From fake groups to false claims, Congressman Gardner proves he will stop at nothing to get elected

Congressman Cory Gardner’s willingness to butcher the truth in order to get elected to the U.S. Senate is on full display this week as he's been grilled in an interview for lying about a federal personhood bill, called out for citing an organization that doesn't exist, and now, lying about his record on clean energy.

Since 2011, Gardner has been using his congressional website to double down on his bogus claims regarding his role in launching Colorado’s advanced energy sector. The website claims, “Cory created the Colorado Clean Energy Authority [CEDA], which brought millions of dollars of economic development to the state.”

These claims have since been debunked by the Associated Press, 9NEWS and the head of the Governor’s Energy Office. The truth is undeniable: CEDA did not bring in millions of dollars; it did not finance a single project, hire staff or even create a mission statement — and Congressman Gardner knows it.

“Congressman Gardner should be running as a Senator from the state of denial, not Colorado,” said Craig Hughes, a consultant to NextGen Climate Colorado. “His lies about the Colorado Clean Energy Authority, denial of the existence of a federal personhood bill he co-sponsored and his disagreement with the scientific consensus behind climate change taken together should give Coloradans serious reservations about his fitness for the job.”

Gardner’s bogus CEDA claim has been featured on his congressional website since he took office in 2011.

Gardner’s false claim regarding CEDA is among the latest in a string of lies that calls Gardner’s trustworthiness into question.  

On Sunday, KDVR aired an interview in which Congressman Gardner once again maintained that there is no such thing as a federal personhood bill—despite being a co-sponsor on the federal Life Begins at Conception Act. The Act has been called a personhood bill by Personhood USA, the bill’s authors and the nonpartisan website FactCheck.org and despite writers of the bill stating it is, in fact, a personhood bill.

Just today, news broke that a recent Cory Gardner for Senate mail piece claimed to have received support from the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—an organization that does not exist.

NextGen Climate Colorado urges the media to press Congressman Gardner on these issues so that voters finally get the truth.

 

Hickenlooper v. Beauprez: Live Blog Tonight!

Democrat John Hickenlooper

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado, and we're back at it again.Bob Beauprez Governor

Tonight we'll be at the auditorium in the Denver Post building once more, this time for a debate between Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez.

The festivities are scheduled to begin at around 5:45 pm. Live streaming of the debate should be available at denverpost.com/debates.

 

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS
Governor Hickenlooper was poised, funny, and his general affable self. Beauprez seemed much more relaxed than normal — but almost too relaxed. Beauprez needed to land some solid punches in this debate, and he just…didn't. There weren't a lot of memorable lines from tonight's debate, despite some pretty good questions, which makes this absolutely a missed opportunity for Beauprez. Hickenlooper wanted either a "win" or a "draw" tonight; you can argue whether he won, but he definitely ended up with at least a draw.

As for Beauprez? The only thing he was consistently on-message about was saying the phrase "kick the can down the street" whenever possible. He seemd tonight like a man who is unaware that tomorrow is the first day of October. Beauprez absolutely, positively needed to throw some punches that would at least leave a small mark on Hickenlooper. Instead, he just kicked the can down the road toward the next debate.

 

7:11 pm
Closing Remarks for Beauprez: "Here’s something he didn’t say," Beauprez begins. There is every reason to have moral/ethical debate about death penalty. Hickenlooper can’t seem to make the tough call. "If he can’t lead, I will." This is a well-used line by Beauprez, but it's a pretty good one. Beauprez then goes on a longer rant about leadership that runs over the allotted time and takes some of the steam out of his locomotive.

7:10 pm
Closing Remarks: Hickenlooper first.

“I’ll try to prepare for all of the attacks," he jokes. Says Colorado was 40th in job creation, now 4th. Forbes magazine ranked Colorado #1 workforce. Business Insider says #1 fastest growing economy. This has happened despite many natural disasters and the Aurora shooting. This state has shown a resiliency and capacity — we’re outperforming the average.

Very strong closing remarks from the Governor.

7:06 pm
Beauprez finally asks about Nathan Dunlap. "If a jury were to convict James Holmes and sentence him to death, would you offer a reprieve?"

Great answer from Hick: "As you've been saying all night, this is a completely hypothetical question." Laughs from the crowd.

Hick gets serious and talks in detail about Holmes and how we learned later about his mental illnesses.

7:04 pm
Beauprez asks about Obamacare. Hick says he would have done things differently if it were up to him, but then talks about how successful the healthcare exchange has been in Colorado.

