Tim Neville Could (Still) Be in Serious Trouble


See the option for “contribute anonymously” on Neville’s fundly page? Yeah, you can’t do that.

UPDATE (8/19/14): According to a second letter sent to Tim Neville from Christopher O'Dell, questions remain as to what happened with all of the "anonymous" donors that appeared on his campaign website. Neville responded to the initial letter with a short email explaining that these anonymous donations were indeed accounted for in his campaign finance reports, but Neville has yet to get into detail about the more than 50 anonymous donations that had appeared on his Fundly.com campaign website.


As Eli Stokols reports for Fox 31:

Tim Neville, a Republican running for a Jefferson County state senate that could determine which party controls the chamber next year, has been accused of violating Colorado’s campaign finance laws — by a fellow Republican.

Christopher O’Dell, a former Jefferson County GOP chairman, sent Neville a letter Monday asking him to explain apparent violations of campaign finance laws allowing for anonymous contributions of no more than $20 and individual contributions of no more than $400.

According to fundraising information linked publicly on Neville’s own campaign website, Neville has received around a dozen anonymous contributions exceeding the $20 limit, including one as large as $400.

Neville, who was appointed to fill the vacant District 22 seat in 2011 only to see his seat disappear during reapportionment in 2012 when he was drawn into S.D. 16, also appears to have received at least three contributions from individuals that exceed the $400 limit.

Campaign finance violations are, unfortunately, an all too-common occurence in Colorado politics, but there are two pieces to this story that could make Neville's troubles particularly concerning.

Neville is the Republican candidate in SD-16, challenging Democratiic Sen. Jeanne Nicholson in what we've said before is likely to be the single most competitive State Senate race in 2014. That means that Democrats have every incentive to pursue these violations as far as possible. This leads us to the second major problem for Neville — the more you follow this rabbit down the hole, the more curious it gets.


33 Consecutive Months Of Job Growth In Colorado

3d graph arrow blue

As the Denver Post's Howard Pankratz reports, what may be the worst possible news for GOP  political campaign messaging is great news for the rest of us:

Colorado logged its 33rd consecutive month of job growth in July and unemployment dipped to 5.3 percent, the ninth-lowest rate in the country.

The state last hit 5.3 percent unemployment in October 2008.

In June, the state unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. Since then, Colorado has added 5,500 non-farm payroll jobs, raising the total to nearly 2.5 million jobs, the fifth-fastest job increase in the United States.

"Employment gains and the improving labor market are pretty widespread across the state," said Alexandra Hall, chief economist for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Politically, there's very little for detractors to carp about in these latest numbers: the unemployment rate fell not due to workers leaving the workforce or government job growth, but thousands of honest-to-Pete private sector jobs being created in Colorado.

Despite all of the day-to-day message battles between Republican and Democratic campaigns and surrogate spin doctors, it remains a truism in politics that a good economy gives incumbents a big advantage in any election. Voters reliably punish incumbents when they feel uneasy about their own economic prospects, and reward incumbents when they feel positive. This is a big reason why, in the present economic climate of not just recovery but real bullishness beginning to peek its head out, Republicans hoping to oust Democrats both in Colorado and nationally cannot acknowledge that the economy is doing well. To do so, as we've discussed previously, would be to admit the inadmissible: that Obamacare hasn't wrecked the economy as Republicans not only predicted beforehand, but insisted has happened in the months since the law took effect.

And if Obamacare didn't destroy the economy, a whole lot of other things descending from that aren't true either. Very quickly, a small admission like "yes, the economy is getting better" could lead to major troubles for the GOP's whole ideological edifice.

Bottom line: one of the biggest dangers Republicans face today is this simple news report being broadly understood by the voters: who then hear the words "the economy is a disaster" from a GOP politician, and realize it isn't true. If Republicans lose control of this narrative, and economic bullishness becomes a prevalent mindset before November, it will severely weaken their case for undecided votes.

In the meantime, we'll say it gladly: congratulations to the thousands of Coloradans headed back to work.

Gardner Gets Hammered for Hiding Details on Insurance


Rep. Cory Gardner waving his healthcare “cancellation” letter during a Congressional hearing last fall.

