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

Radio host should have asked Coffman why he featured a Planned Parenthood logo in an ad last year, given that he sounds now like he’s never liked the organization

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Rep. Mike Coffman came out swinging against Planned Parenthood yesterday, telling KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, “It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood.”

Then why did Coffman feature a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad just last year, Caplis should have asked Coffman. Coffman’s 2014 ad stated that Coffman “was praised for protecting women from violence” and showed the Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo on the screen.

Judging from yesterday’s radio interview, Coffman has a list of longstanding grievances against Planned Parenthood, and Caplis would have done his listeners a favor by asking Coffman what they are. What was Coffman thinking of when he said Planned Parenthood has done “one thing after another?”

When Coffman’s ad ran last year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains responded by pointing out that Coffman “voted many times to de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide many important health services to women including birth control, family planning services, and lifesaving cancer screenings.”

In 2011, Coffman voted against Planned Parenthood funding, as part of a House resolution to the federal budget billHR 36, which prohibited  making funds available  “for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.”

For most of his political career, Coffman maintained his ardent opposition to abortion,even in the cases of rape and incest, as well as his support for personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010, which would have outlawed all abortion and some forms of birth control.

However, in 2013, Coffman flipped, and his office stated that the Congressman supported giving rape victims the option of having an abortion. Coffman has never explained what motivated this change, leaving everyone to conclude that he was trying to shine himself up for women voters in his swing district. Hence, his unauthorized use of the Planned Parenthood logo in the ad.

Coffman made his comments about Planned Parenthood in response to Caplis’ question about recent allegations by conservatives against the organization, which it has denied.

 

As pundit, Kopel shows independence in praising Morgan Carroll

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Last week on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out, Dave Kopel showed real independence, not allegiance to the ideology of the Independence Institute, where he works, when he called Democrat Morgan Carroll  “formidable” and a “really excellent” candidate to take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman next year.

Kopel, who also praised Coffman, has a reputation as an arch conservative, but he also has an admirable independent streak. And it was good to see him calling the Aurora congressional race like he sees it, rather than caving to Coffman’s backers, who undoubtedly swarm around Kopel’s office.

Kopel (Watch at 7:35 here): She is a formidable candidate. Her political skills are not only the ones she’s developed in her own life, but her political DNA is about as powerful as you can have in Colorado… The Carroll family has been involved, usually as winning candidates, in Colorado politics since the 1930s. So she is going to be very strong. And Mike Coffman works very hard. So I think you can look at this as a national A plus versus A plus marquis match up of really excellent candidates on both sides.

Kopel, who’s a regular guest on the Channel 12 public affairs show, is best known nationally as a fierce opponent of gun control measures. He’s been involved in Second-Amendment cases across the country, and even before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s an expert on a wide range of topics, including the Virgin Mary.

Carroll formally announced her run against Coffman earlier this month.

Radio interviewers should have questioned Coffman when he compared Veterans officials to ISIS

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

On Friday, after Rep. Mike Coffman suggested that if leaders of the Veterans Administration were put in charge of ISIS, they would be too incompetent to keep track of beheadings, neither of the radio hosts who conducted the interview questioned Coffman about whether Coffman’s comments were appropriate.

Instead, Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, the co-hosts of KOA 850-AM’s Colorado’s Morning News, reacted this with:

Tubbs: I don’t know what they’re putting in your orange juice back there.
Zesbaugh: [laughing] He’s on a roll! …It felt like a little stand-up there from the Congressman for a little bit.

Asked whether he thought he took Coffman’s comments too lightly, Tubbs emailed me:

Tubbs: “I was surprised by the Congressman’s remark at the very end of our interview, thus my comment. If someone is concerned with what Congressman Coffman said, they should contact his office.”

Tubbs, who’s a serious advocate (on and off the air) for American troops, was right to express his surprise at Coffman’s comments, which have been criticized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But he also should have questioned Coffman directly about the appropriateness of the remark. Tubbs has shown he’s not shy of asking tough questions, once asking Coffman,who was avoiding reporters at the time, about Coffman’s comment that Obama is not an American “in his heart.”

As it is, in part because Coffman wasn’t questioned during the KOA interview Friday, we’re now only hearing from a Coffman spokesman who told Buzzfeed that Coffman’s VA-ISIS comments were, “a controversy only with liberals and the Washington outrage machine. His sarcastic point was obvious – the VA is an organizational disaster.”

During the KOA interview, Coffman said:

Coffman: It’s too bad we can’t take VA leadership and export it and give it to some of our adversaries around the planet. Let them suffer under the VA’s leadership. Can you imagine if the VA was in charge of ISIS? They’d probably say, “Well, you know it wasn’t quite 2,000 that we beheaded – it was really 24 is the accurate number. We’re sorry that, in fact, they were all our own terrorists that were beheaded because they got missclassified in the system as Christians. I mean, that would be [chuckles] the VA, that would be the VA in charge of ISIS.

