Ryan Budget Barely Passes; Colo. GOP Delegation All Vote Yes

UPDATE: Mike Coffman's Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff responds:

The Ryan budget does not reflect the values most Americans share. It would force middle-class families to pay more in taxes, students to pay more for college, and seniors to pay more for health care. The House I led balanced the budget every year. But we didn’t do so on the back of the middle class. Some estimates suggest the Ryan plan would cost the country as many as three million jobs. Among the other casualties: 170,000 at-risk children, who would lose access to Head Start.

The winners? Those in the highest income bracket, pharmaceutical manufacturers and corporations that offshore their employees.

If you’re serious about growing the economy, you don’t eliminate job training. You eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

If you’re serious about balancing the budget, you allow Medicare to negotiate deeper discounts in prescription-drug prices – instead of sticking seniors with higher bills.

If you’re serious about strengthening the middle class, you vote against the Ryan budget. 

—–

Gardner Ryan Budget

Cory Gardner loves him some Paul Ryan

As the National Journal reports, the latest "Ryan Budget" has passed the House (barely). All of Colorado's Republican Members of Congress voted 'YES' on the budget — Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

The House on Thursday narrowly passed Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican budget carrying $5.1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years without closing tax loopholes, as Ryan and other GOP leaders averted a potentially embarrassing defeat on the bill because of party defections.

The measure passed 219 to 205, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting no. A swing of just seven Republican votes would have defeated the measure…

…Even some Republicans acknowledge passage of the Ryan budget is more an aspirational declaration of their party's priorities and vision of government spending.

But the vote Thursday showed that it is not necessarily a reflection of all House Republicans' vision. Some conservative defections were anticipated.

Having already flip-flopped on major issues such as Personhood, we're a little surprised to see both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman sticking with Rep. Paul Ryan on a vote that will almost certainly hurt them with General Election voters.

New Koch Ad, Same Tired Obamacare Spin

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Pro-Obamacare group Protect Your Care responds:

"Coloradans won’t be fooled by these deceptive ads. Obamacare opponents like the Koch Brothers and their allies have no plan to help Coloradans get health care, so they keep repeating the same lies that have been debunked over and over," said Laura Chapin, Colorado state director of the pro-Affordable Care Act group Protect Your Care. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Coloradans with pre-existing conditions now have health insurance. Mental health care is covered, which is critical in a state like ours where suicide is the leading cause of death for young people.  Colorado women can get mammograms and birth control with little or no out of pocket costs.

Affordable Care Act opponents like the Koch Brothers and their allies have no alternative for the 277,000 Coloradans and 7 million Americans who have signed up for health insurance, which is 7 million more people than they care about. And running ads can’t cover up that fact.”

——

The Washington Post reports on a new ad from another arm of the Koch brothers family of conservative attack groups, now running in Colorado against Sen. Mark Udall on a reported $650,000 buy:

A Virginia-based nonprofit that served as the main funding arm of a political network backed by the conservative Koch brothers in 2012 is running attack ads directly for the first time, launching television commercials Tuesday against two Democratic Senatorial candidates.

The spots by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce attempt to link campaign donations from the health care industry to Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, suggesting they gave “special favors” to insurance companies by backing Obamacare.

“The hypocrisy is shocking,” says a female narrator in the Udall ad…

In this year’s midterms, Freedom Partners is bringing in-house many of the functions it financed through other groups in the last campaign. The organization’s elevated role speaks to how the Kochs are exerting more control over the political activity they fund, a strategy that provides more accountability to fellow conservative donors who want to know how their money is being spent.

The Sunlight Foundation's Jacob Fenton adds a little more detail about this group at the Colorado Independent.

For an organization that supposedly is more directly accountable to the Koch brothers than others, we can't say the content of this ad is any more defensible than other anti-Obamacare ads that have been exposed as factually misleading. The vague allegation that Sen. Udall "worked with health insurance companies to pass Obamacare" doesn't fit with the usual anti-Obamacare attacks, but seems even more ripe for blowback. According to Open Secrets, Udall's opponent Cory Gardner has taken piles of money from health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and other health industry sources. But here's another question: why would health insurance companies be donating to Udall if Obamacare is destroying the health care system? It seems contradictory to the whole case against Obamacare Republicans are trying to make.

