BREAKING: Cory Gardner Has His Own Ken Buck/”Meet the Press” Moment

UPDATE #2: Watch Cory Gardner's complete refusal to back up dubious claims about his "cancelled" insurance policy:


UPDATE: Watch the full devastating exchange between Eli Stokols and Cory Gardner on contraception and abortion rights:


Cory Gardner FAIL

Rep. Cory Gardner, left, talking to Fox 31 reporter Eli Stokols.

In mid-October 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Ken Buck had a nationally-televised Sunday "debate" on "Meet the Press" — an appearance that proved disastrous for Buck's campaign.

Did history just repeat itself?

Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner appeared Sunday morning on Fox 31's #COPolitics interview show with Eli Stokols, and while he wasn't quite as awful as Buck on that fateful day in 2010…Gardner was bad enough that he may have just mortally wounded his campaign. We'll update this post with a link to the interview as soon as the video is available online, but here's what everyone will be talking about this week (and beyond):

Gardner was asked repeatedly by Stokols to clarify his story surrounding his family's health care coverage (a story sparked by Gardner waving his family's insurance letter at a hearing in front of then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) and refused to provide details even after several questions from Stokols. Gardner has faced questions before about his pre-Obamacare health care coverage, but in front of Stokols he squirmed, dodged, and tried to attack Sen. Mark Udall whenever he was asked for more information. Stokols noted that Fox 31 asked earlier this summer for copies of Gardner's pay-stubs to prove the Congressman's claims that he had no other health insurance other than his mystery $650-per month family health coverage; when pressed about why his office would not provide that information, Gardner went back to attacking Udall.

It would have been difficult for Gardner to have looked less believable in his responses. We'd guess there will be more than one reporter who starts taking a new look at Gardner's insurance claims after this debacle.

Gardner also dug himself deeper (who would have thought that possible?) on his flip-flopping on the Personhood issue. At one point in the interview, Gardner says, "There is no Federal Personhood bill. There is no Federal Personhood bill." Stokols eventually responds by asking Gardner if he really thinks he can make the issue go away by just saying "there is no Federal Personhood bill," to which a flustered Gardner has no response. Gardner later takes his Personhood lie even further by stating, "I do not support legislation that would ban birth control — that's crazy."

The entire interview is really a doozy. Stokols, to his credit, tries very hard to get clear answers to straightforward questions, while Gardner tries very hard to do anything other than answer those questions; to anyone watching, it is very clear what is happening. Clips of this interview will no doubt be looped repeatedly from now until November.

In teaser for Sunday show, Stokols presses Gardner for explanation of personhood hypocrisy

(Stay tuned – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Fox 31 Denver is teasing interview with Cory Gardner to be broadcast 9 a.m. Sunday on reporter Eli Stokols' "#COPolitics from the Source."

Judging from the short exchange between Gardner and Stokols broadcast by Fox 31 last night, it appears Stokols pressed Gardner for a factual explanation from Gardner about why he withdrew his endorsement from personhood amendments at the state level but continues to support federal personhood legislation, which would abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.

Stokols: You don't support the personhood amendment at the state level anymore. Why keep your name on that Life At Conception Act at the federal level?

Gardner: There is no such thing as the federal personhood bill.

Stokols: Cory, the people who wrote that bill, Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Brown of Georgia, they say–Personhood USA says–that that is what the Life at Conception Act is.

Gardner: When I announced for the Senate, that's when this outcry started from the Senate campaign of Senator Udall. That's what they are tyring to do. This is all politics. It's unfortunate that they can't focus on–

Stokols: But the facts are —

Gardner: No, the facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill. There is no federal personhood bill.

I'm looking forward to seeing the entire interview, which will air on Fox 31 Sunday morning at 9 a.m.

‘Bundy Bob’ and the Great Public Land Swindle

Maybe his new moniker ought to be ‘Bundy Bob Beauprez’ because he shares at least one trait with crazy Cliven the Nevada welfare-rancher that got caught-and-released for ripping off the American taxpayer.  Neither think that America’s public lands ought to belong to the American public.

