Will the real Both Ways Bob please stand up?

(Skip to 4:10 in the video below for the quotes in question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As women across the country celebrate Women's Equality Day, ProgressNow Colorado demands that Bob Beauprez tell the truth about his opposition to a woman’s right to choose–even in the case of rape and incest. Beauprez claims his hard line opposition to abortion is his "personal" view, but during his last run for governor, Beauprez clearly stated he would sign an abortion ban into law with no exception for victims of sex crimes.

"It's time for Bob Beauprez to end his war on women: a woman has the right to make her own personal, private medical decisions, including victims of rape and incest,” stated Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado. "It's shocking that in 2014 we are still having a debate about something so basic."

In an interview broadcast this past Sunday–transcribed below–Beauprez said, "I respect that different people have different opinions than me and I respect the law of the land which is very clear and as Governor I will enforce the law of the land…for me personally the only exception is life of the mother–that's me personally."

Yet in 2006, Beauprez said he would sign a bill that outlaws abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. (Denver Post, October 20, 2006)

"Beauprez's record shows that he would let the government interfere with decisions that should be left to a woman, her family and her doctor," said Runyon-Harms. "Beauprez supported federal Personhood legislation, and said in his last run for Governor that he would sign a bill outlawing all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Once again, Both Ways Bob is saying one thing to women, while his record demonstrates otherwise."

(more…)

Will Cory Gardner Attend Tomorrow’s Big Pro-Life Rally?

TUESDAY UPDATE: The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels:

“It’s no surprise that the biggest defenders of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who both made national headlines for their crass and demeaning comments on rape, are parachuting into Colorado to help Congressman Gardner, who wrote a bill to make abortion a felony in cases of rape,” said Udall’s campaign spokeswoman, Kristin Lynch.

“Coloradans won’t be swayed by radical groups like the Susan B. Anthony List. Voters know that Mark respects women and trusts them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

Akin, of Missouri, and Mourdock, of Indiana, were GOP Senate candidates whose comments on rape helped doom their campaigns…

The group sponsoring the rally is Students for Life, which makes no mention of Gardner on its website. Gardner voted for the bill limiting late-term abortions.

—–

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

​From the announcement for tomorrow's star-studded pro-life rally at the Colorado Capitol, put on by a coalition of anti-abortion groups including former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's Susan B. Anthony Fund:

Senate Bill 1670, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protect Act, speaks up for those who can't speak for themselves and protects the health of women when it comes to late-term abortion. And our Colorado Senators need to hear from you.

Thanks to scientific research and advancing technology we know the inhumane treatment of babies in the womb, who after 20 weeks (about five months gestation) can feel pain…

The Senate has the opportunity to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and protect the health of women. While all abortions pose physical and psychological risks for the woman, medical risks from abortion increase markedly as pregnancy progresses, including the risk of death.

Join us on Tuesday August 26th at the State Capitol in Downtown Denver to make our voices heard!

Speakers Include:
Kristan Hawkins, SFLA
Marilyn Musgrave, SBA-List
State Senator Vicki Marble, SD-23
Michael Norton, ADF
Debra Chaves, Colorado Family Action
Lynn Grandon, Archdiocese of Denver
Sarah Zagorski, Colorado Citizens for Life
Co-sponsoring groups include FRC Action, Susan B. Anthony, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, and Americans United for Life.

A name we noticed right away was missing from this list of speakers is GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner. Just a couple of weeks ago, Gardner reaffirmed on camera (above) that he would vote again for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act as a U.S. Senator as he already has done in the House. Like we said then, this legislation doesn't go quite as far as the no-exceptions Life at Conception Act abortion ban that Gardner remains a sponsor of in the House, but it still represents a direct challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision mandating reproductive choice rights in the United States. Between this bill and the "Personhood" abortion bans at the federal and state level that Gardner still supports and has recently flip-flopped on (respectively), it's very difficult to argue this is not an issue that Gardner and a lot of his fellow Republicans care about.

Keep this in mind next time someone tells you what Democrats call the "war on women" doesn't exist.

