Both Ways Bob: Greatest Lede Ever

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

Our hats are off to the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby, who kicks off today's story about GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's visit to Grand Junction yesterday with an inside joke for all of us in the political chattering class:

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is glad the two anti-fracking ballot measures won’t be placed before voters this fall.

But then again, he isn’t. [Pols emphasis]

The rest of the story is worth reading, and we promise to do so right after we stop laughing. Well played, Mr. Ashby.

Wednesday Open Thread

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."

–Theodore Roosevelt

I See Your Horse’s Ass and, Uh, Raise You One

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is hoping to shake off the many, many, many errors that led to his historically-bad campaign in 2006, but whatever happens in 2014, he now has a friend in infamy.

One of the enduring images of Beauprez's 2006 debacle of a campaign is the candidate himself, standing next to a horse's ass. Beauprez's TV ad was supposed to highlight the "crap" in politics, or something, but it ended up just being a perfectly symbolic image of what was likely the worst statewide campaign in Colorado history.

Down in Arizona, Republican congressional hopeful Gary Kiehne now has his own horse-based campaign ad to rival Beauprez. As the Tucson Weekly reports, Kiehne's new campaign mailer/handout was not copy-edited very well:

Did Kiehne just not see the giant horse penis in the background, or is he trying to tell us something?

We all know what Janet Rowland would think of this. Enjoy!


Don’t look directly at it


Nationwide Comcast Outage Affecting Site Access

Just a quick update to apologize for difficulty many users are having accessing our site right now. Comcast, a major ISP for the Denver area, is experiencing partial internet connectivity outages across the nation, and Colorado Pols appears to be inaccessible to Comcast users at the moment. We expect the issue to be cleared up soon, but it's well upstream of anyone we can yell at presently (we've tried).

Thanks for your patience while the series of tubes gets unkinked.

Rep. Jared Polis Pays Tribute To Robin Williams

Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulder) perfectly in the moment–as perhaps only he can be–as the world mourns the passing of beloved comedian Robin Williams yesterday. As photographed in from of the Boulder house made famous by Williams' hit comedy show Mork and Mindy.

Worth posting on general principles.

Gardner Tries, Fails To Buzzsaw Abortion Questions

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

A surprisingly good story today from the Pueblo Chieftain's Pete Tucker draws GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner out once again on the issue of his longtime, recently-reversed support for the "Personhood" abortion ban ballot initiatives in Colorado. Much of this story is behind the Chieftain's paywall, but we strongly encourage a read if you have access. In today's story, conversation turns once again to Personhood, and Gardner tries…well, you tell us what the best term is to describe what Gardner tries to do here:

Udall’s recent advertisements have criticized Gardner’s position on the so-called “personhood amendment” and attacked him as a candidate who wants to outlaw birth control.

Gardner said both assertions are false. He said he doesn’t support the personhood amendment and said he does support women’s rights to birth control, calling the accusation “nonsense.” [Pols emphasis]

What Gardner's campaign wishes more than anything is that this conversation would stop right there. Gardner would prefer the statement that he "doesn't support Personhood" to end all discussion about this issue, except maybe with a brief segue into birth control so Gardner can burnish his "women's issue" credentials with his come-lately proposal to make the pill available over the counter.

But unfortunately, as Tucker continues, the conversation doesn't end there:

Udall’s campaign said Monday that its point is that Gardner remains a sponsor to the federal personhood amendment and that his reversal on a state law was one of political expedience. Gardner said he won’t respond in ads to Udall’s attacks, saying a tit-for-tat advertising war prevents him from focusing on his own message. He also said Udall can’t campaign on the economy or health care.

But Udall’s staff noted Gardner already has run an ad responding to the accusations over women’s issues.

In the ad, Gardner responds to the personhood issue, noting he reversed his decision on the state proposal, [Pols emphasis] then goes on to attack Udall’s support for Obamacare.

And folks, one more time–why did Gardner reverse his position on the Colorado Personhood ballot measures right after getting in the U.S. Senate race? Because he had apparently "just discovered" that Personhood could outlaw common forms of birth control! And why is his continued cosponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act a problem? Because it has the same language as Colorado's Personhood amendments!