PHOTO CAPTION: This Republican leader–father of America's National Parks and the U.S. National Forest Service–knew how to pose with a horse, like here on a visit to Colorado.

Now Bundy Bob might not have thought this through, threw out some red meat to the kindly crowd of wizened sagebrush veterans, but it turns out Coloradans—like most Americans—love our public lands, our Rocky Mountain and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parks.  Our purple mountains majesty, our iconic Wilderness Areas, turned 50 this very year, our National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges.  Not apparently Bob Beauprez who thinks they ought not belong to America at all, but be ‘taken over’ by the state. Go ahead, give the Grand Canyon to Jan Brewer and Zion to a committee of the Utah Legislature.

Americans hate this idea, by the way, which still seems to get  recycled more than Reagan quips at a CPAC function, and polling routinely shows it.  Pretty much whenever the question is asked, like here, and here, and here.

With good reason, when lands are taken out of the national estate, they no longer offer the same small ‘d’ democratic ideal of a public domain. Turns out they cost a lot of money to manage, so selling them off to private interests, developers, frackers, miners, and the like is something a cash-strapped state trying to fund tax breaks for the wealthy can ill afford to avoid. Or so it seems when one bothers to actually track down data.  

<< PHOTO CAPTION: Hard-working American relaxes after earning money to have things like National Parks to visit and enjoy, looks out upon God's glorious creation at the awe-inspiring Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, designated with an Act of Congress sponsored by Republicans Scott McInnis and Ben Nighthorse-Campbell.  Notorious real estate extortionist Tom Chapman once threatened to build luxury homes lining the rim of the Black Canyon.  Apparently he would find a sympathetic ear with Colorado Republican candidate Bob Beauprez who wants to seize America's public lands in Colorado for unknown purposes.  

As the orange men (no, not John Boehner trick-or-treaters or monarchists) appear in our woods and meadows, we can remind ourselves of the economic boon that Colorado’s federal public lands provide the state.  And to the people of the state and to all the states. To all of us and our fellow Americans, that all pay for their upkeep.  We can all feel pride that Colorado helps steward this part of a great American legacy–our public lands.

Bundy Bob is out-of-touch, because most Americans agree that our public lands should not be taken away from Americans.  Nor should they be placed up for political chit by an over ambitious already-failed gubernatorial candidate.  Because both ways means Coloradans get swindled.  

Big Line Updates: Democrats Appear to Have Slight Advantage

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we're updating The Big Line on a weekly basis. Remember: Percentages listed indicate our view of the win/loss outcome only (we are not attempting to guess margin of victory).

You can always access the full Big Line 2014, but below we provide a bit more detail about our thoughts on various races.

Mark Udall (62%)
Cory Gardner (38%)
Senator Mark Udall has seen his momentum slow down of late, but that probably has more to do with the natural tightening of this race as October draws near. Public polling in Colorado has become about as reliable as a Ouija Board, though if the final outcome is within the general margin of error of most voter surveys, the data is largely irrelevant anyway. For Congressman Cory Gardner, the one thing that has yet to change remains his biggest problem: He just has too many bad votes on too many important issues. Gardner's campaign also seems to have no idea how to go after Udall effectively; they've been changing tactics like the rest of us change socks.

When all is said and done (or insert cliche of your choice), we always come back to the same question: If you had to gamble everything you had on predicting the winner of this race, would you really choose Gardner?

Neither would we.


John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

This race continues to be one of the stranger contests we can remember because of its relatively low profile. Republican Bob Beauprez hasn't run a particularly strong, or interesting, campaign thus far — but perhaps it's enough to ask that his campaign doesn't crater as completely as it did in 2006. Governor John Hickenlooper, meanwhile, has been largely invisible for the last few months. No matter how you look at the race, it's hard to envision Beauprez actually ending up in the Governor's Mansion.


