discussions with Mark Meadows, and I think we both are in a good place now. But you learn that lesson.

And partly, it was listening to the 25 -- we have 25 members on my committee. I'm the chairman of the Oversight Committee. Most of them came in. We sat down, and we talked for an hour and 40 minutes. And it was very healthy.

And I said, "All right. Let me sleep on it. I believe in prayer." And I prayed about it. And I came back out of that and thought, "You know what, darn it. I overdid myself. And I shouldn't have done that." And I announced the next day that I would make the change back. They were right. I was wrong.

GLENN: Good for you.

PAT: But Jason you did vote for Boehner last time.

JASON: Yes, I did. Yes, I did.

GLENN: Why?

JASON: Partly because he was the only nominee. We didn't have anybody else. And like I said, here we go again. And, look, I'll support the nominee. And I said I'll do that. But I put myself in the ring now. So if I think have a better way, then you better get in and run. And so I do think I got a better way. I do think I could do some of these things. A guy like me is not supposed to rise up and -- after just -- you know, in his fourth term become a Speaker. I get that. But I think I can do things a little bit better. And so you put your hat in the ring. If I lose, I lose. But now that I'm trying, I'll know that I gave it my best shot.

PAT: That's not entirely true that nobody ran against him. Because Louie Gohmert did. I know a lot of people didn't think he was a serious candidate.

GLENN: Right.

PAT: But I don't fully understand that. Because Louie a pretty strong conservative. And maybe there just aren't enough conservatives in the Republican Party anymore to elect one as Speaker. What is -- is that what it is? And if so, how does that affect your candidacy?

JASON: Well, I don't believe it should be a litmus test on how conservative or how liberal a person is. You're electing a person who is going to speak for the body, negotiate with the White House, the Senate, who is going to be a fair arbiter of the full political spectrum within the Republican conference. And so, you know, I -- I have a lot of respect for John Boehner. And I know a lot of people don't. But John Boehner was very good to me. And I didn't owe him anything. He didn't ask for anything. But of the candidates out there, yeah, I -- I -- I did vote for John Boehner.

GLENN: I will tell you this, think what you want about somebody when they say, I have a lot of respect for John Boehner, but I will tell you that coming on this program --

PAT: And telling us that.

GLENN: And telling us that and telling this audience that, it takes some real balls.

JASON: Well, yeah. Let me tell you why. I fought to get rid of earmarks. And when I first got elected in 2008, everybody else in the delegation was for them. And I went to John Boehner and I said, "Can a guy like me survive here because I'm fighting against earmarks?" And he said, "Jason, I've never asked for earmarks." And I do appreciate that John Boehner, when he actually became the Speaker, you know what he did? He got rid of earmarks. That has been the political candy that leadership uses to coerce votes and get bills passed. It made it easier. And he took it away from himself and took away power from himself. And I do admire him for that.

PAT: He also got none of the things done he said he was going to. He said they were going to get 12 things done in 12 weeks. And none of them -- I think one of them happened.

JASON: I'm telling you --

PAT: One.

JASON: There are a lot of things I like about him. And a lot of things I don't. A lot of things are frustrating. I'm not going to trample on him as he goes out the door. That's just not my style.

GLENN: Yeah, it's not necessary to do that because we're talking about the future. So what will set you apart from John Boehner?

JASON: Well, I want to be a Speaker who speaks and goes out and makes the case to the American people and takes the fight to the president and to the White House. I'm tired of just gravitating to the lowest common denominator. And if Mitch McConnell and the United States Senate can't get something done, you know, we have to figure out where we'll hold the line here.

GLENN: Would you shut down the government over Planned Parenthood?

JASON: Look, the discussion is -- it's not just Jason Chaffetz. It's the conference as a whole. So I've hold the president say things like this. I don't think having $20 trillion in debt is the right solution. I really don't. I think that question is for the president of the United States. Our job in Congress is to get that bill on his desk. And if we can't get that bill on his desk, then we can't even get to that next step. That decision on shutdown is the president's.

GLENN: Jason, we haven't talked to each other for I don't know how long.

JASON: Yeah, it's been a while.

GLENN: How is your soul?

JASON: I'm so comfortable with myself at this point. I have this amazing wonderful wife and family that I couldn't be more proud of. And I know that I'm not -- this is temporary in its time. And part of the reason I'm running, Glenn, is I'm -- I'm fine with losing. You know, I'm okay with losing. Because I'm not trying to be here forever. I'm going to give it everything I got and then go home. That's -- that's where my heart is. My heart is at home.

GLENN: So you're telling me -- are you making an announcement that you will not run for Orrin Hatch's seat when he retires?

JASON: I might make that announcement -- if I wanted to be here for a long time, I would run for the Senate, and I have not. Nor do I anticipate doing that. But I'm not making the official announcement here today.

(laughter)

STU: We're trying to bring some --

JASON: Nice try. But go ahead.

GLENN: All right, Jason. Best of luck. And the vote is on Thursday, right?

JASON: That's the first step. That's the conference vote. But the real vote on the floor, that happens at the end of October.

GLENN: And the best way for people if they choose you or somebody else, what's the best way they can support you?

JASON: Call their members. Find out who are their members voting for. I'm not -- I don't have a formal whip operation. Just call your member of Congress. Figure out who they're voting for.

GLENN: Okay. Good. Jason, thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Buh-bye.

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