Rocky Mountain Heist–So Bad It’s…Well, See For Yourself

UPDATE: Luis Toro of Colorado Ethics Watch makes an astute point:

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citizensunited

The controversial right-wing filmmaking crew Citizens United released their much-anticipated movie about the "Democratic takeover" of Colorado titled Rocky Mountain Heist last week, now available on DVD as well as streaming free on conservative website Newsmax.com. Overall, the video appears to be a overheated version of Adam Schrager's Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado, with some misleading anecdotes backdropped against the effective (and perfectly legal) Democratic infrastructure generally given credit for turning Colorado blue for the past decade.

Rocky Mountain Heist draws viewers in with references to a memo, purportedly from the Colorado Democracy Alliance in 2006, that refers to a campaign to "educate the idiots"–obviously an incendiary choice of words for any election strategy document. What Citizens United doesn't mention is that the "educate the idiots" memo was an obvious forgery, using bizarre language and bad grammar that nobody on the Democratic side could even recognize.

And that's just the beginning. The movie references the case of Jack Phillips, the bakery owner who was found to be in violation of the state's public accommodation law, claiming Phillips "faced jail time" for his refusal to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The truth is, the Colorado General Assembly repealed the criminal penalties for public accommodation in 2013, the same year they passed the civil unions bill. To imply in the fall of 2014 that refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple in Colorado could result in jail time is just one example of the way this movie blatantly misleads its audience.

Seth Masket, a DU professor, relates his experience of being duped into an interview for Rocky Mountain Heist in a Washington Post blog last week:

At one point in the film, I claim the following:

Latinos have not only been increasing in their potential to vote, but they’ve been voting increasingly Democratic over the last 10 years in Colorado.

By itself, this is not a particularly controversial statement. It is empirically verifiable that the number of Latino voters has increased substantially in Colorado over the past decade and that those voters are more likely to vote Democratic than they used to be. But this quote is inserted in between some footage purportedly showing that Democrats are trying to encourage illegal immigration, an insinuation by Tom Tancredo that the Obama administration is essentially recruiting Democratic voters via undocumented Mexican immigration, and a paean by Michelle Malkin to her Filipino parents who “immigrated here legally. It wasn’t easy. They learned English, they learned our history, they followed our rules.”

So now my uncontroversial quote is helping to legitimize an argument that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are invading our country, affecting our elections and undermining our culture.

For us, perhaps the most egregious lie in the whole film–the one that proves Citizens United is purposefully out to mislead you–is this frame:

udalltomfreespeech

This is the point late in the film where Citizens United declares their court case invalidating campaign finance laws is the reason why the "gun control revolt" in Colorado was successful–enough that "Sen. Udall" is proposing to "roll back free speech rights across the country."

But if you look closely, you can see they're not even attacking the right Sen. Udall.

tomudall

Bottom line: since the release of Rocky Mountain Heist, we've honestly been surprised by how little attention it's received in the mainstream press, and how little buzz among voters on either side of the political spectrum it seems to be generating. That's partly because the material is really quite weak, relying more on breathless reporting of uncontroversial politics than findings of real nefarious fact. And at key moments, the whole production is pasted together with rank deceptions like what you see above: maybe enough fool the most uncritical and most committed partisan Republicans, but laughable to anyone who stops even for a moment to think about what they're being presented with. As a tool for persuading undecided voters, Rocky Mountain Heist is just plain bunk.

Given the splash they made with the court battle just to set up shop in Colorado, we expected better.

Fear and Lies: Controversy Erupts Over False RGA TV Spot

UPDATE: 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman says the station has not refused the ad, but it isn't running there:

Republican-Governors-Association-RGA-LogoTo be clear, our original report was based on an update to the Denver Post's story:

UPDATE: Channel 9 is not airing the ad in its current form, Hickenlooper campaign says.

Which, to be fair, doesn't explicitly say 9NEWS pulled the ad–so we regret any presumption. This story is still reportedly developing, we'll update.

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FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

Thinking it was set to fire a potential kill shot in Colorado’s governor’s race, the Republican Governors Association instead shot a blank.

