Big Line Updates: Udall, Romanoff Growing Lead

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we'll be updating The Big Line on a weekly basis.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado:

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

We don't see either Udall or Gov. John Hickelooper losing in November, but for the first time, we have Udall as a slightly bigger favorite in his respective race. Gardner's campaign has been an absolute mess, and national politicos and reporters are coalescing around the idea that Udall is in the driver's seat now.

 

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

We have this race tightening a little as Gov. Hickenlooper works his way out of a summer-long campaign funk. For Beauprez, this comes down to a lack of time — too much needs to happen in the next 4-6 weeks for Beauprez to have a realistic shot at knocking off Hickenlooper.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has not had a good month, but he's still favored to beat Democrat Betsy Markey. Meanwhile, we have the AG and SOS races as toss-ups at this point, primarily because it's difficult to determine whether any of the candidates can do much to control their own destiny; the amount of money pouring into the races for Senate, Governor, and CD-6 will make it nigh impossible for lower-tier statewide candidates to get their message out.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior of late. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff has nudged ahead as Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

Chick-fil-A cuts Colorado Woman’s hours and pay and demotes her after cancer surgery

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Good Christians who run Chick-fil-A couldn't have done any better?

 A Colorado breast cancer survivor said Chick-fil-A is cutting her insurance and demoting her just after she took leave for a double mastectomy.

To Daphne Richards, a newly-divorced mother with two children to support, Chick-fil-A's family-friendly values and healthcare coverage seemed like a perfect fit.

"I lived in Indiana my entire life, and I relocated for this job," said Richards. "I could move up the ladder, and the owner told me 'Maybe someday, you could own your own store."

She started late last year as shift manager at the Larkridge Chick-fil-A in Thornton. But in May, Richards got the diagnosis.

"I had double breast cancer in both breasts," she said. She would need a bilateral mastectomy and weeks to recover.

"For this company, when tragedy struck, they stepped up," said Frederick Schaefer, the attorney for Chick-fil-A at Larkridge. "Even though she didn't qualify for continuing benefits during her work hiatus under the Family Medical Leave Act, the store continued to pay for her health insurance coverage during her medical leave."

Just after she was cleared by her doctor to come back to work last week, though, she said the store owner delivered a shocking blow.

"She said,'I no longer have a full-time management position for you, and you will no longer be receiving healthcare benefits after September,'" said Richards. "She said something about reconstructing or reconfiguring the business."

Disgusting.

And just another example that those who profess to have some kind of higher purpose and better ideology can be as greedy and uncaring as the most bloodthirsty vulture capitalist. Granted, this may be a franchisee, but individual managers and franchise owners can not, and should not, be exempt from the corporation who truly owns the business model.

 

Coffman snuggled by Spanish-language radio host, who works for the Independence Institute

Mike Coffman spends 15 minutes with his Spanish tutor every night, and last month, he put his skills to the test by subjecting himself to the fire of a Spanish-language interview on KNRV’s radio’s “El Programa de Raaki,” electing to answer questions in Spanish.

But there was no fire at all. Not even a smolder, as Garcia snuggled Coffman as he stumbled through the interview below. At the end, Garcia repeated (in clear Spanish) Coffman’s proposal to offer a path to citizenship to Dreamers through military service.

She made no mention of Coffman’s opposition to a path to citizenship for millions of adult undocumented immigrants–or his opposition to the Senate-passed immigration-reform bill, or his votes to deport Dreamers, etc.

All this makes sense when you know that Garcia is actually an employee of the Independence Institute, the conservative think tank. But Garcia didn’t mention it during the Coffman interview, nor is it stated anywhere on the radio station’s website. And it’s never come up in previous shows I’ve listened to.

Closest thing is this disclaimer heard, in Spanish, immediately prior to the KNRV show, saying:

The following is a paid program. This station assumes no responsibility for the commentaries broadcasted.

The important thing is to be informed of what is happening around us. 1150 AM presents El Programa de Raaki. Here you will find out about how important it is to be familiar with the laws that affect us, about opportunities in education, we will talk about politics, and something more. [Music: “Let Freedom Ring," and more]

Who’s paying the bill? We don’t know, and Garcia did not comment in response to calls and emails, but “El Programa de Raaki” is featured on the home-page of the Independence Institute’s website and Garcia, who goes by Garcia-Ulam during her day job, is listed on the staff page.