If you're looking for the part of this story where Gardner says the perfect thing to defuse this obvious contradiction and comes out looking trustworthy…we're sorry to tell you, it doesn't exist. Gardner cannot truthfully reconcile his message on abortion with his stridently anti-choice record in politics, because it would be politically suicidal to do so. Gardner calls these attacks the product of a "tired playbook," but he has no defensive play–and every story that honestly explores the question makes that more glaringly obvious.

And when even a friendly newspaper like the Pueblo Chieftain can't hide that, he's got a problem.

Gardner says “legal ambiguities” motivated immigration vote

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In what appears to be senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s first direct comment on his vote against ending an Obama policy of allowing young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation for at least two years, Gardner emphasized the legal "ambiguities" in ending Obama's initiative, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Gardner said on KNUS radio Sept 4 that the bill overturning DACA “had some serious legal ambiguities to it…you create a significant legal ambiguity problem that’s going to lead to children having the rug pulled out from underneath them, winding us in court, and creating a judicial ambiguity that is unacceptable in this country."

Listen to Cory Gardner talk about his DACA vote on KNUS Sengenberger 8.2.14

It makes sense that in his conversation with KNUS radio host Jimmy Sengenberger Sept. 2, Gardner de-emphasized the human costs of deporting the young immigrants, called dreamers, who were brought here as children and know only the United States as their home. It was mostly legal ambiguities that apparently troubled him.


New Gardner Ad Attacks Udall For…Wait For It…


FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, here we go again–and again, and again:

When Republican Congressman Cory Gardner launched his U.S. Senate campaign in late February, he talked almost exclusively about his Democratic opponent’s support for Obamacare.

Since then, Obamacare has receded a bit as a GOP attack line as polling has indicated that Obamacare-related attacks aren’t getting much traction with voters… [Pols emphasis]

Obviously, those polls were wrong! Because Obamacare is still what Cory Gardner is spending money to talk about.

“When our family’s healthcare plan was cancelled because of Obamacare last year, we felt firsthand the painful effects of Senator Udall’s support for Obamacare. Countless families have seen their premiums rise, lost access to their doctors, or lost their health insurances plans altogether — they have Senator Udall to thank.”

Holding what’s apparently the cancellation letter his family received, Gardner notes in the ad that “335,000 Coloradans had their plans cancelled too.”

It's good question–is there anyone in Colorado who hasn't heard the GOP's story of the "335,000 Coloradans who had their health insurance plans cancelled?" If so, they must live in a cave with no radio or television reception, because this talking point has been used so many times since last October's rollout of the Affordable Care Act that is really seems to be the only thing Republicans know how to say about the law.

Never mind that it's, and this has got to be the hundredth time we've said so as well, completely bogus.


The amazing thing is, we've known this was a false claim almost since the day it was first heard. Last December, the Denver Post reported that over 90% of Colorado health plan holders who received a "cancellation letter" received renewal options with the same letter. Before President Barack Obama allowed existing plans to renew, Colorado exchange officials had already determined that they could do the same thing. This means those plans were either renewed per those instructions, or replaced with new plans that met the standards of the Affordable Care Act and–especially when subsidies are calculated–cost consumers substantially less money.

And that's what makes this a truly baffling theme for Gardner to keep harping on: this isn't last October. All these months later, Coloradans know the sky did not fall with the implementation of Obamacare. They can see with their own eyes that the GOP's outlandish scare tactics were not accurate. They know that those 335,000 "cancelled" Coloradans were not left without health insurance as Republicans would like them to believe: in fact the percentage of Colorado residents without insurance has plunged since Obamacare rolled out, from 17% to only 11% of the population.

Look, folks, we understand why Republicans invested so much money and credibility into the years-long assault on Obamacare. It has given the GOP an issue to rally their base around, and trouble with the rollout of the law has extended the issue's viability for them longer than they could have hoped. Backlash against the law, even based on falsehoods, helped the GOP achieve one of the greatest congressional victories in modern times back in 2010. Setting aside the moral questions, this has been an effective political weapon–up to a point.

But that point is long past now. Today, now that it contradicts what the voters can see, it's insanity to keep insisting disaster has either already befallen or is still somehow lurking.

Iraq Strikes: Udall, Tipton Back Prez While Talk Radio Rages


​Surprisingly little coverage in the last few days of local reaction to airstrikes over Iraq carried out by American forces against forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The Pueblo Chieftain's Peter Roper reported this weekend:

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., called the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant fighters “brutal” in their attacks on Iraqi people, especially religious minorities including Christians.