With eight days of voting left, the Republican Governors Association went back on Colorado’s airwaves with a hard-hitting ad featuring the father of a girl who was murdered in 1993 by Nathan Dunlap, the death row inmate who Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper granted a reprieve to last May.

Unfortunately, a glaring factual error in the ad may lead Colorado television stations to pull the spot from the airwaves.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports via Gov. John Hickenlooper's campaign that 9NEWS is refusing to air the ad in question, and further explains the enormous factual error behind their decision:

The last frame of the ad states: “Now John Hickenlooper is threatening a ‘full clemency’ for Nathan Dunlap that could set him free.” The ad cites an Aug. 25 story in The Denver Post, but the article never mentions the governor setting Dunlap free. And the governor’s attorneys said that’s not possible.

“The statement in the ad is flagrantly false, misleading and factually inaccurate,” Hickenlooper’s attorneys said in their cease-and-desist letters…

“The temporary reprieve of the governor’s executive order leaves only two possible outcomes with respect to Mr. Dunlap’s sentence, neither of which includes setting him free: (1) full clemency with life in prison and no possiblity for parole or (2) execution,” the attorneys wrote.

Hickenlooper's granting of an indefinite reprieve to "Chuck E. Cheese Killer" Nathan Dunlap was an act that pleased his Democratic base, and it's important to keep this in mind when talking about the politics of that decision. But it has also generated arguably the harshest attacks on Hickenlooper from his political opponents, foremost now from opponent Bob Beauprez. The expenditure of political capital in that decision is part of why Hickenlooper's once-stellar approval ratings have been brought to earth in the last couple of years. These are political realities.

With that said, this ad is plainly, ridiculously false, and we agree it should not air in its present form. Bartels reports that the Republican Governors Association responded to the cease and desist letter with (we are not making this up) Merriam-Webster dictionary's definition of "clemency," as if that's in any way relevant or binding. Given the nature of his crimes, there is no plausible scenario we can imagine in which Nathan Dunlap will ever see the outside of a prison. At no point before this ad has anyone seriously suggested that Hickenlooper might set Dunlap free, this has always to our knowledge been a debate about execution versus life imprisonment. Reasonable people can disagree about the efficacy and morality of the death penalty, but that's not what's happening here. Because this discussion is not based on the facts.

Like the Beauprez campaign's willful abuse of Tom Clements' death, or Cory Gardner falsely invoking Ebola and ISIS against Mark Udall, the scare tactics we're seeing as the 2014 campaign comes to a close are marked with something else: pervasive dishonesty. It's tough to say objectively if it's worse this election than in prior years, but it feels that way today.

Colorado “Unites In Orange”–Dick Cheney’s Back In Town

cheneyorange

Trish and Ken Green, your brave hosts.

Trish and Ken Green, your brave hosts.

Former Vice President "Deadeye" Dick Cheney is in town tonight hosting a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez at the swanky Cherry Hills Village home of Trish and Ken Green. Here's the invite, admission a bargain at $1,000 per couple to start:

unnamed

We recognize that this is the time in a political campaign when it's best to look forward, not backwards, but let's face it–the Bush administration was Bob Beauprez's halcyon days of yore. So what's old is new again–much like Bob Beauprez himself!

One other issue that might make a Cheney/Beauprez fundraiser a bit uncomfortable is the fact that both Cheney and Beauprez received multiple draft deferments during the Vietnam war. Back in 2006, with the Iraq war raging, the issue of Beauprez's draft dodging did come up, as it did for Cheney while he was sending the next generation off to fight the "war on terror." Dodging the draft may not be quite the issue is was back in 2006, but then again, we don't see Dick Cheney every day either.

Being within the city limits of Cherry Hills Village, we assume there won't be any firearms discharges–and for an event featuring the only Vice President in history to have shot a hunting partner and then received an apology from the man he shot, that's good for the host's insurance coverage. Of course, they might tell Cheney all the orange being worn tonight is for the Broncos, but there are much more practical reasons.