7:00 pm
Beauprez asked second question about supporting putting federal lands under private or local control.

"You're talking about a guy who's made a buck or two on land deals," says Beauprez in a stupid attempt to show expertise. Time runs out on Beauprez, but Hick says, "I'll give him 20 more seconds to complete his answer." Beauprez does, and does not do it well. As a general rule, Beauprez's oratorial skills decline the longer he talks.

6:58 pm
Candidates get to ask questions of each other now.

Hickenlooper #1: Congressman, you have switched on Personhood, but still say all abortions should be illegal. Would you support using public money for contraception to continue reduction of teenage

Beauprez: I don't support the Personhood measure, but…then Beauprez says he does support the Personhood IDEA? What? "I do believe that life begins at conception," says Beauprez. 

Beauprez talks about not opposing birth control, but then says that IUDs are "abortificiant" and not contraceptives. You're going to see this response again and again on TV — what a dumb response from Beauprez.

Hickenlooper: "I think you've answered the question."

6:57 pm
Beauprez talking about question around cost of construction and improving roads.

Hickenlooper says something about cost of "trans bonds." Hickenlooper says it is about three times less than Beauprez claims. What the hell is a trans bond?

6:55 pm
Beauprez says that Colorado has added more than 100,000 pages of new regulations a year. Not sure what the point is here, except to say that you couldn't put regulations in a single Tweet.

6:53 pm
Great question from Joey Bunch: Mr. Hickenlooper, what is Mr. Beauprez's best idea?

Hick laughs and talks about making sure we keep regulations that work, but get rid of regulations that don't. Nice move to take top Beauprez issue off the table first.

Beauprez: "Brewing beer" is Hick's best idea. "I am a big fan."

6:51 pm
Question about increasing gas tax. Beauprez says no, because revenue for gas tax has been declining anyway and we need to invest in sustainable funding source.

Hickenlooper: We will continue to see less and less funding from gas tax. Oregon has a couple of pilot programs that Colorado can try to improve upon. Says that mileage tax is unfair to rural communities.

Beauprez: Trucking industry thinks mileage tax is unfair. "Increasing the gas tax perpetuates a failed system…that's why I'm opposed to raising taxes in general."

6:48 pm
Candidates get to expand on YES/NO questions. HIckenlooper says we must address Climate Change.

Beauprez: "Significantly" is the notable word in your question. "You're looking at someone who is a farmer and rancher…we are the original conservationists." Both Ways Bob then earns his nickname — again — by saying that we can deal with Climate Change. Huh?

6:46 pm
Yes or No question time.

Personhood: No, No

Collective Bargaining for Teachers Being Transparent: Yes, Yes

Amend. 68: NO, NO

Climate Change — are humans causing?: Beauprez NO. Hickenlooper: "Significantly? Yes."

Can Climate Change be reversed? Beauprez: NO. Hickenlooper, Yes

6:43 pm
Hickenlooper gets question about Nathan Dunlap. How did we make it nearly 45 minutes without this coming up?

Hick says he would not grant clemency if he loses election. "I don't think the state should be in the position of taking lives." This may be the best answer we've heard from Hickenlooper on his "decision" surrounding the death penalty and Nathan Dunlap.

6:41 pm
Beauprez asked about whether he supports AG Suthers for defending gay marriage ban. Says, "I think John Suthers has absolutely done the right thing."

"Society very well may be changing, but you can't just write laws on your own." Walking a very thin line here.

Beauprez says he supported civil unions before most Republicans. Says if society changes, "I will support the laws that Coloradans choose."

6:40 pm
Question for Hick on marijuana. Says he opposed Amend. 64, but now they need to regulate as best they can. Says there are always going to be a few bad players in every business that hurt it for everyone.

6:38 pm
Beauprez gets question about Keystong Pipeline. He answers by talking about negative ad being run by Democratic Governor's Association that is "patently false." This is the essence of one of Beauprez's great political faults — he can't stop drawing attention to stories that are not good for him.

6:36 pm
Question for Hick about negative ads. "We are depressing the product of Democracy," says Hickenlooper. "We will do positive ads, and if the Congressman wants to shake my hand to stay positive, I'll do it right here."

Hickenlooper steps forward, and Beauprez somewhat reluctantly shakes his hand.

6:34 pm
Hickenlooper gets question about whether he regrets gun bills. Hick says no, focuses on background checks working. "As difficult as it has been politically, it keeps the state a safer place," says Hick.

Beauprez responds with long story about how Hickenlooper didn't listen to Sheriffs, or something.

