Denver Post Endorses Halter Over Lamborn in CO-5

Doug Lamborn (R).

Hey hey, ho ho. The Post says Lamborn’s got to go.

Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn has been taking withering criticism for his boneheaded revelation that he "and others" have been urging military leaders to resign in protest over President Obama's foreign policy. As the editorial board of the Denver Post notes today as it begins to roll out candidate endorsements, it's time for Lamborn to follow his own advice and hit the road:

Rep. Doug Lamborn last month demonstrated yet again why he should do Coloradans a favor and find another job. Unfortunately, the Republican from Colorado Springs is running for a fifth term in the GOP-heavy 5th Congressional District. He's the heavy favorite, but voters at least have an attractive alternative in retired Air Force Major Gen. Irv Halter, a Democrat.

And if they're as irate about Lamborn's antics as we are, they should seize that option...

Halter would bring a centrist voice to the 5th District — as well a level of dignity it sorely needs.

There's not much we could add here.

New College Republican Beauprez Video…Is Really Awful

UPDATE #2: TIME Magazine declares this the Most Sexist Republican Ad of the Year.

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UPDATE: It looks like "Say Yes To Bob Beauprez" was just one of multiple nearly identical videos produced by the College Republicans–others being on behalf of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, and many more. In response, the Democratic Governors Association's Sabrina Singh released the following statement blasting them all equally:

"The ads produced by the College Republican National Committee are further evidence that Republican gubernatorial candidates like Rick Scott, Bob Beauprez, and Bruce Rauner still have no idea how to communicate with women voters. That's because it's not just their words that are condescending and insulting, but because their policies – from deep cuts to education to opposition to equal pay for equal work, to mandatory ultrasounds and defunding Planned Parenthood – are deeply out-of-touch with the concerns of women and families. That's a big part of why they'll lose in November."  

Gawker's Sam Biddle has a theory:

If this seems like an impossible stupid way to convince anyone to do anything, let's walk through the metaphor. Everyone loves TLC's hit shows—if everyone loves these shows, and the shows are the same as the GOP, then everyone will love the GOP? The two organizations even have the same number of letters, and rhyme, so you can see how some strategist somewhere thought the video would work.

The Wall Street Journal has a response from the College Republican National Committee:

The ad, running for a full minute, is longer than most, and its content stands out amid the more staged candidate-run ads and the ominous issue ads run by outside groups. The trick, says CRNC national chairman Alex Smith, is to start a conversation.

“How do you reach the generation that has their earbuds in and their minds turned off to traditional advertising?” she said. “It’s our goal to start the conversation by presenting ourselves in a culturally relevant way.”

If by "culturally relevant" they mean "laughingstock," the CRNC might be on to something.

—–

Sometimes an idea that sounds really great in a strategy meeting just doesn't work out when applied to the real world. In politics like other advertising, this can have real consequences, with the embarrassment of a bad idea doing more damage than the good that might have been done even if the concept had succeeded brilliantly. If you're a producer of creative content, you never want to be on the hook for this.

Apropos, the College Republican National Committee released a new web video today in support of Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. A video that, to put it charitably, needed a lot more focus grouping before being allowed to see the light of day:

The spot seems to be meant to parody TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, a cable TV show about a bridal shop in New York City. If you happen to know about that relatively obscure television show, which we did, you have more context for what's going on than most viewers.

For everyone else, it's just bizarre. Why is this girl trying on a dress named "The Bob Beauprez?" Why is the girl's mother happy with all these bad things about the "John Hickenlooper" dress? What about viewers who think, style wise, the "John Hickenlooper" dress looks better?

Because it kind of does to us.

There's just too many ways this video can leave viewers with an impression wholly counterproductive to the ad's intent–that is, making Bob Beauprez look good to young voters. It's like watching what some old guy thinks young people would want to see, but it's more like showing a bad 1980s sitcom to today's media savvy kids. And again, if you don't know exactly what it is they're parodying, it comes off as insultingly shallow to young women like those portrayed in the ad. Otherwise known as the targets.

