Coffman still upset that he’s forced to be a square peg in the round hole of Aurora

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

endangeredcoffman

If you follow the 6th Congressional District race, Coffman vs. Romanoff, you know that everything we're seeing, from Coffman's attempts to re-invent himself (abortion, immigration) to Romanoff's decision to run at all, goes back to the 2010 redistricting, which turned the seat from red to purple.

From day one after the new district was created, reporters referenced the question of whether, when it comes to his new district, Coffman is a square peg in a round hole, a bad fit, even a Cuckoo bird* (my friend's analogy). The election will answer this question.

But whether you think Coffman is anything like a Cuckoo bird, you wouldn't expect Coffman, three years after redistricting, to be bringing up the square-peg issue himself, almost hating on his own district.

As Coffman said on the Hugh Hewitt show last week:

Coffman: Well, what they did, is they 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. So, it’s a Democrat-leaning district. Obama carried it by five points last time. I’m the number-one target for any sitting House Republican by the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee. And I’m proud of it. I need the support of all the folks out there who seeks to return to a constitutional government to the United States.

Listen to Coffman's thoughts on redistricting on Hugh Hewitt 7.18.14

Hewitt doesn't know enough about Colorado politics to be expected to correct some of Coffman's facts here, so I'll fill in for him.

First, there's the politics. I read this as Coffman admitting that he's not right for his own district. He's pissed at Democrats for targeting his seat, and he's mad at the "Democratic judge" for approving it. Yet, he wants to be the representative. Fine, but how far will he go (and can he go) not to be the square peg? That's the heart of the matter out there in Aurora.

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Coffman is Christie’s ally in saying Colorado going to pot

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mike Coffman.

Mike Coffman.

It's one thing for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to drop into Colorado and tell us our quality of life is going down the tubes thanks to marijuana legalization.

But it's another for our own elected officials to tell us as much. You recall Rep. Mike Coffman grumped on the KOA radio earlier this year that legal pot may scare giant corporations from coming to Colorado. (Maybe that's a good thing, but that's a topic for another blog post.)

Coffman: “I worry, ‘What about that Fortune 500 corporation that wants to move to Colorado?’ And the chief executive officer has young kids, and to say, ‘Do I want my children exposed to a culture where this is acceptable for adults? And will that influence their behavior as kids?’”

Contrast Coffman's fact-free brain puff with what Christie said in April:

Christie: “For the people who are enamored with the idea … the tax revenue from this, go to Colorado and see if you want to live there."

Coffman is saying Colorado's lifestyle/culture is so diminished by pot that rich people, in particular, may not want to live here.

Coffman stands with Christie.

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New Ad Slams Coffman For Voting Against Military Pay Raises

A press release from veteran's advocacy group VoteVets.org announces a new ad buy in Colorado, hitting vulnerable incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman on an issue often counted as one of Coffman's strengths: support for soldiers and their families.

VoteVets.org Action Fund, representing over 400,000 veterans, military families, and civilian supporters, is announcing over $600,000 in television ad buys, highlighting where politicians in Iowa, Michigan, and Colorado stand on the issue of biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The ads make clear that the RFS is a matter of national security, as biofuels are a key step in breaking our addiction to oil, which funds those who are hostile to America and our allies. 

Although the United States often does not directly buy oil from hostile nations, like Iran, America’s dependence on oil drives up demand, and prices of oil on the world market, which benefits all oil-rich nations.  Those oil dollars allowed Iran, for instance, to produce and ship Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to Iraqi insurgents, who used them to target our troops…

The ad in Colorado features an Iraq War Veteran from Aurora, Brian Esqibel.  With the American flag waving, he says, “This is worth fighting for.”  Turning to a picture of a gas pump, he asks, “But this?  America’s addiction to foreign oil helps fund the same terrorists who would harm our troops fighting overseas.  Congressman Mike Coffman voted against raising troop pay, but voted for tax breaks for big oil companies.  Now Coffman could give big oil an even bigger break, by refusing to support American made biofuels – lining the pockets of the same oil interests who fund his campaigns.”  Esquibel ends by asking viewers to call Mike Coffman and ask if he stands with veterans or big oil. 

Coffman spokesperson feeds falsehoods to Univision

(Ridiculous – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Last month, Univision Denver's news show requested an interview with Republican Mike Coffman to get his reaction to Democrat Andrew Romanoff's accusation that Coffman's immigration policies reflect those of former Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Coffman sent his spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, to talk to Univision, and here's an excerpt from the piece that aired.

