Cosmo Endorses Mark Udall, Thanks to Personhood

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

Cory Gardner does the Personhood Pretzel.

"Cosmopolitan" magazine on Tuesday announced that the magazine is endorsing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for re-election to the U.S. Senate instead of Republican challenger Cory Gardner. The editors of Cosmo write that "Colorado's Senate race is crucial for women's health:"

One of the most important races for women's rights is happening in Colorado this year, between Senate incumbent Mark Udall and challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. Colorado is ground zero for anti-choice "personhood" laws, which seek to define fertilized eggs only a few cells large as people with rights equal to, and sometimes greater than, those of actual, born people. The laws wouldn't just outlaw abortion, but many forms of birth control and fertility treatments as well. While personhood initiatives have failed twice in Colorado and Gardner claims his views have changed, his name still appears on a proposed federal personhood law, [Pols emphasis] and even the president of Personhood USA says Gardner is just "playing politics" in this election, because he has "built his entire political career on support of personhood."…

…Mark Udall is a leader who stands up for Coloradans' rights and their health, not a reactionary who puts the rights of a fertilized egg over the rights of women. We are proud to endorse his candidacy.

This is the second time in two months that we have written about "Cosmopolitan" magazine and Colorado's Senate race. Critics can try to dismiss "Cosmopolitan's" endorsement and the effect it might have on the outcome of the race in November, but it's a stupid argument to attempt; Udall and his supporters will make sure that women see this endorsement, and in a state where female voters are critical, getting the approval of one of America's most iconic women's magazines is a big help indeed.

But here's the bigger point about this endorsement: Gardner's Personhood flip-flop is a mistake from which his campaign may never recover. One of the first major moves that Gardner made in his Senate campaign — which helped him earn the nickname "Con Man Cory" — was to publicly attempt to change his position on the Personhood issue. We thought this flip-flop was a terrible decision when Gardner made the move back in March, and as we sit here in mid-September, it is clear that he's never going to be able to get this particular albatross from around his neck. In fact, Gardner's own maneuvers on Personhood have done more to keep the issue at the top of voters' minds than anything Udall could have done himself. By flip-flopping on Personhood, Gardner made this into a bigger issue than it would have been.

If Gardner was never going to drop his name from a federal Personhood bill — of which he is a co-sponsor — then he should have just maintained his long-held support for the idea. It has not been lost on the media that Gardner remains a co-sponsor of the federal Personhood bill, even as he has made one ludicrous attempt after another to change the subject or to flat-out lie about it altogether. Gardner tried, for awhile, to claim that Colorado's Personhood ballot measures were different than the federal Personhood bill that carries his name, and when that didn't work, he changed tactics to just outright lying through his teeth. Witness 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman, who is not amused by Gardner's ridiculous claim last week that "there is no federal Personhood bill," or the Washington Post's Jaime Fuller, who wrote that Gardner "doesn't support his former self on this issue, either."

Over the course of his Senate campaign, the only thing that Gardner has truly shed in trying to ditch Personhood is his credibility — and that's a tough thing to get back once it's gone. After all, it's hard to support a candidate who doesn't support himself.

Udall Presses Attack On Gardner Over Floods, Shutdown

Image via Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden)

Image via Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden)

A press release from Sen. Mark Udall's campaign on their new TV spot hitting GOP challenger Cory Gardner over last year's shutdown of the federal government–which occurred just after major flooding along the Front Range of Colorado, requiring an emergency federal response. After several weeks of skirmishes on the issue, Udall takes the proverbial gloves off:

“Congressman Gardner would like us all to forget that he chose to shut down the government while thousands of Coloradans were struggling to put their lives back together after last year’s flood,” said Udall for Colorado spokesperson Kristin Lynch. “Gardner’s reckless shutdown delayed Colorado’s flood recovery and hurt our small businesses and local economies when they were at their most vulnerable. Congressman Gardner let us down when he decided to make a political point at the expense of Colorado flood victims.”

