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What a difference two years make.

In 2010, Utah Republican delegates bounced Sen. Bob Bennett from office with chants of "TARP, TARP, TARP," referring to the Wall Street bailout that Bennett voted for.

On Saturday, with a slew of new delegates in the room, Bennett returned to the convention and received a standing ovation by a good swath of delegates when he received the GOP chairman's award for outstanding service.

"Senator Bennett we were proud of the service you gave this great state," Chairman Thomas Wright said.

The crowd applauded again and several starting shouting for Bennett to speak. He returned to the podium and spoke to the delegates for the first time since he lost re-election.

"I simply want to thank you for the opportunity of serving the people of Utah," Bennett said. "I had a wonderful ride. I had a great time. I loved the Senate. I also, would like to report to you, having a great time now. I have not retired."

Bennett also noted that he's pretty happy with his new role in consulting, academia and speaking.

"I appreciate the freedom that comes from not asking Harry Reid permission to leave town," Bennett said.

— Thomas Burr


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