6:33 pm
Beauprez gets question on abortion, but decides instead to talk about job losses in Colorado. Hickenlooper is visibly irritated that moderators are not stopping Beauprez here.

"As to your question, I am not going to answer a hypothetical question. I am pro-life. I am unabashedly pro-life."

(more…)

Gardner ad cites nonexistent entity as backer of his contraception proposal

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

In a post on RhRealityCheck.org today, I reported that a mailer produced by senatorial candidate Cory Gardner refers to the “American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists” as a backer of his proposal to sell contraception over-the-counter. But this group apparently does not exist.

An organization with a similar name, which Gardner has cited previously, doesn’t support Gardner’s proposal.

The advertisement states:

Supported by the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Cory’s proposal would make oral contraception: Less expensive — about the price of Aspirin; More convenient — helping women obtain The Pill on their own schedule without an appointment; More accessible — ensures women in underserved urban and rural areas have greater ability to obtain The Pill. [BigMedia emphasis]

The RH Reality Check piece states:

A Google search for the “American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists” returns references to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

After seeing the Gardner mailer, Kate Connors, ACOG Director of Media Relations, told RH Reality Check via email, “For all I know, there is an AAOG out there, somewhere, but it has certainly never come to my attention. I dare say that the mailer’s reference to it is an error.”

Connors said that it was also an “error” for Gardner to suggest that “we have supported his proposal.”

A September 9 ACOG statement emphasizes over-the-counter sale of contraception is a long-term goal, not a proposal it supports currently.

Politifact.com, in a September 8 analysis, judged Gardner’s claim about the pill being cheaper if sold over-the-counter as “mostly false,” in light of various uncertainties as well as the fact that, under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot charge policy holders a co-pay for preventive health care, including contraception. So, for most women, contraception is currently free.

Lamborn Takes Unusually Heavy Fire For Usual Buffoonery

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, Rep. Doug Lamborn continues to reap red-on-red criticism for her remarks, originally publicized by the Colorado Independent last week, that suggested he is actively trying to persuade military commanders to resign in protest of President Barack Obama's policies:

On Sunday night, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Aurora, tweeted a link to a story about Lamborn's comments and said, "As a Marine and combat veteran, I know to keep my politics off the battlefield."

And when asked about Lamborn's statement, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, said: "There is no room for partisan politics when it comes to our men and women in uniform."

It was hardly a deluge of criticism compared to what "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC and political opinion writer Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek dumped on Lamborn, a five-term congressman from Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs City Councilwoman Jill Gaebler criticized Lamborn on Twitter, tweeting Saturday that "Lamborn is an embarrassment to our service members and to the great state of #Colorado."

Here's a little more from Kurt Eichenwald's Newsweek column yesterday:

Lamborn is the latest type of political muck America needs to scrape off the bottom of its national shoe: an officeholder so absorbed with his hatred of the opposing party that he is willing to do anything, no matter how much it damages our national security and the underpinnings of our democracy, if it will win him some applause and maybe a couple of votes…

During a question-and-answer period, a member of the audience called on Lamborn to support the troops, “despite the fact that there is no leadership from the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House.” (Yeah, this is one of the conspiracy theories making the rounds among the feverish fanatics set: that Obama has secretly filled his administration with fundamentalist jihadists because, ummm…don’t ask me.)

There was a time in our country when politicians considered it to be a sign of leadership and part of their moral obligation to calm folks down when someone voiced some wackadoodle idea. Senator John McCain did that as recently as 2008 when he cautioned some frightened supporters that Obama was “a decent man you don’t have to be afraid of.” Unfortunately, the fact that the crowd booed at McCain’s truth-telling in front of the rabid was a lesson not lost on his fellow-GOPers. And so now, no attack on Obama is too nuts to get a “well, maybe, you don’t know” response.

Lamborn, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, burbled happily at the absurd conspiracy theory voiced by someone in the audience, and then assured the crowd that, in fact, he and his fellow Republicans were doing everything in their power to undermine America…

The Gazette's Schrader dutifully notes Lamborn's "clarification":

Critical media outlets also ignored Lamborn's backtracking clarifications. Lamborn clarified to The Gazette on Friday that he was talking about old policies from President Barack Obama. He offered resignation as an option when his office received complaints from generals and admirals who were riled up about sequestration in 2013 and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2010.

