Gardner’s Debate Disaster, Part 3: Just Answer Yes or No

The New Republic's Rebecca Leber reports on another brutal moment for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner at this week's Denver Post debate–in which Gardner was unable to give a simple yes-or-no answer to the question of humanity's role in global climate change.

Tuesday, Gardner refused to answer a yes or no question on whether humans are causing climate change. Insisting the response would be too complicated, he told a (reportedly) pro-Democratic crowd that, "I believe that the climate is changing, I disagree to the extent that it's been in the news." And Gardner isn’t the only Colorado Republican struggling with these issues. During a debate in late September, Mike Coffman, a congressman seeking reelection, got into trouble answering the same question of whether climate change is real. First he said, “No,” then he said, “Don’t know,” during a round of rapid-fire questioning…

As tedious as it may seem to keep reminding Republicans that climate change science really isn’t such a mystery, it’s important that candidates are getting asked for their views. It reveals just how hard the GOP politicians are trying to sound reasonable, even as they reject science. For a while, the clichéd Republican response was “the climate is always changing.” Later it became, "I'm not scientist." Tomorrow it will probably be something else. Reporters should keep asking these questions, and watching Republicans tie themselves into such rhetorical knots. At some point, hopefully, the voters will notice.

Gardner's attempt to "gum to death" what should have been a straightforward answer, in a debate marked by repeated attempts to bluster past questions central to Gardner's campaign like his Obamacare "cancellation" and support for measures that could ban birth control, helped cement the impression in the audience that Gardner just doesn't feel any need to be straight with voters. Gardner's non-answers to specific questions about his health insurance policy were plainly meant to evade, and we've already gone into detail about Gardner's disastrous attempt to "Jedi Mind Trick" his continuing sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act–an abortion ban bill that could have the same consequences for certain forms of "abortifacient" birth control as the state Personhood measures he claims to no longer support. Here we have a case of Gardner trying to evade the damage that a simple yes or no answer would do–but his decision to bicker with the moderators instead of answering the question only makes him look worse.

It's another situation where, for all of Gardner's alleged oratorical skill, he comes off looking like a say-anything weasel. We'll freely admit that the failure of Gardner to defend himself under scrutiny, now that the press is finally asking him the hard questions, surprises us. 

However you feel about the issues, we honestly thought Gardner was better at the argumentation. But he's not.

Cory Gardner: The Great Unraveling Continues

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby is the latest Colorado journalist to document the rapid breakdown of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's message on abortion and contraception policy. In a detailed story today, Ashby recounts the conflict between Gardner's abandonment of the state Personhood abortion bans and his continued sponsorship of the functionally equivalent federal Life at Conception Act–and how Gardner's explanations for this conflict have failed the most basic tests for accuracy:

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, doesn’t see an inconsistency in reversing his support for a statewide personhood ballot measure and his co-sponsorship of a federal Life at Conception Act measure now before Congress…

About a month after he entered the race in February, Gardner announced that he had reversed his support of the state personhood effort, saying he did so because it would lead to outlawing certain forms of contraception.

In a long and sometimes heated discussion about the issue with The Daily Sentinel editorial board, Gardner repeated that stance, saying he supports the use of contraception, including making some available over the counter.

But when asked why he continued to keep his name among the 131 other cosponsors of the Life at Conception Act, he said repeatedly that it wouldn’t have the same impact as a state constitutional amendment even though it would impact the entire nation as opposed to a single state…

The description of Gardner's meeting with the Grand Junction Sentinel editorial board as "heated" is consistent with Gardner's answers to Eli Stokols of FOX 31 when pressed to explain the difference between the Personhood measures and the federal Life at Conception Act. And it's consistent with Gardner's demeanor when questioned by the Denver Post in this week's debate. In both cases, Gardner's canned response that "there is no federal Personhood bill" wasn't accepted by the interviewer–and Gardner had no better answer to offer.

The reason is simple: Gardner can't defend his position.

