UPDATE: Colorado Democrats are circulating this video of the exchange:
FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:
Hickenlooper’s ire rose throughout his response as he came around to the implied subtext of Beauprez’s comments — the murder last March of Clements, who’d been working to reform the department by limiting the use of solitary confinement, by a paroled inmate, Evan Ebel, who was released just days earlier from solitary confinement.
“We talk a lot about who represents the Washington way and who represents the Colorado way, but to take a question like what we’re discussing, a serious issue about women’s rights to make their own health care decisions and turn that into a discussion about prison reform, which I’m happy to talk about — let’s have that discussion, I’m eager to do that…
“Congressman Beauprez, if you want to talk to me about widows, talk to me — my mother was a widow twice,” Hickenlooper continued. “I know what it’s like to be in a family that’s gone through that.
“I have spent a lot of time with Lisa Clements and her children; they got married in the governor’s mansion. They understand what they were doing. Tom Clements was part of that reform and for you to make his murder part of a political…gambit…I think is reprehensible.”
What’s the difference between these two characters? The horse wouldn’t try to politicize a senseless murder for political gain.
Last night much of the Denver Metro area was focused on the circus that has become the Jefferson County School Board, so you can be forgiven for missing the details on a Gubernatorial debate held in Pueblo. Had you not been distracted by other issues, you might have heard Republican Bob Beauprez putting on a performance that pretty well demonstrated why he isn't likely to be elected Governor.
As Mike Littwin writes for the Colorado Independent, Beauprez was very angry and quite a bit unpleasant on stage, which appeared to be an intentional effort at getting under Gov. John Hickenlooper's skin. Whatever the rationale, this was a bad move for Beauprez — not just strategically, but as a human being:
The debate question was on personhood and women’s reproductive rights. That had caused a bad moment for Beauprez in the last debate when he called IUDs an abortifacient, causing some real outrage among many women.
And so, in the middle of talking about personhood, Beauprez suddenly changed the topic, asking Hickenlooper about “women who are widows who have orphans because of parolees you have let out of state corrections.”
The crowd here for Hickenlooper-Beauprez III responded mostly with loud booing. But Beauprez clearly didn’t get the signal. He went on, talking about the real issue of prisoners moving from solitary confinement to release, but somehow thinking this was the way to get the woman’s vote.
“If women have an issue,” Beauprez said, “I think that issue is trust, trusting that government to somehow be protecting their public safety.”
It got worse. [Pols emphasis]
When the moderator said it was time to move on, Beauprez said, “No, not just yet.” And then he went at Hickenlooper on the issue again, demanding that Hickenlooper answer his question. Hickenlooper came back hard, and that was basically the debate. Everything else that happened was lost in that exchange.
Former Department of Corrections Chief Tom Clements would have celebrated his 60th birthday on Thursday.
Sadly, this is not the first time that Beauprez has tried blaming Hickenlooper for the tragic murder of Tom Clements. Beauprez essentially blamed Hickenlooper for Clements' death while speaking to a crowd of Republican supporters in early May, as documented by Ernest Luning for the Colorado Statesman. Two weeks later, during a Republican gubernatorial debate at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Beauprez did it again. Here's what we wrote during a "Live Blog" of a debate held on May 20th at Colorado Christian University:
Beauprez blames Hickenlooper for releasing Evan Ebel, the man who killed Department of Corrections Chief Tom Clements. That's a pretty awful thing to say. Lots of murmuring in the crowd.
There are moments in life that transcend partisan politics, and the murder of Clements was certainly one of those moments. It is absolutely despicable for Beauprez to even insinuate that John Hickenlooper is somehow responsible for the murder of Tom Clements. But to make that suggestion repeatedly?
Whatever happens in November, this is an absolutely shameful act in Colorado political history.
We'd ask this of Bob Beauprez: Would you vote for the man you see in the mirror?