The biggest problem, of course, is that makes no sense: Lamborn wasn't responding to a question about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Lamborn was plainly being asked about the present military conflict against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and it was in that context that Lamborn replied he is–in the present tense–"talking to the generals" about their resigning. The words Lamborn used, in the context he used them, are not ambiguous, and reinforce the worst criticisms offered by Lamborn's opponents. Lamborn really was saying he thinks generals should, as Eichenwald explains it, "abandon their troops in the middle of a war."

With all of this in mind, it's not hard to understand why Lamborn's colleagues Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman would be quick to triangulate off these remarks. Gardner and Coffman face tight elections with moderate electorates, and this kind of rhetoric does not impress moderates on either (or neither) side. In fact, comments like these tend to repel the middle-of-the-road voters Gardner and Coffman need to win in November. In the case of Mike "Obama's not an American" Coffman, this is an opportunity to distract from the fact that he's blown the same "dog whistle" himself.

As for Lamborn, there is at least a better-than-even chance that he really doesn't get how bad this looks. As we saw with Lamborn's handling of the Barack Obama "tar baby" gaffe, he may be too shallow, spiteful, or just plain stupid to know better. If that's right, the only ones who can spare the state of Colorado further reputational damage from this collective embarrassment are the voters of the heavily Republican Fifth Congressional District.

How bad does it have to get, CD-5?

Conservation Colorado Endorses Gov. Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

A press release this morning from leading environmental advocate group Conservation Colorado announces the endorsement of incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper for a second term:

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith, released the following statement endorsing John Hickenlooper for Governor of Colorado today.  

“John Hickenlooper has played an important role in achieving several conservation gains during his time in the Governor’s office. He signed a number of important pieces of legislation into law including increasing Colorado’s renewable energy standard and championing first in the nation air protections to reduce ozone pollution and directly reduce methane pollution from oil and gas facilities. The Governor and his staff also engaged productively in discussions regarding protections of critical open space and wildlands like the Thompson Divide and sage grouse habitat in Northwest Colorado…

We have had disagreements with Governor Hickenlooper over policies of his which have put the interests of the oil and gas industry over the health and environment of Coloradans. Even given those differences, it is the case that under a Governor Hickenlooper administration, Colorado’s air, land, water, and our open spaces have a much greater chance of being protected than if Bob Beauprez were governor. [Pols emphasis] We also believe Governor Hickenlooper will do a significantly better job of promoting our State’s leadership in clean wind and solar energy than Beauprez would.

Conservation Colorado endorses Governor Hickenlooper and we look to the Governor to lead in his second term on the most pressing environmental issues of the day – climate change and safeguarding what we love about Colorado – clean air, water, scenic opens spaces and our unique quality of life.”

Though it's not unexpected, the endorsement of Conservation Colorado is very important to Hickenlooper for shoring up the Democratic base ahead of the November elections. It's no secret that Hickenlooper's relations with environmentalists have not been a strong point. With that said, Hickenlooper can credibly point to agreements like the Air Quality Control Commission's new emissions rules, and the compromise brokered with Rep. Jared Polis to work on legislation aimed at enhancing local control of oil and gas drilling. These and other examples from Hickenlooper's first term show a different side of the proverbial coin: when Hickenlooper's ability to bring opposing parties to the table was key to making any kind of progress.

Recognizing that this may not be quite enough for all of their constituents, Conservation Colorado invites you to consider the alternative:

Coloradans face a clear choice. The Governor’s opponent, Bob Beauprez, has returned to his extreme right wing roots promoting an anti-conservation, anti-clean renewable energy agenda. Beauprez has stated that climate change is a hoax, he has mocked efforts to address citizen concerns around drilling and fracking, and he supported a failed referendum to boost transmountain water projects that would have further damaged Colorado’s rivers and streams. Disturbingly, Beauprez has recently aligned himself with far right wing, anti-government ideologues who are calling for the state to seize control of America’s public lands. This is a costly proposition for the State and could fence off Coloradans from areas they have long enjoyed for camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking.

When the question is between someone who agrees with you 80% of the time or not at all, the answer is pretty simple.

Department of Defense Extends Restrictions on Predatory Lending

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) released a proposal on Friday that would extend restrictions on predatory lending, which traps many active-duty service members and their dependents. The proposed rule would expand the number of lending products covered by the military’s 36 percent interest rate cap, and it would close loopholes that lenders have used to get around the current rate cap.

“This is a strong rule that closes loopholes and ends the debt trap for military borrowers,” said Rich Jones, director of policy and research at the Bell Policy Center. “Because it applies to products that are subject to the Truth in Lending Act, it prevents lenders from getting around it in the future and extends protections to more forms of credit.”

