Who will be first reporter get Gardner (and Beauprez) to explain why they support federal personhood?

It’s not just senatorial candidate Cory Gardner who’s taken the endlessly puzzling position of being opposed to personhood at the state level but supportive of the federal version.

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez draws a false distinction between the two as well, saying he’s opposed to the state amendment but supportive of federal legislation. Even though they aim to do the same thing, according to yours truly and, more importantly, Factcheck.org.

Despite the obvious relevancy of personhood on the campaign trail, I can’t find a local reporter who’s asked either one of them the simple question of why they favor federal personhood legislation over the state version.

Instead, multiple reporters, including Mark Matthews at The Denver Post and Bente Birkeland at Rocky Mountain Community Radio, listened to Gardner’s spokespeople tell them that that federal personhood legislation is essentially a toothless symbol–without asking for an explanation. On Tuesday, the Hill’s Elise Viebeck reported Gardner’s position, apparently without seeking an explanation. So did The Post’s Anthony Cotton.

CBS4′s Shaun Boyd taped Gardner himself implying that there’s a distinction between federal and state personhood legislation, without asking him why.

At least Politico’s Paige Winfield Cunningham asked the Gardner campaign about the discrepancy. But she got no response, and she’s apparently let it drop.

A question about the federal personhood bill was reportedly put to Gardner on KRDO radio’s Morning News March 24, but, again, he wasn’t pressed for an explanation when he said it’s a “Democratic talking point” and an “incorrect characterization of the federal legislation” to call it a personhood bill.

So does anyone detect a hole in the reporting here?

Who’s gonna be the first reporter to get the details on why Gardner (and Beauprez) support one personhood bill and not the other?

Reporters don’t correct Coffman’s assertion that Reid blocked GOP immigration bills

(Reporters: time to ask the next question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CORRECTION: At least two immigration-related bills cleared the GOP-controlled U.S. House this session, so I erred below in writing that none did. One responded to the crisis created by the young migrants crossing the border. It would have boosted border security, legal processing, and support. Another would have provided more visas for immigrant students with math and science skills and reduced the number of visas for other immigrants. Sorry for the mistake.
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Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), left, with anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), left, with anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

It's tough to fact-check an entire debate, if you're an increasingly lonely reporter at a shrinking news outlet, but a reporter somewhere should have corrected Rep. Mike Coffman's assertion, in his debate last week against Democrat Andrew Romanoff, that immigration bills cleared the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

In explaining his opposition to a bipartisan immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate, Coffman said (@21:45):

“I think both parties have it wrong right now. I think on the left it's, unless we get everything, then nothing will move. And in fact, individual bills have moved over to the Senate. And Harry Reid would not take it up because it was not quote-unquote comprehensive. And then on my side of the aisle, you know, we've got to get moving. And I've worked with my folks on the Republican side to get them moving. And so I think there's got to be a middle path. And that middle path is a step-by-step approach.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Coffman would have had a complete and total brain freeze if he'd tried to remember how he voted on these immigration "bills," because they don't exist.

He'd have been wrong even if he'd said a singular immigration bill cleared the U.S. House. But he said "bills" plural, multiplying his apparent mistake.

A phone call to Coffman's spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, seeking clarification was not immediately returned.

(more…)

Gardner demanded defunding Obamacare to avoid government shutdown

(So much for that – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

The Associated Press' Nicholas Riccardi reported Aug. 15 that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's spokesman, Alex 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."

Maybe Siciliano doesn't listen to Gardner much on talk radio. Maybe he's too busy talking to reporters on behalf of his boss.

But when I read Riccardi's piece, I recalled hearing Gardner advocate for, as opposed to against, demanding Dems defund Obamacare or face a government shutdown.

On August 1, 2013, two months before the government shutdown, Gardner told KOA’s Mike Rosen:

Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?

Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….

Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.

Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work. [BigMedia emphasis]

If that's a warning "against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open," then mushrooms aren't popping up in our mountains right now (and they are).

