DeGette To House GOP: End Planned Parenthood Witch Hunts

Rep. Diana DeGette (D).

Rep. Diana DeGette (D).

As the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports:

Five members of Congress, including Denver Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, are calling on their Republican colleagues to end the investigations into Planned Parenthood.

The request comes in the wake of a grand jury indictment in Texas against David Daleiden and Sandra S. Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress, the producers of heavily-edited and widely-discredited videos that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials engaging in the illegal sale of fetal tissue.

Daleiden and Merritt were indicted last week by a grand jury in Houston, which had been asked by the Texas Lieutenant Governor to investigate the Center for Medical Progress videos. The grand jury found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, but did indict Daleiden and Merritt for presenting fake driver’s licenses, a felony in Texas, and attempting to purchase human organs, a misdemeanor…

More from Rep. Diana DeGette’s statement:

Today, Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) led over 120 of their Democratic colleagues and called for an end to ongoing, politically-motivated House and Senate investigations into Planned Parenthood, in light of the many independent state investigations across the country that have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.

The Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs joined their colleagues in both chambers on a letter to Republicans calling for an end to partisan investigations of Planned Parenthood in the House and Senate, following the Texas grand jury’s decision last week to exonerate Planned Parenthood and indict the creators of the highly fabricated, deceptive undercover videos designed to discredit Planned Parenthood and undermine women’s access to health care on federal charges.

In their letter to Republicans, they wrote: “Our country faces serious challenges when it comes to issues like supporting working families, creating good jobs, and boosting wages. The families and communities we represent rightly want us focused on efforts like these—not political attempts to undermine women’s access to health care and investigate their personal health care decisions. We urge you to listen to them.”

Will House Republicans listen? In all likelihood not. But following the indictment of the prime conspirators in the undercover video campaign against Planned Parenthood by a Houston grand jury, this latest assault on the organization has come full circle. In the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing by the organization after numerous investigations by Congress and local officials, there’s nothing left to this story but pandering to anti-abortion activists who need no urging.

Combine that with the domestic terror attack here in Colorado on a Planned Parenthood clinic, carried out by a man determined to stop the fictitious sale of “baby parts,” and DeGette has more than just cause to ask for these witch hunts to stop.

She has an obligation.

PolitiFact Colorado Debuts With Devastating Coffman Refudiation

mostlytrueWe’ve been anticipating the first story from the new collaboration between Denver’s ABC affiliate 7NEWS and the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking resource PolitiFact operated by the Tampa Bay Times. Last night, Politifact Colorado debuted with its first fact check of 2016, and it’s a doozy: powerfully validating a key attack on Rep. Mike Coffman from women’s advocacy group EMILY’s List:

Emily’s List is stoking the abortion debate in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District race with a fundraising email saying Republican incumbent Mike Coffman “co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.”

Emily’s List — a political organization that supports the election of Democratic women who support abortion rights — has endorsed Coffman’s opponent, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, an Aurora Democrat. Its mailer focused on reproductive rights, abortion and Roe v. Wade…

We wanted to check the accuracy of Emily’s List’s characterization of Coffman’s role in the legislation.

Coffman did co-sponsor the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which attempted to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt “forcible rape” — and not rape in broader terms…

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

7NEWS’ Alan Gathright, a veteran political reporter going back to the storied days of the Rocky Mountain News, correctly notes that Republicans did amend the bill under intense fire from, well, everyone with a conscience–but being amended by voice vote, there’s no record of Coffman’s agreement or lack thereof with the change.

And the bottom line: he was a co-sponsor of the original “forcible rape” language.

Emily’s List said that Coffman “co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.”

The record shows Coffman did co-sponsor the bill to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt “forcible rape.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s important to recognize just how hard Coffman has pushed back on criticism of his record on abortion. In April of 2014, Coffman’s campaign successfully prevailed on Denver Post political news editor Chuck Plunkett to remove a story about Coffman’s abortion record that had already been published, claiming that the story “shouldn’t have run.” The story acknowledged Coffman’s shifting stand on abortion, but uncomfortably provided fresh coverage of what had been Coffman’s longstanding position–that is, no abortions, and no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Much like now-Sen. Cory Gardner’s audacious deceptions on the issue in 2014, the response to any examination in the media of Coffman’s abortion record is feigned exasperation in public and aggressive bullying in private.