Cynthia Coffman (51%)
Don Quick (49%)
We've had Quick at the top of the Line for a very long time, so what's different? Nothing, really. In fact, it will be hard (post-election) to explain the outcome of this race no matter what happens in November. If this race were taking place in a bubble, we'd give the edge to Quick. But if Democrats win seats for Senate and Governor, history suggests that voters will split their ballot and pick Republicans for other statewide spots.


Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)
There may still be a "Coffman" in elected office come January; for the first time in 25 years, we don't think it will be Mike. In their third debate of the campaign, Democrat Andrew Romanoff completely demolished Congressman Mike Coffman. One debate does not a campaign make (or something like that), but the momentum in this race is unmistakably on the side of Romanoff. Coffman's campaign has been insisting that their guy is ahead in internal polling numbers — just don't ask for proof.

Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.


It’s Been A Big Week for Climate

(From our Executive Director – Pete Maysmith)


NY Climate March

Several days ago nearly 400,000 people gathered to march for climate in New York City. Nearly 400,000 people told our representatives that enough is enough. They stood up to protest the lack of political action that has jeopardized our the future of our planet. Nearly 400,000 brought the world’s attention to climate change again in preparation for the UN Climate Summit that took place Tuesday. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly the entire population of Colorado Springs migrating to New York to demand change.  

These people came from all over the country to demonstrate that climate change is the defining fight of our generation. We have to act. Now. For our kids and everyone who will come after us.  

But the latest news on climate change didn’t stop there.

Business, entertainment, politics, the general population, and even the fossil fuel industry are in agreement: the argument is over. That was yesterday’s news. Today is about action.

Check these actions out —

The Rockefeller family, a name up until now closely tied to the oil industry, divested their philanthropic organization, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, from fossil fuels. No, you aren’t dreaming — the family whose ancestor founded Standard Oil, the monopolistic oil company that spearheaded a generation of unrestrained extraction and corporate growth a century ago, has taken a stand against carbon pollution for the sake of our environment.

Also from the business world, Robert Murray, CEO of the coal company Murray Energy said Monday that those who believe the domestic coal market will recover are seriously deluded. Even those who benefit most from the fossil-fuel industry are recognizing its day is passing.   


May this news story never end: McInnis regrets apologizing for plagiarism

(From plagiarism to revisionist history, not a huge leap – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Scott McInnis.

Scott McInnis.

Fortunately for someone like me, who will never get enough of the 2010 election cycle, failed gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis will never stop talking about it.

A great article today in the Grand Junction Sentinel states that McInnis has a big regret about how he handled the plagiarism scandal that torpedoed his gubernatorial campaign: apologizing for it, since he says he did nothing wrong at all.

McInnis, now running for Mesa County Commissioner, told the Sentinel he "should have dug [his] heels in" and "brought up more about the Hasan family."

The Sentinel's Emily Shockley reports:

“I didn’t plagiarize, period,” [McInnis] said. But, at the behest of political advisers, he did make apologies for the situation ever happening. That situation involved a researcher ghost-writing the articles in question, which turned out to have several sections lifted from an old work by current Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs Jr.

“I would have dug my heels in and I would have brought up more about the Hasan family,” McInnis said.

“I’ve used ghost writers my whole career. I would have said I didn’t make the mistake. I wasn’t dishonest then and I’m not dishonest now.”

If he'd done that, maybe we'd have heard more from McInnis' ghost writer, Rolly Fischer, who spoke so eloquently to Channel 7's John Ferrugia at the time, before he went into hiding.

If McInnis had thrown his researcher even deeper under the bus, and dug in deeper, it would have made an already great news story even better.

Beauprez’s Shame

Just when you thought you knew everything about Bob Beauprez, it gets even worse.

