Archive for the 'Colorado 6th Cong. Distroct' Category

Coffman website is altered to look less hostile to gays, but is Coffman actually more LGBT friendly?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Rep. Mike Coffman has purged his official website of an article showing his support of the anti-LGBT “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy, which allowed gays to serve in the military only if they kept their sexual orientation secret.

At least until June 14, Coffman’s “Media Center” section of his website displayed a Feb. 3, 2010, USA Today opinion column by Coffman titled, “Don’t Interject Sexuality.”  You can see the page cached on Google here.

Just as Coffman once scrubbed “comprehensive immigration reform” from a portion of his website, the don’t-ask-don’t-tell article is nowgone from the Congressman’s website, even though other opinion articles by Coffman remain there from as far back as 2009.

Coffman’s article stated:

The determination to accomplish the mission, along with the will to survive, welded the unit into an effective ground combat team: An interdependent bond was formed between each and every Marine in the unit.

That strong interdependent bond held our ground combat team together and made us into an effective fighting unit. The bond was founded upon a mutual trust: Although each Marine could be singled out for a task that could put his life at risk, Marines would always have the confidence that the orders given to them on the battlefield were never tainted by any emotional bias.

U.S. Marine Corps ground combat teams are composed of men only. Interjecting sexuality into a ground combat team potentially creates an emotional divide between Marines that undermines confidence and prevents that interdependent bond from forming, ultimately compromising the combat effectiveness of the unit.

We need a very deliberative and reasoned approach before considering a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a proven policy that has served the military and the nation well since 1993.

It’s unclear whether the scrubbing of this article means Coffman has changed his position in support of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which is discriminatory and has been repealed.

If he’s changed his position, why? Maybe Coffman’s office, which doesn’t respond to me, will return another reporter’s call to explain.

And while he’s at it, maybe he’ll also explain why he no longer favors banning all abortion, even for rape and incest. As far as I can tell, reporters have yet to ask for details on why he abandoned this position.

 

Fact Check:  Gardner opposed comprehensive immigration reform and backed government shutdown

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Update: After seeing the comments attacking Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett, I asked him to comment on my blog post below. I regret not seeking comment from him before posting, but here’s what Plunkett said via email:

Gardner has called for acting on immigration reform. He stood and clapped when Obama asked in is SOTU in 2014 calling for Congress to get it done. He’s for a path to legal status. Yes, he says the border situation has to be secure, and I understand that some use that condition to dodge real reform, but Gardner has for the last two years been more friendly to the issue than others.

I include this piece from Mark Matthew’s in 2014 to show what I mean.

I get it that the use of the word “comprehensive” is too much of a buzzword and it isn’t specific enough. And were I writing specifically about immigration I would have had to have been more detailed. But in the context of a broader editorial about leadership styles, a 10,000-foot view comparison between Gardner’s approach and Cruz/Trump, Gardner is much different. Cruz called for deporting 12 million people in the country illegally, for example.

——-

In an editorial this weekend holding out U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner as the model of the way forward for the Republican Party, The Denver Post claimed Gardner “supports comprehensive immigration reform.”

In fact, Gardner opposed a 2103 comprehensive immigration reform bill, which died in the Republican-controlled House, after it passed by a bipartisan 68-32 vote in the U.S. Senate.

Gardner said at the time immigration reform has to start with border security, and he called for  “additional personnel on the border,” an “e-verify system,” and “additional security, a fence, you name it, on the border.”

Sounds much like Trump, even though The Post’s editorial, titled “How will the GOP rebuild after Trump,” aimed to contrast Gardner with Trump.

Since then, Gardner has called for immigration reform, but the issues section of his website doesn’t list immigration at all. There’s no indication that his position has changed or that he’s for comprehensive immigration reform, in any real sense of the term.

Rep. Mike Coffman, who also opposed the bipartisan U.S. Senate bill in 2013, uses the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform,” but his website says it “must first begin with the comprehensive enforcement of our immigration laws.”

To my way of thinking, if you demand undefined border enforcement first, leaving out the other elements of comprehensive immigration reform, like a path to citizenship, you’re really not for comprehensive immigration reform. It’s not comprehensive.

The Post also claimed Gardner was against the 2013 government shutdown. In fact, 9News’ political reporter Brandon Rittiman determined that in 2014, even though Gardner voted to end the shutdown once it started, “Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown.”

Denver Post erred in deleting Coffman quote about his marriage

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Of all the crazy stories we heard last summer about the GOP efforts to depose Colorado Republican Party Chair Steve House, this snippet from the Washington Post’s Ben Terris was perhaps the most shocking.