Despite Colorado’s clear need for disaster assistance from the federal government, Gardner voted along with Sen. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party to shut down the government just to prove a political point about the health care law. This delayed our flood recovery and forced Colorado to pick up the tab for National Guard personnel who were performing essential flood recovery work.

But Gardner’s reckless move hurt more than just flood victims. As the government shutdown continued for weeks and 40,000 Coloradans were furloughed, middle class families across the state felt the effect of Gardner’s shutdown on their pocketbooks. Shuttered national parks robbed small businesses of the tourism they depend on, veterans’ disability claims were delayed, and 2 million acres of public lands were closed to sportsmen from around the country during the busy fall season.

There are two parts to the story of the shutdown of the federal government in terms of consequences for Coloradans digging out from the massive floods that hit the Front Range just about exactly one year ago. First and most obvious is the delay in federal response to the flooding, which included delays in National Guard response from neighboring states. The second consequence was the effect the shutdown of Colorado's national parks and monuments had on local communities dependent on tourism. Estes Park, the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park, had already seen bookings cut by 50 percent after the floods, and the closure of the park drained millions more from the local economy.

Still another issue is the blowback against Colorado as a whole from East Coast politicians in both parties, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who branded Gardner a "hypocrite" for seeking disaster relief money for Colorado after voting against the second Hurricane Sandy relief bill. It was negotiations by Sen. Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet that were able in the end to mollify New Jersey's anger and secure the relief funds needed.

The harm done to Colorado by the post-flooding shutdown of the federal government is a matter of record. With that established, the question becomes, who was responsible for the shutdown? This is a point that Republicans refuse to concede a year later, even though the public overwhelmingly blamed the GOP in contemporary polling for forcing the shutdown in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. In the months since the shutdown, Republicans hoped to mitigate their culpability in that unpopular action by mercilessly attacking Obamacare–a strategy that is increasingly a failure as Obamacare continues to produce positive outcomes and the health insurance marketplace's startup problems fade from memory.

It's important to remember that until the polls started clearly showing that the GOP had lost the battle for public support, Gardner and the rest of the Colorado GOP delegation were solid backers of the confrontational strategy that ended in the shutdown. The AP's Nick Riccardi cut through the spin last month:

Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano contended that congressman never supported the shutdown. However, Gardner, who is close to House Republican leadership, voted with other House Republicans to shoot down Democratic efforts to reopen government and for spending bills designed to be rejected by the U.S. Senate during the 16-day standoff. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner may not have been the most enthusiastic Republican as the shutdown loomed just before the beginning of October last year, perhaps sensing the danger–but the record is full of examples of Gardner defending the overall strategy. And as Riccardi notes, none of Gardner's supposed trepidation before the shutdown manifested in the form of votes.

With all of this in mind, it will be up to Colorado voters to decide whether the shutdown, and Gardner's role as a House Republican in causing it, are deciding factors in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. But what's not up for debate, as the polls demonstrate, is that the shutdown has gone down in history as a Republican gambit that failed. The old saying is that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan. Had the shutdown succeeded in forcing concessions from the President over Obamacare, Gardner would almost certainly be singing a different tune. But it didn't succeed. It was a disaster–in Colorado a disaster compounded on another.

And Gardner, whether he likes it or not, was on the wrong side.

Colorado’s 1,000 Year Storm: a Call to Climate Action

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Colorado marks the one-year anniversary of the 1,000-year rainstorm that affected much of the Front Range, NextGen Climate CO is urging voters this November to support candidates who will act on climate issues. The record-breaking rainfall led to a 100-year flood that caused more than $2 billion in damages to homes, businesses and roadways from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs.

“From more intense wildfires to record-breaking rainfall, Coloradans are being hit hard by the extreme weather events made worse by climate change,” said Abby Leeper, spokesperson for NextGen Climate Colorado. “The recovery and progress made since last year’s tragedy is a true testament to Coloradans’ resilience, but we must elect leaders with proactive stances on this issue. We can no longer afford to sit by and allow climate-science deniers, backed by Big Oil, to stall action.”

