9NEWS Truth Test Praises Udall’s First TV Spot

9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman takes a look at the new ad from Sen. Mark Udall's campaign, hitting GOP opponent Cory Gardner on his longstanding support for banning abortion and the "Personhood" initiatives–and unlike his recent Truth Test of an Americans for Prosperity ad falsely attacking Udall, Rittiman finds Udall's ad to be largely truthful:

CLAIM: "Gardner sponsored a bill to make abortion a felony."

VERDICT: True.

In 2007, as a member of the state House of Representatives, Gardner was listed as a sponsor of SB-147.

The bill would have made it " a class 3 felony to perform an abortion," so the felony charge would have applied to abortion providers, not women who underwent abortions.

CLAIM: The bill Gardner supported would make abortion a felony in "cases of rape and incest."

VERDICT: True.

SB-147 did contain an exception to save the life of the mother. Aside from that, the bill would have outlawed abortion with no other exceptions…

As for the hardest-hitting claim in Udall's ad, that Gardner "championed an 8-year-crusade to outlaw (common forms of) birth control," referring to the "Personhood" abortion ban initiatives? This is where Rittiman gives Gardner a little more leeway:

VERDICT: Debatable.

Cory Gardner supported Personhood campaigns in Colorado, but this year he changed his mind. [Pols emphasis]

His campaign says Gardner wanted to ban abortion, not birth control, pointing out that the above-mentioned 2007 bill did include language to protect contraceptives.

The Udall campaign counters that it is dishonest for Gardner to claim he didn't know the Personhood questions could affect birth control, because supporters said that it would.

However, the Udall campaign was unable to provide evidence of Gardner on record directly saying he opposes birth control. [Pols emphasis]

We understand why Rittiman is making this distinction, but we also can see why others plausibly would not be so charitable to Gardner as he flip-flops on this issue. It was indeed common knowledge as far back as 2008 that the "Personhood" abortion bans would outlaw certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control–the Denver Post argued against Amendment 48 in 2008 for exactly this reason, and proponents who most certainly do oppose such forms of birth control campaigned on it. And while Udall might not have Gardner outright saying he wants to ban birth control, Gardner is on the record with his proud support for Personhood in 2010–years after these facts were common knowledge.

Bottom line: the worst Udall got was a single "debatable" rating for this ad, on what we'd say is still a very defensible claim. The rest of the ad is true. When you compare that to the unflinchingly mendacious (and now backfiring) ads from Udall's opponents…well, there's really no comparison, is there? Next time you hear someone complaining about those endless, grating political ads, maybe mention how it's considerably worse to endure them when they're not true. And then show them this Truth Test.

Conservative talk-show hosts frustrated that Coffman isn’t talking to them

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Journalists should let us know more often when politicians are ducking them. Or when they only talk through spokespeople.

When a week or two goes by, and a public official refuses to talk, reporters should tweet it, if nothing else.

On March 28, KNUS radio's Steve Kelley and co-host Bill Rogan chose to talk openly about their difficulties landing Rep. Mike Coffman and Rep. Cory Gardner.

Kelley: Congressman Coffman and Gardner are not talking, apparently.

Rogan: Ducking us. And I don’t like that.

Kelley: Well, that’s what it feels like at this point. So we’ll give them one more day, and then look, the clubs are coming out.

Rogan: They’ll come on Saturday, and we’ll do a special edition of Kelley and Company, just to accommodate Coffman and Gardner.

Kelley: See I don’t know.

Rogan: I’m not too happy with these two.

Kelley: At this point, I’m not either. We can say that. It’s a free country.

Strongly anti abortion, Kelley told me last week he'd been trying to reach both politicians since they flipped on personhood.

Gardner finally appeared on Kelley's conservative talk show, "Kelley and Company," last week. It turned out that Gardner had changed cell phones, and he shuffled press contacts, so it was all a misunderstanding, Kelley said on air.

Coffman, however, is still not returning calls from Kelley's producer, Kelley said, noting that Rep. Diana DeGette and Sen. Mark Udall don't return his calls either.

But Coffman's lack of response surprises Kelley, who sees his conservative KNUS show as a friendly audience for Coffman, even if he asks a challenging question on occasion, Kelley told me.