NBC/Marist: Gardner 46%, Udall 45%, Hickenlooper Up 5

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

New polling from NBC/Marist College shows…you guessed it, a continuing nail-biter in Colorado's U.S. Senate race:

In the race for U.S. Senate in Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner, 46%, and Democratic incumbent Mark Udall, 45%, are in a virtual tie among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Five percent of Colorado likely voters are undecided, and 2% of those with a candidate preference say they might vote differently. Among likely voters in NBC News/Marist’s September poll, Gardner trailed Udall by 6 percentage points.

Independents likely to vote and gender play a role in how the race has changed. Udall’s once 15 point lead among independents has shrunk to just 3 points. And, the gender gap has widened with men as the driving force behind the gains for Gardner. He now leads Udall among men by 15 points, up from 5 points.

Looking at the governor’s race in Colorado, Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper, 46%, is ahead of GOP challenger Bob Beauprez, 41%, by 5 points among Colorado likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who have already voted. Six percent are undecided, and 6% say they may vote differently.

“To seal up the potential crack in the Democratic firewall for the U.S. Senate, Udall needs a big ground game,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “He trails among those who have already voted by 12 points.”

Most all of the numbers in this poll have tightened from the last NBC/Marist poll in early September, which showed Sen. Mark Udall with a 6-point lead. While Udall's lead has shrunk to the same statistical dead heat most other polling in this race shows, Gov. John Hickenlooper's lead over Republican challenger Bob Beauprez has grown slightly compared to early September's Marist/NBC poll. In both cases, the movement is consistent with what we're seeing in most recent polling.

It's interesting to note that Marist shows a large lead for Republican Cory Gardner among those who have already voted–an important question to ask in our newly 100% mail ballot state. Given the early lead Republicans have posted in ballot returns, that makes sense–and this poll points the path to victory for Democrats in the ground game to play out over the next eight days.

Because, and we know you're sick of hearing it, there's only one "polling sample" that matters.

Colorado’s First Spanish-Language Congressional Debate on Thursday

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican — or whether or not you even speak Spanish — you've got to admit that this is pretty cool: On Thursday, Oct. 30, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff will take part in what is believed to be the first-ever Spanish-language political debate (for a major office) in Colorado. 

Univision will air the debate live at 5:00 on Thursday. Romanoff is fluent in Spanish, and Coffman has been feverishly working to learn the language over the last year or two. It should be interesting.

Kudos to Mi Familia Vota, Noticas Colorado, and everyone involved with making this debate happen.

RomanoffCoffman-SpanishDebate

Let’s get ready to retumbar!!!

Maddow Rips Megyn Kelly Over Colorado Ballot Fiction

We took note last week of FOX News evening anchor Megyn Kelly's Tuesday night opening segment, in which Kelly breathessly declared that a "new law" in Colorado has "opened the door to potential voter fraud." Specifically, Kelly claimed, Colorado voters now have the ability to "print ballots on their home computer." This statement struck us as very odd, mostly because we knew right away it was false: other than overseas and military absentee voters who had the ability to do this before Colorado's 2013 election modernization law, nobody can print up a ballot from their home computer.

What's even more surprising to us–not apparently to regular FOX News watchdogs, but we're surprised–is that days later, nobody at FOX News has corrected this blatantly false claim by one of that network's highest-rated news anchors. Because Colorado residents either already know or can easily find out from their county clerk that the story is false, the opportunity for harmful effects on our elections is limited. But if you're a FOX News viewer in another state, listening to that network's almost-daily warnings of imminent election fraud across the nation, this story is going to rightly freak you out: especially when it goes uncorrected.

As Mediaite reported this weekend, the pressure on FOX News to do something about this bogus report is getting louder:

First, 9News anchor Kyle Clark drew attention to Kelly’s remarks and said, “We normally reserve our truth test for political ads, but that claim is misleading.” He explained that the only voters allowed to print out and turn in ballots that way are military and overseas voters. No other Coloradans will be allowed to vote that way.