In Colorado, the impacts of climate change are already being felt.

(more…)

Coffman Votes For Discrimination Against Gay Vet Families

Eh, you know, whatever.

Eh, you know, whatever.

As reported by the LGBT news site Washington Blade today:

A panel in the Republican-controlled U.S. House on Wednesday rejected a measure that would have enabled veterans with same-sex spouses to receive partner benefits wherever they live in the country…

Although the vote was a largely along party lines with Republicans voting “no” and Democrats voting “yes,” Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.), a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, was the only Republican who broke with his party to vote “yes” on the amendment.

…After the Supreme Court ruled against Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration began extending spousal benefits to individuals in same-sex marriages throughout the country for the most part regardless whether the state in which reside recognize their union.

But a year after the ruling, the administration deemed that because Section 103(c) of Title 38 of the U.S. Code — which governs veterans benefits — looks to the state of residence, not the state of celebration, in determining whether a couple is married, it could not afford spousal benefits to veterans in same-sex marriages if they live in a non-marriage equality state…

Also voting “no” on the amendment was Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), another co-sponsor of ENDA. He’s set to attend the upcoming annual dinner for the National Log Cabin Republicans in D.C. on September 17. [Pols emphasis]

Coffman's recent lip service to equality for gays and lesbians who serve in the military, as with so many other issues in Coffman's record, stands in contrast to past positions he's taken–like when Coffman tried to stop same-sex weddings on military bases even in states with marriage equality on the books. Presumably, when Coffman appears next week before the Log Cabin Republicans, he'll have some procedural excuse for voting against this modest measure to protect the families of gay and lesbian veterans.

But if he expects to convince anyone besides the GOP's tokenist LGBT lapdogs, it'd better be good.

9NEWS Truth Test a Joke To Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

​9NEWS political reporter Brandon Rittiman has done a commendable job this election season with a series of Truth Tests of political TV spots running in Colorado. We haven't always agreed 100% with Rittiman's analysis, but the simple act of looking at the claims made this year, like Americans For Prosperity's bogus Obamacare attack ads, has been invaluable for keeping the record at least somewhat straight. So many local newsrooms have simply abdicated the responsibility to fact check what they're told by politicians or see in political ads, that without a dedicated fact-checking segment like 9NEWS' Truth Test, lies simply go into the record uncorrected. And that's, we should all be able to agree, a bad thing.

Last night, Rittiman examined GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's new ad hyping a renewable energy bill Gardner co-sponsored in the Colorado legislature. As we discussed in detail last week, the legislation Gardner sponsored to "launch our state's green energy industry" in fact never funded a single project, and had no effect whatsoever on the development of Colorado's green energy industry. Credit for that goes to Colorado voters more than anyone for the passage of 2004's Amendment 37–which Gardner opposed.

That Gardner's ad was based on a fictional premise was well established by the AP's Kristen Wyatt before Rittiman Truth Tested it yesterday. But the answer Gardner's campaign gave when asked about the discrepancy…well, it could be one of the most embarrassing–and damning things–we've ever read.

CLAIM: Gardner "co-wrote the law to launch our state's green energy industry."

VERDICT: Overstated

This is overstated.

It's true Gardner sponsored a 2007 bill in the state legislature that created a clean energy development authority.

The idea was for that group to help jumpstart projects for clean energy. It ended up actually doing—not a lot…

The report repeatedly blamed the law that Gardner is touting for its own lack of progress, citing "practical limitations bounded by the CEDA statute."

Gardner's response:

The Gardner campaign, of course, knows this. It provided 9NEWS the following explanation (emphasis not added.)

"Cory says that he co-wrote a law "to launch our state's green energy industry," not that launched it."