Yesterday, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a statement saying Coffman’s comments “do not belong in our public discourse.”

“Veterans and VA employees find [Coffman's comments] highly offensive,” said the VA’s statement on the matter. “(VA) Secretary (Robert) McDonald has spoken to Representative Coffman,”

Tubbs and Zesbaugh should have Coffman back on their morning show to discuss the controversy over the Congressman’s “sarcastic point,” as his spokesman put it.

Coffman does little to promote immigration reform besides create the appearance of support for it

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

In response to my post yesterday urging reporters to spotlight Mike Coffman’s weak advocacy for immigration reform, Coffman’s spokesman Tyler Sandberg told me via Twitter that “Google is Your Friend,” and directed me to an instance when Coffman said he was “deeply disappointed” with House opposition to a resolution allowing young immigrants to gain citizenship via military service.

Google is my friend, and it confirms my larger point that Coffman does little to promote immigration reform besides create the appearance of seriousness without the much substance at all.

Coffman has expressed disappointment, yes, and I regret writing that he didn’t use the word, but he hasn’t seriously challenged Boehner, who’s arguably been the biggest obstacle to immigration reform in the country.

Where was Coffman’s disappointment when the Senate’s bipartisan immigration legislation, with Marco Rubio’s name on it, died in the House. Coffman didn’t even support a vote on the bipartisan and comprehensive bill, despite Coffman’s public statements in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

And what did he do instead? Nothing on comprehensive reform, except scrub his website of the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” and to tell the Aurora Sentinel, “What Boehner has said, and I agree with, is that a comprehensive approach doesn’t have to be a comprehensive bill.”

Coffman’s legislation for young immigrants and his alleged support for a guest worker program fall short of comprehensive reform no matter how you wordsmith it, and they’ve failed, in part, because Coffman goes to a fundraiser with Boehner at the Brown Palace and doesn’t talk about immigration on the same day Coffman’s bill is being killed by Republican leadership in Washington.

Via Twitter, I asked Coffman’s spokesman Sandberg to write a blog post explaining how his boss has pushed Boehner for serious immigration reform–and better yet, to show us how it’s done.

There’s no public record of the kind of effort we’ve seen from Coffman on other issues. Nothing close. Google it.

Ambush in the Public Interest

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

In an online Denver Post op-ed yesterday, I urged reporters to seek out and interview hiding politicians. I gave some recent Colorado examples, like Rep. Mike Coffman hiding from reporters after he said he wasn’t sure Obama was an American.

On Twitter, former CU regent Tom Lucero told me I left out instances of Democrats hiding from reporters, but he won’t provide me with any examples, saying he doesn’t want to do my “job.”

Too bad because I’d like to see his examples, and I’m sure they exist. But I couldn’t think of many in recent memory (I mentioned Udall)–and my piece focused on Colorado reporting.

In any case, Lucero should join me, because if journalists did this more often, it would benefit all of us. The ambush interview shouldn’t be relegated to showboaters like Bill O’Reilly and consumer reporters, like (mostly) the investigative units at 9News and channel 7.

In my piece, I quoted Eli Stokols, who told the Columbia Journalism Review in March that among Colorado reporters, “There seems to be a reluctance to hold people accountable for policy positions.”

What’s not to like about that suggestion, regardless of where you sit on the partisan spectrum? But how to do it?

One simple way is to not let public officials hide out and avoid answering questions. Journalists should track them down and force them to respond.

For example, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is under fire for telling conservative radio-host Mike Rosen he did not support a proposed law to bolster Colorado’s public pension program when, in fact, he did support the legislation.

What are some other examples from any politician in Colorado?

Next time Coffman says he supports immigration reform, ask him if he’s even talked with Boehner about it

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Rep. Mike Coffman has spent years telling reporters how much he cares about immigration reform.

But what would it look like if he really wanted to pass an actual factual immigration-reform  bill? Instead of just talking about one? Or writing an op-ed about it? Or even attending a press conference about it.

Last week we saw what Coffman looks like when he’s actually trying to convince his Republican colleagues of something. This is not the Coffman we see during immigration debates, despite his claims of support for reform.

The Hill reported May 20, as House Republicans appeared ready to halt construction of the Veterans Administration hospital in Aurora:

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said he has been “shuttling back and forth” between meetings with McDonald and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to work out a deal.

9News reported May 19, in a piece headlined “Coffman: Speaker Must Act to Save VA Hospital:”

“I’m disappointed in the VA for their mismanagement. I’m disappointed in the speaker, for in my view, not showing appropriate leadership so far,” Coffman told 9NEWS in an interview Tuesday. “I hope I can convince [Boehner] to understand that our veterans should not be the casualty.”