With all of this in mind, will Gardner make an appearance at this rally tomorrow celebrating legislation he supports? Either way, it's safe to say he'll be the 800 pound gorilla in–excuse us–on the Capitol steps.

DSCC Drops $1 Million To Hammer Gardner on Abortion

AP’s Phillip Elliot reports on the latest media buy from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $1 million on an ad hitting GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner squarely on the issue of abortion:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday ordered a two-week ad buy that hammers Republican congressman Cory Gardner. The narrator in the 30-second ad says Gardner backed three amendments that would have banned all abortions.

Gardner supported changes to Colorado’s state constitution that would have banned stem cell research, some birth control and abortion. Gardner has since changed his position on the so-called personhood measure, and says now he opposes it.

From the DSCC’s release:

“If Congressman Cory Gardner had his way, Colorado women would be denied critical decisions about their personal health,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Congressman Gardner’s record of backing measures to take women’s health care decisions away is simply too extreme for Colorado. Until Election Day, the DSCC will continue to highlight how Congressman Gardner is completely wrong for Colorado women, seniors, and middle class families.”

What’s particularly interesting to us about this latest TV spot is the lack of any mention of birth control–focusing strictly on Gardner’s support for banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Much of the advertising up to this point has tried to invoke the added consequence of banning birth control as a result of the Personhood abortion bans, and the federal Life at Conception Act that Gardner remains a co-sponsor of. Gardner has vigorously pushed back against the assertion that he wanted to ban even so-called “abortifacient” birth control as Personhood proponents did–going as far as voicing support for over-the-counter birth control as a means of deflecting the charge that he supports legislation that could ban it.

By avoiding the issue of birth control entirely and focusing solely on Gardner’s support for total abortion bans even in cases of rape or incest, the DSCC takes away Gardner’s ability to deflect. Regardless of whether or not you believe Gardner wanted to ban birth control when he supported legislation that could have that effect, there’s no question that Gardner has repeatedly sponsored and voted for legislation to ban all abortions without exception. To be honest, anecdotal conversations we’ve had with low-information voters suggest to us that the claim Gardner supported legislation to ban birth control, intentionally or not, is much harder to swallow than the argument that Gardner supports banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest.

Given the public’s skepticism of election-season claims these days, it may indeed be better to stick to an argument that Gardner can’t, as local Republican consultant Katy Atkinson crassly admitted was the plan, “muddy up.”

Because we don’t think Gardner can say much about this one.

Gardner Goes Full “Con Man Cory” In Aspen Times Interview

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner sat down with Aspen Times reporter Rick Carroll this week, and was subjected to a lively battery of questions ranging from his views on abortion and contraception to local control over oil and gas drilling. Gardner’s answers are in some ways tellingly evasive if you know the facts, while others could come back to haunt him in very straightforward ways between now and Election Day. Here are some excerpts, make sure you click through to read the whole thing.

On birth control:

AT: During this campaign you have said you favor over-the-counter birth-control pills. Is it fair to say you have changed your mind and how do you explain that?

Gardner: Sen. Udall’s lying and because Sen. Udall can’t run on the economy, on energy, he can’t run on health care, he’s got to run away from those issues. He’s running a very negative and deceptive campaign full of untruths…the fact is I support contraception available over the counter without prescription.

AT: Without prescription?

Gardner: Yes, and that’s the key part and we need to fix Obamacare to allow that to happen… [Pols emphasis]

On abortion:

AT: Do you believe that women have their own right to make their own choices about health care, specifically abortion?

Gardner: I am pro-life and I have voted for measures that have exceptions. [Pols emphasis] I think Sen. Udall wants to divide the state of Colorado and not focus on issues of the economy or health care or energy. In fact, I would say this: When it comes to health care, Sen. Udall has said that people shouldn’t be making their own health-care choices. He cast one of his votes on Obamacare, a bill passed that took 335,000 Coloradans off the insurance they were promised they could keep…

On immigration:

AT: Earlier this month you broke rank with the Republicans by voting against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. But in 2013 you voted in favor of a bill that would have ended it. Can you explain your change of heart?