The ad concludes with a reference, once again, to the supposed "335,000 Coloradans facing health insurance cancellations," a talking point that has been debunked so many times it's…well, not surprising to see it again in a new ad, but for anybody who knows the facts, it's more than a little frustrating. At this point, everyone with more than a casual involvement in this debate knows that statistic is grossly misleading. There's no plausible way to claim ignorance when this has been so exhaustively explored and repudiated.

But here's another $650,000 invested in that bogus message nonetheless.

Local Control Initiative TV Spot Running in Denver

A brief release from RBI Strategies yesterday:

Coloradans for Local Control today aired their first cable TV ad. The ad focuses on the proximity of fracking to homes and playgrounds, and the need for local control.

Fracking is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years spreading into the residential communities located on top of the Niobrara. Local governments must be able to listen and respond appropriately to community concerns and balance industrial activities with residents' quality of life, health, property values and long-term economic vitality.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

The spot focuses on the proximity of oil and gas wells to schools and homes and asks viewers: “Would you want to live here? Want your kids to play here?

“Right now, you and your neighbors can’t stop it,” the female narrator continues. “With local control of oil and gas drilling, you have the tools to protect your neighborhood.”

As FOX31 Denver first reported last month, Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, is putting his considerable wealth behind the campaign, which is likely to make life more complicated for two of his fellow Democrats on the ballot this fall…

As the likelihood of a ballot measure allowing local communities to regulate industrial land uses including oil and gas drilling within their boundaries increases, we're seeing previews of the likely opposition approach: driving a wedge between conservationist Democrats and top-line Democratic candidates, and the false conflation of a local control measure with an "all-out ban" on fracking statewide. Addressing the former, we would argue that Gov. John Hickenlooper is much more compromised on energy than Sen. Mark Udall, yet even Hickenlooper will be seen as sufficiently preferable–on a wide range of issues–to whoever wins the GOP gubernatorial primary to turn out the Democratic vote just fine. As for Udall, he can demonstrate a stark contrast with his opponent on energy issues favorable to conservationists, and is perfectly safe staying neutral on this "state issue" if he chooses.

The second attack on this initiative is frankly much more dangerous, and as we've discussed in this space, deceptively conflating a local control initiative with an unworkable statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing in the public's mind is becoming an everyday occurrence. It's easy to understand why: a total statewide ban on fracking won't pass. Colorado is an energy producing state, and that's not going to change. This measure is about local communities, at their option, protecting themselves. Just like a number of Front Range residential cities have already done.

If the voters can be made to understand what the initiative actually does, it will pass.

Mark Udall Crushes Q1: $2.07 Million Raised

The smile of a man who raised over $2 million in Q1.

The smile of a man who raised over $2 million in Q1.

AP's Nick Riccardi:

Sen. Mark Udall's campaign says it raised $2 million in the first quarter of the year, transforming the Democrat's re-election bid against a tough opponent from a low-key contest into a top-tier national race.

The campaign will file reports showing it has $5.9 million cash on hand to fight off Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who made a surprise entry into the race more than halfway through the quarter…

Polls have shown Udall narrowly ahead of most Republicans in Colorado. After Gardner's entry, national conservative and liberal groups began airing ads in the state. Analysts predict the race will be one of the most expensive in the nation.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

Udall, a Democrat facing a strong challenge from Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, raised $2,068,205.47 in the year’s first fundraising quarter.

That brings his total cash on hand to $5,904,534.45 in what’s become a top-ten race that could determine control of the Senate.

It's worth noting that much of Q1 went by without a serious challenger for incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, with Republican opponent Cory Gardner only entering the race in the last week of February. Such a massive haul in a quarter spent mostly without a serious opponent speaks to Udall's strong position–which should only become stronger as urgency builds around this race. This is not to say that Gardner will want for money: we assume his campaign went all out trying to produce an impressive Q1 number as well, and we expect Gardner's campaign to keep pace all the way through election season.

But for now, by orders of magnitude, advantage Udall.

Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (of Us Put-Upon Billionaires) hands out “Made in China” baseballs at Rockies game

The jokes just write themselves as the Super-Rich, Anti-government, Obama-hating Oligarchic Koch Brothers attempt another poorly planned and hastily produced smear job of Senator Mark Udall on Obamacare:

Charles Koch toes the rubber. Pitching from the stretch. Looks in for the signal. He wants the batter to chase his curveball, off the plate. Here comes the pitch

The prolific attack group AFP is keying off the Colorado Rockies home opener today by slamming Democratic Sen. Mark Udall over his support for Obamacare. Americans for Prosperity Colorado is handing out foam baseballs prior to the game that say "Tell Sen. Udall Obamacare is striking out."