Colorado has implemented successful reforms of payday lending, but the new rule would apply here as well. It would limit the interest and fees that military borrowers could be charged to 36 percent APR.  Because loans here have a minimum six-month term, they are currently exempt from the DoD’s 36 percent rate cap. According to data from the Attorney General’s Office, in 2012, Colorado’s payday loans had an average effective rate of 129 percent APR.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau strongly supports the department’s proposed rules, as do a wide range of consumer groups, including the Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumer Law Center.

 “As one of the agencies charged with enforcing the Military Lending Act, we have seen firsthand how lenders use loopholes to prey on members of the military,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB.

Congress passed the Military Lending Act with bipartisan support in 2006 to protect active-duty service members and their dependents from abusive credit practices and high-interest predatory loans. It capped loans at 36 percent and gave DoD authority to determine the kinds of loans covered by the law. DoD limited the loans that were covered to (1) closed-end payday loans for no more than $2,000 and with a term of 91 or fewer days; (2) closed-end auto title loans with a term of 181 or fewer days; and (3) closed-end tax refund anticipation loans. In closed-end loans, the borrower receives the full amount of the loan up front and must repay it, including interest and other charges, by a specific date.  

Because the loans subject to the 36 percent rate cap were defined narrowly, lenders made minor changes in their products, such as extending the term for payday loans beyond 91 days, to get around the cap. According to the CFPB, some lenders tweaked their products and continued to sell military families products with annual percentage rates as high as 500 percent.

The new rules will extend the 36 percent rate cap (referred to as the Military Annual Percentage Rate) to all types of credit that are already subject to protections of the Truth in Lending Act.  These include all payday, credit card, auto title and most forms of installment loans. The Military Lending Act specifically exempted residential mortgages and loans used to buy items such as cars.  Because the protections include the broad range of products subject to the Truth in Lending Act, the DoD will not have to constantly rewrite the rules as lenders make changes in their products.

Under the law, lenders also have to provide military borrowers with additional disclosures and are prohibited from requiring service members to submit to arbitration or waive their rights under the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act. Lenders also cannot impose onerous legal requirements on them.

The proposed rule is to be published in the Federal Register today, and the public will have 60 days to comment on it.  It is expected to go into effect by next year.

– Rich Jones, director of policy and research

 

What’s next for reporters covering Cory Gardner’s personhood hypocrisy?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols tried hard last week to extract an explanation from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner for his decision to withdraw from "personhood" legislation at the state level but, at the same time, to remain a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, and some forms of birth control.

So what else could a reporter ask Gardner at this point?

We know he thinks there's "no federal personhood bill," because he said it four times to Stokols and once previously to 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman.

So what does Gardner think the bill aims to do? If it's not personhood, what is it?

Gardner discussed this question at least twice: Factcheck.org reported last month that "Gardner’s campaign says he backed the [state and federal] proposals as a means to ban abortion, not contraception."

Later, contradicting this, Gardner told Rittiman that the "[Life at Conception Act] says life begins at conception." Gardner's spokespeople have said the same thing, saying it won't ban contraception, but they did not mention abortion.

Abortion

Expanding on Factcheck.org's article, reporters should discuss with Gardner the ramifications of his co-sponsorship of a personhood-style abortion ban. All abortion, even for rape and incest, would be banned. Thus, under the Life at Conception Act, a teenager raped by her father would not have the option of getting an abortion.

Contraception

Gardner has said the Life at Conception Act doesn't ban contraception. In fact, he told Stokols, "I do not support legislation that would ban birth control. That's crazy! I would not support that."

Gardner did not waiver or offer further explanation, even after Stokols told him directly about one of  Factcheck.org's conclusions: "Gardner says he has changed his mind and no longer supports the Colorado initiative, precisely because it could ban common forms of birth control. But he still backs a federal personhood bill, which contains the same language that would make a ban of some contraception a possibility."

Reporters who question Gardner should avoid asking him about his position on "contraception" or birth control" generally, because these words means different things to different people, as you can read here.

Instead, the question is, Does Gardner support specific types of contraception, like Plan B and IUDs. Plan B and IUDs could be banned under the Life at Conception Act because they threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes), which would gain full legal rights, the same ones you and I have, if the federal personhood bill became law.

In vitro fertilization

Factcheck.org pointed out that personhood measures, like the federal personhood bill, threaten "in vitro fertilization, which often involve creating more than one embryo in an effort to help a woman conceive — the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has been against personhood initiatives." What's Gardner's stance on this issue, given his backing of the Life at Conception Act.