Gardner: Those were two different pieces of legislation at different times… [Pols emphasis]

On oil and gas drilling and climate change:

AT: Do you support Udall’s legislation to protect the Thompson Divide area from drilling?

Gardner: I know the legislation that Sen. (Michael) Bennet has introduced and Congressman (Scott) Tipton has obviously been working on this issue. … Federal legislation that affects a local issue, those discussions ought to be led by local stakeholders… [Pols emphasis]

AT: Do you believe in climate change?

Gardner: Well, I have said that the climate is changing. I’ve said that before but I’m very concerned that the revenues for it would destroy our economy, like Sen. Udall’s idea to place a carbon tax, driving up the cost on low-income earners, on people with fixed income and they would destroy our economy.

A remarkable interview for the sweeping ground it covers–and the sweeping reinventions Gardner is trying to make from his former staunchly conservative self on display. But beyond that, there’s an audacity to Gardner’s deceptive answers that’s really quite extraordinary. When Gardner says he has voted for abortion ban “measures that have exceptions,” meaning exceptions for victims of rape or incest, he avoids saying that he has also voted and even sponsored abortion bans that do not contain any such exceptions. Gardner’s talk of “fixing” Obamacare is plainly meant to deflect from Gardner’s dozens of unpopular votes to repeal Obamacare. Gardner’s answer on immigration, for its part, is laughably weak, and won’t mollify critics in the least.

But the real shocker in this interview could be Gardner’s lip service to local control over oil and gas drilling. After weeks raking opponent Mark Udall over the coals, demanding Udall publicly come out against ballot initiatives for local control of oil and gas drilling that Gardner falsely characterized as an “energy ban,” what is anybody supposed to make of Gardner saying now that local stakeholders should “lead discussions?”

Even with no knowledge of Gardner’s record and the issues that have been animating this race so far, the responses in this interview raise questions–it’s obvious he’s not telling the whole story, and that he’s responding to allegations the reader can’t fully appreciate without more context. Those who take that next step to get that context will discover pretty easily just how deceptive Gardner was in this interview.

And it’s difficult to see how that ends well for Gardner.

Colorado Pro-Life Group Announces Endorsements

Via LifeNews.com:

Colorado Citizens for Life, the statewide pro-life group that represents more than 37,000 pro-life families across the state, is announcing today its endorsement of Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO 3rd District), Ken Buck (R-CO 4th District), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO 5th District), and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO 6th District).

Rep. Scott Tipton has voted pro-life on 13 out of 13 votes, Rep. Doug Lamborn has voted pro-life on 27 out of 27 votes, and Rep. Mike Coffman has voted pro-life on 20 out of 20 votes.

All of these Congressman have a 100% pro-life voting record. These votes include voting for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; the repeal of the Obamacare law which contains provisions authorizing federal subsides for abortion; and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would close certain loopholes that give tax-preferred status to abortion. They also voted to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood and against the Medicare Prescription Drug Act, which would effectively prevent older people from being allowed to spend their own money, if they choose, to save their own lives through access to unrationed prescription drugs under Medicare.

This is certainly a mixed-bag endorsement for candidates such as Rep. Mike Coffman (CD-6), who have been trying hard to deflect criticism that they do not represent the interests of a majority of Colorado women.

Factcheck.org: Gardner’s Personhood Distinction Is BS

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

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

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

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

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

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

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

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

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

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

In other words, exactly what we said all along.

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

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

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

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

corytetons

get-a-brain-morans

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

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

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

Video: Gardner Recommits To Abortion Ban Legislation

A video clip of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner shot about a week ago by a "tracker" with the national liberal organization American Bridge captures Gardner once again forced to address the subject of abortion–an issue that, although great for Gardner to flog during his long career running for office in safe Republican seats, is today a major liability in his statewide race. This encounter is from Gardner's recent "jobs and economy" tour on the Western Slope, as transcribed below–staying on message seems to be a bit of a problem.