Folks, we honestly do not know if we have ever seen such a frank acknowledgment of purposeful deception from an American politician. This attempt to semantically defend an obviously misleading claim is more than preposterous; it betrays a contempt for truth on the part of Gardner's campaign that, even if you don't understand all of the facts here, is nothing short of breathtaking. We're pretty sure that Sen. Mark Udall's campaign couldn't have scripted a more self-incriminating answer.

What does it mean? Well, to our knowledge this ad is still running. There is no question the ad is meant to leave the impression that Gardner's useless, repealed legislation "launched our state's green energy industry."

The conclusion is inescapable: Cory Gardner's campaign believes at a strategic level that he can outlast the fact-checkers–in effect, that he can outlast the truth. That he can make the truth of an issue irrelevant simply by "muddying up" hard questions through the election and sticking to his script. Here we see the same strategy Gardner's campaign has employed with the Personhood abortion bans, and the related issue of contraceptive coverage Gardner's campaign has worked overtime to "muddy up." The only difference this time is that it's really, really obvious, and Gardner's campaign let it slip in a moment of arrogance that they don't care how bad it looks.

We understand that there are partisan political considerations. But no one can defend this.

Wednesday Open Thread

"Failure is not our only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others."

–Jules Renard

 

Politifact, OB/GYNs Skewer Gardner Contraception Plan

mostlyfalse

As the battle in the Colorado U.S. Senate race has raged over women's access to reproductive health care and contraception, Republican Cory Gardner has tried desperately to get out from under his longstanding support for the Personhood abortion ban initiatives–which, as everyone even remotely literate in Colorado politics should know by now, could have the effect of banning certain forms of so-called "abortifacient" birth control in addition to banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest. After disavowing his past support for the Personhood measures, Gardner unveiled a new position on birth control–making oral contraceptives available over the counter. This strategy from Gardner served as a response to the charge that as a Personhood supporter he supported banning birth control, and also allowed Gardner to trot out an "alternative" to Obamacare–since one of the major benefits of the Affordable Care Act that Gardner wants to repeal is no-copay coverage for contraceptives.

While pushing his new plan for over-the-counter sales of oral contraceptives, Gardner has made a number of claims, chief of which is that his plan would be "cheaper and easier" for women than Obamacare. Unfortunately for Gardner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checkers at Politifact took a look at this claim: and yesterday pronounced it "mostly false."

Gardner, who has repeatedly voted to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, says he believes a "cheaper and easier" alternative is to allow the pill to be sold over the counter, meaning without a prescription…

We found that even the groups that advocate making the pill available over the counter — like Jessica Arons, president and CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and Dan Grossman, vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health — did not believe it was a cheaper alternative for consumers than requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives without cost sharing. [Pols emphasis]

…Other birth control methods may be more effective or more preferable for certain patients, but they are also a lot more expensive at the point of purchase, said Alina Salganicoff, vice president and director of Women’s Health Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Like intrauterine devices, which can cost $500 to $1,000 without insurance.

Bottom line, says Politifact:

Gardner’s plan is lacking in concrete details that would allow a thorough evaluation. There’s some evidence that health care costs generally go down when drugs are made available over-the-counter, but those studies did not look specifically look at the pill. There is a lot of uncertainty and experts — from advocates to economists — question whether Gardner’s proposal would be cheaper to most consumers or the health care system compared to the Affordable Care Act. And Gardner’s plan would only address one type of contraceptive, meaning the many people who choose other methods of birth control would see higher costs.

We rate the statement Mostly False.

In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement today on the election-year proposals by Gardner and a handful of other Republicans to make the pill available over the counter:

Over-the-counter access should not be used as a political tool by candidates or by elected officials. [Pols emphasis]

Regardless of any current or future proposals from lawmakers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved oral contraceptives for over-the-counter use, and any future FDA approval for such use would likely cover only a subset of oral contraceptive formulations.