Well folks, it’s possible that in the new PolitiFact Colorado, we have an outlet that won’t be bullied. We’ll need to see more fact-checks like this one to be sure, but that would be a welcome–and sorely needed–development in Colorado politics.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Feb. 3)

MoreSmarterLogo-SnowmanAccording to a source with the Ted Cruz campaign, all of the other GOP Presidential candidates are dropping out and supporting him. That’s not true? Oh. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Donald Trump conceded an Iowa caucus victory to Ted Cruz on Monday, but now His Hairness is alleging fraud and calling for a new election in Iowa. Before you dismiss this story, consider Trump’s “proof” — that the Cruz campaign told caucusgoers that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race (he isn’t…yet). From Politico:

The tweet referred to a report from CNN’s Chris Moody during the caucuses that Ben Carson would take a detour from New Hampshire following Iowa, heading to Florida instead — which some took to mean that Carson was suspending his campaign.

The Cruz campaign then alerted its leaders to the tweet from the CNN reporter but, as Cruz explained in an apology on Tuesday, neglected to send the follow-up tweet in which Moody clarified that the Carson campaign had told him that the retired neurosurgeon was not dropping out of the race but rather just picking up fresh clothes. On Monday night, Carson accused the Cruz campaign of “dirty tricks” but accepted its apology.

Nobody wants to go back to Iowa, obviously, but this is a smart maneuver by Trump to throw some cold water on Cruz before next week’s New Hampshire Primary. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post explains why it’s so important to pay attention to “dirty tricks” from the Cruz campaign.

 

 

► There has been much moaning and complaining over the years about a relative dearth of political news coverage in Colorado, so it’s good to see that Denver’s ABC7 is already digging in with its own political fact-checker, Alan Gathright. From The Denver Channel:

Emily’s List is stoking the abortion debate in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District race with a fundraising email saying Republican incumbent Mike Coffman “co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.”…

…Emily’s List said that Coffman “co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.”

The record shows Coffman did co-sponsor the bill to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt “forcible rape.”

Yet he later voted to remove the “forcible” modifier from the bill.

Given the totality of his actions on the legislation, we’re rating this claim Mostly True.

Whatever your feelings on this particular issue, it’s a great development for Colorado politics when local news organizations start asking just a few more questions.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

GOP Senate candidate fears U.S. government could quickly turn on citizens

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Charles Ehler, who’s one of the dozen or so Republicans vying for the chance to run against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, shared this image on his Facebook page, with no explanation:

I called Ehler,  who is an Air Force Veteran, to find out how close he thinks our government is to rounding us up in boxcars–or if this was a joke. I mean, banning assault rifles leads to this?

Ehler: “It’s funny, and it’s not funny,” he told me, “because we could appear to be a beneveolent society, and as soon as the guns are gone, overnight, we could have a society like that. The force of government can turn on citizens almost at the blink of an eye. It’s called human nature. I have the force and you don’t.

Are we there? I don’t know that we’re there, but boy it could turn quickly. I really don’t think Americans need to find that out. We don’t need to create the conditions for it.”

(more…)

Wednesday Open Thread

“Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”

–Peyton Manning

Math Is Hard, Tom Lucero Edition

The post-Iowa speculation on the right side of the aisle in Colorado is taking its usual turn for the comedic–here’s the always colorful Adams County Republican John Sampson, sounding off darkly about coin tosses that decided a few precincts in the admittedly close Democratic contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders:

sampsoncointoss

That’s not exactly right, of course–coin tosses that decided a few individual precincts did not themselves amount to a decisive margin across the state of Iowa, and Hillary Clinton’s overall narrow victory was not decided “by a coin toss.” Still, good BS talk-radio fodder for the day after the caucuses.