CBS4 reported May 20:

Coffman said he’s “greatly disappointed” in Boehner for not approving a short-term increase to allow more negotiation time and avoid the shutdown.

But have you heard Coffman say he’s greatly disappointed in Boehner over immigration? Even for blocking Coffman’s own bill? Nope. Last week illustrates a standard for pushing Boehner that reporters should hold him to.

 

Coffman should be asked about exceptions in 20-week-abortion ban

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

THURSDAY UPDATE: Coffman voted for the 20-week abortion ban yesterday. Under the bill’s exceptions, a raped woman can have an abortion only “if the rape has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency.” And a child who’s a victim of incest can obtain an abortion if the “incest against a minor has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency or to a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse or neglect.” There is no exception for adult incest victims.

———

Abortion continues to be a major focus of House Republicans, as they prepare to vote today on the latest version of their 20-week abortion ban.

The bill mandates exceptions for rape and incest victims, but to be allowed to have an abortion, a raped woman has to seek counseling or medical help within 48 hours of the procedure.

Coffman’s vote on the bill should be of interest to reporters. For most of his political career, Coffman took a hard-line position against any rape-or-incest exception to his anti-abortion stance. But facing a tough re-election fight, he announced his support for abortion for rape and incest.

In his vote on a similar measure in 2013, Coffman favored exceptions for rape and incest but he also voted for the requirement that rape victims report the crime to police, in order to be allowed to have an abortion. Will the requirement for counseling or medical help be enough for him?

If no, why? If so, what’s the explanation for his change of heart on this issue? Why does he no longer support police reporting?  Why the evolution from someone who was fiercely opposed to abortion, even for rape and incest, to someone who favors exceptions? The makeup of his new district? A personal story?

Just as House Republicans in Washington are again fighting over which exceptions should be included  in their 20-week abortion ban, the left-leaning People for the American Way has released a new report, “The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From and What it Means for the Future of Choice,” which explains the strategic thinking of the different factions of the anti-choice movement.

The report offers a broad overview of the politics and policy of personhood, focusing on the current disputes among personhood leaders over where to take the movement going forward. And it explains why some anti-choice leaders oppose state personhood amendments, even though they share the common goal of outlawing abortion.

The report points out that personhood leaders denounce anti-choice allies, like Coffman, when they support exceptions for rape and incest, even when done in an obvious effort to make themselves or their anti-abortion legislation more palatable to the public. The report states:

“But the greatest betrayal in the eyes of these personhood advocates is the willingness of major anti-choice groups to endorse legislation that includes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. The personhood movement’s leaders contend that these political concessions are not only immoral and intellectually inconsistent, but also threaten to undermine the movement’s goals in the long term.”

We’ve seen this play out in Colorado, as personhood leaders have turned against Republicans like Coffman.

In any case, Colorado continues to be ground zero for the personhood movement, and the PFAW report helps put what we see in front of us in a national context.

 

Pathetic Attack by Coffman Spokesperson on Colorado Independent

Friday, April 10th, 2015

The Colorado Independent called Rep. Mike Coffman’s office numerous times over numerous days to find out if Coffman had kept $20,000 in donations from Rep. Aaron Schock, who resigned in disgrace after it became apparent that he was brazenly misspending tax money.

Coffman’s office never called reporter John Tomasic back, but Coffman spokesman Tyler Sandberg did talk to The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels, telling her, “We donated the money after Aaron Schock resigned and donated it to a veterans organization.”

Sandberg also told Bartels:

“As a matter of principle we don’t respond to fake news websites, nor did we feel a need to trumpet the donation. Sorry to upset the left-wing attack machine so desperate to find a flaw with Mike Coffman.”

The Colorado Independent is not a fake news site. It’s a progressive news site. So, I guess Sandberg is saying he won’t talk to people who might disagree with him?

I wondered which veterans organization received the cash and when it was donated, so I called Sandberg. And, lo, he didn’t return my calls either. So it appears his bogus “principle” applies to me, too.

That is, unless I do something he likes.

Last August, after Denver Post reporter Jon Murray and Sandberg drew my attention to an error in one of my blog posts, I corrected the piece, drawing praise from Sandberg:

“Kudos to @BigMediaBlog for acknowledging and correcting his error,” Sandberg tweeted.

So, he responded to me!

I’m still hoping Sandberg takes two minutes to tell me which veterans group got Schock’s money from Coffman and when the donation was made. Not a big deal, you’d think, for someone whose salary is paid by us.