… House arrived the night of June 15 to find himself outnumbered — and on the defensive. Coffman was joined by Tom Tancredo, a firebrand former congressman, and Becky Mizel, a Pueblo County chairwoman. Three months earlier, these three had been his biggest supporters when he challenged and beat the incumbent party chairman — but now, suddenly, they wanted him out.

They ticked off a litany of grievances: House’s bookkeeping habits, his communication style, his refusal to hire one of their allies as executive director.

“Is that all?” House asked after each point, in an exchange recalled by Tancredo and confirmed by House’s office.

“Well, there’s Julie,” Coffman said.

“I know three Julies,” House said.

Come on, said Coffman — who was he trying to kid?

“Are you accusing me of having an affair?” House asked.

“Well,” Coffman said, “are you?”

All of us have dirt to be uncovered, and you hate to see it trotted out in the media, but this story is an absolutely legitimate invitation for  reporters to take a look at Coffman’s own house, literally, the one she lives in alone, separate from her husband, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

But it appears that the only public statement Mike Coffman has made about his marriage has been expunged from the public record by The Denver Post.

In an article last June, then ace political journalist Lynn Bartels reported Mike Coffman as saying:

Mike Coffman: “The fact the we’re married in this day and age is a success story in and of itself.”

But if you look for that quote in The Post’s archives now, you find it gone, disappeared.

Bartels tells me the quote is accurate, as recorded by her from Mike Coffman.

So the purpose of this blog post is to scold The Post for deleting the quote and to reinsert it into the public record, for what it’s worth. (Note: first versions of Post stories are sometime changed prior to being finalized, but this deletion was a mistake.)

And also, to be fair, here’s Cynthia Coffman’s explanation for the unusual living arrangement of herself and her husband, as explained in 2014 through Cynthia Coffman’s spokeswoman to The Denver Post’s Kurtis Lee, who pointed out that the Coffmans’ separate addresses prevent Cynthia Coffman from voting for her husband.

“Cynthia and Mike owned their own homes before they were married,” said Sarah Lenti, a spokeswoman for the attorney general campaign. “Mike works in Washington, D.C., but for the weekends, and Cynthia lives and works in Denver as chief deputy attorney general.”

And, also for perspective, here is Cynthia Coffman’s statement from last year explaining why she confronted Steve House about his alleged affair, which he denied, and other matters:

Cynthia Coffman: I don’t relish the hardship for Steve or the party, nor was anyone involved in that meeting eager to have the conversation at all. But as someone who was being inundated with information raising some very serious questions, I had no choice but to sit down and lay out the accusations to Steve. There was no joy in this, there were no threats, nor was there any desire for the meeting to become public fodder. At the same time, just sort of sweeping it under the rug wouldn’t have been responsible. [BigMedia emphasis].

As for the question of what’s next, that’s a matter for Steve and the executive committee to weigh and decide. They need to get past the talk radio jousting, they need to evaluate the facts and circumstances, and then they need to make the best decision for the Republican Party.”

AFP could help expose Coffman’s right-wing record

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

A Denver Post article yesterday heralded the decision by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to spend an undisclosed amount of money attacking Morgan Carroll, the Democrat challenging Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), as a “big boost” for Coffman.

But not necessarily.

As ColoradoPols has pointed out, AFP’s right-wing agenda doesn’t square with the moderate image Coffman promotes of himself. Coffman is trying to run away from his right-wing record, but AFP is widely known as right-wing, and it’s funded by the poster children of the right, the Koch brothers.

The Post quoted Carroll’s campaign manager making this point.

“It’s no surprise that the far right Koch Brothers are desperate to prop up Mike Coffman’s struggling reelection campaign,” said Jennifer Donovan, Carroll’s campaign manager, in a statement. “After all, they share the goal of shilling for the wealthiest and most well connected while turning their backs on the middle-class.”

So AFP’s involvement in the race could backfire and actually help Carroll bring down Coffman, exposing Coffman as the right winger that he is.

It turns out that Coffman scored 100 percent last month on AFP’s scorecard, with a lifetime score of 96 percent.

On its scorecard, AFP trumpets votes of Coffman that are discordant not only with Coffman’s swing district but his carefully cultivated image as a moderate.

Check out those votes here.

So we’ll see how things work out for Coffman and AFP.

Thanks to journalists who refuse to take the same non-answer for an answer

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Journalists take a lot of hits these days, but we’re all glad they’re out there asking questions.

The final days of the Republican senatorial primary give us an opportunity to thank journalists for asking candidates a question multipile times when the question isn’t answered.

This primary season, we added interviews with former State Rep. Jon Keyser to BigMedia’s video of reporters who refuse to take the same non-answer for a real answer. (The video also includes interviews with Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner. Tip of the hat to, among others, 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman, former Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, and New7’s Marshall Zelinger and Marc Stewart.)