But then 2016 Republican HD-51 candidate and longtime GOP wannabe politico Tom Lucero waded into the discussion! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s much, much worse than John Sampson thought:

lucero100percent

Now, we weren’t math majors in college, but something about this statement seemed, well, a little questionable to us. So we broke out our handy-dandy calculator.

49.86% + 49.57% + .57% =

We don’t want to give anything away here, but some of you have already worked this out in your heads. Or grabbed a calculator like we did (we are at least admitting to it). But so there are no spoilers, click “More” below to get the answer to the 4th grade arithmetic problem, 49.86% + 49.57% + .57% =.

(more…)

What Iowa Says About Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), state Sen. Tim Neville (R).

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), state Sen. Tim Neville (R).

To best understand the relationship between the outcome of the Iowa caucuses yesterday and Colorado politics, we’ll refer back to the Denver Post’s John Frank, and his story late last month on the state of the Republican U.S. Senate primary:

The presidential contest is defining the early outlook on Colorado’s race, creating an opening for a political outsider, putting the focus on national security and foreshadowing a messy campaign in the months ahead.

“You are going to end up seeing some similar factionalism and similar rhetoric coming out of the Senate candidates,” said Ryan Call, the former state GOP chairman. “And it will be difficult to reconcile those ideological factions and get them to pull together in support of the nominee for president or U.S. Senate.”

Sen. Ted Cruz’s victory in the Iowa caucuses yesterday once again demonstrated the strength of the insurgent conservative grassroots in a “post-Tea Party” Republican Party–a result that needs to be repeated in the next few primaries in order overcome the stigma of Iowa picking social conservatives, but proving Cruz to be the likely recipient of Donald Trump voters should they begin to peel off en masse after his disappointing second place finish.

In Frank’s informal matchup of Colorado U.S. Senate candidates, state Sen. Tim Neville and Cruz were the logical ideological pairing. The momentum Cruz has after winning Iowa straightforwardly validates and emboldens Neville’s position in the U.S. Senate race. We’ll have to see how the potentially disruptive entry of former CSU athletic director Jack Graham into the race rebalances the enormous field of candidates. What we can say is that the Colorado Republican Party is in no position to stop Neville in favor of a Washington-favored candidate, and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-backed “Neville political machine” has demonstrated its power in intraparty battles from Laura Woods to Tim Leonard.

There’s a prevalent suspicion among journalists covering the U.S. Senate primary that Democrats want to run against Neville in the general election, and are building him up by focusing on him as the principal threat. But this ignores the more important reality, which is Neville has already demonstrated he is capable of winning the primary. Just as important, his ability to win is not a plug that can be pulled by the party brass.

If the history of the Iowa caucuses tells us anything, it’s not to draw any hard conclusions from their outcome. The relationships between presidential and Colorado politics aptly characterized by John Frank are all subject to change with events. They key point for today is that there is a common theme of an “unruly” conservative grassroots, which we assume they would take as a compliment, in both Ted Cruz’s victory and the Republican primary politics in Colorado.

And it is not to be underestimated by anyone.

Get More Smarter on Groundhog Day (Feb. 2)

MoreSmarterLogo-SnowmanSee? We told you that you were going to get a snow day. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

The big news is in from Gobbler’s Knob: The Groundhog emerged and did not “see” his shadow, which is supposed to mean that we are headed for an early spring. Punxsutawney Phil did not elaborate on when the snow will stop falling in Colorado.

 

► If you need to get caught up on everything that happened in Iowa last night, Colorado Pols has you covered. Here’s the recap.

Ted Cruz managed to hold on for a victory in Iowa, with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio rounding out the top three. Combined, Cruz and Trump captured more than 52% of the vote in Iowa; even before the results were announced, the surge of Cruz and Trump had Congressional Republicans freaking the freak out. From The Hill:

The real reason for all the anxiety among Republicans about Trump and Cruz is the fear that either man could drag down the party in Congress.

With Trump or Cruz at the top of the GOP slate in November, the Democrats like their chances of taking back the House and Senate…

…By the GOP convention, the question will not be about endorsements. It will be about how many Congressional Republicans openly reject Trump or Cruz, if either man is the nominee.