Oh, but he left it up in the strike zone, right over the plate!

Said Chris Harris, Udall's spokesman: "It's never good to hand out stuff in American politics that says 'Made in China.' "

 

Baseball from Americans for Prosperity emblazoned with logo and slogan: Tell Sen. Udall Obamacare is striking out.

The Koch Brothers and their paid henchmen, and henchwomen, prove to be epically cynical once again. Aand they're hoping and praying Colorado's voters, and Rockies fans, are the same. (h/t DailyKos)

(If someone can find a pick of an offending baseball, please post.)

Former CD-4 Candidate With Prophetic Words for Cory Gardner’s U.S. Senate Bid

Cory Gardner.

F*** off, Doug Aden

The Colorado Independent published a story this week about Republican Cory Gardner's bid for the U.S. Senate and his highly-publicized Personhood flip-flop. The story includes some interesting quotes from Doug Aden, the American Constitution Party candidate in CD-4 in 2010 (the year Gardner was first elected to Congress). As Tessa Cheek reports:

In Weld Country, the conservative heart of Gardner’s congressional district, Doug Aden is less sure that Gardner’s flip will win him the votes he needs to defeat Udall. Aden ran against Gardner in the Tea Party wave-year 2010 as the libertarian American Constitution Party candidate. He said he first heard of the flop when Weld County voters started badgering him to hop into the Senate race.

“It’s not whether this is a smart move to appear more moderate in his position; obviously that’s what Gardner is counting on. Unfortunately, you really want to count on your base,” he said, adding that he doesn’t know many strong pro-life folks would feel comfortable voting for a candidate they see as soft on personhood.

“A lot of these people will still say in the polls that he’s their choice or whatever, but when it comes down to actually voting, a lot will under-vote or else not go to the polls at all,” he predicted.

Even so, Aden said he has no plans to jump into the race to capture the pro-personhood voting bloc.

“I wouldn’t try to run a statewide race, because I don’t think I reflect the views of the whole state of Colorado,” Aden said. His answer raises the question at the heart of the flop: Will enough people across the state look past Gardner’s voting record to feel his views reflect their own? [Pols emphasis]

As far as political strategists go, nobody is going to confuse Doug Aden with Karl Rove anytime soon. But Aden's words may prove prophetic when it comes to the difficulty of moving from the far-right in CD-4 to a much more moderate group of statewide voters. We've pondered this question ever since Gardner first announced his intentions to run for Senate: How do you convince voters statewide that you are not the same person who is also the 10th most conservative member of Congress?

On Energy, There’s Plenty Of Stupid To Go Around

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

On Tuesday, we discussed the silly-season "challenge" by GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner of incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to "oppose any ban on hydraulic fracturing" in Colorado. Gardner cited a recent study of the hypothetical economic impacts of a total statewide ban on "fracking," which is not being proposed by anyone in Colorado today, and used those hypothetical numbers to claim that "100,000 Colorado jobs" are "at risk of being completely eliminated" by Udall's "refusal to oppose a ban on fracking." Gardner is blatantly misrepresenting the results of this study of a nonexistent statewide ban on fracking, claiming they could be the result of a much narrower proposed ballot initiative allowing local communities to regulate drilling within their boundaries.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels follows up today:

Less than two weeks after Republican Congressman Cory Gardner said he didn't take stands on local election issues — whether it was legalizing pot or seceding from Colorado — he blasted opponent Mark Udall for not saying where he stands on a fracking issue that could be on the November ballot.

Bartels makes an excellent point that Gardner has disclaimed any opinion on numerous "state issues," like secession and marijuana legalization. More recently, this stated desire to "stay out of local issues" has helped Gardner flip-flop on the Personhood abortion ban initiatives he had proudly supported in 2008 and 2010. Which makes it more than a little hypocritical to "call out" Udall for not taking a position on this "state issue."

But there's a more fundamental problem that Bartels completely misses in her story: there is no ballot measure coming for a statewide ban on fracking. Gardner's "challenge" to Udall specifically invokes the job losses that a University of Colorado study claimed could result from a statewide total ban on hydraulic fracturing–not the local control initiative(s) actually working their way toward the ballot.

Once you understand that, this whole debate seems awfully…well, pointless.