Plenty to ask.

So Stokols' intense interview with Gardner leaves plenty of questions unanswered, and they go beyond the ones from Stokols that Gardner dodged or refused to answer factually.

Jeffco Schools Superintendent Threatens Teachers Over Latest Protest

Dan McMinimee

Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee has turned to the “threaten teachers” section of his right-wing handbook.

UPDATE: We'll have more on this before tomorrow's Gubernatorial debate at the Denver Post auditorium, but in the meantime, here's an interesting take from Westword: (we had a feeling this would happen):

Meanwhile, the proposed history curriculum changes could become an issue in the upcoming gubernatorial race between Democrat office-holder John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. At a debate Friday, the Durango Herald reports that Beauprez backed board members: "An elected school board not only has the right to speak up about curriculum and what they think are the wisest choices…but they have an obligation to do that," he said. Hickenlooper, for his part, was more critical, arguing that "you want your kids to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, but you also want them to learn about the Boston Tea Party."

—–

Classes were cancelled today at Golden and Jefferson High Schools in Jefferson County when a majority of teachers called in sick as part of an ongoing protest against heavy-handed tactics from the right-wing majority school board. As Jesse Paul of the Denver Post reports, Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee is talking tough about cracking down on teacher protests…which is not going to go over well:

Teachers who missed school will have to show proof of illness, he said, adding that personal days need 24-hours notice.

"We are going to have our building principals work with each teacher involved in this," he said.

"We will probably dock them a day's pay," McMinimee said of teachers who didn't follow the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement. "I think it's time for this to end. Let's put an end to this." [Pols emphasis]

That tone-deaf statement from McMinimee is fairly typical of the response we have seen from the conservative members of the Jeffco School Board — Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk have been oddly surprised that students, parents, and teachers are not excited about the idea of non-educators making massive curriculum changes. Even though Jefferson and Golden High Schools were closed today, that didn't stop students from another day of protests. McMinimee and the school board might want to pay closer attention to what the students are saying:

Angelica Dole, a sophomore at Jefferson High School, said the students were 100 percent behind their teachers.

"This is our own time. This was all students. No teachers are here, look around," Dole said.

At the same time that administrators are talking tough, the students are taking matters into their own hands, which further complicates any response. McMinimee and the school board have made passing references in the last week essentially laying the blame for protests with the JCEA (the Jeffco teachers' union), and they are getting more aggressive with those accusations and in trying to crack the whip with teachers. But the students can make things much, much more problematic:

The recent walk and sick-outs have raised alarm as the Oct. 1 state county day approaches, which determines district funding by enrolled and present students.

State officials said Monday that absences should not affect the district's funding — which is $7,021 per student — because of extensions and rules in the count which allow for students present five days before and five days after Oct. 1 to be included in the funding determination.

Ken Witt

School Board President Ken Witt. He’s “an adult.”

We're now entering the third week of high-profile protests in response to asinine actions from the right-wing Jeffco School Board. In that time, we've learned one thing above all others: Julie Williams and the rest of the conservative board appear to be completely clueless as to how to deal with this situation…which they, of course, created with their own actions. Check out this quote from Board President Ken Witt:

"I'm very disappointed that some of our instructors have chose not to turn up for work today. It is not appropriate for adult matters to impact the education of our students." [Pols emphasis]

Yes, really. That's Ken Witt saying it is not appropriate for "adult matters" to impact the education of our students. When you say, "adult matters," Ken, do you include when "adults" make inappropriate school curriculum plans based on partisan political positioning? Or does this only apply to "other" adults?

Romanoff Most Successful Small-Donor Fundraiser in the Country

CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff (D).

Low-dollar donors are big fans of Andrew Romanoff

There was a really interesting story from the National Journal over the weekend with big implications in Colorado. As reporter Shane Goldmacher explains:

Democratic candidates for Congress are crushing their Republican counterparts in small-dollar donations—outraising their GOP foes by an average of more than $100,000 per candidate in the nation's top races.

That's the finding of a new National Journal analysis of federal records in the most competitive House contests in the country. In those, the average Democrat has collected $179,300 in donations under $200; the average Republican has brought in only $78,535.