Republican Congressman Cory Gardner has been peddling a story about his family's insurance coverage and the horrors caused by Obamacare for some time now — but the opaque nature of his argument is coming under increasing scrutiny from the media.

In Gardner's latest television ad, the GOP Senate candidate again tells the tale of his family's insurance plan being cancelled as part of the Affordable Care Act. But in a new "Truth Test" from 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman, Gardner's campaign fails miserably when pressed for details:

Gardner released his cancellation letter, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, but took out all the details about his old plan.

The Gardner campaign denied repeated requests for details about the coverage that Gardner and his family had under the plan that was canceled, saying only that it came with a premium of $651.75. [Pols emphasis]

The campaign declined to provide evidence of the previous price or any details about the level of coverage and deductibles under the prior plan.

The cheapest new alternative listed in the cancellation notice was a "bronze" plan listed at a premium of $1246.90.

Even if Gardner's old cheaper plan was meager in its coverage, Gardner would have a legitimate policy argument to make by saying he shouldn't be required to buy a better plan than he had before.

However, if he's going to use his personal healthcare story as part of the political debate, it would be better to have the full context.

Rittiman isn't the first to scratch his head at Gardner's insurance claims, but what is interesting to note in this "Truth Test" is the increasingly aggressive line of questioning leveled at Gardner's campaign — and the consistent refusal to provide requested information. Gardner has repeatedly claimed that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans saw their health care plans cancelled because of Obamacare — a talking point that has long ago been proved false — but reporters are increasingly turning their attention to the rest of the story.

You can read between the lines here as Rittiman concludes his "Truth Test":

Like ads before it, this one references real issues with Obamacare.

But when you get the full story, it doesn't sound as bad as the Gardner campaign would like it to.

As for the congressman's personal story, you should take it with a grain of salt because we don't have all the details. [Pols emphasis]

Remember, folks, that the letter Gardner consistently discusses is actually addressed to his wife — and we only know that because Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols kept asking him until he revealed the contents. From a Fox 31 story last fall:

Later that same day, Gardner appeared on CNN’s Crossfire and told the exact same story.

Since then, FOX31 Denver has asked Gardner to provide a copy of the letter or to provide additional details about the policies.

Five times.

After our story aired on Good Day Colorado Friday morning, Gardner released a copy of the letter with some information redacted, that he says his family received.

The bottom line here is really quite simple: If Gardner's personal health care sob story is free of holes, as he claims, then why not just turn over the proof to a reporter and end this line of questioning once and for all?

The truth is rarely this complicated.

GOP’s Breakdown In Jeffco Increasingly Evident

Beneath the election season bravado.

Beneath the election season bravado.

Vic Vela of Colorado Community Media has an excellent summary of the state of play in Jefferson County legislative races, where Republicans hungry for a win in 2014 have been dealt a major setback via bungled candidate recruitment and insurgent hard-right primary wins. It's a story we've been talking about here for some months now, but as the primary winners for the Republican Party start campaigning for the general election, the problems facing Jefferson County Republicans are increasingly undeniable to even the fairest-minded of journalists:

A Senate seat win in Jeffco in November could flip party control in that chamber. String together a couple of victories in Jeffco House races and things get interesting there.

So why then, with so much on the line, have Republican candidates in Jefferson County been making news of late for all the wrong reasons?

Since June, three Jeffco Republican candidates seeking House and Senate seats have been accused of violating campaign finance disclosure laws — though the allegations at this point are unproven.

Meanwhile, another candidate in a House race has been tangled in a court battle over whether she's even going to be allowed on the November ballot — and that's after the previous Republican hopeful in that district withdrew his candidacy after his ties to white supremacism became known.

And political analysts have wondered since June whether Jefferson County primary voters were wise to pick candidates who might be too conservative to win Senate races in districts that are evenly split in party registration numbers.