The field of candidates did finally start to shrink after last night. Mike Huckabee has left the race on the Republican side, and Democrat Martin O’Malley is also throwing in the towel. Ben Carson is going home to do laundry.

 

► You may be enjoying your snow day, but the Colorado legislature is still working — they just scheduled a late 10:30 am start this morning.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

Rocky Mountain Whistle Pigs and Reluctant Politicians

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It seems unlikely that any yellow-bellied “whistle pig” or other Rocky Mountain variant of the ground hog will be out today to cast a shadow. But I still think Colorado is in for a few more weeks of winter.  It’s going to take that long for the snow to melt in town in some places, with what we have already, and its only Ground Hogs’ Day.  If El Niño keeps up, there could be a huge snowpack in the high country come spring.

It is one of those counter-intuitive ideas that the combination of the cyclical weather pattern that drives moisture from the Pacific like a spigot across the West and climate change could be super-charging the storms, especially frozen ones.

The oceans are warming at a fast rate, capturing the vast majority of the globe’s increasing temperature over the past decades.

But it feels like winter, regardless of climate change or prognosticating rodents.

Animals do tell us something though, whether you embrace this odd relic in celebration of Imbolc or not. Including small mammals. And buried in snow or not, the science is becoming clear that climate change is a threat to many species, small and large.

On the occasion of Ground Hogs Day, the National Wildlife Federation has released a new report: “Big Climate Challenges Facing Small Mammals.”

Among the examples of animals in trouble from the impacts of climate change, the Canada lynx, pine martens, pikas, and snowshoe hare are all important species among Colorado’s healthy wildlife panoply.

“We know what’s causing climate change and we know the solutions. What we need now is national and local leadership to make smart energy choices and wise investments in protecting our wildlife and natural resources,” the report concludes.

The Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado sit in a transitional zone, highly susceptible to impacts from human-driven climate change. Climate change is already disrupting weather, driving insect infestations and wildfire, changing our forests, bringing drought and torrential downpours…

(more…)

What Happened in Iowa?

Grandpa Munster takes Iowa!

Grandpa Munster takes Iowa!

If you missed out on all of the happenings from the Iowa caucus last night — or if you are still buried in a snow cave somewhere — Colorado Pols has you covered. Here’s a quick recap of what happened at the Iowa caucuses, and what happened next…

But first, kudos to Pols reader “flatiron” for winning our Iowa Caucus Prediction Contest. We’ll do it again when New Hampshire votes on Tuesday.

 

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the big winner last night in the Iowa caucuses, finishing first in a crowded Republican field — just as many observers had been predicting for weeks. Cruz had seemed to be losing momentum in the last few days, particularly after a brutal performance in last Thursday’s GOP debate, and he trailed Donald Trump in the final Des Moines Register poll released Monday morning. But Cruz’s well-regarded ground game brought home an important victory. Here’s the top five for the GOP:

  1. Ted Cruz: 27.65%
  2. Donald Trump: 24.31%
  3. Marco Rubio: 23.1%
  4. Ben Carson: 9.31%
  5. Rand Paul: 4.54%

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore finished last, with 12 votes. Not 12% — 12 total. Still, that’s seven more votes than Tom Tancredo received when he ran for President in 2008.

While Iowa was certainly a big victory for Cruz, recent history hasn’t been kind to the top GOP finishers in the first voting state. George W. Bush was the last Republican to win in Iowa and go on to capture the Presidency. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, won the last two Iowa caucuses.

 

I'm going to need a new pair of pants.

I’m going to need a new pair of pants.

The Republican field may finally start to shrink down after Iowa. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race altogether after the results were posted; Huckabee had said for weeks that he would withdraw if he didn’t finish in the Top 3 (he limped home at #9, with 1.79% of the vote). Former Sen. Rick Santorum’s campaign would need an infusion of cash just to be running on fumes, and after failing to capture even 1% in Iowa, his end is near.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished fourth last night, but percentage-wise, he was nowhere near third-place finisher Marco Rubio. Carson did have the most memorable moment of the evening, however. Carson didn’t even stay around long enough for the results to be posted in Iowa. His campaign announced last night that Carson would be going home to Florida to rest and “get a fresh set of clothes,” rather than traveling immediately to New Hampshire in advance of voting next Tuesday (Feb. 9). Perhaps Carson isn’t yet prepared to throw in the towel completely, but leaving the campaign trail to do laundry will probably become a new euphemism in American politics. 