VOTER: I wanted to say thank you, I had to look up the name of this bill, because I can never remember. But about a year ago, the U.S. House voted on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. And you voted for that. Um, I thought that was a wonderful bill, the media paid it very little attention, and I thought it was a very reasonable approach to a complicated and controversial problem. And you'd vote for it again as a Senator, would you not? [Pols emphasis]

GARDNER: Yes. [Pols emphasis] Thank you.

VOTER: Well, and I think you need to let people know that you did that. Because there are, I don't know, in this day and age, (inaudible) it might be a better approach than the Personhood thing.

GARDNER: Good to see you. Thank you.

VOTER: Thank you.

It's not quite a reaffirmation of Gardner's support for the Life at Conception Act, the "Personhood" federal legislation Gardner is a co-sponsor of that would have the same impact on so-called "abortifacient" birth control as the state-level Personhood amendments Gardner has disavowed. But make no mistake: the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, an arbitrary ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, would still directly challenge the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Roe v. Wade upheld abortion rights for a longer period based on the standard of fetal viability outside the womb. Pro-choice advocates note that most abortions performed this late address severe medical problems either with the mother or the fetus.

All of this helps explain why Gardner didn't appear at all eager to be discussing this issue in front of a tracker. Gardner's answer will please the anti-abortion groups who are rushing to shield him from criticism over his abandonment of Colorado's Personhood amendment. But for Gardner's larger objective of escaping the danger the issue of abortion represents to his campaign for the U.S. Senate, it's the last thing he needs.

And this won't be the last time he has to answer these uncomfortable questions.

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 Tries, Fails To Buzzsaw Abortion Questions

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

A surprisingly good story today from the Pueblo Chieftain's Pete Tucker draws GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner out once again on the issue of his longtime, recently-reversed support for the "Personhood" abortion ban ballot initiatives in Colorado. Much of this story is behind the Chieftain's paywall, but we strongly encourage a read if you have access. In today's story, conversation turns once again to Personhood, and Gardner tries…well, you tell us what the best term is to describe what Gardner tries to do here:

Udall’s recent advertisements have criticized Gardner’s position on the so-called “personhood amendment” and attacked him as a candidate who wants to outlaw birth control.

Gardner said both assertions are false. He said he doesn’t support the personhood amendment and said he does support women’s rights to birth control, calling the accusation “nonsense.” [Pols emphasis]

What Gardner's campaign wishes more than anything is that this conversation would stop right there. Gardner would prefer the statement that he "doesn't support Personhood" to end all discussion about this issue, except maybe with a brief segue into birth control so Gardner can burnish his "women's issue" credentials with his come-lately proposal to make the pill available over the counter.

But unfortunately, as Tucker continues, the conversation doesn't end there:

Udall’s campaign said Monday that its point is that Gardner remains a sponsor to the federal personhood amendment and that his reversal on a state law was one of political expedience. Gardner said he won’t respond in ads to Udall’s attacks, saying a tit-for-tat advertising war prevents him from focusing on his own message. He also said Udall can’t campaign on the economy or health care.

But Udall’s staff noted Gardner already has run an ad responding to the accusations over women’s issues.

In the ad, Gardner responds to the personhood issue, noting he reversed his decision on the state proposal, [Pols emphasis] then goes on to attack Udall’s support for Obamacare.

And folks, one more time–why did Gardner reverse his position on the Colorado Personhood ballot measures right after getting in the U.S. Senate race? Because he had apparently "just discovered" that Personhood could outlaw common forms of birth control! And why is his continued cosponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act a problem? Because it has the same language as Colorado's Personhood amendments!

If you're looking for the part of this story where Gardner says the perfect thing to defuse this obvious contradiction and comes out looking trustworthy…we're sorry to tell you, it doesn't exist. Gardner cannot truthfully reconcile his message on abortion with his stridently anti-choice record in politics, because it would be politically suicidal to do so. Gardner calls these attacks the product of a "tired playbook," but he has no defensive play–and every story that honestly explores the question makes that more glaringly obvious.

And when even a friendly newspaper like the Pueblo Chieftain can't hide that, he's got a problem.

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."