Next time Gardner's Siciliano tells me something, if I'm a reporter, I think I go the extra mile to make sure it's accurate.

Holbert stands behind statement likening Hick actions to spousal abuse

(Stay classy, Rep. Holbert – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Chris Holbert (R).

Rep. Chris Holbert (R).

In a Facebook posting yesterday, state Republican Rep. Chris Holbert wrote that Gov. John Hickenlooper "treats us like we are his abused spouse."

In explaining why he'd vote for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Holbert wrote in response to a Facebook post of one of Holbert's Facebook friends:

Because Hickenlooper treats us like we are his abused spouse. He smiles and tells us that things will be better, signs bills into law that trample on the freedom and prosperity of the People, apologizes, becomes angry when we don't forget, swears at us, then promises to abuse us again.

Don't put Hickenlooper back in office for another four years. That ONE person can cancel out anything that a Republican Senate might accomplish. Don't allow ONE Governor to cancel out 18 or more Senators who would work to repeal eight years of Democrat control.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Holbert stood behind the comments.

Asked if he thought his comparison to spousal abuse could be offensive to actual abused spouses and others concerned about domestic violence, Holbert said:

Holbert: "I think there are various kinds of abuse, and what I am pointing to is verbal. I’m not comparing it to physical abuse. People would have greater respect for the governor if he would have one story and stick to it."

"He tells us one thing and tells his supporters another thing," Holbert said, explaining his Facebook post further. "He suggested to the sheriffs that he didn’t talk to Bloomberg and records show he did. He apologized for signing bills that he claims he didn’t understand were so controversial. And then he talked to Eli Stokols, I believe, and says he’d sign the bills again. So which does he mean? I feel that’s abusive to the people of Colorado who look to him for leadership."

Beauprez threatens to sue feds if immigration laws not enforced

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

beauprezdemsfear

Speaking on a Denver radio show yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez threatened to sue the federal government if it doesn't enforce the nation's immigration laws.

Asked by KNUS host Steve Kelley whether he'd "build a coalition with the Jan Brewers and the Rick Perrys" and "put this state on the line if it requires a lawsuit" to enforce immigration laws, Beauprez replied, unequivocally, "yes."

Beauprez, who's facing Democrat John Hickenlooper, added that he'd sue the federal government on other issues as well, such as federal lands.

Beauprez said he'd seek a "coalition" of governors to demand that the "federal government, one, enforce the laws, in this case secure the borders, modernize legal immigration so people can get an answer and so that we can enforce employment laws in Colorado and in America, and that we know who's here, that they're legally here and what they are doing here; that's why you have rule of law."

(more…)

Under Gardner’s abortion bill, doctor could have faced more jail time than rapist

(Collateral damage in the "War on Women" – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

It's been widely reported that Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner sponsored a bill in 2007 that would have outlawed all abortion in Colorado, including for rape and incest.

But there's a detail about the ramifications of Gardner's legislation that's gone unreported, and it's important because it illuminates, in a tangible way, just how serious his bill was about banning abortion.

Let's say a woman was raped, became pregnant, and wanted to have an abortion.

Under the Gardner's proposed law, a doctor who performed her abortion would face Class 3 felony charges.

If the raped woman found a doctor willing to break the law and perform an illegal abortion, and if both the rapist and the doctor got caught by police, what would have been the potential charges and punishments against the rapist and the doctor?

I put that question to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado.

"A class 3 felony is punishable by 4-12 years in the penitentiary," Silverstein told me via email. "Sexual assault is at 18-3-402 of the criminal code. It is a class 4 felony (18-3-402(2)), except when it is a class 3 felony (18-3-402(3.5)), or when it is a class 2 felony (18-3-402 (5)).

"When sexual assault is a class 4 felony, it is punishable by 2 to 6 years in the penitentiary.

"A class 2 felony is 8 – 24 years in prison. These penalties can be found at 18-1.3-401 (1)(a)(III)(V)(A).