We can't even give this a "too clever by half," because that's double the praise it deserves.

Wow, That Was Stupid

Brad Dayspring of the NRSC.

Brad Dayspring of the NRSC.

Last Monday, as Democrats were gleefully circulating video of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's rough interview with FOX 31's Eli Stokols, Republican surrogates for Gardner were looking for something–anything–with which to change the subject.

As Talking Points Memo reports, they chose poorly:

On Monday, Republican operatives seemed to think they had a bonafide gamechanging gaffe on their hands. In a video debunked by Business Insider, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) appeared to endorse one of the widely discredited 9/11 conspiracy theories in 2007. “There’s some evidence that were charges planted in the buildings that brought them down," Udall could be quoted as saying — if one were to take him completely out of context, which the Insider report showed he had been.

By the end of the day, even conservative news outlets were ripping the attempted opposition research dump, which was given to the news outlet by a "conservative tipster," as bogus.

The Business Insider story made clear that Udall was simply repeating a question back to an audience member at the town hall he was holding. More than once, he dismissed the allegations. "I’ve seen nothing to suggests that there was that kind of pre-placed charges in the building," he said later in the more complete video.

Still, GOP officials clearly thought they had something. America Rising, a top Republican opposition research PAC, went up quickly with its own analysis titled: "3 Things A U.S. Senator Should Never Say About 9/11." Brad Dayspring, the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, urged journalists to ask Udall about his alleged "lapse" into trutherism.

The National Republican Senatorial Commitee's spokesman Brad Dayspring appears to be chiefly responsible for this rather brazen attempt to put the words of "9/11 Truthers" into Sen. Mark Udall's mouth, spreading an edited video clip originally posted by the conservative America Rising PAC. This failed with considerable loss of face for Dayspring, as reporters and Democrats chided him for pushing a story that was debunked simply by watching the unedited video. At no time did Udall imply agreement with the questioner, and the words attributed to Udall were actually his repeating the question back to be sure he got it right.

Dayspring himself appears to have a dubious history, having resigned from the office of Rep. Eric Cantor after an "almost physical" altercation with another Cantor staffer. A search for Dayspring turns up lots of stories in which he's accused of wild fabrications and rebuked by fellow Republicans. He also apparently has a thing for "SexyTwitPics"–we suppose he's not alone there.

What Dayspring doesn't appear to have…is integrity. But that doesn't appear to be an impediment to continued employment.

For use in the Gardner rabbit hole, here’s more details on what fed personhood bill would do

(Everyone agrees but Cory – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols repeatedly tried to convince senatorial candidate Cory Gardner last week that there is such a thing as a federal personhood bill, and Gardner is a co-sponsor of it.

In so doing, Stokols cited Factcheck.org, which reported not only that the bill exists but that the Gardner campaign said Gardner signed it in an effort to ban abortion. Stokols also cited co-sponsors of the bill, who say it's personhood legislation.

This didn't dent Gardner, who continued, parrot-like, to say "There is no personhood bill."

Reporters going down this rabbit hole with Gardner in the future might like to know more details on what the Life at Conception Act would do, in addition to banning common forms of birth control, like Plan B and IUDs, if passed.

So I asked Lynn Paltrow, an accomplished attorney and executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, what she thought the Life at Conception Act would do. She confirmed that the bill is, in fact, a "personhood" bill.

“If it passed, it would be a federal law that makes the 14th Amendment applicable to the unborn,” Paltrow said.

“It arguably would create obligations on the federal government to protect equally the unborn by doing such things as outlawing abortion, even for rape and incest, outlawing in vitro fertilization, outlawing participation of pregnant women in drug trials that might be helpful to them but could create risks for the unborn,” said Paltrow, an attorney. “The only thing it does not permit is arresting women if there’s a death of an unborn child. But there is no prohibition against prosecuting doctors for murder—and there’s no prohibition against prosecuting pregnant women for other crimes.”