(more…)

“Respect”–Udall Tears Into Gardner Over Banning Abortion

UPDATE: Cory Gardner's campaign responds with what appears to be their stock response on abortion and Personhood questions. Eli Stokols of Fox 31 reports:

Gardner’s campaign responded quickly, attacking Udall for going negative and alleging that the ad distorts Gardner’s record.

“After nearly two decades in Washington, Senator Udall has decided to launch his reelection campaign with a negative, misleading attack ad because he has no record of accomplishments,” Gardner campaign manager Chris Hansen said in a statement. “While Coloradans sound the call for new leadership, Senator Udall continues to lie about Cory Gardner’s record while distorting his own.

Gardner's campaign is sticking with this approach in order to defend his own background with the abortion issue: Making a broad accusation that opponents are "distorting Gardner's record." We suppose there is nothing much else for Gardner to say in response to the two main points of the ad, that he 1) supported legislation that would make abortion a felony, and 2) he was a supporter of Personhood for years before his surprise flip-flop in March.

If you have a weak defense, all that's left is to play offense.

—–

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is up with his campaign's first TV spot of the election season–and it's a powerful kickoff, hitting GOP opponent Cory Gardner squarely on his past support for banning abortion and "Personhood." From Udall's release:

(more…)

Gardner assures radio host that his “pro-life” record “will always be on my record”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

On conservative KNUS radio last week, GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner assured listeners that he remains "pro-life" even though he recently un-endorsed the personhood amendment, which would ban abortion in Colorado.

"I remain a pro-life legislator who believes that my record actually speaks for itself while I’ve been in Congress," Gardner told KNUS radio host Steve Kelley.

If his record speaks for itself, does Gardner stand behind it? Because left out of the radio conversation was the annoying fact that Gardner's legislative record in Congress includes his endorsement of federal personhood legislation, which he has yet to un-endorse. His name is still right there, having joined as a co-sponsor in July of last year.

Gardner also told Kelley:

"If you look at my record, it is a pro-life record. And that will always be on my record, and continue to be a part of it. So, I think that that is something that we have not been trying to turn away from." [Bigmedia emphasis]

Gardner's "pro-life" record, which (in case you missed it) he says "will always be on my record," also includes co-sponsorship of bills in Congress aiming to de-fund Planned Parenthood and to re-define "rape" to include only the "forcible" kind. (Gardner later said his effort to redefine rape was a misunderstanding.)

His "always-on-my-record" record at the state legislature includes sponsorship of legislation banning all abortion, even for rape and incest, as well as other anti-abortion bills, like one mandating ultrasounds prior to abortion. These have yet to be un-endorsed.

Gardner's response to Kelley, touting his anti-abortion credentials to receptive ears, sounds like Gardner's statement at a Tea Party forum in 2009, when he was running for Congress for the first time.

Gardner was asked if he'd carry legislation banning abortion, and he replied, "Yes. And I have a legislative background to back it up."

Gardner later told journalists he would not carry anti-abortion legislation in Congress. Then he did it.

(more…)

The “War On Women” Won’t End With Flip-Flops

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

An insightful story published yesterday evening at the Wall Street Journal takes a look at an emerging dominant theme in the biggest federal races in Colorado this election year–a desperate attempt by veteran Republican politicians to jettison their longstanding "anti-woman" baggage:

Wary of being on the losing side of the gender gap, Republican candidates are working to repel Democratic efforts to portray GOP policy on abortion, equal-pay laws and other matters as harmful to women.

In Colorado, Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman withdrew their support last month for "personhood" proposals that could limit access to birth control. In Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell hosted his first "women's symposium" last month…

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway said Republicans are responding with mixed success to Democratic attacks that they are out of touch with women. She added, "Still, Republicans are doing a much better job by calling out Democrats for trying to divert attention from their chief liability, Obamacare."

…Democrats have criticized Messrs. Gardner and Coffman for backing statewide initiatives in 2010 and 2012 that would have treated a fetus like a person, outlawing most abortions and possibly some forms of birth control. Asked about the changes in position, staffers for the lawmakers said they recognized that voters had twice rejected "personhood" referenda. Mr. Gardner, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, called the possible limits on birth control "not right."

Ever since Rep. Cory Gardner made the obviously calculated decision to abandon his prior public support for the "Personhood" abortion ban initiatives, late on a Friday afternoon in unsuccessful hopes of minimizing the press coverage, there's been a lot of debate about what the best strategy is for Gardner–followed up swiftly by fellow GOP Rep. Mike Coffman–to extricate themselves from their records of very consistent support for banning abortion, even in cases where most voters would never stay with them like rape and incest victims.