Vela touches on a number of Jefferson County races where extremist candidates, unqualified candidates, and late replacement candidates trying to salvage the situation have hobbled Republicans out of the gate. There's HD-29, where Republican Robert Ramirez pulled out of the race at the last minute to be replaced by hard-right movie theater owner Susan Kochevar. In HD-23, where Republicans are still reeling from white supremacist Nate Marshall's aborted candidacy. And of course Republican Senate nominees Laura Waters Woods and Tony Sanchez, both distantly to the right of the mainstream in their swing districts after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners' support helped them defeat more electable contenders.

Right now, the bravado from Colorado Republicans as election season approaches is perhaps at the highest level we've seen at any point since Democrats took control of the state legislature in Colorado almost ten years ago. At the same time, even GOP stalwarts like former GOP chairman Dick Wadhams have flatly stated that candidates like Woods and Sanchez cannot win in competitive Jefferson County. The victory of RMGO's favored hard-right favorites could well result in a terrible disappointment for Republicans on Election Night as winnable races slip from their grasp. And the real twist? The "momentum" claimed by Republicans in state legislative races today is in large part due to gun rights hysteria whipped up by RMGO!

Either way, folks, the GOP is dancing with the ones that brung 'em. So there's not much to pity.

Pardon the Mess: Denial of Service Attack on Colorado Pols

A quick note to apologize again for downtime this morning–a very large amount of traffic swamped the site moments ago, forcing our system administrations to block all access to our database. Some users received a "site suspended" message as a result of the temporary blocking of database access calls.

Our hosting company is presently working to determine the origin of this large spurt of traffic, but it appears consistent initially with what's known in the industry as a "denial of service" attack–an attack where web servers are flooded with bogus requests to deny access to legitimate users. Such attacks can be difficult to precisely determine based on their distributed nature, often taking advantage of thousands of infected computers to flood servers–which looks maddeningly similar to normal web traffic. Regardless of what you might call this, we understand from our hosts that this is almost certainly intentional.

We've been working to manage trouble that crops up from time to time with our WordPress installation, but by all accounts this appears to be different, so we're taking the unusual step of letting people know what happened. Should it recur, or become a major ongoing problem for us, it's possible there is a…nontechnical aspect to what's happening. We don't know that yet, but if we find out that's what's happening, we'll be a lot more vocal.

In the meantime, carry on.

Democrats To Bob Beauprez: Ditch Rick Perry’s Endorsement

Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

​New Democratic-aligned message group Making Colorado Great, which is focused on the gubernatorial race this year, put out a release this morning calling on GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez to renounce his recent endorsement by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry, as you may have heard, was indicted last week on felony charges relating to alleged abuse of power. Excerpt from today's release:

"We call on Beauprez to immediately renounce his endorsement by indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry," stated Michael Huttner, spokesman for Making Colorado Great.

Perry, who was indicted on two felony counts of abuse of power last Friday, endorsed Bob Beauprez during the Republican primary on May 20, 2014.

Bob Beauprez continues to tout Perry's endorsement -– even more than that of Mitt Romney–on his official campaign website.

On his official campaign website Beauprez states he is "proud to receive the endorsement of conservative Governor Rick Perry this morning…Rick Perry is a good man and an outstanding Governor."

Beauprez isn't the only Colorado Republican candidate with Rick Perry baggage in tow: Rep. Mike Coffman was an early endorser and state chair of Perry's train wreck 2012 presidential campaign. The charges against Perry stem from actions he took against a district attorney whose office oversees the state of Texas' Public Integrity Unit–the office responsible for policing public corruption, and due to its location generally controlled by Democrats. Perry vetoed the funding for the public corruption unit after the DA in question pled guilty to a DUI. As of now, Perry's Republican allies are staunchly defending him–but depending on how only the second indictment of a Texas governor in 100 years unfolds, Perry could become a problematic association for any Colorado Republicans who have invoked his name.

Factcheck.org: Gardner’s Personhood Distinction Is BS

As the debate has continued over GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's abandonment of the Colorado "Personhood" abortion ban initiatives, the can of worms he opened attempted to put this issue to bed before election season has become increasingly evident. Instead of ending questions about his longstanding support for Personhood, which in addition to banning all abortion even in case of rape or incest could also outlaw certain forms of "abortifacient" birth control, Gardner's disavowal of the Colorado Personhood measure has led to a damaging and protracted look at the underlying details of the issue in the press.