Paltrow continued: “For example, even if a woman seeks to maintain her pregnancy, a personhood law could be used to justify prosecuting a pregnant woman for risk of harm. The proposed law would do nothing to protect women from investigation, arrest, and prosecution under all the other mechanisms by which women are being arrested.”

Jeffco School Board Troubles Impacting 2014 Election

GOP state senate candidate Tony Sanchez and Jeffco board member Julie Williams.

State senate candidate Tony Sanchez is one of many Republicans who probably wish they never took that picture next to Jeffco School Board member Julie Williams.

We've written before in this space that the controversy surrounding the Jefferson County School Board would inevitably bleed into key races in 2014; it was only a matter of time that the biggest story in the most important electoral county in the state would break into the election cycle. As Nick Riccardi reports for the Associated Press:

The protests over a Colorado school district’s proposal to promote patriotism and de-emphasize civil disobedience in American history classes have found their way into the state’s marquee election races, injecting a volatile issue two weeks before early voting ballots land in mailboxes across the state…

…At its Sept. 19 meeting, the board proposed creating a committee to review texts and course plans, starting with Advanced Placement history, to make sure materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” and don’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

The ensuing walkouts brought criticism from some candidates, including Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, a former congressman who represented Jefferson County. He said the board is within its rights to consider the adjustments.

“They have every right to discuss curriculum,” Beauprez said. “What this is really about is the continuing tiff between the teachers union and the elected majority.” [Pols emphasis]

His opponent, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, criticized the proposed curriculum changes.

We were a bit surprised, frankly, that this question didn't come in last night's Gubernatorial debate, though Bob Beauprez had already stepped in the mess on Friday. Yesterday The Colorado Independent followed up on Beauprez's school board comments from Friday; unsurprisingly, Jeffco parents are not pleased:

“What we’ve got going on in JeffCo right now is a bit of a complicated situation,” Beauprez said in a forum at Metro State college on Friday.

Republican Bob Beauprez on Jeffco Schools

“I think the school board, an elected school board, they have a proxy from the citizens of Jefferson County to review that curriculum and to opine about that curriculum,” he continued. “And the remedy — if the citizens, the voters, decide that the school board has made a mistake — the remedy comes pretty quickly, in the next election. That’s the way I think it should work.”

The comment hit a nerve for Shawna Fritzler. She’s a registered Republican with a nine-year-old daughter who attends a JeffCo public school. She’s also the president of her school’s Parent Teacher Association and a citizen-chair of the JeffCo public school’s planning and advisory council. She said she is frustrated to see a top-of-the-ticket politician weigh in during an election year without enough context.

“Bob Beauprez says to take it to the ballot box,” she said. “You want me to wait three more years of my nine-year old’s education? My daughter has to wait for an election? That’s asinine.” [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

The Jeffco School Board controversy is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, which means it should continue to generate questions for a number of candidates — particularly those who are trying hard not to provide an answer. Again, from the Associated Press:

The students’ passion brought the praise of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who called them inspiring, and said he hoped the school board would listen.

Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenging Udall, wouldn’t weigh in, saying it was up to Jefferson County and that the federal government shouldn’t get involved. [Pols emphasis]

This is a pretty stupid answer from Gardner, who could have addressed the situation in a manner that didn't involve a shrug and a generic "not my problem" response. Gardner missed an opportunity to empathize with voters in a county he cannot lose if he hopes to defeat Sen. Mark Udall in November, and by declining to address something that other statewide candidates are not ignoring, Gardner left the door open for someone to ask the same question again. October is crammed full of candidate debates and forums, and plenty of reporters will want to be the first to get Gardner on the record here.