Of course, cost continues to be a major factor in a woman’s consistent use of contraception, and many women simply cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with contraceptives, OTC or not.  That’s why ACOG strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that mandates insurance coverage of birth control, as well as other preventive services, without cost-sharing for the patient. [Pols emphasis]

Separately, OTC access to oral contraceptives alone will not help to increase use of the most highly effective methods, such as intrauterine devices (IUD). IUDs are more effective than oral contraceptives, and because they can last for as many as ten years, they are also cost-effective. However, their initial out-of-pocket costs – which can near $1,000 – can be prohibitive for women who don’t have comprehensive insurance coverage.

Given the amount of coverage Gardner's "plan" for over-the-counter birth control has received in local press, and how heavily Gardner has relied on over-the-counter oral contraceptives as a foil to attacks on his long record of support for no-exceptions abortion bans, we really hope both Politifact's debunking and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists's rejection of the idea as a workable alternative to Obamacare receive as much attention.

Republicans Need Down-Ballot Miracle in Jefferson County

We've talked plenty in this space of the inconceivably ridiculous problems that Jefferson County Republicans have brought upon themselves and the rest of the GOP ticket this fall. Problems began long before the June 24 Primary Election, but things have only gotten worse since Tea Party favorites Tony Sanchez (SD-22) and Laura Waters Woods (SD-19) won their respective Primary races for the GOP nomination.

Jefferson County Republicans have had trouble recruiting strong candidates in the most important electoral county in the state, and they've even had trouble just convening a vacancy committee before the deadlines outlined in state statute. There's little dispute that Jefferson County will decide the outcome of Colorado's statewide races — as goes Jeffco, so goes Colorado — and a continued poor showing by GOP legislative candidates coupled with community anger at the Jeffco School Board could have a lasting effect in November. Fundraising figures don't provide a complete picture of the problems facing Jeffco candidates, but the comparisons are telling. Take a look at the chart below:

There are a handful of legislative races in Jefferson County that we are not including here, primarily because they are not really competitive seats for one Party or the other (HD-22, safe GOP seat; HD-24, safe Dem seat).

Taking into account the theoretically competitive Senate and House races, seven Democrats have raised $871,173 through the most recent — and final — quarterly fundraising period of 2014. Republicans, meanwhile, have raised about $272,406 — or about one-third the amount brought in by Jeffco Democrats.

In both HD-23 and HD-29, Republican candidates were late entrants after the first batch of GOP candidates were scrubbed from the ballot. Replacement candidates Jane Barnes and Susan Kochevar, respectively, have done very little in terms of raising money.

On the Senate side, Republican Primary winners Laura Waters Woods (SD-19) and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) have been less-than-impressive in their own fundraising efforts

While the outcomes of these Jeffco legislative races may not end up changing the makeup of either the State House or State Senate, the margins of defeat could have major repercussions for top-ballot candidates such as Bob Beauprez and Cory Gardner. If the races for Governor and U.S. Senate come down to Jefferson County voters, a weak stable of legislative candidates could spell D-O-O-M.

 

 

Photo: Indicted Sen. Steve King Collects More Per Diem

Last week, the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reported that Republican state Sen. Steve King, who has been indicted on multiple felony counts related to alleged theft of public funds, has been quietly removed from his post as chairman of the powerful joint Legislative Audit Committee by GOP Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman. To briefly recap, King is accused of improperly receiving pay from several government entities, including the Mesa County Sheriff and Colorado Mesa University, claiming hours worked that conflict with one another and King's time spent in the Colorado Senate.

In short, embezzlement and falsification of official records.

For reasons we don't understand clearly, there has been no pressure on term-limited Sen. King to resign from fellow Republicans in the Colorado Senate. The most prominent call for King to step down has come from nonpartisan (but disliked by Republicans generally) Colorado Ethics Watch. The relative lack of scandal over Sen. King's continued presence at the Colorado Capitol makes very little sense to us.