A Google search took me to the July/August newsletter of the State Policy Network, which funds market-oriented think tanks, where Raaki Garcia explains the purpose of her radio show and tries to convince other think tanks to give Spanish-language radio a try.

Through The Raaki Garcia Show, Colorado’s Independence Institute reaches an audience the freedom movement often finds elusive: Hispanics. It’s the state’s only Spanish-language conservative talk radio show and Colorado’s top-rated radio show for the past year. “Hispanics from Mexico, Central, and South America grew up listening to talk radio . . . . It’s part of our culture . . . . We don’t grow up watching TV,” explains Garcia, who doubles as the Institute’s Hispanic Education Coordinator. [Fact check: Sources say KBNO has higher ratings than KNRV.]

The show has succeeded partially because Garcia was already known within Colorado’s Hispanic community, for whom trust is fundamental for any relationship. Building upon that trust, Garcia began introducing the Institute’s conservative economic policies and Colorado’s Republican legislators to her listeners. In interviews, she showcases legislators as people, rather than Republicans, to connect with her listeners and combat negative stereotypes about both the GOP and politicians more generally.

Garcia encourages other think tanks to start similar shows, lest they miss a huge, and growing, audience. To do it properly, she suggests finding a host who is already known, respected, and trusted within the local Hispanic community. Ideally, the host would both speak Spanish fluently and ethnically reflect the local majority Hispanic population (e.g., Cuban or Mexican). The think tank would then identify what new and relevant information they could share with the Hispanic community, whether that’s tax credits or education policy. [BigMedia emphasis]

The use of the show to promote Republican candidates, like Coffman, appears to be out-of-line with the Independence’s Institutes non-partisan tax status.

The introduction to the article doesn’t mention Republicans in particular, but it refers to “persuadable voters.”

Generating broad support for free-market policy reforms means state think tanks must reach persuadable voters outside their typical audiences. In the spirit of this year’s Annual Meeting theme, Dare to Disrupt, several think tanks have begun engaging non-traditional partners to advance their policy goals. SPN partnered with journalist Melissa Langsam Braunstein to share the stories of—and lessons learned by—four think tanks that have formed innovative partnerships to educate the public and advance freedom.

Reaching persuadable voters clearly overlaps with Coffman’s campaign goal, as he battles Democrat Andrew Romanoff to represent a district where the population is 20 percent Hispanic.

Coffman has been campaigning in Spanish, as reported by Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols last week, and he’s mostly able to get his points across, as you can hear in the Garcia interview below.

The Colorado Statesman described Coffman’s Spanish program in more detail:

Part of that effort in a district that counts more than 80 languages spoken in its public schools includes the congressman learning Spanish, a project that involves a couple hours spent with Rosetta Stone every week and nightly phone calls with a tutor. (The redrawn 6th CD counts a Hispanic population of roughly 20 percent, and Romanoff is fluent in the language.)

“He’s getting surprisingly good,” [Coffman spokesperson] Tyler Sandberg says. It makes a big difference when he shows up at community events and can communicate. “They appreciate his willingness to learn their language, especially first-generation who are more comfortable speaking in their native language.” Sandberg adds, “He can’t learn all the languages — he likes to joke that his Arabic is so poor he’d start a war by himself — but he learned a little Arabic when he was in Iraq, and the largest mosque in the state is in the district.”

But Coffman is far from fluent, in contrast to Romanoff, who is fluent. At one point during the Garcia interview, which stands as a bizarre symbol of Coffman’s struggle to adapt to his redrawn district, Coffman’s answer to Garcia’s question made no sense whatsoever, presumably meaning Coffman totally misunderstood the query. Garcia cut off the Congressman and repeated the question to him in English. Coffman then answered in Spanish.

The snuggling is so blatant maybe Garcia thinks her listeners already know about her conservative leanings and affiliations. But I still think she should state them openly.

Jon Caldara regularly identifies himself as president of the Independence Institute prior to his Devil’s Advocate KBDI-TV show, which is sponsored programming.