And then, Friday night, [MSNBS host Rachel] Maddow took a turn going after Kelly, bringing the issues with Kelly’s reporting into the national spotlight. Maddow mocked how seriously Kelly was reporting on this revelation “that they made up.” She explained that other states have similar laws about at-home ballots for service members, but “Fox has now decided that in the state of Colorado, that’s terrifying, even if it doesn’t terrify them anywhere else in the country.”

Call us Pollyannish, but how in the hell can a mainstream news outlet–yes, that includes FOX News–report something so blatantly false, and not correct it all these days later? It's one thing to get facts wrong in a news story. This happens for all kinds of reasons, and a lot of the time it's not the fault of the journalist. Even when it is, a correction is the bare minimum a news outlet can do to ensure that their historical record is accurate. Corrections are still frustrating, since they generally are never seen by as many people who saw the original error, but it's something.

What does it say when the nation's highest-rated "news" network allows blatant lies to go totally uncorrected?

Whatever's going on here, it's as far from "journalism" as you can get.

Argumentum in Terrorem: Gardner, Beauprez Appeal To Fear

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

The Colorado Independent's Susan Greene has a must-read story out today, discussing the late-game turn by GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner to an overtly fear-based foreign policy message against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall:

WITH a week until this off-year election, Republicans had two options to prod their party members to vote.

One was…to pull months of punches and put happy faces on the combative GOP challengers seeking to unseat the state’s Democratic governor and U.S. senator. The other was to try to scare the bajeezus out of voters.

They’ve chosen the latter.

“Vote like your life depends on it,” reads a recent mailer authorized by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner’s campaign. It features a shadowy picture of four faceless jihadists-looking-types brandishing guns. [Pols emphasis]

Then there’s the $3.5 million TV ad by crisis creator Karl Rove’s political spin-machine Crossroads GPS attacking U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s national security credentials. It stars a 30-something woman identified only as “Melissa, mother of five,” sitting on somebody’s American dreamy front porch holding an iPad…

National security has traditionally been a strong point for Sen. Udall, both from his time in the U.S. House and in the Senate. Udall serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, and generally has a voting record that voters like: Udall voted against the Iraq war, but has voted to support troops in the field with appropriations unlike many other Democrats. Udall's high profile on issues like National Security Agency domestic surveillance and the Senate's battle with the Central Intelligence Agency over interrogation policy, long before this election, give Udall credibility as he positions himself at odds with the Obama administration.

So naturally, knocking Udall down on this core issue is a big priority for the GOP.

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

The hit on Udall over foreign policy in the latter stages of the campaign has made use of the two most popular foreign policy scare stories in circulation nationally: the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We talked last week about Gardner's highly misleading comments about Ebola in a recent debate, refuted strongly by Politifact. Likewise, Factcheck.org notes that the attacks on Udall over ISIS from Crossroads GPS, originating in an out-of-context quote from a debate last summer, have little basis in reality:

Udall didn’t dismiss ISIL as nothing to worry about. Instead, he said the terrorist group wasn’t an “imminent” threat to the U.S. but will be in the future if the country doesn’t respond in the Middle East now.

This isn’t the only attack ad to pick up on the Udall quote. The NRSC highlighted it in an ad also portraying Udall as soft on terrorism, as did Udall’s Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner.

But the Crossroads ad is the only one to actually cite a news article that supports what Udall said. While the woman in the ad says, “As a mom and a Marine, I know the danger is closer to home than Sen. Udall seems to think,” an on-screen graphic cites an August USA Today article headlined, “Returning Islamic State fighters could threaten USA.” That article quotes experts saying that an attack on U.S. soil isn’t an imminent threat, but there’s concern about what could happen if fighters holding Western passports return home.

In the Colorado gubernatorial race, the big story over the weekend was the blowback against GOP candidate Bob Beauprez for his factually-challenged misuse of the murder of the director of the Colorado Department of Corrections last year in campaign ads–ads that became toxic after the widow of director Tom Clements told Beauprez to stop falsely politicizing her husband's murder. There is a common theme between Beauprez's untruthful attack on Hickenlooper over Clements' murder and the misleading attacks on Sen. Udall over national security.