The only thing we have to add here, as gently as we may, is to suggest that Sen. Mark Udall has little or nothing to gain by trying to outdo Cory Gardner on support for the energy industry. The fact is, as Bartels notes in her story, that Udall is pretty friendly to energy interests overall, and has been for many years. In "response" to the standoff between energy producing Russia and energy transporting/consuming Ukraine, Udall went out of his way to hype the idea of liquid natural gas exports, trying to squelch Gardner's own LNG export pandering–even though the U.S. lacks export facilities for LNG and Ukraine lacks import facilities. This was all rightly called out as misleading by a significant number of experts.

Bottom line: nothing that Udall says or does is going to sway support in the energy industry for Gardner, one of the most beholden members of Congress to energy interests in the entire nation. Udall doesn't have to play this game, and the votes he needs are not in the energy business. The sooner he realizes that, and focuses on refuting Gardner's false statements instead of trying to keep up with him, the better off Udall will be.

Limited Immigration Reform May Be A Go – Nativists Have Already Conceded That It Would Not Be Amnesty

According to Alex Nowrahsteh of CATO, bipartisan immigration reform of the infamous 3/10 year bar may still be passable this year.  As described in the linked article, the three and ten year bar:

"requires that any immigrant who stays in the United States illegally for more than six months but less than one year may not leave and reenter for three years. Any immigrant who illegally stays for more than a year may not leave and reenter for 10 years. Also known as the 3/10-year bar, any immigrant who violates it triggers a twenty-year ban from reentering the United States – for any reason. Some unauthorized immigrants, mainly the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens, can currently apply for a green card. However, they can only do it after leaving the country. Since most unauthorized immigrants have been here for more than a decade and leaving would make the 3/10-year bar apply to them, this legislative catch-22 prevents current law from legalizing many of them."

So one would expect the anti-immigrants to immediately start crowing about this.   However, they have a small problem: one of the chief restrictionists, Mark Krikorian of Center for Immigration Studies, has already conceded that drastically reforming this bar would not be amnesty.  I have attached linked audio from the Spring of 2010 when I had the chance to get Krikorian on the record on Ross Kaminsky's radio show.  In it you can clearly hear Krikorian declare that allowing the spouse of a US citizen to stay in the country after a very minor penalty for overstaying would not be amnesty and also that he is not a "big fan" of the bar in the first place.  In fact, Krikorian stated he would support replacing the 3/10 year bar with a 6 months/1 year bar.

So how will the anti-immigrants handle the latest proposal?  My prediction: they will pretend Krikorian never conceded that it would not be amnesty.  Any bets on whether I am right?

This was originally posted by me at the Colorado Independent

Seriously? You Really Just Did That?

Wait...you didn't think I really cared, did you?

Got ya! You really thought I was serious?

Politico reporter Manu Raju has a strange story up today that doesn't reflect well on Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner. In the story, Raju seems determined to make his reporting match his pre-determined narrative — that Gardner miraculously cleared the Republican field for Senate — so much so that he virtually glosses over this incredible tidbit:

A woman on a breathing tube made clear that she was relying on Medicaid to survive.

“I was on my death bed, literally,” she told Gardner. “It kept me alive.”

“We got to protect Medicaid,” Gardner told her.

Asked about that episode later, Gardner made clear he opposed Colorado’s move to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. “I don’t know how Colorado is going to pay for it,” he said.

It says a lot about the author's determination to tell a specific story that the article just skips right along after this weirdly disgusting exchange. Gardner has been accused of being willing to do and say just about anything that might help him get elected, even if he doesn't agree with what he is saying (see: Personhood), but this is on another level entirely.

Just. Wow.

Gardner completely lied to a sick woman on a breathing tube, and the reporter who witnessed it can't wait to move on with his narrative. No follow-up. Not even a simple, Um, didn't you just lie to that woman?

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:

(more…)

Obama Indicates Action on NSA Spying; Udall Encouraged

President Obama is preparing to act on the NSA spying controversy that has become a key issue for Sen. Mark Udall, who has been leading the charge for change. As CNN reports:

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders said Tuesday they will propose changes to the National Security Agency that would end its sweeping collection of bulk telephone records.

Sen. Mark Udall.

Sen. Mark Udall. Okay, that’s enough. Stop looking at him.

Obama told reporters in The Netherlands that he received from his intelligence team a "workable" option for NSA reform that he said would "eliminate" concerns about bulk data collection by the government…

…A senior administration official told CNN that the White House plan, first reported by the New York Times, would ensure "the government no longer collects or holds" the telephone records known as metadata — which includes the numbers and time of the call, but no content such as the actual conversation.