And so do the other tentacles of the Independence Institute’s media empire. During her daily two-hour radio show on KFKA radio in Greeley, Independence Institute staffer Amy Oliver often mentions who employs her. So does Caldara on his weekly KHOW radio show. The Institute’s stable of media commentators, like Research Director Dave Kopel, sometimes aren’t properly identified by reporters, but maybe that’s not as much in their control.

As a progressive journalist, I’d be a hypocrite if I trashed Garcia for being a conservative radio host. And I have no desire to shut her down. Obviously she’s not trying to hide her libertarian association, but she should just be more up-front about it on her radio show.

Coffman again opposes Obama’s order deferring deportation of Dreamers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In interviews aired over the weekend, Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols tried hard to clarify Rep. Mike Coffman’s squirrelly positions on immigration reform, but unfortunately, after you watch the interviews, you’re left scratching your head on key points.

For example, in a surprising admission during Stokols’ Sunday show, #CoPolitics from the Source, Coffman reiterated his opposition to President Obama’s executive order allowing young undocumented immigrants, brought here illegally as children, to defer deportation for at least two years.

“I certainly don’t support it being done by executive order,” Coffman told Stokols, which makes sense because Coffman voted to defund Obama’s order this summer. “I believe it should be done legislatively.”

So you have to assume that, as of now, in the absence of DACA legislation, Coffman believes the dreamers should be deported.
(more…)

11 Definitive Reasons Bill Maher Should #FlipADistrict In Colorado

(The animated .GIFs in this post alone are worth sharing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bill Maher plans to pick one congressional district to flip this fall. Here are 11 reasons Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman should win. Sign the petition here. Help Colorado #FlipADistrict!

1. Current Representative Mike Coffman sucks at push-ups

Rule #1 for doing push-ups in the airport: don’t look like you’re dry humping the carpet.

2. He also thinks legal weed is bad for Colorado

Source: Rep Mike Coffman: Legal Marijuana Is Scary (bigmedia.org)

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

But it’s another for our own elected officials to tell us as much. You recall Rep. Mike Coffman grumped on the KOA radio earlier this year that legal pot may scare giant corporations from coming to Colorado.

(more…)

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

Say it ain’t so, Andrew, say it ain’t so!

Oh boy, the thoroughly discredited and Colorado-Tried-and-Failed strategy whereby a Colorado Dem tries to run and govern like a Republican will never die:

So which is it? Are Dems tacking left or veering right? The answer isn’t clear yet. But Isenstadt offers some worrisome anecdotes. He points to several Democratic candidates who are recycling Republican rhetoric, even in districts that went for Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

Isenstadt highlights, for example, a campaign video and accompanying material from Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff’s video is indistinguishable from a Republican’s, complete with a Paul Ryan-style graph of “soaring” federal debt and admonitions that “you don’t buy things you can’t pay for.”

Andrew Romanoff was one of the few candidates I've given money to the last few years. D's just can't seem to quit this congenital need to pretend they are Republican, or to pretend that some kind of High-Minded Bipartisanship will be met with the same by our Tea Party counterparts. 

RJ Eskow is really an excellent writer, and here's a bit more of his analysis regarding our good friend Andrew:

The game plan for candidates like Romanoff appears to be: Adopt your competition’s failed economic agenda, make yourself your opponent’s pallid shadow, and base your campaign on issues, positions and priorities that have little or no support among voters.

That’s not just a bad strategy. It will also be very difficult to execute. As will inevitably happen in many Democratic races, the National Republican Congressional Committee pointed to Romanoff’s past support for the stimulus and said, “It’s dishonest for Andrew Romanoff to criticize the mountain of government debt he helped create.”

The “government debt” canard is a silly critique, one that Romanoff could easily refute – if he hadn’t already abandoned his ideological post by running away from much-needed government investment. The stimulus didn’t create debt. It helped reduce long-term debt by spurring modest growth and offsetting the job losses caused by the financial crisis. What’s more, its objectives were consistent with the electorate’s priorities. Its only problem, as any good economist will tell you, is that it wasn’t large enough.