[President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain Region Vicki] Cowart points to another co-sponsor of the act, Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

In a recent online plea for donations to the National Pro-Life Alliance, Paul said the act would be used to overturn the landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal. [Pols emphasis]

Bottom line: Gardner is asking voters to disregard what the other sponsors of this legislation themselves say it would do. Because Personhood and the Life at Conception Act both contain the same language conferring rights from "the moment of fertilization," the distinction Gardner has tried to make between the two never made sense, and we identified this conflict when Gardner originally disavowed Personhood. It's why the final deadline for Gardner to remove himself from the federal bill, adjournment of the House until after the November elections, was so important.

Gardner made the conscious decision to remain a sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, and to justify that decision by creating a distinction between the two proposals that, as fact-checkers, experts, and other sponsors of the bill agree, does not exist. The growing exasperation from the press as Gardner demands they disregard what they can plainly see is manifesting in extremely damaging stories that no longer make any attempt to spare him from criticism. And this is the key point: Gardner's insistent break with reality on this issue is enough to make it a problem for voters who don't care about abortion.

Because at a certain level, everyone hates being lied to.

Making Julie Williams The Face of The GOP

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

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

As the months-long protests against actions of the new conservative Jefferson County school board majority have raged on, and in the last few weeks gained international media coverage, we've tried to stay focused on the next logical question for a political blog–what effect these highly visible and popular protests will have on next month's elections. Jefferson County is considered one of the state's (and for that matter, the nation's) foremost political bellwethers, and a win in Jefferson County is generally considered to be mandatory to winning any statewide race.

In addition to the general fact that the Jeffco school board is now controlled by identifiably partisan Republicans, board member Julie Williams has close ties to the Neville family of well-known conservative Republican Jefferson County activists. As Williams has emerged as the central figure in the recent AP history curriculum review controversy, her personal connections to Republican state legislative candidates–along with the damage to the GOP brand her proposal caused just ahead of a major election–are a legitimate concern for Republicans who want to win elections next month.

As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reported last night, Democrats are doing what they can to bring about the GOP's worst-case scenario:

In a new television ad, Colorado Democrats attempt to draw a line between the three conservative Jefferson County School Board members whose effort to square the district’s AP U.S. History curriculum with their idea of “American exceptionalism” has sparked weeks of protest, with four Republican state senate candidates looking to oust Democratic incumbents.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, an initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party, is behind the ad, the most serious effort yet to leverage the ongoing controversy over the Jefferson County School Board into a political advantage in next month’s election.

The group is betting that swing voters in Colorado’s biggest bellwether county will side with the students and teachers who have protested the board’s move — and that linking four GOP senate hopefuls to the conservative board majority could swing these competitive races that are certain to affect the balance of power within the Capitol’s upper chamber come January.

“Jefferson County families are against the extreme Tea Party slate pushing their ideological agenda on families. That’s not how we do things in Colorado, said Andrew Short, the DSCF’s executive director. “They have nationally embarrassed us and they will pay for it in November.” [Pols emphasis]

UPDATE: From the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund's press release:

Tim Neville’s sister-in-law, school board member Julie Williams is trying to push her extreme agenda into the State Senate. She has the backing of her brother-in-law, Tim Neville and is also supporting Laura Woods, Tony Sanchez, and Larry Queen.
 
“We stand on the side of students, parents, and teachers – and against the extreme Tea Party agenda.  This isn’t about party politics.  This is about what is right.  The Tea Party won all the Jefferson County primaries last June and is now pushing their ideological agenda on Jefferson County families. This will not be accepted by middle of the road, Jefferson County voters,” said Short.
 
Beginning with a pop quiz, the ad asks, “The censoring of textbooks and rewriting of history recently resulted in public protests, where?”  The answer is Jefferson County.  The ad outlines how the new school board extremists nationally embarrassed Jefferson County families. It also highlights Julie Williams’ support for the Jefferson County Tea Party slate for State Senate.

Williams' original proposal to review Jeffco's new AP history curriculum to ensure it "promotes patriotism" and does not "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law" was, it's safe to say today, politically disastrous. The literally worldwide attention it received precipitated anger that transcended party lines–at least with the overwhelming majority created by Democrats, independent voters, and yes, even Republicans who draw a bright white line at political censorship of history. It's another case where this new majority has tried to impose a right-wing agenda item that's simply out of step in a moderate place like Jefferson County. And with so much bad blood between this new board majority and the community already, stripping the review committee proposal of Williams' incendiary language did little to assuage fears.