The problem is, such debate presupposes it's possible to do that.

Gardner and Coffman have a big problem claiming legitimate "evolution" on these issues, since in both cases they have taken place against the backdrop of a changing constituency now repelled by their former position. In Coffman's case, redistricting has transformed his formerly ultra-safe Republican seat into one of the most competitive districts in America. As for Gardner, his longstanding proud support for "Personhood" and other total abortion bans was perfectly acceptable in his safe Republican seat, but as a U.S. Senate candidate, his support for "Personhood" is potentially lethal.

Once you think past the offered excuses for Gardner and Coffman's flip-flops, it becomes objectively clear, regardless of where you stand on the issue, that they switched positions to save their political hides. In Coffman's case, the length of his "evolution" has been protracted by his unexpectedly narrow win in 2012 over an underdog opponent, after Democrats failed to capitalize on redistricting with a top-tier challenger. But Coffman's switch is no less obviously political in nature than Gardner's–and both can be easily discredited as a result with the very same voters they hoped to mollify.

And that brings us to the point, what we consider to be a very important point that needs to sink in with Republicans, Democrats, and journalists: contrived flip-flopping just doesn't work. It didn't work for Mitt "Etch-a-Sketch" Romney, and it's not working for Gardner or Coffman. It's not working because it's demonstrably fake. In this space, we have consistently argued for nearly a decade that the best hope for Republicans is to start fielding more moderate candidates–ones that don't automatically disqualify themselves with positions on wedge issues that horrify women and independent voters. But they need to genuinely be moderate candidates on these issues, not holdovers from a previous generation trying to fake their way out from under their own liabilities.

Does that mean Republicans have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years like Moses, until all of the "Personhood"-saddled anti-choice Republican politicians are dead or out to pasture?

You know, folks, we don't make the rules. But maybe so.

Faced With Catholic/GOP Uprising, Dems Kill Pro-Choice Bill

Protesters against SB-175 Tuesday. Photo credit: Peter Zelasko, Catholic News Agency

Protesters against SB-175 Tuesday. Photo credit: Peter Zelasko, Catholic News Agency

The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports on drama yesterday in the Colorado Senate over Senate Bill 14-175, the Reproductive Health Freedom Act. After several days of intense controversy, what was once an important bill for at least some Democrats to close out this year's legislative session is now dead–and the finger-pointing is well underway:

Rather than battle Republicans over a proposal they stressed would help protect reproductive rights, Senate Democrats on Wednesday spiked the legislation — a move that drew applause from some religious groups packed into the chamber's gallery who strongly opposed it…

All Senate Republicans, alongside the Archdiocese of Denver, denounced the legislation as "overreaching" and "ambiguous," saying the measure was not needed.

"It's a solution in search of a problem," said Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs. "There is no one, no evidence, that has said there's a denial of things like contraception to women in Colorado."

Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, who sponsored the measure, said he carried it because constituents expressed at town halls and forums concerns over efforts in other states to make it more difficult for women to seek guidance on abortions and receive common forms of contraception.

From Senate President Morgan Carroll's statement after Senate Bill 175 was killed:

We were optimistic that the Republicans would come on board with a proposal that would ensure all women are able to make private and personal reproductive health decisions with freedom from government interference. But we are disappointed that we were unable to get bi-partisan support to acknowledge and uphold the values of the majority of Coloradans.
 
With 21 days left in the legislative session and 269 bills still pending, having a GOP filibuster would bring D.C. style dysfunction to Colorado.  We have made our point and in the interest of getting the remaining work done, on education, jobs, higher education affordability and childcare, we laid the bill over. 
 
We will continue to fight against attacks on women and their private healthcare decisions and uphold the values of Colorado women and families.

On the other side, here's the story as told by the Catholic News Agency:

Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the state…

Originally introduced March 31, the controversial bill – S.B. 175 – only gained wide publicity last week. It sought to ban all new pro-life laws and regulations, including requirements for pre-abortion ultrasounds and restrictions on the RU-486 abortion drug.

With the bill now dead, there are reporters and Republicans who say this was a "quixotic effort"–but clearly the bill's religious opponents didn't agree while they massed crowds at the Capitol to oppose it. Proponents point to new restrictions on abortion being passed around the nation, as well as other so-called "pre-emptive" bills, like a bill signed in Oklahoma just this week that pre-emptively bans future minimum wage increases and paid sick day laws, to justify both the intent and functional precedent for the Reproductive Health Freedom Act.