Candidates like Andrew Romanoff could choose to campaign on jobs and growth. That would be a winning approach, even in red districts, with voters who are fearful of the economic future. But when they choose to echo Republican messaging instead, they leave themselves defenseless against attacks like the one Romanoff is facing.

It won't work. He might get elected, as Salazar and Markey did, but if he carries it through a bland and unproductive first term, he'll end up exactly as they did.

And Harry Truman's aphorism will remain as true today as the day he said it:

Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.

- Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States and Homespun Political Genius

Colorado GOP Delegation All In For Suing Obama

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

As the Los Angeles Times' Mike Memoli reports, GOP House Speaker John Boehner now has the "authority" to file an unprecedented and likely doomed election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama, in a move either considered a forestalling of impeachment proceedings or a prelude to them depending on who you talk to:

The House vote to sue President Obama is the first such legal challenge by a chamber of Congress against a president and a historic foray in the fight over constitutional checks and balances.

Wednesday’s nearly party-line vote followed a feisty floor debate and offered a fresh example of how the capital’s hyper-partisanship has led both parties into unprecedented territory, going to new and greater lengths to confront one another…

The House approved the resolution in a near party-line vote, 225 to 201. It authorizes House Speaker John A. Boehner to file suit in federal court on behalf of the full body “to seek appropriate relief” for Obama’s failure to enforce a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would penalize businesses that do not offer basic health insurance to their employees.

That provision’s effective date has been delayed by the administration twice and now won’t fully take effect until 2016. The GOP-led House has voted to repeal the law, even as it seeks to sue Obama for failing to enforce it. [Pols emphasis]

The legal analysis we've seen suggests that this suit will quickly be dismissed as a "political question." The constitutional remedy of impeachment already exists to deal with the GOP's alleged grievances, and the political contrivance of this lawsuit is plainly evidenced by the subject matter–suing to force Obama to "enforce" a law they want to repeal. Despite these questions, all four Colorado Republican members of Congress, Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton, voted to allow Boehner to proceed.

As we discussed yesterday, Boehner's lawsuit against Obama is happening as talk of impeachment in Republican circles ramps up dramatically. Democrats have used prominent Republicans like Sarah Palin calling for impeachment to great effect in the last couple of weeks raising money, while establishment Republicans like Boehner have insisted that no plan to impeach Obama is in the offing. Given Congress' abysmal popularity ratings and the public's cynicism over the gridlocked state of national politics, impeachment talk seems wildly irresponsible–unless you're in the target audience for it. For committed base conservatives who have been getting propagandized for six years about how Obama's presidency means the end of America as we know it, impeachment probably seems like a natural, even overdue development.

Outside the right wing's impenetrable bubble of self-reinforcing groupthink, it sounds like madness. And Republicans like John Boehner, who are tasked today with keeping the "Tea Party's" five-year-old rage productive while simultaneously winning votes from reasonable Americans, know it.

It's tough to say what happens next. Boehner's lawsuit faces very long odds, not just for success but even for public supportOutside the conservative coalition it's a nonstarter, and on the right there are those who say the lawsuit is useless and Republicans should be moving directly to impeachment. If the whole effort blows up in the GOP's face, Republicans in swing races like Gardner and Coffman could well be the ones who pay the price.

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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

endangeredcoffman

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

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

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

As Coffman said on the Hugh Hewitt show last week:

Coffman: Well, what they did, is they targeted my seat in the redistricting process. A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver, signed off on their map, without any amendments, and it certainly is what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district. So, it’s a Democrat-leaning district. Obama carried it by five points last time. I’m the number-one target for any sitting House Republican by the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee. And I’m proud of it. I need the support of all the folks out there who seeks to return to a constitutional government to the United States.

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

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

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

(more…)

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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mike Coffman.

Mike Coffman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coffman stands with Christie.

(more…)

New Ad Slams Coffman For Voting Against Military Pay Raises

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

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

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

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

Coffman spokesperson feeds falsehoods to Univision

(Ridiculous – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journalists aside, you wonder what Coffman would say to the Aurora elementary school kids who might stop in for a visit and want a photo with their Congressman?
(more…)

How Coffman’s obstructionism in Congress has hurt vets

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

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

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

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

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

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