Beauprez Gives Campaign an “Abortifacient”

UPDATE: The Denver Post's John Frank has a new story up as the Beauprez's IUD controversy grows:

Beauprez drew a rebuke from experts in the medical community who called his assertion false, while Democrats and like-minded women's rights organizations suggested it showed the candidate is out of touch.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and 10 other physician organizations, as well as the Federal Drug Administration, define IUDs as contraceptives that prevent a pregnancy. An abortifacient ends a pregnancy after it has occurred.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, obstetrician and gynecologist who does reproductive research and practices in San Francisco, said the definition of a pregnancy as the implantation of a fertilized egg is an established scientific standard. He said IUDs are not abortifacient.

"I would say in mainstream medicine this is really not a debate," Grossman said. [Pols emphasis]

—–

UPDATE: The Yes on 67 campaign–wow:

No ambiguity here, folks.

—–

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

Coverage of last night's debate between Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP challenger Bob Beauprez at the Denver Post auditorium has zeroed in on a pivotal exchange, in which Hickenlooper presses Beauprez on his record of support for banning abortions even in cases of rape or incest–as well as measures like Personhood which could affect access to certain forms birth control. Beauprez initially seemed prepared to avoid this question, making it clear that he does not support the current Personhood measure Amendment 67–but was quickly lured into exactly the discussion he did not want to have. As John Frank and Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported from the scene:

When it was time for the candidates to ask each other questions, Hickenlooper pressed Beauprez about personhood, abortion and birth control. He asked whether Beauprez would support using public money to reduce abortions and teen pregnancies.

"I have no problem with people using contraception," Beauprez said.

"I have a big problem publicly funding contraceptives that are actually abortifacient."

He said he considered intrauterine devices, a common form of birth control known as IUDs, the equivalent to a drug that causes an abortion. [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper touted a state program that helped lower teen birth rates drop by 40 percent in five years after more than 30,000 IUDs and other implants were provided to low-income women at 68 family-planning clinics across Colorado since 2009. The cost was covered by a private anonymous donor.

CBS4:

Hickenlooper also asked why Beauprez was pro-life but opposed to this year’s so-called “personhood” amendment that would change the criminal code to apply to unborn children.

“You have switched on personhood in this election,” the governor said.

“I am opposed to the personhood amendment,” Beauprez countered.

“I said that,” Hickenlooper interjected.

“You said personhood. There’s a big difference,” Beauprez retorted. [Pols emphasis]

As to the question of whether or not the IUD is in fact an "abortifacient" form of birth control, meaning a type that supporters of Personhood and other "moment of fertilization" abortion bans want to outlaw, there appears to be some debate–certain types of IUDs may be able to stop a pregnancy if inserted within a few days of fertilization, but in their normal use, IUDs are intended to prevent fertilization for very long periods of time.

But folks, that doesn't really matter. Because the conversation we are having is a disaster for Colorado Republicans.

Not only does Bob Beauprez not, whether he realizes it or not, want to get into the messy details of which kinds of birth control women ought to be using, we assure you that Cory Gardner is absolutely horrified that we are talking about so-called "abortifacient" forms of birth control. The last thing Cory Gardner wants is to start interjecting qualifications about which kinds of birth control are morally okay into his Senate race. After all, he just told the world last weekend that he would "never" support legislation to ban birth control.

That's crazy!

Well, as it turns out, it's not so crazy! The critical point to understand here: prior to Republicans realizing with Ken Buck in 2010 that this whole banning birth control thing was politically disastrous, banning "abortifacient" forms of birth control was an explicit goal of the Personhood movement. Opponents didn't just make up banning birth control as a possible "unintended consequence." It's part of the plan. Or at least it was, until Republicans were compelled to run away from the idea after women voters spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Colorado GOP in their greatest wave election since 1948.

And by taking Hickenlooper's bait, willfully ripping the scab off an issue Republicans are desperate to keep out of the headlines, Beauprez has done more to validate the Democratic "war on women" theme than any Democrat ever could. Beauprez just legitimized the very issue Gardner, and every other Republican interested in career preservation this election season, wants you to disregard.