"It looks like to get sexual assault into the class 2 category, there has to be serious bodily injury to the victim or the crime has to be carried out with use of a deadly weapon, or the assaulter made the victim believe there was a deadly weapon (even if there was not one)."

So, as I read Silverstein's answer, it looked to me like a doctor who performed an abortion on a raped woman could actually have gotten in more serious legal trouble than a rapist.

To make sure I had this right, I asked Silverstein if he agreed with me that under Gardner's bill, the doctor could have faced a more serious charge than the rapist, though this would not always be the case.

"Yes," replied Silverstein, "the least aggravated category of sexual assault is a lesser category of felony."

(An early version of this story stated that the hypothetical rape was also incest.)

Gardner says “legal ambiguities” motivated immigration vote

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In what appears to be senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s first direct comment on his vote against ending an Obama policy of allowing young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation for at least two years, Gardner emphasized the legal "ambiguities" in ending Obama's initiative, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Gardner said on KNUS radio Sept 4 that the bill overturning DACA “had some serious legal ambiguities to it…you create a significant legal ambiguity problem that’s going to lead to children having the rug pulled out from underneath them, winding us in court, and creating a judicial ambiguity that is unacceptable in this country."

Listen to Cory Gardner talk about his DACA vote on KNUS Sengenberger 8.2.14

It makes sense that in his conversation with KNUS radio host Jimmy Sengenberger Sept. 2, Gardner de-emphasized the human costs of deporting the young immigrants, called dreamers, who were brought here as children and know only the United States as their home. It was mostly legal ambiguities that apparently troubled him.

(more…)

Reporter’s work absent from Denver Post due to end of grant

(For more on Kane's shoddy work on Obamacare, click here – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Art Kane.

Art Kane.

A Kaiser-Family-Foundation grant to The Denver Post has ended, explaining the recent disappearance of Denver Post articles by freelance reporter Art Kane, whose work at The Post was funded by the Kaiser grant.

"The grant has ended, and that's why we haven't run any stories by him in awhile," said Greg Griffin, an editor at The Post, when asked about the disappearance of Kane's work.

Back in March, Post Editor Greg Moore told me the Kaiser Family Foundation provided The Post with an undisclosed amount of grant money to supplement the newspaper's coverage of health care, specifically of issues related to universal health coverage.

(more…)

Politico is latest media outlet to let Gardner slide on personhood inconsistency

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

The latest reporter to ask senatorial candidate Cory Gardner why he's un-endorsed the state personhood amendments but has yet to un-cosponsor a proposed federal personhood law is Politico's Paige Winfield Cunningham, who reported Wednesday:

Gardner now says he was wrong to back personhood because it could ban some forms of contraception. He’s even urging the Food and Drug Administration to make birth control pills available without prescription. But he is still listed as a sponsor of a federal personhood bill. His campaign didn’t respond to questions about the discrepancy.

In the absence of a response by Gardner, or his spokespeople, Cunningham should have cited the Gardner campaign's previous erroneous statement that the federal personhood bill, called the Life at Conception Act, is simply a declaration that life begins at conception, and it would not ban abortion, even for rape and incest, like Colorado's personhood amendments aimed to do.

Here's what Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano told The Denver Post's Mark Matthews July 15.

"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."

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“Mostly true” not “mostly false” that Gardner blocked immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

In a fact-check last week, Politifact concluded that it was "mostly false" for SEIU to assert, in a radio ad, that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner "blocked immigration reform." A fairer conclusion would have been, "mostly true."

Politifact's logic:

So far the House has not acted [on immigration-reform legislation], and prospects are dim for action before the fall elections. That means Gardner hasn’t had the opportunity to actually vote on legislation, making it hard to attribute any blame to him. It’s not as though he holds any leadership positions where he could have advanced legislation or held up the process.

Hard to attribute "any blame" to Gardner? Please.

Gardner went from publicly backing comprehensive immigration reform to publicly opposing it. It's safe to say that he was making the same arguments against comprehensive reform to fellow House Republicans, including Eric Cantor, who was a close Gardner ally, having taken a personal interest in Gardner during his first term in office. Gardner was on everyone's list for House leadership, and he was already a Vice Chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee.