"That," said Vincent Harris, a Republican digital strategist, "is a big deal."…

…For this analysis, National Journal looked at House candidates and incumbents who were in the most competitive seats, as ranked by The Cook Political Report (those in the "toss-up" and "lean" categories), and those highly touted by the party committees (those in the DCCC's Red to Blue program or the NRCC's Young Guns). The review tallied candidates' "unitemized contributions"—those under $200—as reported to the Federal Election Commission. Those few candidates who itemize every, or nearly every, contribution were excluded. The fundraising figures for all 99 candidates in the analysis are the latest available from the FEC, which for most of them is through June 30.

The findings were stark. In total, the 48 Democrats in the analysis outraised the 51 Republicans in small-dollar donations, $8.6 million to $4 million.

This is the part where we'd tease our readers by asking, Guess which Democrat tops the list?, but you've probably already figured that out from the headline. Anyhoo:

Among Democrats in the analysis, the top small-contributor fundraiser is Andrew Romanoff, a Democratic challenger who is taking on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in a swing district in suburban Denver. Romanoff has raised $833,527 in small-dollar money, more than 24 percent of his total fundraising. No one else in a targeted race has even raised $500,000.

Romanoff is helped by the fact that he previously ran for Senate, meaning he entered the House race with a far larger network of email addresses and supporters than most. A spokeswoman said more than 15,000 people have donated to his campaign.

Political advisors and strategists quoted by the National Journal largely agree that Democrats are just much, much better at online organizing and fundraising than their Republican counterparts. We don't dispute this analysis, though Republicans should be incensed at their Party's continued inability to figure out the Internet tubes for campaign purposes. One of the great benefits of receiving big support from low-dollar donors is that those donors often end up becoming hard-working volunteers — a big bonus that will pay off repeatedly as GOTV efforts get underway.

Beauprez’s Post Profile: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

The Denver Post's Joey Bunch published a long-awaited profile of two-time GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez in yesterday's Sunday edition, along with a similar profile of incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper. We've heard varying opinions about Bunch's story–many Democrats are upset with what they consider to be major omissions, while others are happy to see the overall frame expressed in the story of Beauprez damaged by his long record of far-right statements. In a few respects, Bunch does contribute to this important latter theme:

Beauprez isn't trying to evolve.

In the six months since he joined the race for governor, Democrats have rolled out a list of his past statements they say are inconsistent or too extreme, including his statement that he sympathized with 11 Colorado counties that tried unsuccessfully to secede last year.

Also, in 2006, he apologized for saying African-American women get abortions at an "appalling" rate, which was not supported by facts.

A devout Catholic, he opposes abortion except when a woman's life is endangered, but not in cases of rape and incest. Yet he opposes personhood — defining an unborn child as a human with legal rights, which would effectively ban abortions — as bad policy.

"To believe that a victim of rape or incest should be forced to have her rapist's baby proves that Congressman Beauprez is a dangerous extremist, who, as governor, would be a threat to the freedoms of Colorado's women," said Jennifer Koch, executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party.

Last year, on the conservative website TownHall.com, Beauprez compared abortion to the shootings in Sandy Hook and Aurora…

Readers do get the sense that Beauprez is a strident conservative from this story, and that's valuable to Democrats looking to frame him as out of touch with Colorado's more moderate electorate. There's also new information in this story: Beauprez was reportedly paid over $100,000 by right wing funders at the John Hancock Committee for the States to "organize" the Tea Party after 2009. That's an interesting detail which explains a lot about Beauprez's energetic organizing at that time on behalf of the "grassroots" Tea Party–he was on the clock.

With that said, this story left out most of the worst items in Beauprez's record: and in a piece exceeding 2,400 words in length, that's just inexplicable to us. It's well known that Beauprez is far to the right on abortion, and that he endorsed efforts by northeastern Colorado counties to secede from the rest of the state. Bunch covered those. As for so many others:

His opponents are trying hard to resurrect 8-year-old talking points to scare off unaffiliated voters, only to see Beauprez effectively tie his race against incumbent John Hickenlooper.

Presumably, this is meant to refer to all the things Bunch left out? Our readers know that statement is factually not accurate, since most of the crazy things Democrats have been using against Beauprez are much newer than his last run for governor eight years ago. Beauprez questioned President Barack Obama's citizenship in June of 2010. Beauprez claimed that Obama is pushing America toward "civil war" was in 2012, as were Beauprez's comments about about Americans buying up guns to "protect themseselves from the government." Beauprez's claim that Muslim Sharia law is "creeping in" to Colorado was only this past March. The fact is, and Joey Bunch is misleading his audience to suggest otherwise, most of Beauprez's craziest quotes came quite recently. To characterize these very recent and relevant statements from Beauprez as "8-year-old talking points" is simply ridiculous.

