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

Tancredo says he’d vote for Morgan Carroll but later changes his mind

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

At this point, nothing about Tom Tancredo should surprise me, but my jaw bounced off the floor when he said Saturday he’d vote for state Sen. Morgan Carroll over U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

After Tancredo lashed into Coffman for caring about nothing except staying in office, KNUS’ Saturday host Craig Silverman asked Tancredo if he’d vote for Carroll over Coffman, if Tanc lived in Aurora where the Coffman and Carroll are battling each other in one of the closest congressional races in the country.

And Tancredo, whose Congressional seat was won by Coffman (with Tanc’s support) after Tancredo stepped down, said he’d vote for the Democrat.

Silverman: Former Congressman Tom Tancredo says, ‘Vote for Morgan Carroll over Mike Coffman.’ Do I have it right?

Tancredo: You got it right.

But, I told Tancredo in a subsequent phone call, Coffman is much more hostile to immigrants than Carroll.

Coffman opposed a 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, which included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and Coffman still stands against the measure. Coffman is opposed to birthright citizenship, which allows children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil to be citizens. Coffman is also against a provision in the Voting Rights Act that requires some jurisdictions to provide dual-language ballots.

I told Tancredo I couldn’t see how he’d favor Morgan Carroll, who, for example, has attacked Coffman for opposing the bipartisan immigration bill, and she supports a path to citizenship.

But didn’t Carroll vote against the “Dream Act” in Colorado, Tancredo asked, reminding me that he’d referenced this on the radio, when he said, “Who knows, we may have something better [with Carroll].”

I told Coffman that Carroll had initially voted against providing in-state tuition for undocumented students in Colorado, but she later joined state lawmakers in passing the measure.

So, today, even with Coffman’s shifts on immigration, Coffman is much more in Tancredo’s immigration camp than Carroll, who’s now as immigrant-friendly as they get, I told Tancredo.

“With that in mind,” Tancredo said after hearing this, “I guess I’d write somebody else in. That would probably be my fallback position.”

So Tancredo changed his mind. He wouldn’t vote for Carroll.

“My point is this, more than anything else,” said Tancredo. “… I am absolutely convinced that [Coffman] is a fraud. If Trump were [running] even in the district, or if [Trump] were ahead, I know that Mike Coffman would be putting ads on TV talking about how wonderful Trump is.”

But does Tancredo think Coffman is sincere about his past and present opposition to the comprehensive immigration bill that Carroll supports?

“No. I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Mike Coffman,” said Tancredo, whom Coffman once called his “hero.” “Nothing that I have observed over the last several years would lead me to that conclusion, except his sincere desire to remain in Congress. So I guess I would say that’s a caveat there.”

How many conservatives can Coffman piss off before he loses an election?

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

A couple weeks ago, former Rep. Tom Tancredo skewered Rep. Mike Coffman in his weekly Breitbart column, writing thet the “only thing authentic about [Coffman] is his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.”

In a subsequent KNUS radio interview with guest host Matt Dunn, Tancredo said, “as a conservative, we would lose nothing” if Coffman lost his seat. And Tanc went further:

Tancredo: [W]hen he won the election, I was of course a supporter and was happy about the fact that he would be succeeding me in that office because of what he promised me, because of our discussions about the issues, especially immigration. And of course all those things have gone by the wayside, and done so because he feels that he has to give up those principles — if he ever held them. I don’t know if he has any real set of principles upon which — you know, that certain bedrock – I don’t know that they exist at all…As his district changes, so does he. He sort of morphs into a different person.

…I’ll tell you this: if Trump were polling well in his district, you would be hearing nothing but accolades from Mike Coffman about Donald Trump. So, it isn’t – it doesn’t really have anything to do with Trump’s positions, his faux pas, his – whatever. It’s got nothing to do with that. It’s got everything to do with Mike wanting to keep that little pin on his collar – I mean, on his lapel, on his suit, that indicates you’re a Member of Congress. Because that’s more important to him than anything else. And I’m just sick of this stuff! I’m sick of it because it’s a seat we could still retain by somebody better. And you know, you just think to yourself, “What a — what a waste!” [Aug. 11, KNUS Peter Boyles show]

Keep in mind that Coffman once called Tancredo his “hero.

Tancredo’s comments deserve wider media attention because they raise the question, again, of how many conservatives Coffman can piss off and still win a narrow majority in his district.

Coffman still supports dropping bilingual ballot requirement

Monday, August 15th, 2016

It’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.

So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.

One item deserves clarification.

FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:

This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.

As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.

Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.

Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.

Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But the Voting Rights Act? We don’t need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.

Coffman’s sketchy vision of Aurora with no Planned Parenthood

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is telling reporters again this week how he’s standing up for “vulnerable and underserved” people who need healthcare.

But as they contemplate Coffman’s news release, reporters should recall that the Aurora Congressman voted six or seven times, depending on how you count, to defund Planned Parenthood.

Those votes are, at the end of the day, less about Planned Parenthood than about the low-income women the organization serves, because, dah, if you defund a healthcare organization, you’re pushing its patients out the door too.

To bring the point home, if it lost federal funds, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own district of Aurora would have to turn away 2,200 patients who currently rely on the clinic for basic health care services like HIV and STD tests, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings and more, according to a Planned Parenthood.

These are low-income women and men on Medicaid and women who are part of a federal cancer-screening program. So Planned Parenthood would have to raise private money to continue serving them.

Would safety-net organizations in Aurora be able to absorb all these patients, who’d be joining about 80,000 other low-income people statewide that Planned Parenthood could no long serve?