Obama’s decision to use airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel and to provide humanitarian aid was “the right one,” according to Udall.

“(ISIS) must not be allowed to gain a safe haven in the region but this fight belongs to the Iraqis and their neighbors. I remain strongly opposed to putting combat troops back into Iraq,” he said.

There seems to be some deference among Republicans today in regards to President Barack Obama's handling of the situation in Iraq–depending on who you talk to, of course. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh says Obama is bombing Iraq to distract from his "numerous problems," and there is general consensus on the pundit right that if Obama had just not pulled our troops out of Iraq to begin with, the situation might be better–although American public opinion wouldn't be. Most of the statements from elected Republicans, though, combine support for the airstrikes with muted and generalized criticism. Roper continues:

In the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Scott Tipton said, “The use of airstrikes is appropriate given the circumstances and the severe threat that ISIS is posing to the entire region.”

But the Cortez Republican went on to fault Obama, saying the president owed the public a long-term strategy for addressing the ISIS problem.

As for Cory Gardner?

Udall’s Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, couldn’t be reached for comment because he was on the Western Slope, according to his staff.

Gardner's campaign has reached a degree of shrillness where it may simply difficult for them to say anything complimentary about Mark Udall or Democrats, even on matters of foreign policy where it used to be fashionable to occasionally pretend to show unity. That, or television and phones don't work on the Western Slope? We assume it's the former.

Reporter’s work absent from Denver Post due to end of grant

(For more on Kane's shoddy work on Obamacare, click here – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Art Kane.

Art Kane.

A Kaiser-Family-Foundation grant to The Denver Post has ended, explaining the recent disappearance of Denver Post articles by freelance reporter Art Kane, whose work at The Post was funded by the Kaiser grant.

"The grant has ended, and that's why we haven't run any stories by him in awhile," said Greg Griffin, an editor at The Post, when asked about the disappearance of Kane's work.

Back in March, Post Editor Greg Moore told me the Kaiser Family Foundation provided The Post with an undisclosed amount of grant money to supplement the newspaper's coverage of health care, specifically of issues related to universal health coverage.


Real (lack of) Obamacare Horror Stories

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Deena* did everything wrong for most of her life, and then she tried to do everything right. She had three kids by three different fathers. She abused drugs and alcohol. She had times of being homeless. But what killed her in the end wasn't her years of wild living, nor was it the years of scraping by, putting herself through school, living clean and sober, going to church, making amends,  trying to be a good citizen, mother, and grandmother.

In the last decade before she died, Deena worked as a registered nurse through a temporary agency. While the money was good, there were no health benefits offered unless the assignment lasted more than six months. So she took good care of her patients, but was unable to be taken care of herself, when she developed strange symptoms of swollen joints and incapacitating,  intense pain. Her family and I thought that she may have developed lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. A late night visit to an emergency room resulted in a condescending doctor telling her to stop complaining, prescribing a pain-killer, and sending her home.

She was prescribed a codeine-based pain killer. Because she was a petite woman, the dosage may have been too much for her, and she stopped breathing early in the morning on New Year's Day, about 15 years ago. If she had been able to have a regular doctor who tracked her health history, or access to regular care to manage her symptoms, we thought that the outcome would have been different.


Politico is latest media outlet to let Gardner slide on personhood inconsistency

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

The latest reporter to ask senatorial candidate Cory Gardner why he's un-endorsed the state personhood amendments but has yet to un-cosponsor a proposed federal personhood law is Politico's Paige Winfield Cunningham, who reported Wednesday:

Gardner now says he was wrong to back personhood because it could ban some forms of contraception. He’s even urging the Food and Drug Administration to make birth control pills available without prescription. But he is still listed as a sponsor of a federal personhood bill. His campaign didn’t respond to questions about the discrepancy.

In the absence of a response by Gardner, or his spokespeople, Cunningham should have cited the Gardner campaign's previous erroneous statement that the federal personhood bill, called the Life at Conception Act, is simply a declaration that life begins at conception, and it would not ban abortion, even for rape and incest, like Colorado's personhood amendments aimed to do.

Here's what Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano told The Denver Post's Mark Matthews July 15.

"The federal proposal in question simply states that life begins at conception, as most pro-life Americans believe, with no change to contraception laws as Senator Udall falsely alleges."


Weekend Open Thread

"When a man's knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has the greater will be his confusion."

–Herbert Spencer