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SALT LAKE CITY -- Sen. Bob Bennett has been getting a lot of heat lately for his votes in Congress. Now he is on a personal campaign.
Over the next five weeks Sen. Bennett, R-Utah, will try to talk to as many of the 3,500 state Republican delegates as he can. A growing number of them say they are mad because he voted for "Obama's bailout." Bennett says he never voted for that.
"Being blunt about it, we probably have to buy them a meal," Bennett said on Utah's Morning News on KSL Newsradio Thursday.
Bennett says he's explaining to them that he did vote for the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP) under President Bush, and it prevented a global depression.
His plan is to meet as many as 1,800 delegates -- about 60 per day. He's meeting with some in person, and others are getting phone calls.
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says Bennett's ability to make it out of convention is in "serious doubt." Chaffetz tells the Salt Lake Tribune, "Go try to find a Bennett delegate. They're pretty hard to come by."
Chaffetz says he is proof incumbents aren't elected for life. He knocked out six-term incumbent Chris Cannon in the Republican primary in 2008.
Bennett acknowledges Chaffetz's claim that he doesn't have enough delegates. "Oh, I think he's right," Bennett said at the beginning of the interview.
But Bennett believes his one-on-one strategy is paying off, in part because many delegates are first-timers.
"And they are very serious about their responsibility. Which means they're listening very carefully to all of the candidates, and that includes me," he said.
One of his toughest challenges in wooing delegates is to clarify his voting record.
"This will be a very tough race, but I expect I will prevail," he said.
Bennett says this is a tough campaign, but it's not his toughest fight. He says that was his first campaign in 1992.
Bennett spoke with Grant and Amanda on Utah's Morning News. To hear Grant and Amanda's full interview with Sen. Bennett, play the audio on this page.