Today, Sen. King was in attendance for a meeting of the Transportation Legislation Review Committee (photo above). This would presumably entitle Sen. King to the maximum per diem reimbursement for showing up as an out-of-metro legislator. It's possible that, with King's other sources of income cut off, showing up as a lame duck to committees he's still allowed to serve on may be the only way to pay his bills.

Once again, if Sen. King had a (D) after his name…wouldn't Republicans be screaming bloody murder? Shouldn't Chuck Plunkett be detailing a reporter for a multi-day series? A lawmaker accused of felony embezzlement continuing to collect the same taxpayer dollars he's accused of stealing?

We don't get it, folks.

Colorado GOP Vice-Chair Mark Baisley: Sharia Is Coming

Colorado Republican Party vice-chairman Mark Baisley was elected to his post last September, as part of an insurrection against "establishment" Republicans by the Tea Party/Rocky Mountain Gun Owners grassroots wing. You may recall that Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call's attempts to distance the party from certain gaffe-prone legislators like Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Lori Saine set off a round of fierce infighting that had lots of Republicans declaring themselves "ABCs"–Anybody But Call. In the aftermath of that schism, Baisley was elected vice-chairman.

Since the beginning of this year, Baisley has been writing an opinion column for national conservative website Townhall.com. We try to keep track of where major Republican officials voice their opinions, but we confess we hadn't paid any attention to Baisley's column.

Until this week's opinion piece titled "Suicide by Democrat" was brought to our attention. As published yesterday:

I have become awestruck at the predictably sad pattern of citizens robotically voting against their own interests; not just educators, but across several demographics. And it seems that the Democratic Party merely has to repeat their proven messaging and truth becomes unimportant to the adherents. Their conditioned response is to vote against the “cruel Republicans” who want them to eat vegetables and exercise…

American women are similarly wooed into submitting to institutional government oppression by ironically responding to the Democratic Party’s appeal to their natural rebellion against subjection. The ads assert that Republicans are engaged in a war on women, denying them personal choices with their pro-life doctrine. But the argument may as well be delivered by Marlin Brando in a sleeveless wife-beater. Democrats ensure women’s right to choose to have an abortion – and deny them the right to choose where to send their children to school, how they will acquire health care, whether they can protect themselves with a weapon, and whether their 15 year old daughter receives prescription contraceptives or abortion surgery without their knowledge.

In the 1950s, the nation was almost paranoid about losing its culture of liberty. Most Americans held a healthy fear of socialism creeping into acceptability. We worried aloud about communism infiltrating into society and elected leadership. Even the Democratic Party stood firmly against communism well into the 1960s. But that sentiment died with President Kennedy in Dallas. Today, the Democratic Party subjugates women through “choice,” enslaves blacks through entitlements, ransoms Hispanics through their children, intimidates teachers through unions, encourages violence through gun control, saddles millennials with debt to buy their votes, and assuages Jewish concerns while betraying Israel.

Liberals no longer recoil at being described as socialists. And the revulsion of communism has not been passed on to America’s under-forty set. With its polished propaganda machine, the Democratic Party has demonstrated its propensity to smile in the face of the American people – while swindling them all out of their inheritance. Like a cocaine dealer, they promise paradise in exchange for trust; suicide by Democrat…

Having wound us up to a McCarthyite fever pitch, Baisley delivers the payoff:

We can stop warning Americans about losing the country to “soft tyranny.” The Democratic Party has hit their socialist stride and are now racing toward their ultimate conquest over liberty, Sharia. Let that sink in for a moment and Benghazi, Extortion 17, capitulating to ISIS, the Secretary of State wearing the hijab, and the President of the United States bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia begin to make sense. [Pols emphasis]

What's the difference between Mark Baisley and any number of delusional paranoid crackpots waiting in some talk radio queue right now, you may be asking yourself after reading this column?

Only one we can think of: he is vice-chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Dems To Beauprez: Release Those Tax Returns

Bob Beauprez (R).