In particular, Gardner's continued sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act, which contains the same essential language as the state Personhood measure granting a fetus rights "from the moment of fertilization," has opened Gardner to accusations of outright deception. If he still supports the federal equivalent of Personhood, plainly his claims to have "rethought" the matter are fictional–an attempt to, as Republican strategist Katy Aktinson cynically admitted, "muddy [the issue] up enough to take it away" from opponent Mark Udall. The much more straightforward reason, as Democrats alleged from the beginning, is that Gardner realized his support for Personhood is a fatal liability in his statewide U.S. Senate race.

In response to ongoing questions about this, Gardner campaign has told the press that there is a difference between the federal Life at Conception Act and the Colorado Personhood ballot measures:

"The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws as Senator Udall falsely alleges," [Gardner spokesman Alex] Siciliano said.

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

You'll recall that we and others immediately questioned this statement–the language in the federal Life at Conception Act and Colorado's Personhood intiatives that could outlaw so-called "abortifacient" birth control are in fact functionally identical, and there is nothing in the Life at Conception Act Gardner remains a sponsor of that prevents it from having the same effect. News stories at first accepted Team Gardner's statement at face value, but slowly we began to see in the reporting that journalists were aware of the discrepancy.

Yesterday, the Annenberg Public Policy Center's Factcheck.org settled the question: Team Gardner is full of bull.

Gardner announced his change of position eight months after he had signed on as a co-sponsor to the federal “Life at Conception Act,” which would extend “equal protection for the right to life” under the 14th amendment to the “preborn” from the “moment of fertilization.” That language — giving the rights of a person to the fertilized egg — is exactly what raises the question of what such a measure would mean for some forms of birth control. Yet Gardner’s campaign told us he was not withdrawing his support for the federal legislation. Spokesman Alex Siciliano told us by email: “The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws.”

We don’t see how the Colorado initiative and the federal bill, which supporters in Congress describe as a “personhood” measure, are different on this point. [Pols emphasis] And neither does one of the groups supporting the state initiative. Jennifer Mason, a spokeswoman for the Yes on Amendment 67 Campaign, which supports the ballot measure, told Colorado public radio station KUNC: “Obviously [Gardner's] a victim of some bad political advice, there’s no reason for him to pull local support while he’s still 100 percent behind the federal amendment. It doesn’t make any sense.”

We agree. And we didn’t receive any further explanation from the Gardner campaign on the contradiction. We asked Nash at the Guttmacher Institute if there was something in the federal bill that would preclude the concerns over birth control, but Nash agreed that the “moment of fertilization” language was the reason these types of proposals had the potential to prohibit access to hormonal forms of birth control. [Pols emphasis]

In other words, exactly what we said all along.

It's not like this is a hard conclusion to reach: both Personhood and the Life and Conception Act are extremely short–a sentence or two at most in all their various iterations. Honestly, we have no idea what the Gardner campaign was thinking throwing out this nonexistent distinction. It was really easy to see that it's false. The elementary critical thinking required to see that Colorado's Personhood ballot measures are a threat to "abortifacient" birth control is no more difficult in the case of the Life at Conception Act.

Hopefully, this puts an end to the maddening up-to-now acceptance without question of Gardner's bogus defense we've seen from reporters either too busy or too lazy to rebut a plainly false statement. There's nothing unfair about checking to make sure the assertion you are reprinting is factually correct–or at least factually defensible. This bogus claim, very important to Gardner's credibility on a key issue, is neither.

Weekend Open Thread

"The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, 'We did it ourselves.'"

–Lao Tzu

Disaster Relief Debate Explodes In Acrimony, Hypocrisy

UPDATE: AP's Nicolas Riccardi reportsCory Gardner's response to questions about his role in the government shutdown last year and tensions with East Coast states over disaster relief funds–once you get past the wall of faux outrage bluster from his surrogates–are really quite extraordinary. And not in a good way. Now we can see why he didn't want to actually talk about this, just yell.

Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano contended that congressman never supported the shutdown. However, Gardner, who is close to House Republican leadership, voted with other House Republicans to shoot down Democratic efforts to reopen government and for spending bills designed to be rejected by the U.S. Senate during the 16-day standoff. [Pols emphasis]

Siciliano noted that, before the shutdown, Gardner had warned against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open. Gardner was also one of a minority of Republicans who eventually voted to reopen government.

Udall spokesman Chris Harris said the Republican still deserves blame. "Everyone can say they don't want a shutdown, but what matters is what you do about it," Harris said. "What Gardner did caused the shutdown."

Udall's campaign also noted that Gardner voted against aid to communities hit by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which opened him to charges of hypocrisy from northeastern Republicans when he helped Colorado secure federal assistance after the 2013 floods. Siciliano said Gardner had supported an initial Sandy relief package but voted against a later version because it contained too much pork. [Pols emphasis]

And that, dear readers, is why Chris Christie called him a hypocrite.


Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, a simmering point of contention between Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and GOP challenger Cory Gardner blew up today into a full-fledged war of words, as Udall slammed Gardner over votes against Hurricane Sandy relief and to shut down the government in 2013–votes that came back to haunt the state during and after the historic flooding along the Front Range last September.

During a three-day road trip Monday through Wednesday, Udall, who is running for re-election, dinged Gardner while touting his efforts in helping Colorado’s flood victims. Udall’s campaign on Thursday sent a news release with the headline, “Gardner Endangered Flood Recovery.” Udall this week released a campaign ad featuring the emotional mayor of Jamestown talking about the flood.

“I was incredibly disappointed to hear and see Sen. Udall dismiss our work together on behalf of flood relief last fall,” Gardner said, in the release. “When Colorado suffers a disaster, we have a history of banding together as Coloradans and helping our family, friends, and neighbors recover. I led the effort in the House to secure federal disaster relief and stood proudly with Sen. Udall and others when we successfully moved this legislation through Congress.”

FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

The impassioned response from Gardner’s campaign isn’t unexpected, but it offered Udall’s campaign a new opening: to attack Gardner and his fellow Republicans once again for voting to shut down the government last fall in an effort to stop the implementation of Obamacare.

The shutdown, which occurred just weeks after the floods, delayed federal disaster relief.

As Udall's campaign explained in their release, there are two parts to the story of last year's flooding and federal disaster relief that are bad for Gardner:

As Colorado was reeling from the worst flooding in our state’s history, Congressman Gardner chose to put his own extreme ideology over the needs of families struggling to put their lives back together. With many families still cut off from their homes and the flood waters still receding, Gardner voted to shut down the government — forcing Colorado to front the bill for National Guard personnel, endangering response readiness, and delaying assistance to farmers impacted by the floods.

In addition to voting to shut down the government and delay urgently needed recovery efforts, Gardner also had voted against the federal disaster bill that funded much of Colorado’s flood recovery needs. This funding was made possible by a disaster assistance bill that Congressman Gardner and Tea Party Republicans in the House fought against tooth and nail. As Republican Gov. Chris Christie said, House Republicans’ refusal to help Americans in need ‘was disappointing and disgusting to watch.’ [Pols emphasis]

Cory Gardner, Mark Udall tour Colorado flood damage.

Cory Gardner, Mark Udall tour Colorado flood damage.

In the immediate aftermath of the devastating flooding last year along the Front Range, local media wasn't very interested in battles playing out in Washington. But events combined to significantly threaten federal relief efforts to our state in late September and early October of 2013, at a time they were needed most. The first was the Republican-engineered shutdown of the federal government in a last-ditch attempt to halt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The second factor, which we reported on in detail in this space, concerned bipartisan outrage from representatives of East Coast states impacted by Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012. Rep. Cory Gardner and the rest of Colorado's GOP delegation voted against the second round of Hurricane Sandy relief funding. In an unfortunate twist, the disaster relief funds Colorado needed after our flooding last year were slated to come from the same pot of money approved in the disaster relief bill Colorado Republicans voted against.