(more…)

Conservatives Freak Out Over New Udall Ad

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall's campaign is out with another ad slamming opponent Cory Gardner for his longstanding support for banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest–and also for Gardner's renounced backing of the Personhood abortion bans in Colorado, which could have banned certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control in addition to banning all abortions. Udall's latest ad on this subject could be the hardest-hitting yet, and that has seriously upset conservatives allied with Gardner. The religious Life News reports:

Pro-abortion Colorado Sen. Mark Udall has released a campaign ad trashing pro-life Congressman Cory Gardner, who is challenging the abortion advocate in one of the hottest Senate races in the country.

Gardner, a pro-life Congressman from Colorado, hopes to help pro-life advocates gain control of the Senate from Reid and to put it back in pro-life hands. Gardner is a longtime pro-life advocate who maintains a 100% pro-life voting record in the House…

Udall's new "Backwards" TV ad against opponent Cory Gardner, a Republican congressman, features a woman holding a girl that looks about five or six years old while discussing abortion.

After the ad's narrator criticizes Gardner's "history supporting harsh anti-abortion laws," the mother, with the girl in her lap, says: "I want my daughter to have the same choices I do."

The conservative Daily Caller's Alex Pappas is shocked, we say:

Udall’s new “Backwards” TV ad against opponent Cory Gardner, a Republican congressman, features a woman holding a girl that looks about five or six years old while discussing abortion.

And don't even get FOX News contributor Katie Pavlich started:

In an ad released today attacking his opponent, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, Udall claims Gardner wants to "ban common forms of birth control." This statement is completely false.

First, Supreme Court precedent set through Griswold v. Connecticut makes banning birth control pretty much impossible (you can read more about this in my new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women). Second, Gardner actually supports making many pill forms of birth control and contraception over-the-counter. An over-the-counter position provides women with more access to birth control, not less and is very far from a "ban" on anything.

Remember, the best outrage always includes a book plug. Ms. Pavlich is right that a Supreme Court decision, Griswold v. Connecticut, upheld women's rights to contraception–much like Roe v. Wade upheld a women's right to abortion. But it occurs to us that comparison doesn't help Pavlich's argument much, since conservatives want Roe v. Wade thrown out. We assume Pavlich never spoke to the organizing proponents of the Personhood abortion bans in Colorado to find out that they very much did intend to ban "abortifacient" birth control. This would amount to a challenge to the Supreme Court's Griswold v. Connecticut decision, but that's not a stretch when you realize that Personhood is meant to challenge Roe v. Wade.

Gardner's disavowal of support for Colorado's Personhood initiative rests on the dubious claim that he "didn't know" Personhood could have these secondary effects on access to birth control. It's hard to call this a fictional consequence when Gardner himself admitted to it. As we've discussed in detail, this has been a well-known consequence of Personhood ever since 2008. Again, the proponents of Personhood knew this, and made no attempt to conceal their desire to ban "abortifacient" birth control at the time.

A ban on abortifacient birth control is also a potential consequence of the federal Life at Conception Act that Gardner remains a cosponsor of to this very day, despite unsupported claims otherwise from Gardner's campaign. As for Gardner's latest proposal for over-the-counter birth control pills? It was made under duress as a response to this crisis situation–as an attack on Obamacare, and with no real consideration for what it would mean as a substitute to the zero-copay birth control already available through Obamacare. For example, who's going to install an intrauterine device (IUD) over the counter?

So what are we left with with all of these facts in view? Well, Udall has another campaign ad out attacking Gardner on one of his gravest vulnerabilities–longstanding support for banning abortion, as well as the Personhood bans that could go even farther. The central offense in Udall's ad is a mother and her daughter, with the mother saying she wants her daughter to have "the same choices" she did. The presence of the young daughter in this ad especially outrages conservatives, who would rather think that Democrats want all children aborted, or that all young Democratic girls are taught loose morals via birth control and easy abortions–or whatever the problem is here.

But the outrage seems to be meant to conceal something Gardner's campaign doesn't want to discuss honestly.

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?