TrumpWatch: Reporters Doing the Right Thing to Press Colorado Republicans on Trump

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

It was good to see 9News’ Brandon Rittiman and Kyle Clark press Republican U.S. Senate candidates last night about Trump’s racist comment that an Hispanic judge won’t give Trump a fair shake in court. And also, asking the candidates if they support the billionaire TV star.

It seems sometimes that reporters see Democratic statements, calling on Republicans to denounce Trump’s latest outrageous comment, as a political game. It’s politics yes, but legit. Republicans up and down the ballot should be asked why they support Trump–or don’t.

As it stands now, more Colorado Republicans are falling in line for Trump, who’s now pretty much clinched the GOP presidential nomination.

In fact, in a review of public statements on Trump, I can only find a couple former or current Republican elected officials or candidates who will say, flat out, that they won’t support Trump.

Yet, as I discovered in previous reviews, few elected Republicans are enthusiastically backing Trump. In fact, only two: State Rep. Don Corum and State Sen. Laura Woods.

Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

State Sen. Laura Woods has said Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates (here at 25 min 50 sec), but she was backing Cruz.

A reporter characterized State Rep. Don Coram as a Trump fan.

 

Elected Officials Who Have Said They’re Backing Trump

State Rep. J. Paul Brown.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

State Rep. Clarice Navarro.

State Sen. Ray Scott.

State Rep. Dan Thurlow.

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.

 

Elected Officials Who Previously Promised to Back Trump, if He Became the Nominee.

Former State Rep. Greg Brophy (KHOW, March 16)

State Sen. President Bill Cadman.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman‘s spokeman previously said her boss would “absolutely” back the GOP nominee, but now Coffman is having second thoughts.
SenCory Gardner (even through called Trump a “buffoon.” ) (even though only answered after being asked seven times) (even though he seems to be backtracking.)

El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton

State Sen. Tim Neville.

 

Elected Officials Who Are Undecided

State Rep. Kathleen Conti, who’s said, “I’m hearing growing support for [Libertarian] Gary Johnson.”

State Rep. Justin Everett.

State Sen. Kevin Grantham.

State Rep. Yuelin Willet

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck.

 

Former Elected Officials Backing Trump

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez.

State Rep. Spencer Swalm is an “out-of-the-closet” endorser.

 

Former Elected Officials Who Will Not Vote for Trump

Former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell.

 

Candidates

These U.S. Senate candidates support the likely nominee: Businessman Robert BlahaRyan Frazier (But he’s hedging now KNUS 5.27.16), El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, and former Rep. Jon Keyser (He reiterated  his support here.).

Former CSU athletics director Jack Graham previously said he’d support Trump, if the mogul got the nomination,  but now he’s at least temporarily withdrawn his support.

Casper Stockham, who’s the Republican challenging Rep. Diana DeGette.

 

Notable Republicans Who said, “We May Be Seeing the Final months of the Existence of the Republican Party”

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer

9News reporter doesn’t let Coffman hide behind and then contradict spokesperson

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Politicians like to trick us by hiding behind their spokespeople and then, if necessary, contradicting whatever their spokesperson said.

Case in point: Mike Coffman.

Yesterday Coffman put out a wishy washy statement about whether he’d support Donald Trump. But back in February, when Coffman himself was dodging reporters’ questions about Trump, Coffman’s spokesperson was adamant that Coffman would back Trump if Trump became the Republican nominee, as quoted by The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning.

Good reporters won’t let a politician, like Coffman, shove out a new position without, at a minimum, explaining why the new statement contradicts that of his spokesperson.

Case in point: Brandon Rittiman.

He quoted Coffman’s statement about Trump yesterday and noted that it completely contradicted the words of his mouthpiece back in February. From Rittiman’s story:

In a statement, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) said he’s not sold on Trump yet, calling his party’s presumptive presidential nominee “divisive.”

“Trump has a long way to go to earn the support of many – me included,” Coffman wrote.

That statement contradicts what his campaign told the Colorado Statesman in February. The relevant portion of the article (which is behind a paywall) reads as follows:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary?” said [Mike Coffman] campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm. “The answer is obviously yes. And he believes strongly it is going to be Marco Rubio.”

Other reporting on Coffman’s Trump statement ignored Strohm’s comment, but I’m sure there will be ample opportunities for reporters to ask Coffman to explain what’s going on here.

Woods joins Trump and Coffman in opposing citizenship for undocumented immigrants born in the U.S.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

In a Facebook post last week, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster) came out against birthright citizenship, the U.S. policy granting citizenship to people born on American soil, even if their parents are not citizens.