Voters can already see, and will find it easily if they haven't, that this is a partisan political battle unfolding. The ad above supplies important data points that connect what's happening on the streets of Jefferson County with Republicans on the ballots going out next week.

We'll say it again: as Jefferson County goes, so goes Colorado. There is a possibility, and it is growing, that Republicans well above the county level will pay a dear price for Julie Williams on Election Night.

Beauprez’s Blog Officially Meets The Bit Bucket

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

An emergent major liability for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez this election season has been a long record of highly immoderate statements he made between his last run for office in 2006 and the present day. Many of these statements, which Democrats have already used against Beauprez to great effect with more on the way, were originally recorded on a blog operated for years by Beauprez called A Line of Sight.

Soon after entering the gubernatorial race, Beauprez "migrated" the A Line of Sight blog to a "backup server"–a location still publicly accessible, but with different URL addresses for all of Beauprez's content. This had the effect of breaking all the inbound links into this content, as well as severely downgrading the site's Google searchablility. This was never much of an impediment to Democratic researchers, who had already created mirror copies of the website for searching at leisure–but it stymied the lay public trying to learn about Beauprez's record.

We noted a few days ago that even the backup copy of A Line of Sight appeared to no longer contain any content. And as 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman reports this afternoon, that's no accident:

As of Wednesday, the name "A Line of Sight" and description of the blog still remain on a backup server, but error messages appear when attempting to access any blog posts.

The blog contents do still remain available to the public, but require the use of archival search tools to locate.

The Beauprez campaign tells 9NEWS that it removed the blog contents because posts are no longer being written on it.

"It's not reckless to clean up an old website that's not in use anymore," said Allen Fuller, a spokesman for the Beauprez campaign…

However, the Beauprez campaign insisted at the time that it was not making an effort to hide the old blog material, pointing 9NEWS to a backup website, alos.thinkrootshq.com, where they said the entire contents of the blog would remain.

Beauprez spokesman Allen Fuller is quick to note that Democrats already have copies of everything that was on this blog, but that's not really the point. With ballots arriving in mailboxes across the state next week, voters will be taking to their computers by the thousands to learn about the candidates on this year's ballot. Prior to the campaign's removal of his blog, A Line of Sight was a prominent result for many searches–both for Beauprez by name and a variety of political issues. These included such gems as Beauprez's "47% pay no taxes" line, and his endorsement of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance among many others. And yes, also the blog post in which Beauprez bemoans same-sex marriage as the downfall of Western civilization.

Folks, we all know why Beauprez's blog got archived into obscurity, and then deleted just before ballots drop. It's sloppy, and it makes for an embarrassing news story, but it will keep some number of undecided Colorado voters from seeing material that would leave them unable to vote for Bob Beauprez.

Gardner’s Debate Disaster, Part 1: Cory’s Health Plan

The Denver Post has posted video clips of a number of key exchanges from last night's pivotal U.S. Senate race debate between Mark Udall and Cory Gardner. We certainly encourage readers to watch the debate in its entirety, but these clips zero in on the most impactful moments–almost all of them major breakdowns for Gardner's central campaign messages. We'll be talking about these clips a lot in the coming days:

Our first clip is of Gardner's refusal last night to divulge details of the health insurance plan he claims was cancelled due to the Affordable Care Act, and for which an "equivalent" replacement was supposedly much higher cost. As we've covered in detail in this space, Gardner's claims are impossible to substantiate based on the experience of others buying insurance from the Colorado health insurance marketplace. FOX 31's Eli Stokols tried valiantly to get the details on Gardner's insurance plan, and was stonewalled in response. Last night, the Denver Post's political news editor Chuck Plunkett pressed Gardner for these same details, and got similar evasive talking points in reply. We're actually quite surprised to see that in the week between Gardner's disastrous interview with Stokols and last night's debate, Gardner didn't come up with some kind of better answer to this very basic question–a question central to Gardner's campaign, as he regularly claims that his experience with Obamacare is what motivated him to run for the U.S. Senate.

Last night, after listening to Gardner recite his boilerplate against Obamacare, Plunkett tried to get back to the question he had originally posed:

CHUCK PLUNKETT: Mr. Gardner, could we take just a few more seconds, and, and we wanted to try to get a specific answer to the question…

(Audience laughter, applause)

PLUNKETT: Why did you redact the portion of the specific plan your family was using?