Last October, politicians in both parties from areas affected by Sandy attacked Colorado Republicans for their hypocrisy. New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo called Colorado Republicans the "Hypocrisy Caucus." A front-page story in the New York Daily News quoted an NYC congressman saying "I only wish the best for the people of Colorado as they repair their lives after such devastation, but…these members are persona non grata in our town." The Washington Post covered Colorado Gov. Chris Christie's reaction:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday called out four Colorado Republicans in Congress who opposed a bill to fund disaster relief programs in his state, then turned around and pushed for federal aid when their state was hit by devastating floods.

“They’re hypocrites. That’s what they are,” Christie said of the Colorado Republicans [Pols emphasis] during a telephone town hall meeting Thursday night, in comments first reported by the Newark Star-Ledger. But, he added: “We can’t be vindictive. Because we have to be concerned about the actual people that are being hurt.”

Ultimately, Colorado did receive the money we needed for recovery–after efforts by Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet to smooth tensions, and the release of a hold on Colorado's aid request by New Jersey's then-Sen. Jeff Chiesa.

With all of this in mind, this week's bitter exchange of press statements makes a lot of sense. Gardner's public anger over Udall calling him out for the shutdown and Sandy relief votes is meant to squelch what is in fact a devastating criticism. In hindsight, the GOP's government shutdown to stop Obamacare was an absolute fool's errand, one that hurt Republicans vastly more than anybody else. In Colorado, that pain took on added significance as federal disaster relief was delayed due to the shutdown. And when you combine that with Gardner's vote against Hurricane Sandy relief, which blew up in all of our faces as vengeful East Coast politicians made an example of our "Hypocrisy Caucus?"

God help Cory Gardner if Colorado voters realize the full truth of all this–which is why he doth protest too much.

Cory Gardner To Pro-Lifers: Thanks For Nothing, Morans!

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Yesterday, the anti-abortion National Right to Life PAC endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner, citing Gardner's longstanding opposition to "unrestricted abortion." From their press release:

Sen. Udall’s own radical abortion position is far out of the mainstream. Mark Udall supports a policy of abortion on demand, which allows abortion for any reason. He voted to keep the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure legal (10/02/03, Roll Call No. 530). He opposed measures that would protect the rights of parents to be involved in their minor daughter’s abortion decision. Udall has also voted several times in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.

Rep. Gardner opposes unrestricted abortion. He voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – ground breaking legislation to protect unborn children at 20 weeks, a point by which the unborn child is capable of feeling great pain when being killed by dismemberment or other late abortion methods (6/18/13, Roll Call No. 251). Gardner also voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would establish a permanent, government-wide policy against taxpayer funding of abortions (1/28/14, Roll Call No. 30)…

Cory Gardner stands in opposition to Obamacare – a law that created a national program of massive federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion, and imposes rationing of lifesaving medical care – and he voted to repeal this destructive health care law. Sen. Udall voted for the pro-abortion, pro-rationing Obamacare law. Cory Gardner is needed in the U.S. Senate to help reverse the abortion-expanding and rationing effects of that law.

“Colorado mothers and their unborn children deserve better than Mark Udall’s extreme abortion policies,” Tobias added. “They deserve a senator who will stand up and give them a voice in the U.S. Senate. They deserve Cory Gardner.”

Interestingly, this release makes no mention at all of Gardner's strongest current pro-life position: his continuing sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act, which includes similar language protecting embryos "from the moment of fertilization" that Colorado's Personhood abortion ban initiatives contained. This is the language that could, in addition to banning all abortion even in cases of rape or incest, ban certain "abortifacient" forms of birth control. Given the problems Gardner is having reconciling his abandonment of Colorado's Personhood intiatives with his ongoing sponsorship of federal Personhood legislation, it's probably best that National Right to Life PAC keeps quiet about it.

This endorsement may be helpful for Gardner for shoring up his right flank, but it works at cross purposes to Gardner's larger objective of burying abortion as an issue to use against him well ahead of election season. Even among friends, Gardner doesn't want to talk about this, because any accommodation to one side of this polarized debate alienates him from the other–even more so since his recent flip-flops on the issue have been away from his base and record. He needed the right's support to get where he is, but what he needs most of all today is for them to shut up and let him run to the middle. That they're not doing so, giving Democrats new angles to revisit the issue, is an ominous development for Gardner.

