FRIDAY UPDATE: Cory Gardner earns the dubious honor of Factcheck.org's Whopper of the Week, via Politico:
FACTCHECK.ORG WHOPPER OF THE WEEK: Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, grabs this week’s honor for insisting “there is no federal personhood bill.” Gardner is a co-sponsor of the Life Begins at Conception Act. The bill would extend “equal protection for the right to life” under the 14th amendment to each “preborn human person,” and defines “human person” from the “moment of fertilization.” It has been described as a “personhood” bill by other cosponsors and anti-abortion groups. During an interview that aired Sunday on a Denver TV station, Gardner was asked why he remains a cosponsor of the federal personhood bill if he no longer supports the state personhood ballot initiative. Gardner repeatedly claimed there isn’t a federal personhood bill. We disagree, as we said in an earlier article called, “A Fight Over Birth Control in Colorado.” http://bit.ly/1yBN4nG
“One is a federal bill, one is a state bill, one’s an amendment to the state constitution with a number of other implications. They are different, they are not the same.”
— Cory Gardner, trying to explain his Personhood pretzel to the Durango Herald.
Anyone who has followed Colorado's Senate race knows about Rep. Cory Gardner's problem with the Personhood issue (which seeks to ban abortion by changing the definition of life as occurring at "conception"). But for those needing an introduction, here's a brief summary: Not long after he announced his bid for the U.S. Senate in March, Gardner abruptly declared that he was no longer a supporter of the Personhood issue in Colorado, which is on the ballot for a third time in 2014 after getting pummeled at the polls twice before. Gardner remains a co-sponsor of federal legislation called "The Life Begins at Conception Act," which is basically the same thing as the ballot measure in Colorado (don't take our word for it — this has long since been proven to be true).
Now, because Gardner has declined to remove his name as a co-sponsor of the federal Personhood bill, he has quite the messaging problem on his hands: How do you convince people that you are opposed to Personhood when you are officially listed as a supporter of a Personhood bill in Congress? Gardner's strategy has been to tell every reporter who asks that "there is no federal Personhood bill," apparently hoping that if he says this often enough, it will magically come true. In an interview with Fox 31 that aired on Sunday, Gardner repeatedly repeated his mantra that "There is no federal Personhood bill" to flabbergasted reporter Eli Stokols. If you missed the clip from that interview, you should definitely take a moment to check it out in all of its absurdity. Gardner has repeated this same line to numerous reporters, from 9News to the Denver Post to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" (this morning, in fact), and he has done it so often that it is tarnishing his credibility on any issue; you can't repeatedly lie about something that is easy for people to research themselves, and then hope that nobody looks at those lies as a very real character flaw.
Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that Gardner would attempt to take his ridiculous Personhood message to new heights of silliness. As Peter Marcus of the Durango Herald writes, Gardner's Personhood story has gone completely off the rails:
Even sponsors of the Colorado personhood effort equate the federal bill to personhood, and Gardner told The Durango Herald, “We wholeheartedly support both.”
FactCheck.org said voters should be aware that Gardner still supports a federal bill that would prompt the same concerns over birth control.
But Gardner insists that he has remained a sponsor of the federal bill because they are different policy proposals.
“They are two different pieces of legislation. Different from a procedural standpoint; from a legislative standpoint. So, they are not the same, and they are completely different,” Gardner told the Herald on Tuesday.
When pressed to highlight the policy differences, Gardner answered, “One is a federal bill, one is a state bill, one’s an amendment to the state constitution with a number of other implications. They are different, they are not the same.” [Pols emphasis]
You can almost picture Gardner as a talking robot with a broken circuit: They are different, they are not the same. They are different, they are not the same. They are different, they are not the same.
At this rate, Gardner is going to start telling reporters that the two Personhood measures are written in different types of font. He's really got nothing left. One is written in Times Roman, one is written in Arial. One is printed on plain copy paper, one is printed on a heavier paper stock. Why can't you understand the difference?!?
The scary thing for Gardner supporters is that his weirdly repetitive responses are transcending the actual issue. He's taken this one issue and used it to define himself as a candidate and a politician — if he were a poker player, this would be Gardner's "tell." You don't even need to understand Personhood to see that Gardner is not being honest, and if he's lying about this…