It's our understanding and has been reported, though victorious Republicans deny it today, that threats were leveled by the Senate Minority to bring the entire chamber to a halt for the rest of the legislative session if Senate Bill 175 passed–which could have endangered dozens of important bills. The fact is, Democrats are on solid ground, given the polling on the abortion issue and the overwhelming defeat of abortion ban initiatives in Colorado, pushing a bill to affirmatively protect reproductive choice rights. For that reason alone, predictions that the defeat of Senate Bill 175 has major ramifications seem overblown–certainly not to the degree that Republicans harmed themselves by killing the popular civil unions bill two years ago. In the eyes of voters, questions about efficacy and timing aside, Democrats were on the right side of the issue.

If anything? If you have to take on the Catholic Church, Holy Week might not be the best timing…

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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Gardner’s attempt to compare his abortion stance to Schaffer’s doesn’t make sense

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner, Bob Schaffer.

Cory Gardner, Bob Schaffer.

In a blog post Friday, I tipped my hat to a Greeley talk-radio show for being the first media outlet to report that Cory Gardner's new position on abortion, in the wake of his un-endorsement of the personhood amendment, aligns with dogmatic religious views against abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.

But KFKA hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz let me down by not questioning Gardner when he told them he holds the same position on abortion as "many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer."

But Bob Schaffer never endorsed the personhood initiative at all, much less collected signatures for it. Personhood leaders would never have called Schaffer one of their "main supporters."

In Congress, Schaffer never co-sponsored federal personhood legislation, which would have banned all abortion, even for rape and incest, like Gardner did less than a year ago.

You can bet Schaffer never sent a constituent a letter saying, "Throughout my life, I've been committed to protecting human life, beginning at conception." Gardner wrote this just last month.

So, actually, Gardner's abortion position is significantly to the right of Schaffer's, which obviously carries serious political baggage for Gardner, as Lucero and Lentz should have pointed out.

On abortion policy and politics, Gardner is much more like Ken Buck. Afrwe being an enthusiastic supporter of the personhood amendment, Buck un-endorsed the measure in much the same way Gardner did, saying he still supported it "as a concept" but he hadn't fully understand it. Gardner, you recall, said the personhood initiative was motivated by "good intentions."

Buck's flip did nothing to stop him from, arguably, losing the election due to his position on women's issues. Schaffer would neither have been as vulnerable as Buck was or as vulnerable as Gardner remains.

These are the issues that should be raised, if Gardner continues to downplay his personhood flip flop by comparing himself to Schaffer.

Talk-radio scoop: Gardner says his abortion position is same as Archbishop Chaput

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner Flip Flops

When Rep. Cory Gardner dumped his longstanding support of the Personhood amendment two weeks ago, reporters failed to tell us about Gardner's new position on abortion.

It turns out, Gardner now holds the same abortion stance as Archbishop Charles Chaput, who left Denver for a Vatican post in Philadelphia in 2011.

That's what Gardner told KFKA (Greeley) talk-show hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz March 27. They get the intrepid-talk-show-host prize for being the first to ask Gardner the logical follow up to his March 21 bombshell about ditching personhood:

LUCERO:  So, Cory, has your position on life changed, or just your position on – with regards to the Personhood initiative?

GARDNER:  Yeah.  I mean, if you look at my record, it still is a pro-life record.  And many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer, the Archbishop Chaput of the Catholic Diocese, hold the same position.

LENTZ:  So, it’s really, it’s more along the lines, if I’m understanding correctly, on what contraception is available for women, not – not abortion — for being abortion– it’s just more having the choice of birth control itself.

GARDNER:  Well, that’s one of the consequences that we looked at in terms of contraception, but this issue [personhood] is, I think, a settled issue in Colorado and something that pro-lifers – you know, like I respect peoples’ difference of opinion on this, and I think there are a lot of differences of opinions on this, but I happen to agree that, with the things that I have learned, that I did something that was the right position to take.

(more…)

Personhood USA Begs Gardner: “Come Back Before it’s Too Late”

Personhood USA logo.

Personhood USA logo.