But regardless of what he said to House leaders, Gardner never produced a specific immigration reform plan of his own, relying instead on his platitudinous lines about the need for more border security.

If you attack a plan that's on the table, and you have no specific plan of your own, that's blocking, maybe not total blockage, but blocking nonetheless.

So, while would be false to say Gardner blocked immigration reform all by himself, it's at least "mostly true" to assert the he blocked it nonetheless.

Coffman’s fact-free attack on a judge deserves media scrutiny

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

In a blog post about a week ago, I gave conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt some unsolicited information on why Rep. Mike Coffman is still so upset at losing his conservative district and now being a square peg in the round hole of Aurora.

Coffman told Hewitt that Democrats had "targeted my seat in the redistricting process."

"A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver signed off on their map, without any amendments, and it certainly is what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district."

An astute reader informed me that, in fact, judge Robert S. Hyatt is an unaffiliated voter, and likely has been since 1979, according to public records.

I checked this out myself, and confirmed it, with a high degree but not complete certainty, as I was unable to reach the retired judge himself–and he likely wouldn't have divulged this information anyway.

As my correspondent pointed out, Coffman's reckless — and fact-less — attack on the independence of the judiciary deserves scrutiny by reporters, particularly in light of Coffman's oath to defend the U.S. Constitution.

As a progressive, I can tell you that Hyatt is no friend of progressive causes over conservative ones, as a brief examination of Hyatt's decisions makes obvious. Remember, he ruled in favor of conservatives just last year in a case clearing the way for the recall of two Democratic state senators.

Post Editorial Page Editor’s slap at Beauprez could portend Hick Endorsement

For the few of you looking for clues about which gubernatorial candidate will be endorsed by The Denver Post, check out this line, mocking Republican Bob Beauprez, from today’s column by Denver Post Editor Page Editor Vincent Carroll.

Still, Hickenlooper, whose persistence pushed the deal through, has bought more time for those on both sides of the divide over local control of drilling who desire a genuine compromise. His Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, may think that any “grand bargain compromise” amounts to weak-kneed capitulation, even if acceptable to oil and gas companies, but Initiatives 88 and 89 were real threats to the state’s economy. They may have been defeated — and probably would have been — but who knows? Now they’re off the table.

Of course Carroll doesn’t make the endorsement decision by himself, but still.

Republican volunteers quit over Republican-funded attacks on Tancredo

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

tancgov

Pueblo County Republican Chair Becky Mizel told KVOR's Jimmy Lakey over the weekend that Republican volunteers in Pueblo have been quitting in response to the revelation that the Republican Governors Association apparently funded a campaign to defeat Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo in the June primary.

"I've had a lot of people call and say, 'Take my name off," Mizel told Lakey. "We've had about five that have withdrawn from precinct chair because they're so ticked off at some of the things going on at the governor level…. But it really does hurt us. It's hurt us a lot."

Lakey: So you've had people this week drop out as precinct chairs and stuff like that, just as fallout from the RGA. Any fallout from the Gardner and Coffman votes? Really, it effects that locally?

Mizel: Yeah. We had two, a husband-and-wife team, drop out because of that one just yesterday.

Lakey: Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Mizel: It's dramatic, and people just don't realize what they are doing to the local party, and to the party in general.

Lakey: These candidates, they need the local party, as localized as possible, to have strong organization to help get out the vote. And when they're chasing away your precinct chairs, they're kind of cutting off their nose despite their face.

Mizel: Jimmy, I hate to sound a bit skeptical. I think they just think they need the money of the establishment. And I don't think they necessarily think they need the grassroots. I hate to be so skeptical, but after being in this game a while, I'm beginning to feel that way. I hope I'm wrong.

Lakey: I hope you're wrong too. I'm afraid you're not that wrong Becky.