Univision reporter Karen Vega: … We asked if, in reality, Coffman shared the anti-immigrant opinions and practices of his predecessor, the former Congressman and current state gubernatorial candidate, Tom Tancredo.

Sandberg: Absolutely not. On the issue of immigration, Tom Tancredo and Mike Coffman represent two different extremes of the Republican Party. As such, with all respect to Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman does not have the same anti-immigrant policies.

Left out was a reference to Romanoff's point that Coffman introduced Tom Tancredo as his "hero" at a 2010 Tea Party Rally:

Coffman: "It is a great honor for me to introduce somebody who is my hero, someone who has served this country with honor and integrity and courage… and that is former Congressman Tom Tancredo."

What's more, Coffman endorsed Tancredo in the 2010 gubernatorial election. (And vice versa here.)

Apparently aware of this, Vega asked Sandberg about the "admiration that Coffman supposedly has for Republican Tom Tancredo."

Sandberg replied to Vega by saying that Coffman respects Tancredo for his views on economic issues and not at all for his views on immigration.

Too bad Vega didn't have this video of Coffman's introduction of Tancredo in 2010, when Coffman offered hero-like praise for Tancredo's extreme opposition to Republican-led immigration reform in 2006.

COFFMAN: "In 2006, I was a disillusioned Republican because of what was going on in Washington DC when Republicans had the White House, when Republicans had the House and the Senate, and they ceased to govern by the conservative principles that they ran on. But there was one Republican in Washington who refused to stand with them, who stood on the same conservative principles that he ran on, and that was Tom Tancredo. When Republicans in the Congress ceased to govern by the values that got them elected, when the Republican President of the United States, with the Republican leadership and their Democrat allies, came up with a so-called immigration reform bill that did nothing to secure the borders of the United States and provided amnesty for those who had broken our law, Tom Tancredo refused to stand with those Republicans."

If Coffman, or more likely his spokesman, appears again on Univision, let's hope he gets time to explain why he thinks his boss is so far apart from Tancredo's immigration positions, when in fact they share both an anti-immigrant record and fighter's posture on the issue.

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Journalists should call out Coffman’s ban on using recording devices in his district office

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

It’s hard to miss this warning sign posted by the door as you enter the district office of Rep. Mike Coffman on South Parker Road.

“The use of video recording devices, still cameras or digital recorders are NOT permitted inside the office.”

You’d think this sign would insult reporters who stand for free, open, and on-the-record communications between peasants and their elected representatives. Not only that, if you take the sign seriously, even reporters visiting Coffman’s office could record neither peep nor pushup from Coffman.

I asked Tom Kelley, longtime Denver media attorney and partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schultz, about the sign:

“Assuming he welcomes journalists in the office to meet with the Congressman, why is he barring them from showing the public in real time what actually is going on there?” asked Kelley. “I think it’s bad policy. It suggests that there’s something to hide inside that office. If he would bar disruptive behavior or something like that, it would be different. But clearly his intent is to prevent being embarrassed, which he’s had some experience with recently over the gaffe on the President’s citizenship. It’s hard not to wonder if this isn’t in response to that. All of which doesn’t speak well of the Congressman’s willingness to be transparent and accountable.

“I would hope that he or any Congressman on either side of the aisle would reconsider,” said Kelley, adding that if someone were to take Coffman to court to force him to allow recording devices in the office, he or she would likely lose.

Journalists aside, you wonder what Coffman would say to the Aurora elementary school kids who might stop in for a visit and want a photo with their Congressman?
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How Coffman’s obstructionism in Congress has hurt vets

In responding to media reports, led by the Aurora Sentinel, that he voted against funds to reduce delays at Veterans Administration hospitals, Rep. Mike Coffman told reporters in a statement that he opposed the legislation because it cut cost-of-living increases for some military retirees.

But as Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols pointed out, Coffman didn't mention anything about veterans when he cast his vote against the Murray-Ryan compromise spending bill, which contained the increased funds for the VA. Coffman issued a statement at the time saying he was opposed to breaking Pentagon spending caps.

Local media reports haven't pointed out what else was at stake in the omnibus spending bill: the continued operation of the federal government. Coffman's vote against this compromise spending legislation was not only a vote against VA hospitals but also a vote for shutting down the government. And as everyone who was watching at the time knows, this was the overarching concern, and Coffman apparently hasn't been asked about how his vote for the shutdown affected veterans.