During Beauprez's last run for governor, he proved himself to be hopelessly out of touch on issues that matter to women voters. Beauprez was even forced to apologize for claiming in a Colorado Public Radio interview that 70% of African American pregnancies end in abortion–a claim which is ridiculous, offensive, and bigoted in the extreme.

Another portion of this same interview was published this week. Here is what Beauprez says about abortion, even in cases of rape:

RYAN WARNER: A sixteen-year-old girl is raped. She and her parents want to get an abortion for her. They would pay for it, it wouldn't be state dollars. You would support a law preventing her from getting an abortion under those circumstances?

BOB BEAUPREZ: Yes, and I'll tell you very simply why.

WARNER: Please.

BEAUPREZ: I don't think it's the child's fault. And I think we either protect life — all life, especially the most innocent of life — or we don't. The situations of rape or incest, and pregnancies resulting from, are relatively few…

Tell Beauprez right now: this is totally unacceptable.

Not since Todd Akin said that rape victims "have ways" of preventing pregnancy have I heard such a sickeningly offensive comment from a politician. This morning, I hosted a press call with Dr. Rebecca Cohen, an OB/GYN doctor and Family Planning Fellow, as well as a brave survivor of sexual assault to respond to Beauprez's horrifying remarks. You can listen to the recording here.


Would Beauprez sign Gardner’s personhood bill?

(The next logical question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)


In the wake of this week's revelation that Bob Beauprez once said he'd sign a bill outlawing abortion in Colorado, even for a 16-year-old who was raped, you have no choice but to ask yourself this bizarre question:

If Beauprez were governor, and Rep. Cory Gardner's federal persohood bill successfully overturned Roe v. Wade, as it's intended to do, freeing up the Colorado legislature to send an abortion-ban bill to Beaurprez's desk, would he follow through on his promise to sign it?

Yup, there are numerous hypothetical leaps there, and the leaps are significant, but they are smaller than you might think, and outlawing all abortion, even for rape and incest, is actually factually what both these candidates (Beauprez and Gardner) have pushed for throughout their political careers.

So I'll quickly explain the steps involved in the question.

First, the federal personhood bill, co-sponsored by Gardner last year, would have to clear Congress, which is not so far-fetched when you consider that Republicans could take over the U.S. Senate this year. Then the Supreme Court, whose pro-choice majority is already questionable, would have to overturn Roe, based on the new legislation and other factors. Then, and possibly the biggest hurdle, Colorado Republicans would have to get their act together and take power under the dome. (This is already a reality in numerous other states, where Republican majorities would quickly ban abortion if Garnder's bill had it's intended effect.)

Do me a favor and don't roll your eyes at this blog post, because all you have to do is think of Texas and look at all the places in America where abortion rights are already restricted or threatened. Here's a great summary. It could even happen in Colorado. This is an issue that matters.

Bottom line: Along with their anti-abortion allies across the country, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and senatorial candidate Cory Gardner could theoretically work together to ban abortion in Colorado and/or in other states. Gardner could push for the federal legislation allowing Beauprez to sign a state bill giving fertilized eggs (zygotes) the same legal rights as you have.

Post story misleads readers about Gardner’s 2007 stance on “contraception”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a piece on Colorado's Senate race today, veteran Denver Post political reporter Lynn Bartels misleads readers into thinking a 2007 state personhood bill, sponsored by senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, wouldn't have banned "contraception" when, in fact, the bill would have prohibited the use of common forms of birth control—as well as all abortion, including for rape and incest.

Bartels wrote:

The Udall campaign didn't mention another part of that bill, an omission that bolsters Gardner's argument that he's not opposed to contraceptives. It reads: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the sale, use, prescription, or administration of a contraceptive measure. … "

But Bartels didn't point out that other language elsewhere in Gardner's bill mandates that contraception would have to be used “prior to the time that pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.”

The definition of “pregnancy” in the bill is “the human female reproductive condition of having a living unborn human being within her body throughout the entire embryonic and fetal ages of the unborn child from fertilization to full gestation and childbirth” [BigMedia emphasis].