The common theme is a willingness to lie to people in order to scare them. It's not our purpose to rule on whether this is an effective tactic, as in the right circumstances it surely can be–but it does generally occur for certain reasons. We'll leave it to our readers to discuss in this case what those may be.

Monday Open Thread

"Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it."

–Blaise Pascal

Reporter CYA Can’t Excuse Bob Beauprez’s Travesty

beauprezdemsfear

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's highly controversial appropriation of the murder last year of the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, Tom Clements, for use in his campaign has changed the outlook of this race with only days to go before the election. Beauprez's shrill and personal attacks on Gov. John Hickenlooper over Clements' death principally revolve around a 2011 law, Senate Bill 11-176, which Hickenlooper signed into law after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-held Colorado House.

Beauprez's use of SB11-176 to blame Hickenlooper for Clements' death has its origins in a front-page Denver Post story published in March of 2013, not long after the murder. What Beauprez doesn't mention is that this story was proven wrong the next day by competing outlet 9NEWS, forcing the Post to publish a particularly embarrassing correction:

This article has been corrected in this online archive. Originally, due to incorrect information from a source, the role a 2011 law played in Evan Ebel's early release from prison was overstated. [Pols emphasis] The law was only one factor.

Just days after Clements' murder, an unnamed Republican source had fed the story to the Denver Post that this 2011 law had resulted in the killer's early release from prison–with the obvious intention of extracting political value from the tragedy of Clements' death. As we've noted in the past, one cruel irony in Clements' shooting at the hands of a recently released solitary confinement inmate was the work Clements had been doing to reform the solitary confinement system in Colorado.

Like we said Friday, the politicization of Clements' death, or at least the attempt to do so, has been occurring almost since the day he was killed. Clements' murder came at the height of the debate on unrelated gun safety legislation in the General Assembly, and Republicans were keen to exploit anything they could find to portray Hickenlooper as "soft on crime."

But again: the story is false. The truth is, Clements' murderer was released four years early because of a clerical error by a sentencing court in 2008. This was the key detail the Post didn't have when they rushed to print with their story blaming SB11-176 for Ebel's release. Today, the Denver Post indirectly revisits that story reporting on the present controversy, and again misleads their readers:

Ebel killed Clements and Leon in March 2013 after he was released four years too early because of a courthouse clerical error after his conviction for assaulting a correctional officer in 2008. The error — which made Ebel's sentence for assaulting a prison guard concurrent instead of consecutive — occurred before Hickenlooper took office.

Ebel was released Jan. 30, 2013, instead of years later.

But Ebel also qualified for early-release sentence reductions while he was being held in administrative segregation based partly on a law signed in 2011 by Hickenlooper.

Ebel was released four months earlier than he would have based on those rewards, meaning that when he killed Leon and Clements, he would have still been in prison.

Now, whether the Post's Kirk Mitchell is trying to defend his own faulty reporting or his Republican source for what turned out to be bad information, it's just wrong to suggest that SB11-176 made any intentional difference in the release of Clements' murderer. The 2008 error of not sentencing Clements' eventual killer correctly is what resulted in both his release four years too soon, and the factoring of any sentence reduction based on the 2011 law. 9NEWS explains this clearly in their own story from Friday:

"Was director Clements' death tragic? Yes," wrote Beauprez campaign spokesman Allen Fuller. "Should that take the conversation of the governor's public safety policies off the table?"

Fuller pointed to a 2011 law signed by Governor Hickenlooper which allowed offenders like Ebel to earn time off for good behavior during solitary confinement . While this was a factor in the timing of Ebel's release from prison, it was a paperwork error from the courts that allowed Ebel to be released years before he was supposed to.

His earned time off wouldn't have been considered if his sentence was issued properly. [Pols emphasis]

The details of this story are complicated, and we're reticent to get too far into the weeds as political bloggers. But we feel it's important to show in this case exactly why Beauprez's allegations against Hickenlooper are wrong, and how bad reporting with suspected partisan political influence has already done the voting public a disservice.