By voting for a shutdown, Coffman reduced or jeopardized a slew of veterans benefits. For example, the reviews of benefit claims of thousands of veterans were delayed; over 7,500 Veterans Benefits Administration employees were furloughed; and compensation to millions of veterans and pension benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans and their spouses were threatened. And beyond the VA, veterans rely on lots of services like HUD housing and Labor Department training, which were affected.

Also left out of media coverage were Coffman's votes against increased VA funding in 2009 and 2011. These large bills would have provided nearly $200 million ($119 million in 2009 and $42 million in 2011) for the VA hospital in Aurora. Coffman has been upset at the delays in constructing this hospital, even though he's opposed funding for it in the years prior to his own criticism of mismanagement.

What's been left out of the VA coverage, in the big picture, is a discussion of how GOP obstructionism in Congress, particularly in the House and with the support of Coffman, has exacerbated the problems for veterans.

 

Mike Coffman’s Wife Can’t Vote for Him

Cynthia Coffman

Maybe Cynthia Coffman just needs more closet space.

Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post has a fascinatingly odd story about Rep. Mike Coffman and his wife, Cynthia Coffman:

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is in the battle of his political career this November where every vote matters but one vote he won’t receive — at least as of now — comes from one of his staunchest allies: his wife Cynthia Coffman.

Cynthia Coffman, the state’s chief deputy attorney general who is the GOP nominee for attorney general, isn’t a registered voter in the Aurora-based 6th Congressional District her husband represents. Instead, she’s a registered voter in the Denver-based 1st Congressional District [6].

Cynthia Coffman has been a registered voter in Denver since 2011. In 2012, she didn’t cast a vote for her husband, who won re-election to his competitive seat that year by about 2 percentage points.

Lee goes on to quote a spokesperson from Cynthia Coffman's campaign with a weirdly antiseptic explanation about how they lived in different houses before they got married and Cynthia lives in the house closest to her office (Mike Coffman's campaign — shocker! — did not return a request for comment). You'd think that either Coffman would want to interject some humor or emotion at some point here, because it just seems a little strange; why would Cynthia not just change her voter registration to Mike's address? This isn't overly complicated.

 

Screamin’ Howard Dean and Andrew Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff is running for Congress in the competitive 6th Congressional District (D+1) against an incumbent Republican, Mike Coffman.  Andrew’s internal polling apparently indicated that he was having trouble motivating his base, who are largely sitting out the mid-term elections.  So what does an attention-deprived desperate Dem would-be-Congressman do?  Call in an off-the-wall national figure and try to become relevant.

Reverend Al Sharpton must have been busy sowing seeds of racial harmony and Ed Schultz must have been busy soothing labor management relations elsewhere so Howard “the  scream” Dean was summoned.  It just so happens that Dr. Dean and Romanoff both think Obamacare did not go far enough and that we really need a single payer system, kind of like VA quality medicine for all, but I digress.

A great time was had by all at the Romanoff fundraiser last week.  There was a great band, Barry and the Blue Haired Bundlers, and they played their hit song “Looking for Contracts (in all the wrong places)” from their “Crony Capitalism” album.  They even had somebody that looked just like Pat Stryker doing backup vocals.  California sushi and wine were served, H/T to Tom Steyer, but the highlight had to be the guest speaker himself.

Howard Dean is not known as “the scream” for nothing.  He really knows how to create hatred, but apparently also suffers from ADD.  Howard told the crowd that Republicans “are not American” and that they “should stay away from our Country”.  Apparently Romanoff shares that view because he has done nothing to distance himself from Dr. Dean’s comments.  In fact, Romanoff referred to Dean as “a true American patriot”.

Then, with a straight face Dean continued “We have had enough of the politics of anger, we have had enough of the politics of hate, we have had enough of the politics of division”. 

http://coloradostatesman.com/content/994862-former-prez-candidate-dean-stumps-romanoff 

And so it goes, the Dems are tired of the politics of anger, hate and division.  If you don’t agree with them, you are not American and should leave the country.

After the great fundraiser, Romanoff’s base is all charged up, full of hatred for their fellow Americans.

Mission accomplished.

Boehner, Cantor, Coffman: don’t be fooled again

Virtually unreported in the media, right-wing Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor–two of the top Republican leaders of the 113th U.S. Congress–appeared at the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver for a fundraiser for Rep. Mike Coffman.

After promising to make immigration reform a priority this year, Coffman held a secret fundraiser with the two men perhaps most responsible for the gridlock in Washington, D.C. that’s preventing reform from passing. Coffman’s fundraiser with Boehner and Cantor is a slap in the face to everyone who believed Coffman’s empty promises.