So, under Garnder's bill, some forms of “contraception,” like a condom or diaphragm, are ok, because they unequivocally don't threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes) or any fetal stage of pregnancy.

But other forms of contraception, like the copper IUD or some forms of the pill, would not be allowed because they are considered abortifacients by the religious right. They are seen to threaten or destroy fertilized eggs. (In 2007, when the bill was drafted by Gardner, more types of hormonal birth control were widely seen as blocking zygotes from reaching the uterus and causing them, even if they got there, to be unable to implant in the uterine wall.)

Hence Gardner's 2007 bill was carefully written to ban both abortion and certain forms of abortifacient contraception, while freeing women to use non-abortifacient methods to their hearts' content.


New York Times USA Today covers Colorado / Jefferson County Student Protests

In Colorado, the newly conservative Jefferson County School Board has made headlines because the board seeks to remove information about civil disobedience from the High School AP history class. Ironically, this has actually created real time civil disobedience among students.

And this story is no longer local, it is being covered Nationally by the New York Times

As well as in USA Today
From the New York Times

A new conservative school board majority here in the Denver suburbs recently proposed a curriculum-review committee to promote patriotism, respect for authority and free enterprise and to guard against educational materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder.” In response, hundreds of students, teachers and parents gave the board their own lesson in civil disobedience.

“It’s gotten bad,” said Griffin Guttormsson, a junior at Arvada High School who wants to become a teacher and spent the school day soliciting honks from passing cars. “The school board is insane. You can’t erase our history. It’s not patriotic. It’s stupid.”

From USA Today

“I think it’s awesome that students understand and recognize their First Amendment rights and they’re taking action,” John Ford, president of the Jefferson County Education Association, told KUSA.
“Trying to create a board that in some ways purifies our curriculum is a little bit concerning and somewhat chilling,” Ford said.

I learned a word in High School – irony – or ‘poetic justice’ which is what I think this next sentence sums up…

(Mr. Witt) said that some had made censorship allegations “to incite and upset the student population.”

That would be your doing sir.

Almost from the outset, the three conservative newcomers to the five-person board clashed with the two others, and a steady stream of 3-to-2 votes came to represent the sharp divisions on the board and in the community. Critics of the new majority have assailed the board for hiring its own lawyer, calling it a needless expense, and accused them of conducting school business outside of public meetings….

“We’ve had conservatives on our board before,” said Michele Patterson, the president of the district’s parent-teacher association. “They were wonderful. These people, they’re not interested in balance or compromise. They have a political agenda that they’re intent on pushing through.

(As of this post the USA Today article has over 1700 Shares and The New York Times has over 900 comments)

Beauprez: Americans “realize” they may need to “protect themselves” against attack from U.S. government

(The worst Beauprez whackoism yet? Just…wow – promoted by Colorado Pols)


Over the weekend, Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll pointed out that gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has shown a "tendency in recent years to voice support for the fringe issue du jour on the right, whether it's northern Colorado secession or repeal of the 17th Amendment permitting the direct election of senators."

I just found yet another instance of Beauprez voicing "support for the fringe issue du jour on the right." This time, Beauprez was on a right-wing radio show Dec. 21 2012, a week after the Sandy Hook massacre. And the hot topic was the stockpiling of guns and ammo.

Host Chuck Wilder asked Beauprez, who's running against Gov. John Hickenlooper, if he thought people were buying guns and ammo to protect yourself against the bad guys or to protect yourself against the government which might say, 'Only the government is going to have guns?'"

Beauprez responded by saying there's a "growing sentiment" that America might be on the "verge of something very, very bad," and "folks realize they may need to protect themselves against the government that was supposed to be instituted to protect us." Listen to Beauprez say Americans are stockpiling guns for possible use against the government

Beauprez's use of the word "realize" indicates his agreement with the sentiment, I'd say.