According to the official, the proposal "still ensures that the government has access to the information it needs to meet the national security needs" Obama identified in January when he outlined needed changes.

In a media release sent out today, Sen. Udall sounded an optimistic tone: "I will review the details of the president's proposal, but I am encouraged by reports that he has embraced my approach to ending the dragnet collection of Americans' private phone records. The Constitution is clear and Coloradans agree: the ongoing bulk collections of Americans' call records is an unacceptable invasion of our privacy that doesn't make us safer and must be brought to an end. I look forward to seeing the president's full proposal and continuing my work to defend the Bill of Rights and keep America secure."

Full press release after the jump.

(more…)

Republicans Hammer “Con Man Cory” Gardner Over Personhood Flip-Flop

Cory Gardner Flip Flops

Camoflauge flip-flops! Perfect for hiding your positions and for looking good on the beach.

UPDATE: More GOP anger at Gardner, as Eli Stokols reports at FOX 31:

Just like Ken Buck, the GOP’s 2010 Senate candidate who first supported personhood only to disavow it later in the campaign, Gardner is suddenly the target of heavy criticism for trying to fool conservatives now that he’s through a primary.

Personhood USA offered this false headline: “Congressman Cory Gardner confesses pro-choice position,” telling pro-life voters that Garnder 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.

Yikes!

—–

If you're tired of hearing about Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner's flip-flop on the Personhood issue…get over it. As we've said repeatedly since Gardner tossed Personhood under the bus on Friday afternoon, this may very well be the defining moment of the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

Today, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post follows up on the story she broke on Friday afternoon with reaction from some angry Republicans:

"It was politically stupid for him to do that," Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said Monday.

Critics on both sides accused Gardner of trying to alter his image now that he is running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in a state where voters two election cycles in a row overwhelmingly rejected personhood. [Pols emphasis]

The 2008 and 2010 ballot measures in essence outlawed abortion, but critics said the language also would have banned emergency contraception in rape cases and limited treatment for infertility.

"Republicans are so thirsty for victory they're ready to drink saltwater," personhood activist Ed Hanks of Douglas County wrote on his Facebook page. "Cory Gardner has just renounced the party platform and embraced abortion. Why are so many conservatives not fazed by this?" [Pols emphasis]

Mason, the President of Personhood USA, also warned that Gardner may now be at risk of losing a chunk of the 475,000 voters who supported Personhood in 2008 and 2010. "He's not going to lose all of them," Mason told the Post. "People are pretty ticked by Obamacare, guns and all the other stuff — but Cory needs those votes."

How big of a problem does Gardner have with Republicans who now feel betrayed? We heard rumblings over the weekend from Republican County Assemblies in Douglas and Jefferson that Gardner's flip-flop was a heated topic of conversation.

Gardner’s Personhood Flip-Flop: The Story Continues

Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner was obviously hoping that his flip-flop on the "Personhood" issue would be a minor blip on the campaign radar — hence the Friday afternoon surprise — but things haven't quite worked out that way. As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, Friday's news-dump is still a story on Monday:

On Monday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign responded to Gardner’s allegation to the Denver Post that the Udall team was”distorting his record” on the issue by pointing to the lawmaker’s record itself, noting that the Republican has co-sponsored legislation to ban abortion without exceptions for rape and incest as a member of the Colorado legislature and the U.S. Congress.

“Once again, Congressman Gardner is trying to run from his long record of turning his back on Colorado women,” the Udall campaign said in a press release. “Despite Gardner’s crocodile tears, the fact remains that the 2007 Colorado abortion ban that bears his name banned abortion even in cases of rape and incest.”

“And for the past two years Gardner cosponsored the Life at Conception Act, which would ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest, and outlaw common forms of birth control. The only person not being honest with Colorado voters is Cory Gardner.”

In 2007, Gardner, then a state representative, sponsored SB 143, which sought to outlaw all abortions with the exception of cases that is “designed to protect the death of a pregnant mother, if the physician makes reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with conventional medical practice.”

And in 2012 and 2013 as a member of Congress, Gardner supported The Life Begins at Conception Act, a federal attempt to establish personhood. [Pols emphasis]

Those last two sentences above are a key point in Gardner's Personhood flip-flop. As we wrote over the weekend, Gardner's claim to have "re-thought" the issue of Personhood in 2010 is not supported by his own record. If Gardner really did re-think his stance on Personhood four years ago, he certainly kept it to himself while he was co-sponsoring legislation such as "The Life Begins at Conception Act," which is a fundamental part of the Personhood idea.

