A Republican activist who heckled Democratic Senate candidate Tom Strickland during his 2002 run helped highlight the questions that made Gov. Bill Ritter squirm at a hearing this week in Washington.
Matt Dempsey, 30, is the communications director for Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which Ritter testified before on Tuesday.
In 2002, Dempsey worked for U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard’s re-election campaign, often hollering out anti-Strickland slogans through a bullhorn at various political events…
Ritter, a Democrat, expected to tout Colorado’s energy successes to the committee, but instead ended up in a “partisan whipsaw,” with Republican committee members over green jobs and a climate bill, according to The Denver Post.
Ritter was still answering questions from the committee when Dempsey issued a press release crowing, “Colorado governor refuses to endorse” the Democratic climate-change bill, complete with a YouTube video of the hearing.
Dempsey also released an exchange between Ritter and U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., over the bill, known as Waxman-Markey, after its Democratic sponsors.
Critics say the bill is a tax increase, and in Colorado it would cripple oil shale development and increase costs for farmers.
With that in mind, Inhofe asked of Ritter, “Are you here supporting Waxman-Markey today?”
“I support a national energy policy that’s married to a national climate policy that gets at these goals that we have for greenhouse gas reductions,” the governor said. “And I believe that if you do that, that there will some vehicle that may not look exactly like Waxman-Markey, particularly after the Senate finishes its work.
“But I very much support climate legislation that is joined with a national energy policy to get us to the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that are set for 2050.”
We have to admit we were also impressed with the speed Sen. Jim Inhofe’s office had this video packaged and distributed through a wide viral network–all the way down to our own community talking-point beacons. Clearly they’re getting better at this. The problem is that, as the Post’s Lynn Bartels correctly points out, what these guys are claiming Ritter said…isn’t what he said at all. In fact, reading what Ritter actually said makes what the Republicans claim he said look, well, spun beyond recognition.
And that, folks, is the part they’re not any better at. Kudos to the Post for reporting on the political spin here, even if they did fall for it in the first place.