What a way to kick off October.

Big Government Republicans go on Offense in Springs

 

Everyone, well, except their own constituents, knows the Republican claim to be against Big Government is a well-planned and executed lie. They're really against any kind of big government that helps the Middle Class, that helps democratize our economy, our civil rights, our infrastructure, or our education system in any way. When it comes to going to war, spying on Americans (tho Obama does get several demerits for this, too), tax breaks for America's largest, most polluting and most profitable industries and corporations it can't ever be big enough.

What with the still-flaccid economy (thanks to their obstructionist brethren in DC), and a bipartisan set of budget cuts to everything, Republicans in Colorado Springs and El Paso County have gone on the offense to maintain our vast military and the local economy's reliance on Big Government, Military Industrial-strength spending:

While Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen may be warring (ha ha, funny.-ed.) over stormwater back home and plotting each other's defeat in next year's mayoral race, they were pulling together at the capital. And while they may be rooting against Gov. John Hickenlooper in the November election, they were working closely with his military team.

Who knew Hick had a military team? 

At stake are as many as 16,000 soldiers and hundreds of airmen who could be cut as part of a Pentagon plan to carve $900 billion from its budget over a decade. The pitch, made to military leaders Tuesday, is that Colorado Springs is a great town that loves its troops and keeping them in the shadow of Pikes Peak makes America safer.

"We are at risk," Bach said. "Everything is on the table."

Exactly as it should be in, ummmm, war. With just the right amount of fear mongering.

The delegation of 13 Pikes Peak region business and community leaders is spending three days in the capital where they plan to lean on Colorado congressional staff member and other key leaders to stave off the cuts. With a new war growing against the Islamic State group, they may find a receptive audience.

Lindsey Graham and John McCain: Mission Accomplished

The prospect of huge losses has energized state and local leaders. The General Assembly this year approved cash for an economic impact study of the military in Colorado and for a lobbying campaign.

The Regional Business Alliance and other local organizations have redoubled their lobbying for military money. In August, the business alliance gathered signatures on 3,600 postcards from locals pledging support for Fort Carson and its soldiers.

County Commissioner Peggy Littleton said a bigger effort is forthcoming. She's pushing for all 64 counties in Colorado to pass resolutions supporting the military.

That much bipartisanship would probably kill me. But just think if we were of one voice in supporting students, our aging bridges, local arts and cultural foundations rather than America's Mighty War Machine? Our economy, and its citizens, would boom. (Ooops, bad analogy.-ed.)

One issue that Air Force leaders told them must be addressed is stormwater, a longtime issue of contention in El Paso County that affects area bases. While military leaders won't endorse a measure on November's ballot to address regional stormwater needs, they said they want the problem addressed, said Andy Merritt, who oversees military issues for the business alliance.

"They want it fixed," Merritt said.

Great. Something Springs's leaders have been struggling with for years, something the anti-tax, Doug-Bruce-iopaths have taken to court, just needs the a-ok from a General officer or two. That Manitou Springs could be washed away any day isn't reason enough to fix this massive problem. Well, they are a bunch of liberal pot smokers anyway. 

Mark Volcheff, vice chairman of the alliance's Military Affairs Council and a retired Air Force major general, said Pentagon leaders won't hesitate to make deep cuts if Congress doesn't come up with more cash for the military.

We can only hope. And Ike must be spinning in his grave.

The interstate highway system has done more for our nation, for far less of an investment, than all the DoD contracts combined have done to stamp out religious extremism around the world. It's too bad we can't see the forest for the trees on this issue. And more napalm to burn it all down won't help in the way those same efforts and investments would help if the money went to bridges, schools and hospitals here rather than blowing those same things up overseas.

(That last sentence needs rewrite!-ed.)

Wednesday Open Thread

"It is always one's virtues and not one's vices that precipitate one into disaster."

–Rebecca West

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.

 

(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.

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.