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Mike Coffman Promotes Self at Lamborn’s Expense

(Maybe it was Don Suppes — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Around 9:30pm tonight (Sept. 28), the twitter account @RepMikeCoffman posted a link to the Denver Post story regarding controversial comments by Doug Lambourn supposedly encouraging military leaders to resign. The tweet said:

This is a rare moment of disunity in Colorado's GOP delegation to Congress which is normally hesitant to discuss each other or express disagreement. 

Coffman has, up til now, declined to comment on the story in the press. One wonders whether the Congressman actually had anything to do with the tweet or whether this will be another one chalked up to "rogue staffers."

Monday Open Thread

"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves."

–Eric Hoffer

A letter to vacillating volunteers, from Abraham Lincoln.

CONFIDENTIAL.

To Messrs. —

Gentlemen:—In obedience to a resolution of the Whig State Convention, we have appointed you the Central Whig Committee of your county. The trust confided to you will be one of watchfulness and labor: but we do hope the glory of having contributed to the overthrow of the corrupt powers that now control our beloved country, will be a sufficient reward for the time and labor you will devote to it. Our whig brethren throughout the Union have met in convention, and after due deliberation and mutual concessions have elected candidates for the Presidency and Vice presidency, not only worthy of our cause, but worthy of the support of every true patriot, who would have our country redeemed, and her institutions honestly and faithfully administered.

To overthrow the trained bands that are opposed to us, whose salaried officers are ever on the watch, and whose misguided followers are ever ready to obey their smallest commands, every Whig must not only know his duty, but must firmly resolve, whatever of time and labor it may cost, boldly and faithfully to do it.

Our intention is to organize the whole State, so that every Whig can be brought to the polls in the coming presidential contest. We cannot do this, however, without your co-operation; and as we do our duty, so we shall expect you to do yours[.]

After due deliberation, the following is the plan of organization, and the duties required of each county committee.

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BREAKING: Cory Gardner Has His Own Ken Buck/”Meet the Press” Moment

UPDATE #3: The full interview is now available on Fox 31's website.

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UPDATE #2: Watch Cory Gardner's complete refusal to back up dubious claims about his "cancelled" insurance policy:

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UPDATE: Watch the full devastating exchange between Eli Stokols and Cory Gardner on contraception and abortion rights:

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Cory Gardner FAIL

Rep. Cory Gardner, left, talking to Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols.

In mid-October 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Ken Buck had a nationally-televised Sunday "debate" on "Meet the Press" — an appearance that proved disastrous for Buck's campaign.

Did history just repeat itself?

Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner appeared Sunday morning on Fox 31's #COPolitics interview show with Eli Stokols, and while he wasn't quite as awful as Buck on that fateful day in 2010…Gardner was bad enough that he may have just mortally wounded his campaign. We'll update this post with a link to the interview as soon as the video is available online, but here's what everyone will be talking about this week (and beyond):

Gardner was asked repeatedly by Stokols to clarify his story surrounding his family's health care coverage (a story sparked by Gardner waving his family's insurance letter at a hearing in front of then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) and refused to provide details even after several questions from Stokols. Gardner has faced questions before about his pre-Obamacare health care coverage, but in front of Stokols he squirmed, dodged, and tried to attack Sen. Mark Udall whenever he was asked for more information. Stokols noted that Fox 31 asked earlier this summer for copies of Gardner's pay-stubs to prove the Congressman's claims that he had no other health insurance other than his mystery $650-per month family health coverage; when pressed about why his office would not provide that information, Gardner went back to attacking Udall.

It would have been difficult for Gardner to have looked less believable in his responses. We'd guess there will be more than one reporter who starts taking a new look at Gardner's insurance claims after this debacle.

Gardner also dug himself deeper (who would have thought that possible?) on his flip-flopping on the Personhood issue. At one point in the interview, Gardner says, "There is no Federal Personhood bill. There is no Federal Personhood bill." Stokols eventually responds by asking Gardner if he really thinks he can make the issue go away by just saying "there is no Federal Personhood bill," to which a flustered Gardner has no response. Gardner later takes his Personhood lie even further by stating, "I do not support legislation that would ban birth control — that's crazy."

The entire interview is really a doozy. Stokols, to his credit, tries very hard to get clear answers to straightforward questions, while Gardner tries very hard to do anything other than answer those questions; to anyone watching, it is very clear what is happening. Clips of this interview will no doubt be looped repeatedly from now until November.