CORY GARDNER: Because we found a solution, an insurance policy that we liked. That our family liked. The same kind of solution that 340,000 other Coloradans found. 340,000 Coloradans found a health insurance policy that they liked. What Senator Udall promised, is that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it. He did not say–and what Senator Udall wants to do is to say is this. He wants to say that well, your policy didn't do this, or your policy didn't do that…

PLUNKETT: Mr. Gardner, I'm sorry, we, if you would like to answer the specific question, we have a few more times, a little bit more time…

GARDNER: Well I'm happy to debate the failure of Obamacare, this entire hour if Senator Udall would agree. 

MARK UDALL: Congressman, I think you ought to… (gestures)

GARDNER: Okay, let's do it, if you want to debate…

PLUNKETT: No no, no no but we've got all these question we want to ask, so…

LYNN BARTELS: Cory, hold off.

UDALL: If I might, Chuck I'd like to get a word in here, the Congressman hasn't…

GARDNER: Am I allowed a rebuttal, if he's allowed a rebuttal to this question….

UDALL: The Congressman hasn't answered this question, as you know, and I think he should answer…

BARTELS: Rebut at him, we're trying to get you to answer a specific question. [Pols emphasis]

GARDNER: Well then I'm allowed to rebut.

PLUNKETT: Wait a second, let's get control of the situation here. Every now and then, I will want, or Lynn will want, we'll look at each other and confer to ask a follow-up question if we think a question was answered. That's our prerogative. Sometimes if a candidate doesn't answer a question, that also tells you something about the candidate that voters can know. [Pols emphasis] But right now we're going to move on to…

(Audience laughter)

GARDNER: Now Chuck, I would like to address what you just said.

PLUNKETT: That's not applicable to just you, Mr. Gardner, that would apply to any candidate that doesn't specifically answer a question.

By the end, it was painfully obvious why Gardner won't divulge the details of his pre-Obamacare insurance plan. It's because something in those details would severely undermine the claims he has made. At this point, Gardner has taken almost as much damage from refusing to release these details than he would if he simply admitted he's not being honest–but for obvious reasons, Cory Gardner can't do that. The only thing Gardner can do now is fall back on old talking points, like the highly misleading one about 340,000 Coloradans who "had their health plans cancelled"–debunked by the fact that the rate of uninsured in Colorado has plummeted since Obamacare took effect. The truth is, most of the claims being made about Obamacare today have been debunked by health insurance consumers' own experiences, and simple arithmetic showing the number of uninsured has shrunk not grown.

For anyone who knows even part of the story–a growing number of voters, but especially political insiders in Washington following these races down the stretch–Gardner's credibility is totally destroyed by this exchange. Its damage can only be limited by limiting the number of voters who see it. And if Democrats are on their game, they'll spread this clip far and wide over the next three weeks.

Aurora Sentinel Endorses Romanoff in Strongly-Worded Editorial

CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff (D).

The Aurora Sentinel endorses Andrew Romanoff in CO-6.

The Aurora Sentinel is the largest newspaper in Congressional District 6 — and really the only major newspaper covering Aurora — and today they published a surprisingly-strong endorsement of Democrat Andrew Romanoff over incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. As the Sentinel explains, Romanoff is a clear choice to represent the growing middle class in CO-6:

You’re about 40 years old. You and your spouse make close to $55,000 a year. About half of you are white, but the rest of you are either black, Latino or Asian. And you’re worried about how you’re going to hold onto what you’ve got. As part of the shrinking middle class in Aurora, and the nation, both candidates for the 6th Congressional District would pretty much have your back on economics if you send them to Washington. But only one of the candidates would vote on most issues the same way you would, and that’s Andrew Romanoff…[Pols emphasis]

…As the next Congress tries, again, to take up the matters of health care, immigration, Medicare, equal pay, federal spending, student aid, new energy development and the limitation of corporate greed and influence, Andrew Romanoff’s record and goals reflect what the district wants and needs. He offers a path forward that makes sense for all of Aurora.