 

As coaches love to say, "a win is a win."

As coaches love to say, “a win is a win.”

For the Democrats, Iowa was too close to call for much of the night. In the final tally, Hillary Clinton “won” Iowa by the slimmest of margins. Somewhere in Iowa, there are a couple of Bernie Sanders supporters who are kicking themselves for not showing up at their caucus site:

  1. Hillary Clinton: 49.82%
  2. Bernie Sanders: 49.61%
  3. Martin O’Malley: 0.57%

O’Malley, the former Maryland Governor, announced last night that he would be “suspending” his campaign. O’Malley wasn’t a factor in Iowa, where some observers thought he might generate just enough support that he could tip the scales to Clinton or Sanders with his endorsement. The Democrats, then, are down to their final two candidates for their party’s nomination.

The Colorado Pols Iowa Caucus Prediction Contest

BIG UPDATE: And the winner is…

flatiron

It was a close call between “flatiron,” “itlduso.” and “Mr. Toodles.” Both “itlduso” and “Mr. Toodles” had the top four GOP finishers in order (no entry selected the top 5 GOP candidates in correct order), but “flatiron” was remarkably close in projecting the percentages at the top of the field for both Parties.

Congratulations, “flatiron.” Email us with your mailing address (alva@coloradopols.com), and the Jim Gilmore button will soon be yours to cherish forever.

—–

You could win this Jim Gilmore for President button!

You could win this campaign button!

It’s finally here! The Iowa caucuses are today! Hurray! Huzzah!

To celebrate, Colorado Pols is running its own “Iowa Caucus Prediction” contest. The winner will receive a Jim Gilmore for President campaign button, just like the one in the image at right.

To enter the contest: Copy the sample “ballot” below, insert your predictions, and paste it back into the comments section. Please don’t forget to include the percentage of the vote that you are predicting for each candidate — vote percentages will be used as the tiebreaker to determine a winner.

If you need some rough numbers for comparison, here’s the results from the 2008 Iowa caucuses. *Entries must be entered into the comments section of this post by 5:00 pm today in order to be eligible to win the totally-rad Gilmore button.

REPUBLICANS
1) Candidate Name, XX%
2) Candidate Name, XX%
3) Candidate Name, XX%
4) Candidate Name, XX%
5) Candidate Name, XX%

DEMOCRATS
1) Candidate Name, XX%
2) Candidate Name, XX%

 

Following in the Footsteps of Losers, GOP Senate Candidate Wants to Axe Dept. of Education

(Harsh, but accurate, headline. — promoted by Colorado Pols)

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton.

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton.

Just as Colorado’s GOP State Chair Steve House is telling his fellow Republicans to talk more about education, GOP Senate candidate Peggy Littleton is saying that one of her top priorities if elected would be to abolish the Department of Education.

Asked by KCOL morning host Jimmy Lakey what she’d do if she were the “queen for a day” in the U.S. Senate, Littleton said:

Littleton: I would love to see the Department of Education go away. I don’t want those bureaucrats in Washington to deermine what our kids are going to learn and be able to do and have taken education away from the parents, which is where it originally belongs.” Listen to Littleton on KCOL’s Jimmy Lakey Show 1.26.16

Littleton is following in the footsteps of a list of (mostly) failed Republicans who’ve called for the elimination of the Department of Education. (Usually they don’t talk about the the Department’s job training, grant making, and research functions.)

Rick Perry remembered it during his Ooops Mooment, when he forgot one of the three federal departments he’d shutter.

During his failed U.S. Senate run, Ken Buck called for its closure. So did loser U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton. Failed Scott McInnis suggested axing it in 2010.

Does Littleton want to be part of that group? Maybe she wants to lose?