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

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.

Rosen implies Denver Post had agenda to elect Romanoff but, oops, the paper endorsed Coffman

Friday, November 14th, 2014

This has been sitting on my shelf for a while, but I thought I’d post it today because I love it so much when Denver radio-host Mike Rosen whines about how The Denver Post practices “agenda journalism” in favor of liberals.

Rosen was sure The Post was in the pocket of Andrew Romanoff. His proof? A news story by Post reporter Mark Matthews.

Discussing the Coffman-Romanoff race in the excerpt below, which aired on his KOA 850-AM radio show Oct. 16 before the Post endorsed Coffman, Rosen implied that The Post was about to back Romanoff.

But The Post endorsed Coffman instead.

It’s conservative media criticism at its worst, replete with unsupported assumptions and anger that hurts journalism and, you’d think, Rosen himself.

In the excerpt, Rosen is talking to Coffman about Coffman’s bill to turn management and oversight of VA construction projects over to Army Corps of Engineers.

Rosen explains how The Post story about Coffman’s bill is part of an elaborate scheme to boost Romanoff. Read the Post article for yourself here.

ROSEN:  So, here is how the game is played. If you’re rooting for Andrew Romanoff, former Speaker of the Colorado House, who is a lock-step Democrat, and Mike Coffman is doing well — in a district, incidentally, that leans Democrat, now, the 6th District — going into this race, even though Mike was the incumbent, Andrew Romanoff was a heavy favorite to win. And a lot—a ton — of money has poured in from the Democratic Party and some other groups to get Romanoff elected, and to kick Mike out of that seat.

So, if you’re rooting for Mike Coffman, if you’re in the media, and if you’re The Denver Post, even though they endorsed Cory Gardner—maybe they think Udall is a lost cause, uh, on the other three state-wide races, they have endorsed Democrats. They endorsed, just the other day or today, I think, Joe Neguese for Secretary of State, uh, Don Quick for Attorney General—over your wife, I should note, Cynthia Coffman, and John Hickenlooper for governor. Those are three state-wide races. So they had to throw in one state-wide race for the Republicans, otherwise the Post, even if they had no shame, would be—would feel awkward about only endorsing Democrats. Now, they do endorse Republicans in state legislative races, especially Republicans who are in absolutely safe Republican districts, so it makes it seem as if they’re more even handed. But even with Vincent Carroll on the editorial page, as the editorial page editor, —I mean, he doesn’t own the editorial page, there’s a chain of command at the Post, it’s a very liberal culture, so Vincent can only go so far. I suspect the Cory Gardner endorsement was perhaps made or greatly influenced above his pay grade and the news pages are very, very helpful for The Denver Post, in any number of issues. And the Post just doesn’t report. They do ‘agenda journalism’. They don’t just report on same sex marriage, for example. They cheerlead for it, and they celebrate it. All right! You know, I’m not opposed to same sex marriage. I’m just observing this, on any number of other issues. When it comes to education issues, they’re—The Denver Post is in bed with the teachers union, generally, on its news pages. So, this story—and we’ll get into the details of it, since Mike is right here, and I’m laying a lot of foundation, but I think it’s important to do so so that you understand what the background of this is. And you’re not going to get a newspaper editor to admit this kind of stuff. So, I have to kind of analyze it and make some assumptions. So, this is just — I don’t have hard evidence on any of this. The story that’s on the front page is by Mark Matthews—and i don’t know Mark Matthews—is what I call a ‘planted story’. He’s writing this story about some criticism of Mike Coffman’s bill, that’s already been passed. In the Senate, as well? Where is it?

COFFMAN: It’s still —It’s pending in the Senate.

ROSEN: Yeah. Everything is pending in the Senate —

COFFMAN: True, right? [chuckles] Yeah!

ROSEN: —because Harry Reid doesn’t want to have them — Democrats — to make them vote on anything—

COFFMAN: Sure.

ROSEN: —in an election year, when he’s desperately trying to keep control. But it passed the House. It sailed through the House. If Mike is benefitting from his work in this area, you want to try and neutralize it, as best as you can, before the election, if you’re rooting for Romanoff. Now, this story, if you read it and you’re gullible, doesn’t look like a biased story. Both sides are presented, although one side is presented with more column inches than the other side. And what it plants in the minds of readers is, “Well, this is— Mike Coffman bill may not be all that it was cracked up to be.” So, the attempt here is to neutralize whatever advantage Mike gets out of being associated with this bill….All right. We’ll get into some more of the guts of this. It’s a fascinating story, and it shows how a news organ like The Denver Post can use its influence to manipulate. And one question I would have for Mark Matthews, who wrote this story—his byline is on it— is that, how did he come by this story? Did he dig it up on his own? Or is he simply operating from a Democratic press release or a phone call? Right back on 850 KOA.