Bob Beauprez (R).

A press release from liberal pugilist Mike Huttner's Making Colorado Great today kicks off the perennial "show us the money" soiree–which often isn't a big deal, but as we've seen with 2010 gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis–not to mention Bob Beauprez's close friend Mitt Romney–sometimes it is:

“We call on Bob Beauprez to immediately disclose his tax returns since his last run for office,” stated Michael Huttner, spokesman for Making Colorado Great.
 
In 2006, Beauprez’s campaign criticized his primary opponent—Mark Holtzman– for not disclosing his tax returns.  Specifically Beauprez’s campaign stated:  "It's vital that voters know their next governor doesn't have anything to hide. Any candidate in this race who's unwilling to disclose their taxes obviously has something to hide," said Beauprez’s spokesman. (Denver Post, April 5, 2006)

“We want to ensure that Beauprez is not hiding anything,” stated Huttner.  “We are simply asking of Beauprez what he demanded of his opponents when he ran last time,” Huttner noted.

Unless either Beauprez refuses to be fully forthcoming with his financial information–keep in mind that Gov. John Hickenlooper released decades of tax returns to the media in 2010 without complaint–or something turns up in Beauprez's financials since his last run for office that looks bad, this request is little more than a box to check off. If Beauprez is quick to disclose and there's nothing amiss, nothing will come of this and everybody moves on.

But given the discomfort financial disclosures often mean for wealthy Republican politicians (see McInnis, Romney), obviously, the question needs to be asked of Beauprez like anybody else. Does wealthy ex-banker Beauprez pay an embarrassingly low tax rate on an embarrassingly large amount of money? Does Beauprez's personal charitable giving offset his political demands to "cut government spending?"

You may consider the disclosure clock officially ticking.

Doug Lamborn Proves Again Why Safe Seats Suck

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, there will no debates this year between incumbent GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and his Democratic opponent, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Irv Halter:

"The Congressman will not be providing Mr. Halter with a platform to spread his deceptive rhetoric and uncivil tone," campaign spokesman Jarred Rego wrote in an email to The Gazette. "People know where Congressman Lamborn stands on the issues. The only person in this race whose positions are unknown is Mr. Halter, who keeps masquerading as a moderate, all while disguising his liberal views."

Halter, a retired Air Force major general, said refusing to debate with him is part of a pattern Lamborn has shown since he was elected in 2006.

"There is huge frustration with his attendance record at meetings and his lack of accessibility," Halter said. "I get this more from Republicans than I do from Democrats. He has been a congressman for eight years, and they do not know him."

Every election season, opponents make what hay they can from the complexities, both temporal and political, of scheduling debates with one another. In the end, of course, they usually do debate at least once. But as you can see, Doug Lamborn doesn't need to hide behind scheduling excuses, he can just flatly tell the local paper that he's not going to debate his opponent because the guy is a big, bad, meanie liberal–and Doug Lamborn need not descend from his safe-seat ivory tower to even give Gen. Halter the time of day.

In a way, Lamborn's arrogant refusal to debate his Democratic opponent is a metaphor for his entire political career. The 5th Congressional District was Colorado's model safe Republican seat until the 2011 redistricting cycle made Rep. Cory Gardner's CD-4 an ultra-red bastion in its own right. Lamborn's principal competition for the seat has always been during Republican primaries, and Lamborn has faced heated primary challenges repeatedly since winning his seat in 2006. A reliable placeholder vote for the Republican majority and defense contractors, Lamborn has done almost nothing else to distinguish himself in office. His constituent services are by all accounts an afterthought compared to his predecessor Rep. Joel Hefley. And when Lamborn does make headlines, it's usually for something ridiculous he says like his Obama "tar baby" gaffe.

Given the right combination of circumstances, we can envision a Marilyn Musgrave-style pickoff of Lamborn, based solely on Lamborn's ineptitude, in any given election. His replacement might not last in office longer than Musgrave's successor did, but in terms of personal skill as a candidate and politician, Lamborn is a joke–propped up artificially by his safe Republican seat.