Nate Silver Picks Udall To Win

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Nate Silver, Prophet

Nate Silver.

In one of his first posts since re-launching fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver picked Udall to win in the 2014 Colorado Senate Race, saying:

The GOP got the candidate of its choice in Rep. Cory Gardner, who declared for the race last month. That will prevent them from again nominating Ken Buck, the tea party candidate who lost a winnable race in 2010. (Buck has withdrawn from this year’s Senate race and decided to run for the U.S. House instead.) By our measures, Gardner is a decent candidate rather than a great one. He’ll start at a fundraising deficit to the Democratic incumbent, Mark Udall, who had $4.7 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31, and he comes from a conservative district and has amassed a conservative voting record that may or may not translate well in the Denver suburbs. But Udall’s approval ratings only break even, and we give Republicans a 40 percent chance of winning his seat.

In rating the various Senate races, Silver and his team considered the national environment, candidate quality, state partnership, incumbency advantage, and available head-to-head polls. 

Silver went on to predict that the GOP had a slight advantage overall, with North Carolina rated as a 50-50 toss up and set to decide control of the Senate in 2015. He did urge caution though, as many of these races will shift significantly depending on the results of primaries. 

Silver explains that the Senate elections in years like this (seats which last had an election during an open seat presidential year, like 2008), the opposition is expected to have a major advantage, which in this case, should be amplified by the ongoing GOP advantage in off-years. So the fact the Senate battle is shaping up to be an even split, with neither side a clear front-runner, is actually great news for dems. 

But we'll have to wait and see once primaries in states like Alaska have been decided for a truly clear picture of where everything stands. 

(more…)

Why Would Cory Gardner Flip-Flop on Personhood?

We said it on Friday, and we'll say it again here: Republican Cory Gardner's unfathomable flip-flop over his support of "Personhood" may well prove to be the decisive event in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Dark sunglasses? Check. Flip-flops? Check.

In case you missed the news, Gardner told Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post on Friday that he no longer supports "Personhood," despite a long history of backing the extreme anti-abortion policy that would give full human rights to a fertilized egg. This is a monumental change of position on an issue that has ended the career of more than one Republican politician. As we explained on Friday:

In order to understand what a massive reversal this is for Gardner, you can watch the clip of a 2010 9NEWS CD-4 GOP primary debate (above), in which Gardner explains how he not only supported that year's Amendment 62, but actually circulated petitions to help the measure reach the ballot. As a state legislator in 2007, Gardner co-sponsored Senate Bill 07-143--a near clone of this year's Republican abortion ban bill, which makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Gardner's statement that it's a "lie" to say he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest is further tripped up by his co-sponsorship of 2011's H.R. 3, the "Redefining Rape" bill also sponsored by Rep. Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin of Missouri, which included the word "forcible" in the definition of rape to further prohibit federal funding of abortions. Colorado Right to Life, a major proponent of the Personhood abortion bans, says that Gardner "hasn't yet responded" to their 2014 survey, but listed him in 2010 as "supports Personhood, responded to our survey, has participated in CRTL events, and is considered 100% Pro-Life."…

…Cory Gardner claims that he started rethinking his support for the Personhood abortion ban "after voters rejected it by 3-to1 margin in 2010." As reported by Lynn Bartels, that appears very hard to believe, in light of the fact that Gardner signed on as a co-sponsor on July 23rd of last year to H.R. 1091: the federal Life at Conception Act. Like Colorado's Personhood abortion bans, this bill would extend "the right to life" to "every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization."

Ever since the surprise late-February announcement that Gardner would be running for Senate, we have consistently wondered aloud how Gardner would be able to convince voters that he is more moderate than his ultra-partisan record would suggest. When we pondered whether Gardner was fundamentally different enough than Ken Buck to defeat Sen. Mark Udall, we weren't joking. It was lost in the media storm surrounding the Gardner/Buck CD-4 switcheroo, but Gardner's record is so partisan that it was always going to be extremely difficult for him to move to the middle.

So what do we make of Friday's announcement from Gardner? Is this part of a broader strategy to publicly pretend to re-invent himself? We asked those questions, and then we answered them. Here's how it went:

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