So, that's one problem with this endorsement.  Here's another.



This is the social media graphic National Right to Life is sharing to announce their endorsement. See the mountain in the background shot? That's Mount Moran of the Grand Teton Range in Wyoming. We've been there. It's pretty. But unfortunately, it's not in Colorado.

In our experience, using non-Colorado mountains in Colorado political advertising is the kiss of death. Perhaps not quite the disaster that the Colorado Republican Party's awkward dance with Personhood has been, but definitely not good. Be assured, locals don't appreciate it. It comes across as ignorant and patronizing, the product of outsiders to whom all "flyover state" mountains look the same.

Bottom line: to summarize National Right to Life's efforts on behalf of Cory Gardner, see title.

AFP Has Money To Burn on Bogus Obamacare Ads

As the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports, two new Obamascare ads from big-ticket conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity are freshly running in Colorado–and the organization's highly dubious track record for accuracy appears little improved:

The words in the ad are chosen carefully. Health care costs had been on the rise for decades, which was the main motivation driving health care wonks on the right and left to design the policies that became the Affordable Care Act. In fact, costs have leveled off recently. FactCheck.org in February summarized the debate over why the costs are leveling and said it was just too early to tell how the Affordable Care Act will affect costs in the future…

AFP zeros in on Udall over the issue of policy cancellations.

“335,000 Coloradans received a cancellation notice,” says the narrator. “What did Mark Udall do? He tried to hide it. Udall pressured state officials to report fewer policy cancellations to make Obamacare look better.”

As our readers know, this is not even close to accurate–but it summarizes the Republican deception in the flap last winter over supposed policy "cancellations." The fact is, as we've discussed repeatedly, over 90% of those "cancellations" were in fact renewal notices. Udall's inquiry with the state sought to establish that, and the state's commissioner of insurance Marguerite Salazar said "the Senator’s efforts were useful" in getting the facts right. We now know that not only did these hundreds of thousands of policyholders remain insured, but the rate of uninsured in Colorado has plunged from 17% of the population to only 11%.

Like we said about Karl Rove's Obamascare ad a few days ago, these ads are too late. The dire predictions didn't materialize. The public can see that with their own eyes. Too many thousands of Coloradans have Obamacare success stories to tell now, not horror stories.

But as the Independent's Tomasic continues, that isn't even slowing down AFP:

The other anti-Obamacare ad released by AFP today targets three Democratic state senators from swing Jefferson County — Cheri Jahn, Andy Kerr and Jeanne Nicholson. Democrats enjoy a mere one-seat majority in the Senate and Republicans are gunning to flip the balance.

The ad says the lawmakers “made Obamacare worse” in Colorado by approving the establishment of the Connect for Health state insurance exchange marketplace.

This second AFP ad (above), targeting Colorado Democratic Sens. Cheri Jahn, Andy Kerr, and Jeanne Nicholson, is nothing short of ridiculous for anyone who knows the story of Colorado's bipartisan-created health insurance marketplace. By every objective measure, the Colorado health insurance marketplace has performed much better than either the federal exchange or the exchanges in most other states, not worse. Just today, a study from the Urban Institute says that the Colorado exchange is highly competitive and offers consumers low premiums. Although Colorado's exchange website had some startup issues, they were resolved far quicker than the federal exchange's infamous chronic breakdowns. It is demonstrably a false statement that Colorado's health insurance exchange "made Obamacare worse"–as Republican sponsors of the exchange like Rep. Amy Stephens are more than happy to tell you, our exchange made Obamacare better.

Bottom line: Americans for Prosperity has released so many false ads about Obamacare–and don't take our word for it, consult any fact-checker you trust–that it's clear at this point the truth is simply not a priority for this organization. That sounds like a typical campaign-season accusation, but it's true in this case beyond the usual back-and-forth. This is an organization spending literally millions of dollars to spread messages that are demonstrably, objectively not true. They are doing it because they know more people will see their ads than will see the fact-check stories disproving them.

In ways that should merit bipartisan outrage, this group sums up what's wrong with politics in America today.