Despite his best efforts, Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner just can't shake the Personhood issue; but it's not just Democrats who keep bringing it up. The following is an open letter, reprinted in its entirety, released via the Christian Newswire by Keith Mason of Personhood USA to Gardner, lamenting Gardner's recent reversal of support for the organization's namesake abortion ban initiatives:

Let's start by taking a deep breath–myself included. The life and death issues surrounding abortion and personhood elevate passionate responses of most Coloradans. In the midst of all the passions and political posturing ahead of the election, I want to extend my hand to Representative Cory Gardner and offer a return to the pro-life principles that many of his constituents hold so dear.

Representative Gardner, you've long said you stood in defense of unborn life from the moment of fertilization, including by co-sponsoring the federal "Life Begins at Conception Act." That act would guarantee the rights and protections of personhood for all unborn children, just like the personhood bills here in the state of Colorado.

Tarnishing that pro-life record by repudiating personhood now makes you untrustworthy–the worst kind of politician. I don't want to think the worst of you, but it's hard not to draw the conclusion that you jettisoned your core principles in a transparently desperate attempt to win a few extra votes. But Cory, this move isn't winning over any Democrats or Independents, it's just alienating to your base. [Pols emphasis]

This type of action prevents me and tens of thousands of Colorado voters from ever voting for you again, or voting for what you represent to us, because we're bound by conscience and completely sick and tired of politics-as-usual. We're weary of candidates who base their positions on polls rather than principles.

But Cory, it's not too late. Retract the false statement, instigated by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, that a personhood bill could ban contraception, when in fact it could not. Of course this is just a talking point, a scare tactic.

Mason's open letter continues after the jump.

(more…)

BREAKING: Gardner Recommits To “Personhood” Abortion Ban

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

As the Rocky Mountain News reports today, another stunning turnabout in the Colorado U.S. Senate race:

Less than two weeks after Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner announced he could no longer support the so-called "Personhood" abortion bans that appeared on the Colorado ballot in prior years, today Gardner announced that he "takes it all back."

"This was a bad idea driven by good intentions," Gardner told the Rocky Mountain News. "I was right the first time. I support personhood. I support personhood going forward. To not do it again would be a mistake."

Following Gardner's dramatic Friday evening announcement that he was abandoning support for the abortion ban amendments which were twice rejected overwhelmingly by Colorado voters, Gardner was harshly criticized from both sides of the aisle. Anti-abortion activists denounced Gardner for turning his back on them after years of steadfast support, while Democrats coined the nickname "Con Man Cory" to call attention to his willingness to "say anything to get elected."

"I know I said I was wrong to support Personhood, but I've since realized that it's even worse to be trusted by no one," said Gardner. "Honestly? I got crap advice. With a record of supporting total bans on abortion at every opportunity, nobody believed me when I flip-flopped anyway. I now understand that flip-flopping on Personhood isn't going to win me a single vote, so obviously it was a mistake."

"Mark Udall said a good-faith re-examination of a position you've held in the past should be seen as a virtue, not a vice," Gardner said. "If it's a virtue to change your position once, twice in two weeks should win me a medal!"

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Abortion Debate Polarizes Jeffco Republicans

Great rundown from Lynn Bartels at the Denver Post on how the abortion debate is polarizing Republicans in Jefferson County:

The division in the Colorado Republican Party over abortion was apparent during the Jeffco GOP assembly when a low-key nomination for a state House seat turned into a passionate debate on abortion.

Nate Marshall, a construction manager, was the lone GOP candidate for the seat now held by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood. At the House District 23 assembly Saturday, delegate John Darrow asked Marshall where he stood on abortion.

“100 percent opposed,” Marshall said, drawing gasps and comments from from the audience.

Bartels goes on to explain how several Republicans spoke up immediately, questioning Marshall's "100% opposed" position on abortion — with one woman even claiming it would force her to vote for the Democrat in the race (Rep. Max Tyler).

The Personhood issue has been a hot topic in Colorado and nationally lately, thanks to Congressman Cory Gardner and his dubious announcement that he was changing his position on Personhood after years of support. Republican candidates still need to be firmly anti-abortion in order to make it through a Primary, but it sounds like more and more GOP voters are getting fed up with the Republican Party's refusal to bend on the issue.