Tell Mike Coffman enough is enough: we’re tired of the broken promises on immigration reform.

In recent months, Rep. Coffman has told voters that he now supports immigration reform, after years of opposition and using immigrants as political scapegoats. Coffman even introduced legislation to restrict bilingual ballots for legal U.S. citizen voters. The reason Coffman is paying lip service to immigration reform today is simple: the electoral landscape has changed, and Latino voters are on the verge of removing Coffman from office this November.

What Coffman doesn’t understand is that actions speak louder than words. Coffman says he wants a path to citizenship for DREAMer students, but he voted against the very program that’s allowing them to avoid deportation. Coffman says there should be a path to citizenship for immigrants who join the military, but Cantor blocked that proposal just hours after this fundraiser. Coffman says he wants the House to take up immigration reform, but instead of demanding House leaders get serious, he holds secret fundraisers with them.

It’s time to say it: Mike Coffman doesn’t care about immigration reform, he only cares about keeping his job. He’ll say anything to stay in office, but his record proves he doesn’t care about the issues his constituents want addressed.

Tell Coffman right now that you’ve had it with his empty promises and hypocrisy on immigration reform. We’ll send your message to Coffman’s office instantly, and share your names and comments his the press and other public officials.

It’s disappointing that Mike Coffman isn’t a man of his word. I, like many others, had hoped Coffman was serious when he committed to immigration reform after years on the wrong side of the issue. But Colorado deserves better than pandering. Coloradans deserve action. Thank you for helping make sure Coffman doesn’t get away with this.

Anti-Obamacare Strategy Leaving Republicans in the Cold

Republicans out in the cold on Obamacare

D’oh!

Longtime Colorado Pols reader Republican 36 posted a fascinating diary last night about Republican Rep. Mike Coffman raising money with a different message on Obamacare. You can read the entire diary here, but here's the key excerpt:

Today I received a letter soliciting a campaign contribution from Coffman that contained a "confidential memo from Tyler Sandberg, his campaign manager, deriding Obamacare and making the usual false claims that "350,000" (everyone else says its 335,000) Coloradans had their health insurance canceled (forgetting to mention 92% received renewal notices in the same envelope with the cancelation of last year's policy) and claiming Obamacare "will be a significant issue this election," and claiming "It is a very real issue causing very real harm to Colorado families." In other words, at least in Mr. Sandberg's opinion, he lines up with the "Old Coffman" and wants Obamacare repealed.

However, Coffman's cover letter takes an altogether different position on Obamacare. In his fear based plea for contributions, he tees off on Nancy Pelosi and makes the following statement:

coffmanletter

This is a subtle message from Mike Coffman's campaign that contains a startling reality: The incumbent Republican in perhaps the most competitive Congressional seat in America is no longer soliciting support based on a message of "repeal Obamacare." This is not a message that Coffman's campaign was likely to just toss out there without having numbers to back it up, which makes it very likely that Republicans are seeing polling numbers indicating that voters are getting tired of the anti-Obamacare message and looking for candidates to talk about how to "amend" or "reform" the law instead.

There's plenty of reason to believe that Coffman's move to an "amend and reform" message is not just a flash in the pan. As our friends at "The Fix" noted on Monday, President Obama is encouraging Democratic candidates to run with an overt pro-Obamacare message:

President Obama announced last week that more than eight million people had signed up for insurance via the federal marketplace, a surge of last-minute activity that not even the most optimistic administration allies could have hoped for. And, then there was the news from the Congressional Budget Office that the health-care law will cost $100 billion less than projected over the next decade.

Amid a (rare) victory lap on the law, Obama was asked whether the news of the past week meant Democratic candidates should run on the law this fall rather than away from it. His answer?  "I think Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact….we're helping because of something we did."

Late last month, after a series of anti-Obamacare ads were being debunked across the country, the Washington Post took note of what it called "The incredible shrinking Obamacare sob story." The problems with an anti-Obamacare message have continued here in our state; as Colorado Pols was first to report yesterday, the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity group is apparently having difficulty finding a "real" person who is a "victim" of Obamacare.

All of this is very bad news for Republican candidates in Colorado who were hoping to ride an anti-Obamacare message to victory in November. Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner, for one, is basing his entire campaign on trying to tie Obamacare to Sen. Mark Udall. If this message isn't working, Gardner won't be the only Republican looking for a new job.