Listen: https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/co-republican-activists-quitting-over-gop-attacks-on-fellow-republican-tancredo

The Republican Governor's Association (RGA) donated $175,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which, in turn, contributed $155,000 to attacks on Tancredo during the GOP primary in Colorado. The indirect money path appears to have been an effort by the RGA to conceal its involvement in Colorado's Republican primary.

The revelation of the RGA's furtive meddling angered not only Tancredo but Republicans statewide. Mark Baisley, the Vice Chair of the Colorado GOP has called for an investigation.

Mizel's statement on the radio is an indication that the controversy is affecting morale of Republican activists who, as Lakey points out below, are critical to GOP electoral efforts this fall.

Can you come up with a better explanation for Gardner supporting Fed Personhood bill?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

I may be the only person in the universe who spends his quiet moments in the shower trying to figure out the puzzle, left unsolved by local and national reporters, of why Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner hasn't un-cosponsored federal personhood legislation, which aims to ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

Gardner's been jumping up and down and screaming that he no longer supports personhood amendments here in Colorado, even saying so in a TV commercial, but he's not backing off the federal personhood bill, called Life at Conception Act.

Gardner spokespeople have told reporters that the federal legislation "simply states that life begins and conception," and it would have not real-world impact on abortion or contraception.

But if you take one minute and read the bill, you'll see that it actually factually aims to make personhood the law of the land. And other co-sponsors of the bill agree.

So what's up with Gardner?

(more…)

CO Republican Vice Chair Calls for Investigation into Tancredo Attacks

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

tancgov

On KLZ's nooner show Aug. 29, Freedom 560, Colorado Republican Party Vice Chairman Mark Baisley announced his support for an investigation into the Republican Governors Association's involvement (via the Republican Attorneys General Association) in attack ads against gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo.

Ken Clark: Quite frankly, you’re right about one thing. And that is simply that it was — Who was it? It was the CREW folks that actually did dig this up — and yes they’re left leaning and yes, and they did leak this information to Lynn Bartels. However, there is one problem with all that. It’s true!!!

Mark Baisley: It is true!

Clark: Yeah! The RGA got involved, the RGA, the establishment Republicans, the national establishment got involved in our election here in Colorado, manipulated it, and lied — flat out lied against Tom Tancredo. Now, did Bob Beauprez know this was happening? I doubt it. In this article that Lynn wrote, she claims that — or Ryan [Call] claims that he had no idea it was going on. Frankly, I don’t buy that, because right before the election, Ryan Call was putting out propaganda from the Party that used all of Bob Beauprez’s lingo on how he described himself. So, I’m having trouble with the idea that Ryan Call just didn’t know this was going on. Sorry, but he’s the chairman of the state Party

Baisley: Okay, and I don’t know the answer to that. Chairman Call and I have not spoken on this topic. And so, I’ll reach out to him today. But, regardless, the RGA has done something that is just wrong. And they obviously know that it’s wrong, because they took such great pains to hide their actions. And we need to come against them very strongly. So, I’m calling for the Republican Party in Colorado to stand up to the national influences and say, “Look, you SOBs! This is our state! We’re Western culture. We think rather independently. Stay the hell out of our world, here!” And let’s even– let’s have a local investigation. Let’s have the state Party denounce that kind of involvement and let us just do what we do best, get out the vote for our nominee, and go beat the Democrats. But stay out of our world! And yeah, even if there’s an investigation that needs to be done to bring out what were the dominoes that led us to this point, that would be great, too. I’d be all for that. [BigMedia emphasis.]

Clark: Well, yeah, because I agree with you, Mark. And you know what? I am very, very pleased to hear you come out so forcefully and strongly, and stand up and actually make the call for an inviestigation into this matter. Mark, I think that is huge. That’s the kind of leadership we’re looking for. Now, there’s a mealy mouthed press release we got from Beauprez. It really didn’t go that far. And I understand he is the candidate, but at the same time, if he didn’t know that these guys were doing this– and you’re absolutely right, Mark, they were doing everything they could to hide those dollars.

Listen to Mark Baisley on KLZ FREEDOM560 7.29.14