Once you understand just how factually baseless Beauprez's attack on Hickenlooper is, the whole idea of blaming the governor for the murder of his friend and partner in reforming the corrections system in Colorado becomes something more than just politically inappropriate. This is in fact a travesty–and the reason it must not be rewarded has more to do with common decency than partisanship.

The Orwellian Desperation of Jefferson County Republicans

SATURDAY UPDATE: The Denver Post's Eric Gorski, who took the photo of Jefferson County protesters that was crudely doctored for this Republican mailer to remove their original protest message, is most unhappy to see it being misused:

The photo on the fliers appears to blur out the faces of the students. The sign messages were changed to reflect … it’s not clear.

But one thing that is clear is students took to the streets because they are unhappy with a school board controlled by three Republicans who won office in 2013… [Pols emphasis]

Neville, Sanchez and Woods won GOP primaries and had the backing of the strongly conservative Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organization. Neville’s son, Joe, is a lobbyist for the gun group. Neville’s sister-in-law, Julie Williams, sits on the Jeffco school board.

In addition to Jefferson County Public Schools' demand that these candidates stop using the district's trademarked logo, the Post's lawyers are demanding they stop using the doctored image of these students:

“Not only does the use of the photograph infringe copyright interests, it violates other intellectual property laws by unlawfully associating The Denver Post with your campaign. It also violates basic transparency principles by altering a photograph without informing the readers. Finally, it offends the Fair Use policies in place by Twitter and creates an actionable claim by the person pictured in the photograph holding the sign.” [Pols emphasis]

If we were one of the kids in this doctored photo, we'd be talking to Mom and Dad about a lawyer.

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nevillemailer

7NEWS reports:

Attorneys representing Jeffco Public Schools have sent a cease and desist letter to candidates for state senate who used the district's logo in a campaign mailing.

Tim Neville, a self-described "Independent Republican," is running for office in Senate District 16. The campaign flier in question criticizes incumbent State Senator Jeanne Nicholson.

Beside the district's logo, the flyer states: "Jeffco schools are in crisis because Denver politicians like Jeanne Nicholson are keeping funding from the classroom while giving more power to corrupt union bosses."

Neville's statement of "crisis" in the district references recent widespread protesting over the conservative board majority's decisions regarding teacher compensation and a plan to review the AP US History Curriculum…

As you can see above, the mailer plainly makes use of the Jefferson County Public Schools' copyrighted logo, and that's obviously not okay. But there are other aspects to this mailer that make it vastly more deceptive. For starters, a sign held by a student in the photo has been crudely doctored to replace their protest message with the words "I want my future back." The original photo, taken by the Denver Post's Eric Gorski, clearly displays the student's original message: "my education, my voice, save AP U.S. history." We assume nobody has spoken with that student about this mailer yet, but we rather doubt she would approve of her sign being altered in this manner.

We think she'll be especially outraged to learn, as 7NEWS continues, that

Neville is the brother-in-law of Jeffco School Board Member Julie Williams. [Pols emphasis]

That's right, folks–the brother-in-law of Julie Williams, the school board member at the heart of the recent internationally-publicized controversy over "reviewing" the district's AP history curriculum, is himself altering the history of the recent protests against Williams to make it look like he sympathizes. The mailer includes a photo of Tim Neville with his wife Barb, Julie Williams' sister, who also runs Williams' political action committee (PAC). The deception here is so over the top brazen that it just leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. It's not much better for two other Jefferson County Republican Senate candidates who sent out similar mailers, Laura Waters Woods in SD-19 and Tony Sanchez in SD-22, both of whom have been supported by Williams and vice versa–but in Neville's case it's so outlandishly hypocritical and insulting to have doctored this student's protest sign that we have to think it will end in disaster.

That, or history is in greater danger than anyone ever imagined.

Help Us Pick the Best and Worst Campaign Ads of 2014

Yesterday we discussed the first TV ad from Democrat Joe Neguse, who is running for the open Secretary of State seat. We think it may be the best TV ad of the cycle, but we can't know if we've seen every TV ad thus far.

So help us out, Polsters. Nominate your favorites for Best and Worst Campaign Ads of 2014 in the comments below. Please include links when available. We'll take your suggestions and then do our own roundup in a post next week.

