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Chaffetz clarifies Carrie Prejean comments

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has created a stir by supposedly suggesting that deposed Miss California Carrie Prejean, who had been lauded by conservatives for opposing same-sex marriage before disclosures that she had made a sex tape, should enter politics.

But Chaffetz says he was misquoted.

TMZ.com, a Web site featuring celebrity and entertainment news, reported Monday that Chaffetz told it that Prejean could be a serious contender in the political arena. Its headline said, "Congressman: Prejean Should Be a Politician."

It quoted him as saying that she "has the ability to draw crowds and if she has a strong message to go with that, who knows what she can do? She has star power which can open doors."

TMZ.com said Chaffetz added, "We've all made mistakes when we were 17. (The sex tape) is going to be an impediment, but people are excited about her convictions and her beliefs."

However, Chaffetz told the Deseret News that TMZ.com reporting was "more than a bit of a stretch, especially the headline."

He said, "They asked if I agreed that she 'was the next Sarah Palin.' I said, 'Being the Republican nominee for the vice president of the United States is a far cry from being in a Donald Trump beauty contest.' I didn't see that quote in the story."

While he said the other reported quotes were accurate, he says they were "not exactly 'Prejean should be a politician.' "

Prejean was the first runner-up in the Miss USA 2009 pageant, when she gained nationwide attention over her answer to a question about same-sex marriage, saying she believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Prejean was dethroned earlier this year for what pageant officials said was continued breach of contract. Prejean called those claims false and filed a libel suit alleging she had been discriminated against because of her religious views.

The legal battle was settled out of court earlier this month following revelation of a sex tape involving Prejean, which she said she made when she was 17 for a boyfriend, although others contend she made the tape when she was 20 and produced other materials in the same period that were similarly erotic.

e-mail: lee@desnews.com