The complete editorial is worth a read, if nothing else because it is so detailed in its assessment of Aurora's changing needs and environment. The Sentinel is critical of Coffman, though its critique is framed largely around the idea that Coffman is no longer representative of a district that bears little resemblance to the heavily-conservative boundaries that outlined CD-6 prior to the last census in 2010:

When Coffman first went to Congress to represent a very different district, drawn farther south as a conservative stronghold, his votes, rhetoric and opinions played well to those constituents. But they’re gone…

…Rather than be candid about it and campaign on his conservative politics, Coffman has worked hard to camouflage it. His voting record and work in Congress are nothing to be ashamed of, especially on military matters, it just doesn’t mirror the politics of the district. [Pols emphasis]

This is a compelling endorsement in a race that will be one of the most expensive — if not the most expensive — in the entire country. This is the kind of analysis that could cut through the clutter and make a significant difference to voters who may feel overwhelmed by TV ads and mailers — and Romanoff's campaign will no doubt spread this editorial far and wide.

Wednesday Open Thread

"A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood."

–William Shenstone

Udall v. Gardner: LIVE BLOG!

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

The Election season rolls on, and so do we. It's time for another LIVE BLOG!!!

We're back at the auditorium of the Denver Post building for a debate for U.S. Senate between Sen. Mark Udall and Congressman Cory Gardner. The crowd is filling in, the coins are being tossed, and it's about to get all Senate-y in here. For those who want to watch the action themselves, check out DenverPost.com for the live feed.

*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
This felt very much like the end of Cory Gardner's campaign for Senate. Gardner came off as childish and petulant, smiling happily at himself whenever he thought of a new one-liner (though unaware that he was the only one laughing). Gardner also appeared ill-prepared and unsure of himself; his consistent refusal to answer questions — even Yes/No questions — absolutely stood out for everyone in the room and will no doubt continue to dog him for the remainder of the campaign. Gardner's ill-timed jokes and indecipherable answers made him look almost disinterested — like a teenager who has grown bored of this "Senate campaign thing."

On the other side, Udall was strong throughout the debate, but he didn't have to work very hard to outshine Gardner when the latter would offer only cliches and platitudes in response to every question. This was a cakewalk for Udall.

Gardner can only hope that the media coverage of this debate comes and goes quickly. If national media pick up on this horrendous performance, pundits around the country will be declaring that Udall has the race well in hand. Gardner entered the room with a shiny gray suit that seemed a little too big on his frame; he left much the same way.

(more…)

Tea Party Express Officially Endorses Cory Gardner for Senate

UPDATE: For the record, this is the same Tea Party Express that enthusiastically backed last year's shutdown of the federal government to stop Obamacare–the same shutdown Cory Gardner insists today he "never supported." Here's what TPE said then:

“Congress can and must use the ‘power of the purse’ to ensure that no more taxpayer dollars can be used to implement this bureaucratic train wreck,” said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer. “We support the efforts of principled public servants like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz who are giving the President and Senate Democrats a choice: Either continue funding the government without giving one more dime to Obamacare, or shut down the government to prop up an unpopular law that even their supporters admit will not work and cannot be enforced.” [Pols emphasis]

Hey, you know, forget all that.

—–

Gardner-Tea Party Express

All aboard?

Yesterday the Tea Party Express officially announced their endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate. From a press release:

Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, proudly endorses Congressman Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Tea Party Express Executive Director Taylor Budowich said, “In 2010, Cory Gardner was elected as part of the bold, Tea Party wave that swept the country. He delivered a promising vision of the future, rooted in conservative-minded reform and policy solutions. He is now taking that vision statewide, and challenging the failed, liberal policies of President Obama and Senator Mark Udall. We are confident in Cory’s resolve to bring common-sense, conservative solutions to the U.S. Senate; we encourage every Coloradan to vote for Cory Gardner on Election Day,” Budowich concluded.

This is not an endorsement that Republicans like Cory Gardner would like you to know about, which is probably why it only shows up on obscure news sites that accept press releases from paid submission companies such as Targeted News Service (no offense intended to those regular readers of InsuranceNewsNet.com). Gardner needs to be seen as a moderate candidate in order to have any hope of defeating incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, and public support from the Tea Party doesn't further that goal; the Tea Party is about as popular as a Raiders' fan at a Broncos' party, as Gallup continues to show.