Beauprez's comments extend the theme, expressed by the Republican candidate previously, of impending civil war in America. On the Internet show "Christian Today," Beauprez once said:

Beauprez: I hope and pray that, that we don’t see another revolution in this country, I hope and pray we don’t see another civil war, but this administration is pushing the boundaries like none I think we’ve ever, ever seen.


New Gardner Ad Critical of Udall Family Ties (VIDEO)

We've talked many times in this space about Republican Congressman Cory Gardner's campaign for U.S. Senate and their obvious confusion about finding the right message for attacking Sen. Mark Udall.

Apparently Gardner is still looking for that message. In his latest ad, revealed today, Gardner goes after Udall for having the audacity to have family members involved in politics. Here's what Gardner says about the Udall family, which you can watch for yourself below (after the jump):

CORY GARDNER: [Mark Udall] is the Senate. 18 years in politics, and he's got two cousins who are Senators, too. Mark Udall's dad even ran for President.

Gardner goes on to talk about how his father and grandfather both sell tractors, which is a "you think you're better than me?" message that might appeal to a Republican base but probably won't do much to excite the rest of Colorado voters. The timing of Gardner's ad is interesting as well; on Monday, Arizona Sen. John McCain said that he would not campaign against Udall because of a long history with both Mark and his father, "Mo" Udall

Oh, and about those Udall cousins in the Senate? Sen. Tom Udall is a Democrat from New Mexico, and Sen. Mike Lee is a REPUBLICAN from Utah. Mike Lee was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 after a surprise defeat of longtime incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Bennett.


VIDEO: Mike Coffman Rejects Climate Change

We discussed this during our Live Blog of last night's CO-6 debate between Rep. Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff, but you really need to see the video yourself as a visibly-uncomfortable Coffman rejects the issue of climate change outright. Coffman's answers came during the "Yes or No answer" segment of the debate:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

MODERATOR #1 (Denver Post reporter Jon Murray): Mr. Coffman, do you believe humans are contributing significantly to Climate Change?


MODERATOR #1: Mr. Romanoff?


MODERATOR #2 (Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett): Mr. Romanoff, do you think we can reverse Climate Change?


MODERATOR #2: Mr. Coffman?

COFFMAN: Don't know.

MODERATOR #2: Um, what? Sir?

COFFMAN: [long pause] No.

Coffman's answers to these two questions were not entirely unpredictable, but the Congressman was definitely uneasy — and a bit unsure of himself — in giving his answers. It was a strange way to answer a couple of questions that any pre-debate preparation should have covered repeatedly, so why was Coffman caught so off-guard?

GMO Labeling Campaign Out with First Ad (in Oregon)

Oregon voters, like in Colorado are deciding on a state ballot measure to require labeling of GMO foods.  Here it is Prop 105, and you can endorse it and sign up as a volunteer here.  

 <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


In this ad the Consumers Union, which publishes Consumers Reports, counters the industry hyperbolic claims of spikes in prices–labeling won't make prices jump.  

Coffman vs. Romanoff, Round 3: Live Blog!


Insert candidates here.

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. Tonight we're at the auditorium in the Denver Post building for CD-6 debate #3 between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff. (we covered Round 1 in Highlands Ranch with a Live Blog on Aug. 14.)

*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.

Andrew Romanoff beat the absolute crap out of Mike Coffman tonight. It was almost unfair — Romanoff pummeled Coffman at every opportunity, while the incumbent largely just stood there quietly. This was stunning. Truly.

We can't get over Coffman's inability to hold his tongue completely. When Romanoff talked about Coffman's personal attacks, Coffman immediately responded…with personal attacks. Really, really, really weird.

Closing arguments.

Romanoff goes first, says time for a change in Congress.

Coffman says Time magazine recently named him one of the most effective Members of Congress(?). "God Bless you for being here tonight, and God Bless the United States."

7:00 pm
Coffman gets to ask his final question of Romanoff. He flips through his notes for a moment, seemingly forgetting what he wanted to ask.