Eight reasons why a Denver Post reporter’s scrubbed blog post was newsworthy and should be re-posted on Post’s website

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here are eight reasons why Denver Post reporter Kurtis Lee's blog post, quoting Rep. Mike Coffman about personhood and abortion-for-rape-and-incest, was newsworthy and should not have been deleted from The Post's website.

1. It was news! The core of Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett's written explanation for scrubbing the piece is that it was basically old news. But Lee's piece advanced our understanding of Coffman's thinking both on the personhood amendment (he opposes it under any circumstances; see number four below.) and on abortion-for-rape-and-incest (he supports it beyond his previous narrow support of it in a specific piece of legislation; see number three.)

2. It was the first time Coffman made a public statement himself about un-endorsing the personhood amendment and withdrawing his longstanding opposition to abortion-for-rape-and-incest. These are major flips, and journalism is all about providing a record of actual statements by public officials, not their mouthpieces.

3. Lee's deleted piece, for the first time, informed the public that Coffman has completely changed a long-held position and now broadly favors allowing a woman raped by her father to have an abortion. Last year, as Lee noted in his piece, Coffman supported a provision in a bill allowing abortion for rape and incest. But this anti-choice bill focused narrowly on banning abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, and no news outlets covered Coffman's position. It was completely unknown, until Lee asked Coffman about it, if Coffman favors broad rape-and-incest exceptions to his overall extreme opposition to abortion. It turns out his flip was complete. So Lee's headline for his post reflected actual news: "Mike Coffman adjusts abortion stance in cases of rape and incest."

4. Lee's deleted piece reported, for the first time, that Coffman is opposed to any version of the personhood amendment, even of it were narrowed. In his deleted piece. Lee reported that "Coffman said there is no language he would change in the ballot initiative that would make him support it." This advances Lee's March 25 story, which quoted Coffman's spokesperson, Tyler Sandberg, as saying only that Coffman did not support the personhood amendment in 2012 or this year, and the matter is settled because voters rejected it (not that Coffman's thinking had changed).

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Ryan Budget Barely Passes; Colo. GOP Delegation All Vote Yes

UPDATE: Mike Coffman's Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff responds:

The Ryan budget does not reflect the values most Americans share. It would force middle-class families to pay more in taxes, students to pay more for college, and seniors to pay more for health care. The House I led balanced the budget every year. But we didn’t do so on the back of the middle class. Some estimates suggest the Ryan plan would cost the country as many as three million jobs. Among the other casualties: 170,000 at-risk children, who would lose access to Head Start.

The winners? Those in the highest income bracket, pharmaceutical manufacturers and corporations that offshore their employees.

If you’re serious about growing the economy, you don’t eliminate job training. You eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

If you’re serious about balancing the budget, you allow Medicare to negotiate deeper discounts in prescription-drug prices – instead of sticking seniors with higher bills.

If you’re serious about strengthening the middle class, you vote against the Ryan budget. 

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Gardner Ryan Budget

Cory Gardner loves him some Paul Ryan

As the National Journal reports, the latest "Ryan Budget" has passed the House (barely). All of Colorado's Republican Members of Congress voted 'YES' on the budget — Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

The House on Thursday narrowly passed Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican budget carrying $5.1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years without closing tax loopholes, as Ryan and other GOP leaders averted a potentially embarrassing defeat on the bill because of party defections.

The measure passed 219 to 205, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting no. A swing of just seven Republican votes would have defeated the measure…

…Even some Republicans acknowledge passage of the Ryan budget is more an aspirational declaration of their party's priorities and vision of government spending.

But the vote Thursday showed that it is not necessarily a reflection of all House Republicans' vision. Some conservative defections were anticipated.

Having already flip-flopped on major issues such as Personhood, we're a little surprised to see both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman sticking with Rep. Paul Ryan on a vote that will almost certainly hurt them with General Election voters.

Immigration Rights Activists Rally in Pueblo – and Everywhere

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican and Democratic politicians alike were denounced by the 50 activists rallying at Bessemer Park in Pueblo on April 5, 2014, as part of a national Day of Action on Immigration. Barack Obama has deported more immigrants than any other President; Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton, and Mike Coffman have all voted to defund programs to make it easier for undocumented "Dreamers" to stay in the USA, and have repeatedly voted against comprehensive immigration reform.  Ken Buck and Tom Tancredo were also called out for their unrelenting history of opposition to not only immigration, but immigrants. All of the Republicans have opposed a path to citizenship, calling it "amnesty".