It’s a complicated question, and it’s one you’d think Coffman would have figured out in detail before his multiple votes against Planned Parenthood–and run his plan by his affected constituents to get their feedback. But he didn’t, so I’ll outline some of the issues for reporters.

There’s no exhaustive analysis of what would happen to Planned Parenthood patients in Colorado if the organization lost federal funding. A credible study of the impacts in Texas show disastrous consequences, including a 27 percent increase in births among women who used injectable contraception.

Urban Aurora is obviously different than Texas, but, still, it’s not fully certain that the network of Medicaid-friendly health centers in Aurora have the ability to readily absorb the 2,200 patients that could be cut out of Planned Parenthood, according to my interviews with a number of analysts. Even if it were, there are problems.

First, there’s the issue of where alternative care, if it were available, is located. For low-income people, who often rely on public transportion, access to healthcare can be dependent on its location.

Wait times are another unkonwn. Under Coffman’s anti-Planned Parenthood proposal, the influx on new patients at existing clinics could lengthen lines.

And there’s the preferences of the patients, particularly women who seek birth control and related care, who are served.

Does it matter to Coffman that patients may want to stay with Planned Parenthood, because they feel comfortable there?

I’m biased, I admit, but who could argue with Planned Parenthood folks who say that many women seek out Planned Parenthood, instead of other Medicaid-friendly clinics, because they want privacy. As women, they want a place where their medical and social needs are the top priority.

In any case, what’s Coffman’s plan for these women in his district? What does he have to offer them? What does he have to say to them?

Coffman has a vision of Aurora with no Planned Parenthood. Will he run his plan, if he has any, by the 2,200 women who now attend the Aurora Planned Parenthood clinic to see how they feel about it?

 

 

Olympics viewers should know that Coffman backed anti-Planned Parenthood agenda in bill funding U.S. response to Zika virus

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

The Olympics are making lots of people think again about the Zika virus, and this, in turn, should give Rep. Mike Coffman a small slice of the media spotlight.

In a June vote that was ignored by local reporters, the Aurora Republican backed a House GOP bill that actually factually aimed to block the United States’ Zika-response funds from going to groups (like Planned Parenthood) for birth control and family planning programs—even though Zika affects the developing fetus and appears to be sexually transmitted.

Hence, birth control is obviously part of the response to Zika!

Yet, the GOP’s anti-birth-control sneaks slipped language in the Zika bill (See Zika Response Appropriations here) stating that money “related to patient care associated with the Zika virus” could only be spent on “prenatal care, delivery care, postpartum care, newborn health assessments, and care for infants with special health care needs.”

No money birth control. None for family planning. Nothing for anything pre-sex or pre-zygote.

As the Huffington Post reported at the time:

[Democrats] are particularly upset that the bill excludes $50 million in requested funds for maternal and child health and blocks supplemental funds from going to Planned Parenthood for birth control services. The bill mandates that the Zika funds be prioritized for mosquito control programs, vaccines and diagnostics, leaving no resources for contraceptives or condoms.

After Coffman voted for the GOP legislation along with House Republicans, U.S. Senate Democrats blocked the bill.

The Zika vote is also newsworthy now, because Coffman is making a big deal of promising to “stand up” to Trump, even though he still may vote for the mogul. As part of this, Coffman is claiming to be a different kind of Republican. But where was the different kind of Republican on the Zika vote a few short months ago, and so many other votes where Coffman slides under the radar with the GOP conservative majority.

And, no, when Coffman votes against birth control and Planned Parenthood, he doesn’t make an ad saying he’s going along with the Republican conservative status quo. That’s not news, but it should be.

For example, Coffman’s vote in June was his latest in a long list of attacks on Planned Parenthood and family planning. Depending on how you count, he’s voted six or seven times to completely defund the women’s health organization, a move that would stop about 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.

I don’t recall Coffman making an ad saying he’s voting again against Planned-Parenthood funding, do you?

Coffman’s Democratic opponent in this year’s election is State Sen. Morgan Carroll.

Radio host slams Coffman for helping Hillary

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Dan Caplis, a prominent Colorado Republican and conservative talk-radio host, denounced Mike Coffman’s latest TV ad this morning, saying on air that the ad “helps Hillary Clinton” and that Coffman must have “concluded in his mind and his heart and his conscience that Donald Trump cannot win.”

Caplis, whose name has been floated over the years as a possible GOP gubernatorial candidate, says Trump can win, and he wants to have Coffman on his KNUS 710-AM show to discuss the topic further.

Caplis: So you think Hillary and her camp are happy or unhappy with the Mike Coffman ad. Let’s not deny the obvious. Let’s respect each other with the truth.  This helps Hillary Clinton.

And because of the quality of Mike as is a man in a public servant, I give him the ultimate benefit of the doubt that he would not have done this unless he’s already truly concluded in his mind and his heart and his conscience that Donald Trump cannot win.

Maybe I’m giving Mike too much benefit of the doubt here, but I think he has earned, because the I just can’t imagine him being willing to help Hillary Clinton like this if he truly thought Trump had a chance to win for all the reasons I mentioned earlier, so I give Mike the benefit of the doubt.  He must’ve concluded that that this race is over and Donald Trump has no chance to win…

I completely disagree with that. I think Donald Trump is failing miserably. I think he’s failing at trying to throw the race away, for all the reasons I talked about at the top of the show. Donald Trump is throwing this race away, but he still has a very good chance to win, because America has already rejected Hillary Clinton. Trump still is a very good chance to win.

So if Mike Coffman has concluded, if we ever get the chance to talk to Mike about this and his explanation is ‘Yeah, I knew this ad would help Hillary Clinton but I’ve already concluded Trump has no chance to win,’ I would respectfully disagree with him.

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.