Media omission: Coffman’s desire to offer “bilingual ballots” contradicts his proposal to eliminate federal requirement to provide them

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Yesterday, during what was apparently Colorado’s first candidate Spanish-language debate, hosted by moderators Vanessa Bernal and Juan Carlos Gutierrez on Denver’s Univision TV affiliate, Rep. Mike Coffman said:

Coffman: “The federal government has obligated local governments to send bilingual ballots to everyone. I think that bilingual ballots should only go to people who need them. It’s a question of saving money. I would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But back in 2011, when Coffman proposed repealing the section of the Voting Rights Act requiring ballots to be printed in multiple languages, Coffman said nothing about making sure those who needed translated ballots get them.

Coffman: “Since proficiency in English is already a requirement for U.S. citizenship, forcing cash-strapped local governments to provide ballots in a language other than English makes no sense at all,” Coffman told the Denver Post at the time.

I went back to the archive, and I couldn’t find a single instance in 2011 where Coffman said everyone who needs a bilingual ballot should have one. The best I could find was an acknowledgement that some voters have “legitimate needs,” but he suggested second-class solutions, like making a sample ballots available to voters somehow, without any guarantees that they even get this.

His 2011 proposal, by turning ballot-translation decisions over to local authorities and releasing local jurisdictions from the federal requirement, contradicts Coffman’s statement yesterday that he wants to provide a “bilingual ballot” to “people who need them.” That’s not consistent with his actual 2011 proposal.

What if local officials decide that Coffman’s dictionary idea is better and cheaper?

So after his debate yesterday, I asked Coffman if he’d offered a new position on English-only ballots.

He said, “No.”

Coffman: “I think I was always opposed to them because the way the Justice Department took it. And they have backed away. But it wasn’t just to the voters that needed them. It was going to be to every voter, an unfunded mandate by the federal government. I just thought that that was ridiculous. And there are all kinds of ways that are cheaper than that to disseminate the information. Obviously the county clerks got to make the decision, but right now it’s, if they can reach a certain threshold of population. But what about the people that English isn’t their language and they are below the threshold. And so we just need a different system that’s smarter and certainly can be more cost-effective.”

The Voting Rights Act requires ballots in multiple languages only in areas with large populations that are nonproficient in English

So if Coffman truly believes that Spanish-language ballots should be provided to those voters who need them, he’d support the requirement to do so in the Voting Rights Act, despite the cost. Sure, it could be tweaked, but he’d support the mandate.

Instead, Coffman is saying the expense is more worrisome to him than the possibility of excluding voters who aren’t proficient in English.

Unfortunately, reporters covering the debate between Coffman and his Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, missed this key point.

On radio, Singleton doesn’t recall Coffman’s “I-Stand-by-My-Statement” interview with 9News

Monday, October 27th, 2014

You recall a couple years ago, 9News anchor Kyle Clark caught up with Rep. Mike Coffman at a fundraiser and asked if voters were “owed a better explanation” about Coffman’s statement that Obama isn’t an American “in his heart.”

Using the same kind of cringe-inducing repetitious dodge we’ve seen from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner on personhood, Coffman repeated five times, “I stand by my statement that I misspoke, and I apologize.”

If you’re on the editorial board of The Denver Post, and you’re trying to figure out whether to endorse Coffman, you’d think you’d do enough research to know about Coffman’s infamous 9News interview.

But former Denver-Post owner Dean Singleton, who still votes on The Post’s editorial board, told KNUS radio over the weekend that he didn’t know about the 9News’ interview, even though The Post had just endorsed Coffman, raising questions about how closely The Post’s editorial board examined Coffman’s record.

Singleton: The Post’s endorsement of Mike Coffman shouldn’t have surprised anybody because The Post has always endorsed Mike Coffman.

KNUS Weekend Wake Up Host Chuck Bonniwell: Why do you like Mike?

Singleton: Mike Coffman is one of the hardest working Congressmen in the House.

Boniwell: He’s also one of the dumbest.

Singleton: I disagree.

Boniwell: I’ve spent time around Mike Coffman, and I think I can perceive. The Channel 9 interview, with Kyle Clark, the Mike Coffman interview, where all he could do is endlessly repeat the same one sentence given to him by his handlers. That was one of the more amazing moments in Colorado politics.

Singleton: Well, I don’t remember that.

Boniwell: I’ll play it. [laughs]

Singleton: I’ve known Mike a long time. Mike really works hard for his district.

Singleton could obviously have voted to endorse Coffman even had he known about the 9News’ ambush interview. But it’s a serious entry in the negative column on Coffman’s evaluation, and you wonder how he could possibly have not have known about it. It’s hard to find political types who don’t.

Singleton did not return a phone call this morning seeking comment.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/posts-singleton-doesnt-recall-kyle-clark-interview-with-mike-coffman

Clark’s questions for Coffman in 2012 came after Coffman was avoiding reporters after the release of a video of what 9News called his “birther moment,” when the congressman said he didn’t know whether Obama was even born in the United States. But Coffman said he did know that “in his heart, [Obama is] not an American. He’s just not an American.”