On the plus side for Gardner, he does also have the official endorsement of Margo:

“As a conservative grass-roots activist, I support Cory because he has uncompromising integrity, he understands Colorado’s priorities and will stand strong to represent our state responsibly while protecting our freedoms in every decision he makes.”

Margo (Co-Developer – Coffee4Conservatives)

Gardner Clams Up As Same-Sex Marriages Resume

Good for the economy, too.

Good for the economy, too.

As the Denver Post's Jesse Paul reports, same-sex marriages are taking places across Colorado today as the last remaining stays against county clerks are vacated. After years of political battles, lost elections, and in the end anticlimactic court decisions responding to public opinion that has shifted dramatically, marriage equality is the law in Colorado:

Douglas County started issuing same-sex marriage licenses at 8 a.m. on Tuesday…

In Jefferson County, the first same-sex licence was issued at about noon, and Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said it was "pretty exciting."

Anderson expects a similar number of same-sex marriage licenses as civil unions. The county has issued 241 civil unions.

The licenses are being issued in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday to deny appeals against laws allowing same-sex marriage and a subsequent proclamation that the marriages will now be legal in Colorado.

9NEWS has more from Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, a Republican:

"I believe strongly in individual rights," the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said. "I personally support marriage equality, and I am proud to be part of this historic day."

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Polling shows that Colorado voters are strongly in favor of marriage equality today–61% in favor to only 33% opposed. That's a sea change from the electorate's mood in 2006, when a gay marriage ban was passed in Colorado and even civil unions failed a popular vote. In the past eight years, the issue has evolved right out from under Colorado Republicans–to the extent that the GOP House majority's shenanigans in 2012 to stop a civil unions bill from passing the legislature playing a significant role in Democrats retaking that chamber in November.

And it's another moment where GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's long record is now a liability. As a state representative, Gardner voted against joint custody for same-sex couples in adoption cases. In Congress, Gardner voted against funding to implement the repeal of the military's hated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. At the same time, Gardner's long string of flip-flops in this campaign is a major liability all by itself. And with the press now paying critical attention to what he says, it's an increasingly dangerous ploy.

With all of that in mind, what is Gardner supposed to say about same-sex marriage? Answer, as FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports: as little as possible.

"My views on marriage have long been clear," Gardner said to FOX31 Denver. [Pols emphasis] "I believe we must treat each other with dignity and respect. This issue is in the hands of the courts and we must honor their legal decisions.

"While others might seek to divide Coloradans, I will not do that. Coloradans are tired of politicians who spend all their time on partisan hot-button issues that divide our state…"

The problem with that, of course, is that Democrats didn't force the Supreme Court to take this action. Before Republicans found themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, Gardner was more than happy to campaign against, and vote against, the very same equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens that the Supreme Court has upheld and much of the state is celebrating today. The fact is, this is an issue both sides have spent a great deal of time and effort on–LGBT Coloradans and Democratic allies in support, Gardner and Republicans opposed.

The only difference today is that Gardner's side lost.

SEIU Hits Gardner On Minimum Wage En Español

Here's the English translation of SEIU Committee on Political Education's (COPE) newest Spanish language ad running in Colorado, hitting Republican Cory Gardner on his opposition to raising the minimum wage:

Juanita: I am a person who works… and I need to have two jobs…
Voiceover: But Republican Cory Gardner fought against raising the minimum wage here in Colorado.
Tomas: And I don’t think that’s fair and just, because I’m here to work with dignity.
Luisa: It’s indignant because he doesn’t think about the community, about the people. He only thinks like a Republican.
Voiceover: In November, we’re voting against Cory Gardner.

From SEIU's release today:

"Colorado Latinos can't ignore what the future would hold with Mr. Gardner whose voting record shows callous disregard for working Latino families," said SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz. "The constituents you hear and see in this ad are just a small sample of a larger dissatisfaction that is quite clear among Latino voters in Colorado."

"The distinction between Sen. Mark Udall and Congressman Gardner is clear. While the senator understands that Latino and immigrant families are fighting for better wages, education, and immigration reform, Gardner has actively ignored or blocked these key issues," Sáenz said, adding. "It's unforgivable and unforgettable."