In a perfect world, incompetence should always be a vulnerability.

Tuesday Open Thread

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."

–Albert Einstein

Live Blog (Sort Of): Mark Udall vs. Cory Gardner, U.S. Senate Debate

GardnerStache

Perhaps Cory Gardner could have formed a better connection with the Western Slope by borrowing Randy Baumgardner’s mustache.

It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again. That's right, friends: It's live-blog time!

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. This afternoon we are live-blogging a video replay of Saturday's first U.S. Senate debate between Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner. You've seen some clips from Saturday's Club 20 debate in Grand Junction, and you may have followed some of the action on Twitter.

We didn't go to Grand Junction on Saturday evening, but we were able to get our hands on a full recording of the Udall/Gardner debate. Since this is the first time we are watching the debate as it unfolds, this really is live in one sense of the word; we'll be updating the diary below in real time as we watch the video. In other words, the debate isn't "live," but our "live blog" is "live." Whatever — you get the point.

We will provide a link to the full debate video as soon as a public version becomes available (we don't want to download and host the entire video ourselves because of space limitations).

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.

 

FINAL IMPRESSIONS
While neither Mark Udall nor Cory Gardner was particularly impressive during their first debate, there were clear contrasts drawn on Saturday. Gardner seemed to stick to a pre-debate strategy that revolved around saying "Obama" as many times as possible and otherwise dancing around any specific question. Udall was not as commanding as he has been in the past, but he was devastatingly effective when he calmly pointed out inconsistencies in Gardner's record or his refusal to answer direct questions. Gardner clearly wants to stay out of the weeds on specific policy questions, and that's a reasonable strategy, but he needs to recognize when his "strategy" is starting to backfire; Gardner is painting himself into a corner by repeatedly offering up answers of little substance, because it doesn't take long before it becomes more theme than strategy. This was also — theoretically, at least — friendly territory for Gardner, but he failed to take advantage of that atmosphere by not adjusting and adapting his strategy during the debate. Gardner needed a 'Win" here; there was less at stake for Udall, but he pulled out the victory anyway. We're very interested to see how each candidate changes their approach heading into the next big debate.

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Campaign Ads Criticize the ACA, But Are the Claims Accurate?

(Facts beat fiction every time – promoted by Colorado Pols)

As it turns out, maybe not.

As it turns out, maybe not.

​Every time we turn on the TV, we see a new political ad opposing the Affordable Care Act. How do some of these claims stand up to closer examination?

Claim: 355,000 Coloradans have received cancellation notices for health insurance policies.

What you need to know: It’s true that thousands of Coloradans were notified in 2013 that their policies would not be renewed in 2014. Note the time frame: It was a one-time event, prompted by provisions in the ACA that required insurance policies to meet minimum standards.

Whether the letters were called “cancellation notices” – an incorrect term – or “non-renewal notices” – a more accurate description – the reason for the change in most cases was that the policies did not include the ACA’s 10 essential benefits. These include preventive-care services and coverage for pregnancy and mental health, and they are designed to ensure that Americans have adequate insurance for health emergencies.

Use of the term “cancellation notice” implies that customers were cut loose, left high and dry. In fact, because of the ACA, insurance companies were required to give customers the option of purchasing an alternative policy. Customers also had the option of buying a competing plan through the health insurance exchange. Those plans had the potential to be cheaper, and if a customer’s income was low enough, subsidies could make coverage even more affordable.

Also, after complaints and to help people navigate the new landscape, the Colorado Division of Insurance allowed policyholders to keep non-compliant plans through the end of 2015, as long as the carrier continued to offer them.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that the individual market was unpredictable for customers before the ACA. Insurance companies often canceled or changed policies every year, forcing families to scramble for new policies or settle for ones that often didn’t meet their needs.

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