(Note: Unless you have an entirely different take, one nomination per ad is sufficient. This isn't a poll.)

Bob Beauprez’s Reckless, Factless Attacks: Too Far Again

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

One day after GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez released a TV ad citing last year’s murder of former Colorado Dept. of Corrections Chief Tom Clements’ as an example of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s failure to keep the state safe, Clements’ widow, Lisa, asked Beauprez to stop.

“Mr. Beauprez, it is with great sadness and frustration that I am breaking my silence on matters involving the death of my husband,” Lisa Clements wrote to Beauprez Thursday in a letter shared with Colorado media outlets.

“On several occasions this year, you have attempted to use our family’s tragic loss for your personal and political gain, and we are respectfully asking you to stop.  We’re requesting you to please stop referencing our tragedy in your debate statements and in your campaign ads. Because every time you do, you re-open the wounds that our family continues to suffer from.

“We have not asked you to defend or publicize our experience, and we are not interested in accepting the support of anyone who chooses to do so with the expectation of something in return.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has a long history in Colorado politics. Beauprez went to Congress in 2002 after winning an extremely close and bitter CD-7 race by only 121 votes–a result finalized weeks after the election. Beauprez ran for governor in 2006, and had to fight a particularly bitter primary campaign against entrepreneur Marc Holtzman: a primary that left Beauprez seriously damaged even before the race against eventual blowout winner Bill Ritter got underway.

In 2006 on the way to his historic 17-point defeat, Beauprez earned a reputation as a ruthlessly negative campaigner. Whether this is a product of Beauprez's character or the desperate battle he fought to win his seat in Congress is tough to say, but as Beauprez sagged in the polls he simultaneously threw the kitchen sink at Ritter–including highly controversial claims about illegal immigrants in Denver that resulted in a federal investigation.

We've talked a lot this year about the crazy things Beauprez has said on the record since losing the 2006 gubernatorial race. Many of the worst of Beauprez's statements date to the high tide of the Tea Party in 2009-10, when all kinds of immoderate nonsense was fashionable. Comments about President Barack Obama "pushing" the nation toward civil war, Muslim Sharia law "creeping in" to Colorado, etc. betray either pathological or deeply cynical motivations underlying Beauprez's politics.

The tragic story of the murder of Department of Corrections director Tom Clements has been crassly politicized almost from the day he was killed. Not long after Clements' death, unnamed Republican sources persuaded the Denver Post to write a front-page story essentially blaming killer Evan Ebel's release on a Democratic-sponsored 2011 law. The next day, a 9NEWS report showed that Ebel had been released years early due to an entirely unrelated judicial error, and the Post eventually admitted that the factual basis of their story was wrong.

A 9NEWS Truth Test last night explains further, referencing their earlier report:

The assassinated prison chief was a member of the governor's cabinet and a close friend of Hickenlooper's.

To portray Hickenlooper as responsible for Ebel's release from prison deliberately misleads voters.

The Beauprez camp defends this claim by pointing to a law that Hickenlooper did sign in 2011, which allows offenders like Ebel to earn time off for good behavior while in solitary confinement.

Ebel did earn time under that law.

But that wouldn't have mattered in this case. The courts made a mistake that allowed Ebel to get out four years early. [Pols emphasis]

Beauprez has repeatedly invoked Clements' death to attack Gov. John Hickenlooper on the campaign trail, blaming Hickenlooper for the legislation the Denver Post wrongly identified as the reason for Ebel's early release, as well longstanding problems with releasing inmates like Ebel directly from solitary confinement to the street. But the truth is, Clements, under Hickenlooper, was working to reform the solitary confinement system in Colorado prisons when he was killed. To mislead voters about these events to the degree that Beauprez has, for the kind of crude political scare tactics that Beauprez has employed, is objectively deplorable. It's deplorable in a way that should disgust members of both parties–anyone who considers themselves a responsible stakeholder in Colorado politics.

It is wrong, it demeans us all, and it must not be rewarded. We really don't know what else to say.