This ad is reportedly well-funded to run on Spanish language television in Colorado, and is the fourth out from SEIU hitting Gardner with Latino voters. The previous three ads all concerned immigration reform, an issue Gardner has already taken plenty of fire on, so moving on to wages as an issue makes a lot of sense. Latinos are a key constituency where incumbent Mark Udall needs to run up the score against Gardner–and where Gardner, knowing he can't win outright among Latino voters, needs to minimize his losses.

All told, we'd say smart money is being spent here.

Gardner’s Weasely Flip-Flop on Human-Caused Climate Change

Was that what you wanted to hear? Good.

Was that what you wanted to hear? Good.

Politico's James Hohmann reports from yesterday's debate between Sen. Mark Udall and GOP challenger Cory Gardner, moderated by Manu Raju:

“Carbon pollution is real,” said Udall. “We’re prepared to put a price on carbon … I support putting a price on carbon.”

Gardner repeatedly pressed Udall to say what exact price he would put on carbon, but the senator declined. The Republican acknowledged that humans play a role in global warming and said he supports trying to reduce carbon emissions, but he said it cannot be done in a way that kills jobs.

“There is no doubt that pollution contributes to the climate changing around us,” said Gardner… [Pols emphasis]

As Huffington Post's Sabrina Siddiqui notes for the record and our readers know well, that's a big change from what Cory Gardner has said in the past about humanity's impact on global climate change:

Democrats were quick to point out that in January of this year, Gardner voted against an amendment that would have explicitly stated that climate change is real. The measure, which failed to clear the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stated that "Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency (contained in the proposed rule referred to in section 4(2)) that '[g]reenhouse gas (GHG) pollution threatens the American public’s health and welfare by contributing to long-lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment."

Gardner also rejected the theory of man-made climate change as a Colorado state representative in 2010. "I think the climate is changing, but I don't believe humans are causing that change to the extent that's been in the news," he said at the time. [Pols emphasis]

Much like when Gardner was caught red-handed lying to voters about his record on renewable energy, we assume there's some kind of semantic interpretation of his exact words that will allow Gardner's campaign to claim this is not the wholesale reversal on this issue it plainly appears to be. When cornered with the fact that the bill Gardner claimed he "cowrote the law to launch our state's green energy industry" had failed to result in a single renewable energy project, you'll recall his campaign responded that the ad says he wrote the bill "to launch," not "that launched" the industry. The tacit admission in their defense that the entire premise of the ad was false didn't even faze the Gardner campaign, and the ad continued to run for weeks afterward. To us, this seems like a very odd way to run for office, but Gardner has kept this race competitive close all summer. So clearly it's a tactic that has worked in the short term.

Unfortunately for Gardner, that only works so many times. With only very few exceptions, the press has stopped buying Gardner's reversals uncritically, and the fact that he's objectively not being honest is finally sticking in the public consciousness. And now, adding climate change to a growing list of issues, Gardner has gifted Democrats the means to defeat him–by living up to the charge that he will say anything to get elected.

Tuesday Open Thread

"With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost."

–William Lloyd Garrison

Coffman v. Romanoff, Round 4: Live-Enough Blog!

Coffman Romanoff Debate Oct. 6

Is it just us, or was the Supreme Court the only group of partisan political people who chose not to debate today?

Monday afternoon featured two debates hosted by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce: Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez got first crack at a discussion of the issues before Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner took to the stage.

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff did the debate thing at 9News, which will be aired tonight at 7:00 (but not on Channel 9 — on Channel 20. And no, we have no idea what channel that is on Comcast and DirecTV). So you know what that means: It's Live Blog Time!

And now, our third blow-by-blow recap of a Coffman/Romanoff exchange (click here to read the last one).
 

Let's get to it!

*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
We thought that Romanoff crushed Coffman in their last debate (Sept. 23rd), but that was nothing compared to what we saw tonight. There is absolutely no way that a logical, unbiased person could have watched tonight's debate and not come to the conclusion that Andrew Romanoff is more prepared, more polished, and more statesman-like than Mike Coffman. In their last debate, Coffman was quiet and reserved, and that didn't work. In this debate, Coffman went back to being Angry Coffman, and that REALLY didn't work. If these last two debates are any indication at all of the direction this race is headed, Romanoff is going to win handily in November. The difference was that clear.

 

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