In Denver, activists rallied in Civic Center Park and on the 16th St. Mall (below): (Photo by Ray Rodriguez)

Elsewhere in Colorado, Summit County, and  Durango, saw rallies,waves of protests, support for youth and families facing deportation proceedings. On Saturday, the call across Colorado and the United States was  "Not one More Deportation!"

 

Under the Obama Presidency, more than two million people have been deported, most of them for low-level crimes, such as traffic offenses. Sunday talk shows debated whether or not Obama really is the "Deporter in Chief" On  Steve Kornacki's show, "UP", the focus was on how Obama's high deportation numbers may affect Latino voter turnout in upcoming elections.

Victoria De Francesca-Soto posited that the immigration numbers may be exaggerated statistically, as now everyone who is caught near the border, but turned back immediately,  is counted in deportation numbers. De Francesca also pointed out that immigration reform may not necessarily be the top issue among all Latino voters; for most, jobs and health care reform are higher priorities.

Yet, Gabriella Domenzain, another guest on Kornacki's show, said. "Four out of ten Latino voters have a personal relationship with someone who is being deported, and that changes you." People point to the unequal enforcement of immigration law – Canadian citizen Justin Bieber was convicted of driving drunk; yet he is not being deported, and, every year 400,000 Latinos, with similar or lesser convictions, are formally deported, for a total of two million under Obama.

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New Coffman® Triangulates Off Best Buddy Steve King

UPDATE: Democrats work to deny Coffman any room to maneuver on immigration, The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe:

The House Majority PAC ad, shared first with The Hill, highlights the fact that Coffman has not yet signed a discharge petition aimed at forcing a vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. 

Though nearly every Democrat in the House has signed the discharge petition, no Republicans have, and many in the GOP have indicated no desire to tackle the controversial issue in an election year…

Democrats see the issue as potent in the district, which is about 20 percent Hispanic, especially against Coffman, who was previously staunchly opposed to immigration reform before shifting early last year.

—–

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

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

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

Congressman Mike Coffman called out a fellow Republican for opposing his proposal to allow undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship by serving in the military on Thursday.

Coffman, R-Aurora, called out Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, a noted illegal immigration firebrand who Democrats have tried to sought to portray as a Coffman ally in an appeal to Hispanic voters.

“With all due respect, Steve King is dead wrong on the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act,” Coffman said in a statement, responding to King’s contention that his bill amounts to “amnesty.”

…Coffman, who faces a tough challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff in a re-drawn 6th Congressional District that now includes Aurora, supported a King proposal last year that would have ended deferred action, President Obama’s executive order sparing young people in the country illegally from immediate deportation. [Pols emphasis]

The context for this public-facing "disagreement," which Stokols notes embattled Rep. Mike Coffman's re-election campaign was quick to publicize, is a group of conservative House members who have announced their opposition to any "immigration riders" to the National Defense Authorization Act. That's the larger bill being debated, which Rep. Jeff Denham of California, supported by Coffman, hoped to amend. Politico:

“I oppose using the NDAA to push any immigration agenda,” [Rep. Mo] Brooks wrote in the letter asking colleagues to join his effort. “That is why I ask you to sign a letter to House leadership informing them that you oppose using the NDAA to push an immigration agenda of any kind.

“If immigration legislation is addressed by the House, it should be done so via the proper process, not by attaching it to must pass legislation,” the letter continues.

As you can see, the opposition to this amendment allowing some illegal immigrants who enlist in the military to gain citizenship is made up of a lot more Republicans than Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Congress' foremost anti-immigrant hardliner after Tom Tancredo left the building. The moderate California Republican Coffman is siding with in this dispute, Rep. Denham, is also a co-sponsor of the Democratic comprehensive immigration reform bill (H.R. 15)–which Coffman opposes.

With all of this in mind, it's quite clear that Coffman is using this intra-Republican disagreement to manufacture daylight between himself and unsightly erstwhile allies like Rep. King (see photo). The policy change Coffman is making a stink about, a path to citizenship for immigrants who join the military, is really quite narrow. Coffman's vote last year with Rep. King against the President's temporary reprieve granted to "DREAMer" undocumented students would have affected many more people, and stands in stark contrast to the impression Coffman wants this latest spat to leave. That vote was a major stumble for Coffman in his quest to reinvent his conservative image, and we don't see how his support for this much narrower proposal rights that wrong.

Especially since Coffman's friend Steve King, and lots of other Republican colleagues, mean to scuttle it.