The debate about birthright citizen was largely confined to hard-right conservative circles, until Donald Trump came out against it in August, as part of his immigration platform, sparking high-profile debate among Republican presidential candidates and pundits.

Woods, who has said Trump is her second favorite presidential candidate, “liked” a Facebok post, sponsored by Numbers USA, which read:

LIKE if you agree with Trump. Illegal aliens should not be awarded birthright citizenship!

A graphic shows a photo of Trump with the text, “End Birthright Citizenship.”

Trump’s immigration platform also calls for the rounding up and deportation of  America’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants to their country of origin. From there, they’d be free to apply to become U.S. citizens.

Woods’ office did not immediately return a call for comment on whether she agrees with Trump’s immigration policy in its entirety–or whether she’d want to rescind citizenship from millions of immigratns who’ve become U.S. citizens under America’s birthright-citizenship law.

Most other Colorado politicians have been silent on birthright citizenship, but as recently as 2013, Rep. Mike Coffman confirmed his opposition to the policy, in an interview with The Denver Post, saying “sure” he’d like to abolish birthright citizenship.

Back in 2011, Coffman cosponsored a bill that would have abolished birthright citizenship.

Both Woods and Coffman represent swing districts where anti-immigration positions could turn off immigrant voters. About 20 percent of Coffman’s district is Latino.

Woods won her Westminster seat by about 650 votes in 2014, while Coffman has been seen as vulnerable since his district was re-drawn after the 2010 census. Coffman narrowly defeated a Democrat in 2012 and won by a larger margin in 2014.

 

Is Coffman sorry he called Obama a “recruiting tool” for terrorists?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Last month, Rep. Mike Coffman wrote on Facebook that Obama is the “real recruiting tool” for terrorists, not GITMO.

Coffman: “President Obama wants to close GTMO because he thinks it’s a recruiting tool for terrorists – the real recruiting tool is a President who seems more concerned about protecting the rights of terrorists rather than defeating them and protecting the American people.”[emphasis added]

Yet it flew under the radar of Denver media, and Coffman never apologized for the recruiting tool comment.

But it seems, judging from a KOA interview today, that Coffman himself apparently believes that the comment was wrong.

On KOA this morning, Coffman said:

Coffman: This president refuses to acknowledge that we are a nation at war not of our own choosing and refuses even to identify those who have declared war on us. … He says Guantanamo Bay is a recruiting tool for terrorists. What is a recruiting tool for terrorists is having a commander in chief that projects weakness. [emphasis added]

It’s one thing to say Obama’s policies are a recruiting too. It’s another to write that the President himself is a recruiting tool for terrorists.

Does Coffman really believe that the “real recruiting tool” is the President of the United States?

A conservative’s pschoanalysis of Trump conjures up Coffman, who just called Obama a “recruiting tool” for terrorists

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Last week, the National Review posted a collection of anti-Trump opinion pieces written by conservatives, like Commentary Editor John Podhoretz, who hammered Trump’s “repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.”

Podhoretz: The cultural signposts Trump brandished in the years preceding his presidential bid are all manifestations of the American id—his steak business, his casino business, his green-marble-and-chrome architecture, his love life minutely detailed in the columns of Cindy Adams, his involvement with Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire, and his reality-TV persona as the immensely rich guy who treats people like garbage but has no fancy airs. This id found its truest voice in his repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.

In any integrated personality, the id is supposed to be balanced by an ego and a superego—by a sense of self that gravitates toward behaving in a mature and responsible way when it comes to serious matters, and, failing that, has a sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies. Trump is an unbalanced force. He is the politicized American id.

When Podhoretz is done hitting Trump, he should turn to Rep. Mike Coffman, who infamously wondered in 2012 whether Obama is an American. Coffman’s id was apparently speaking when he said:

Coffman: “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

And then, demonstrating Coffman’s absence of a developed superego, in Podhoretz formulation, Coffman didn’t feel shame for his birther moment in a “mature and responsible way,” offering a scripted and unapologitic apology to 9News Kyle Clark five times in a row.

But, look, it gets worse because Coffman’s id still dominates to this day. This isn’t simply a rehash of one of the stranger apologies in Colorado politics.

Just a couple weeks ago Coffman called Obama a “recruting tool” for terrorists. That’s on the same continuum as his birther comments, which he apologized for.

Coffman: “President Obama wants to close GTMO because he thinks it’s a recruiting tool for terrorists – the real recruiting tool is a President who seems more concerned about protecting the rights of terrorists rather than defeating them and protecting the American people.”

Colffman’s “sense of self” lacks the “sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies” that Podhoretz finds absent in Trump.