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Gardner Camp Responds to Cosmopolitan Article by Ridiculing Magazine

Last Thursday we wrote about a story from Cosmopolitan magazine discussing the Personhood issue in Congress, with a focus on Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner's struggles with flip-flopping on the issue. Here's the money quote from that story:

[Gardner has] built his entire political career on support of personhood," Personhood USA president Keith Mason told Cosmopolitan.com. "I think he's just listening to some bad advice, and he's playing politics."

A few hours after our post first appeared on Colorado Pols, Gardner's campaign responded via Twitter in just about the worst possible manner — by (SURPRISE!) making fun of women's magazines. From Jill Filipovic of Cosmopolitan:

This week, journalist Ada Calhoun published a piece on Cosmopolitan.com about personhood bills, wildly unpopular right-wing legislation that would outlaw abortion and, potentially, some forms of birth control and in-vitro fertilization. She highlighted the Senate race in Colorado between pro-choice candidate Mark Udall and his anti-abortion opponent, Cory Gardner, who supported state personhood legislation until he didn't, and who remains a co-sponsor of federal personhood legislation. Udall's press team tweeted the article. In response, Sam Stookesberry, Gardner's deputy press secretary until last month, responded:

Cosmo Tweets

You may want to adjust those blinders

That kind of condescension is de rigueur when you write in lady-mag land. If your outlet brands itself as a "women's publication," the automatic assumption is that it's lowbrow, apolitical, superficial, or all of the above. And there's certainly plenty of content in traditional women's magazines and websites that fits the bill.

But mainstream "serious" media, with its regular forays into rape apologia and marginalizing female accomplishment, isn't exactly an enjoyable place for the feminist-hearted either. And while beauty tips, fashion spreads, and sex advice are staples of women's publications, so is an abundance of serious reporting and thoughtful writing from excellent journalists. Calhoun, for example, has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, NewYorker.com, and the New Republic — and that's just the "N" section of her resume. Put her in Cosmo, though, and suddenly "hard-hitting journalist" becomes a sarcastic reproach instead of an accurate characterization…

The reaction to an article's placement also serves as a handy litmus test: Whether a person engages with the work sincerely or whether their go-to response is to brush it off because it appears in a women's publication alongside celebrity, fashion, and sex coverage offers a pretty clear read on how they view women more generally. [Pols emphasis] Which makes smarmy dismissals from conservative men fairly predictable — if especially rich when those men's patronizing tweets are published alongside their own less-than-hard-hitting style advice.

As we wrote last week, it would be foolish to dismiss something that appears in Cosmopolitan magazine — which boasts a readership of a female demographic that Gardner desperately needs in order to have any hope of defeating Sen. Mark Udall in November. It is completely irrelevant if some individuals — primarily men — brush Cosmo off as unimportant. Cosmopolitan magazine isn't trying to influence an audience of conservative men…even if that's all Cory Gardner's campaign can think about.

Other co-sponsors of Life at Conception Act say it aims to enact personhood at federal level

(Oops. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's spokespeople are saying that a federal personhood bill cosponsored by Garder, called the Life at Conception Act, is not a real personhood bill because it "simply states that life begins at conception" and would not actually outlaw abortion or contraception.

If so, you'd expect other co-sponsors of the Life at Conception Act to agree with Gardner. But this is not the case.

After co-sponsoring the same Life at Conception Act in March, 2013, four months before Gardner signed on, Rep. Charles Boustany, (R-LA) issued a statement saying:

“As a Member of Congress, I take the cause of fighting for the unborn just as seriously. That’s why I cosponsored H.R. 1091, the Life at Conception Act. This bill strikes at the heart of the Roe v. Wade decision by declaring life at conception, granting constitutional protection to the unborn under the 14th Amendment.”

Boustany's comment comports with the actual factual language of the bill. It's an attempt to outlaw all abortion, even for rape and incest, via the 14th Amendment.

I've made multiple attempts to reach the House sponsor of Life at Conception Act, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), for his take on his own bill, but I have yet to hear back. [Hint to a reporter who might be reading this: Would you please give him a call?]

But Sen. Rand Paul is the Senate sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, which is identical to the bill co-sponsored by Gardner. And this is how Paul described his own bill in March of last year.

"The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known-that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection from that point forward." [BigMedia emphasis]

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