Unchallenged on talk radio, Coffman blames Obama for ISIS; calls for “boots on the ground” against ISIS

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

When U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, Rep. Mike Coffman called it a “great day,” but in the ensuing years, he’s complained that America shouldn’t have withdrawn all its forces from Iraq. This line of thinking reached a crescendo Saturday, when Coffman appeared on a Denver radio stationand blamed Obama for creating “the situation with ISIS in Iraq” by withdrawing American troops too early.

Coffman: The fact is, the President has created the situation with ISIS in Iraq, because what he did against recommendations of the Pentagon was he left no residual force whatsoever in Iraq in 2011 because he was so desperate for the political narrative going into the 2012 election that he’d ended the war in Iraq. And by not having any residual force, we lost that military-to-military relationship with the Iraqi security forces. And in doing so, we also lost that government-to-government relationship. And we had no influence. And as a result, the roots of representative government weren’t deep enough. And the Al-Abadi government out of Baghdad reverted to their worst sectarian tendencies, pushed the Sunnis out of the government, and essentially created the opening for ISIS, for this jihadist element to come in and fill that void. And they did.

KNUS host Jimmy Sengenberger missed a chance to make things interesting by arguing that, if anything, Bush is responsible for ISIS. But Obama? Even if you accept the premise, which I don’t, that the absence of a U.S. “residual force” in Iraq created ISIS, the fact is that Obama actually tried to negotiate an agreement allowing U.S. forces to remain. Respected New York Times reporter Michael Gordon summarized what happened:

Mr. Obama sought to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement that would have allowed United States troops to stay in Iraq after 2011. Initially, the Obama administration was prepared to keep up to 10,000 troops in Iraq. Later, the Obama administration lowered the number to about 5,000. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki indicated that he might be willing. But the Iraqis did not agree to an American demand that such an agreement be submitted to their Parliament for approval, a step the Obama administration insisted on to ensure that any American troops that stayed would be immune from prosecution under Iraqi law…. After the talks broke down, the Obama administration withdrew the remaining American troops in December 2011, the deadline set for withdrawing all American forces from Iraq under the Status of Forces Agreement.

Blame game for ISIS aside, Coffman is so mad about the situation he’s ready to put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS–even though about a year ago he was for U.S. advisers in Iraq but dead set against the boots idea, telling KNUS’ Dan Caplis, “I would say, in terms of regular troops on the ground, absolutely not.” Now Coffman is saying U.S. soldiers on the ground in Iraq are required:

Coffman: Certainly, as an Iraq war veteran, I wouldn’t want to see U.S. forces on the ground as the maneuver ground element. I want I want to see indigenous forces on the ground, but we’re going to need special operators from time to time to take out high-value targets. We are going to need to give them air logistical and advisory support, and that is going to take some elements of boots on the ground. That’s just the way it is. And he’s trying to make everything fit into a political narrative. And it’s insane…I’m going to fight him on closing Guantanamo Bay as well.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/clip-mcoffmanseng21415

(CORRECTION: This blog post previously stated that Coffman wanted to “boots on the ground” in Iraq. Actually, he wants the boots in the war against ISIS.)

Some reporters frame Coffman vote as pro-immigrant, when it wasn’t

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Rep. Mike Coffman got a lot of credit from Denver media earlier this month when he voted against blocking Obama’s executive order allowing millions of immigrants with family ties in American to temporarily avoid deportation.

The Associated Press, for example, reported Dec. 4 that “Mike Coffman, who has also tacked to the center on immigration, was one of only seven House Republicans to vote to uphold Obama’s order from last month.” And the Durango Herald offered similar reporting.

But Coffman made it clear in a statement after the vote that he thought Obama’s executive order was unconstitutional, and that he was only voting against the legislation because, if passed, the bill would deceive Americans into believing Congress had but a check on Obama’s “overreach.”

So he managed to cast a pro-immigrant vote, even though he maintained and reiterated his anti-immigrant position in opposition to Obama’s initiative.

Some news outlets handled Coffman’s duplicity better than the AP did. The Denver Post and Fox 31 Denver, for example, ran Coffman’s entire statement, at least giving readers the chance to scratch their heads and wonder about it.

The Post’s Nancy Lofholm reported Coffman’s vote against blocking Obama’s program, but informed readers:

[I]n a statement on his nay vote on the Yoho bill, Coffman made clear his vote had nothing to do with support for Obama’s executive orders.

“I voted against H.R. 5797 because, although I strongly believe it is unconstitutional to have immigration policy made through executive orders and without consent of Congress, this legislation will only mislead the American people into believing that we are taking care of the problem when the only way to address President Obama’s overreach is either through the U.S. Supreme Court or through the appropriations process,” Coffman’s statement read

I’m hoping more reporters take notice next time, if Coffman’s position on a bill runs counter to his actual vote on it.