UPDATE: Hold everything, it looks like Gardner wasn't completely honest about this little "endorsement," Stokols now updating his story:
[A] press release from Gardner’s campaign [claimed]: “Bipartisan “No Labels” group endorses Cory Gardner.”
But a spokesman for the group later explained to FOX31 Denver that it is “an implied endorsement” — and that Udall, should he join the group “No Labels”, is eligible for the very same “endorsement.” [Pols emphasis]
“We’d be happy to have Senator Udall sign on, and glad to give him a Seal of Approval as well,” Mark McKinnon of No Labels told FOX31 Denver Monday afternoon…
Apparently, all that's required to obtain No Labels' "endorsement" is to sign a pledge to support them–which isn't an "endorsement" at all, more like Gardner is "endorsing" No Labels. It makes sense that Gardner, working overtime to shed his stridently conservative reputation, would characterize this as an "endorsement," even though that word appears nowhere in any of the group's information about the "Problem Solvers."
But that would also appear to be BS, folks.
FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports today, and we did a double-take when we saw it:
A group founded by moderate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle aiming to push politicians back toward the eroding political center is endorsing Republican Cory Gardner in his campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.
The group “No Labels”, founded by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican who ran for president in 2012, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, is bestowing its approval upon Gardner, R-Yuma, in the way of what it calls the “Problem Solver Seal of Approval.”
“We’re proud to award the Problem Solver Seal of Approval to Congressman Gardner,” said Mark McKinnon of No Labels in a statement that will be released later Monday.
“His vision of success for the people of Colorado and the country incorporates a commitment to consensus building that we believe is critical for tackling some of the nation’s most pressing issues.”
If something seems odd about this endorsement to you, perhaps it did to Eli Stokols as well, who notes right after in his story:
Gardner’s voting record ranked him as the 10th most conservative member of the House GOP caucus in 2012 (last year, he was the 98th most conservative Republican in the House).
Apparently, despite Cory Gardner's well-established record of strident conservatism and partisan obstruction, No Labels sees him as a Congressman willing to "agree to goals–not just for their parties but for the whole country." Here's what No Labels says about the leaders they endorse as "Problem Solvers."
We want members who genuinely embrace the politics of problem solving. What does that mean exactly? It means a willingness to sit down with anyone – especially people from the other party – so long as they are willing to work together to achieve shared success for America. And it means recognizing that having principled and deeply held political beliefs doesn’t require an all-or-nothing approach to governance. Especially with a divided government, our leaders simply must work together.
Got that? So when Cory Gardner voted against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, then got blasted as a hypocrite by Republicans and Democrats in New York and New Jersey for trying to obtain some of the same relief funds he voted against for Colorado's floods…clearly, that must have been what No Labels means by "working together!" And when Gardner said he was ready to use the debt ceiling to force Obama to "reduce the size and scope of government," even if that meant a national default…working together! And last fall, when Gardner announced his willingness to shut down the government to "use…this chance we have before us" to stop Obamacare–working together, folks!
Bottom line: are we saying that No Labels is a partisan hack group? No. We're not.
What we're saying is that by No Labels' own yardstick, endorsing Gardner makes no sense.