Gardner Was Affirming Personhood Belief Just Days Before Flip-Flopping

Former Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was famously attacked in 2004 for his own admission that he voted against the War in Iraq before he voted in support of the conflict. Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, now running for the U.S. Senate, may have just upped the ante on flip-flopping; it's sounding like Gardner was against Personhood while he supported it.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels writes in "The Spot" today about Sen. Mark Udall's campaign hitting hard on Rep. Cory Gardner's Personhood flip-flop:

Sen. ’s campaign is up with a brutal online ad on Congressman , looking at his comments and his actions on and .

The message from the ad, which features ominous music: “His beliefs haven’t changed. Just his ambitions.”…

…Gardner’s views have been national news ever since The Denver Post revealed last Friday that Gardner had switched his position on personhood, saying it was wrong to have supported the ballot measures because he now agrees with critics that they outlawed some forms of birth control. Gardner said he still opposes abortion.

In Bartels' post at "The Spot," she mentions receiving a copy of an email sent from Gardner's office to a CD-4 constituent just a few days before Gardner flip-flopped on Personhood. The email is important because it contradicts Gardner's original claim to Bartels last Friday that he began re-thinking his position on Personhood after it was pummeled in the polls in 2010. According to Gardner's official email, that's not true. At all. Take a look:

From: "Representative Cory Gardner" <CO04CGIMA@mail.house.gov>
Subject: Responding to your message
Date: March 17, 2014 at 1:02:20 PM MDT
To: <lbouche@>

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Dear Mrs. Hauser,

 Thank you for contacting me regarding the Women's Health Protection Act.  I appreciate you taking the time to write.  It is an honor to serve you in Congress and I hope you will continue to write with your thoughts and ideas on moving our country forward.  

 On November 13, 2013, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3471, the Women's Health Protection Act of 2013. This legislation works to eliminate regulations and laws which restrict women's access to abortions. It has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 Throughout my life, I have been committed to the protection of life beginning at conception. [Pols emphasis] I am also a strong supporter of women's rightsOn February 28, 2013, for example, I voted in favor of the Senate proposal to reauthorize funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant programs to help prevent domestic violence and protect victims of abuse. I was also a co-sponsor of the H.R. 3067, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, in the 112th Congress. Common-sense legislation like this ensures women have access to necessary resources in times of crisis. I will continue to support legislation which promotes women's health, as well as the health and lives of their unborn children. 

Again, thank you for contacting me, and do not hesitate to do so again when an issue is important to you. [Pols emphasis]

 

 Sincerely,

Cory Gardner
Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There you have it, folks. Cory Gardner, in his own words, directly contradicting his own words. Could he possibly have been any sloppier with this Personhood flip-flop?

“Personhood” Is The Symptom, Not The Problem

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

AP's David Espo takes a high-level look at the last few remarkable days of Colorado politics:

Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, moving toward the middle in a Senate race with national stakes, said Tuesday he abandoned his longtime support for measures giving legal rights to fertilized human eggs because it is a "settled issue" at home in Colorado…

Gardner's switch comes as Republicans nationally seek to win control of the Senate in this fall's elections. They hope to avoid a repeat of defeats in 2010 and 2012 in Colorado and elsewhere when their candidates lost apparently winnable races because they appeared too extreme on abortion and other issues for mainstream, moderate voters.

…Jennifer Mason of Personhood USA, which sponsored the personhood initiatives, expressed dismay at his shift. "He was elected to his position by pro-personhood, pro-life voters. It's pretty shocking," she said.

Gardner made his comments as a second Colorado Republican in Congress, Rep. Mike Coffman, also jettisoned his support for personhood proposals.

The decision by U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman whether or not abandon their prior support for the "Personhood" abortion ban measures involved the risk of massive, perhaps lethal political damage no matter which way they came down. To attempt to defend their support of these measures, would would have banned all abortions even in cases of rape or incest–and even some forms of "abortifacient" birth control–would have likely been political suicide. But by ripping the scab of an issue that smart Republican strategists wish would just go away completely, forcing other Republicans into the unwelcome spotlight with their flip-flopping…it's arguable that just as much damage has been done.

Because when you get past the defensive bluster, it's not about "Personhood." It's about banning abortion.

The possibility that the one-sentence Personhood amendments might have "unintended consequences" like banning certain forms of birth control was used unsuccessfully by Ken Buck in 2010 as an excuse to flip-flop, just as Gardner has now done four years later. But between 2010 and today, Gardner sponsored Personhood legislation in Congress with all of the same "unintended consequences"–that being the term of choice for Coffman's campaign explaining his flip-flop on the issue this week. And while we don't want to minimize the extreme nature of a ban on birth control, this excuse seems to be an attempt to distract from the real problem.

Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman both have explicitly supported a total ban on abortion even in cases of rape or incest during their political careers, entirely unconnected to the Personhood amendments. They may have flip-flopped on a specific policy measure which serviced the goal of banning all abortions, but other than Gardner's absurd denial in Lynn Bartels' original story, we've not seen any further engagement on the larger issue:

Gardner said he stepped forward because Udall and his allies have spent the last three weeks "distorting my record." Among the "lies," he said: claiming that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. [Pols emphasis]

Folks, as the record shows clearly, that charge is not a lie. There's no question that in the past, both Gardner and Coffman were willing to detail their opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Personhood is serving as an escape hatch for both of these men from bigger questions about the issue of abortion, and Democrats should not let that be the last word. In a state as historically pro-choice as Colorado, with the recent electoral history in our state clearly showing that abortion bans are not what the voters want, flip-flopping on the Personhood amendments without context isn't enough.

Unless this really is all a cheap semantic game? Let's poll some Colorado women voters and find out.

Annnnddd…It’s Officially Gotten Worse for Cory Gardner. Much, Much Worse.

Personhood Cory GardnerCongressman Cory Gardner's surprise flip-flop on Personhood last Friday continues to rage as a story this week, with another Colorado Congressman now ensnared (Rep. Mike Coffman) and a strange new battle — among anti-abortion groups, no less — about whether we can really believe Gardner's Personhood reversal. In other words, Gardner's attempt to ditch Personhood and leave the issue behind him is working out swell.

The quote at right appears near the end of a long article at LifeNews.com by site founder and editor Steven Ertelt, writing yesterday about Rep. Cory Gardner's switcheroo on Personhood. Ordinarily, you'd probably be able to guess what a story like this, from an anti-abortion news site, would include about a politician who just publicly dismissed Personhood.

GardnerStache

That wasn’t me who flip-flopped on Personhood. It was that other Senate candidate. The one with the moustache.

But we absolutely did not see this one coming…

Not only is LifeNews.com defending "Con Man" Cory Gardner's move to ditch Personhood, but the author goes so far as to indicate that Gardner doesn't actually mean what he's saying.

To begin: the beginning (specifically, the third paragraph):

During his tenure, Gardner has voted 100% pro-life, casting pro-life votes 14 out of 14 times since he was elected to Congress. Gardner has voted to stop taxpayer funding of abortions, he’s repeatedly voted against Obamacare and funding or Obamacare, he’s voted for legislation to ban late-term abortions, he’s voted to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business and to ban sex-selection abortions.

Gardner is also a sponsor of the Life at Conception act, a pro-life bill establishing the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.

Okay, pretty standard set up before yelling BETRAYAL, right?Cory Gardner

Nope. Instead, Ertelt uses those bonafides to start making his case for why Gardner isn't really changing his mind at all. Ertely writes that Gardner is ditching Personhood now because "he saw what happened to a fellow pro-life advocate who endorsed the measure" (Ken Buck in 2010).

And then, the ProLife.com article starts bashing Personhood USA for having the gall to be mad that Gardner just threw them under the bus.

Under a false headline, “Congressman Cory Gardner confesses pro-choice position,” Personhood USA is attempting to mislead pro-life voters into thinking Garnder (sic) is not pro-life.

“Cory Gardner has betrayed the Republican Party, his pro-life voters, and most importantly, unborn babies in Colorado,” commented Jennifer Mason, Personhood Spokesperson.

Obviously, this isn’t the case. Unfortunately, Personhood USA confuses a difference of opinion on pro-life strategy with a difference of opinion on pro-life principles. [Pols emphasis]

The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Gardner when he first ran for Congress and confirmed his pro-life bonafides…

…Unlike Harry Reid and his friends who control the Senate, Cory Gardner will give the pro-life movement another vote and the potential to actually pass legislation that will stop abortions and abortion funding. [Pols emphasis]

"Obviously, this isn't the case." It would be funny if it weren't so cringe-worthy — you're not supposed to tell people that the political stunt is just a politican stunt.

The folks at Personhood USA have likely been hearing this argument themselves, because today they sent out a news release to double-down on their anger at Gardner. It's also worth mentioning that they quoted directly from a recent Colorado Pols post, and provided the link (nice Internet etiquette, Personhood USA people!). Here is that release in its entirety:

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