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

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.



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.

Looks like a local reporter has the best shot at getting Coffman to talk about Trump

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

After President Obama’s State of the Union Address, KOA host April Zesbaugh gave Rep. Mike Coffman another chance to offer a thought or two about Donald Trump, when she pointed out that Obama had talked “little bit about ignoring political hot air, likely a comment about Donald Trump or maybe Ted Cruz.”

Coffman ignored the opening to talk about Trump, making him possibly the only person in America who has nothing to say about the idiotic billionaire. Coffman has now ducked five chances to condemn/praise/parse Trump (See here, herehere, one below, and one above.).

Perhaps the strangest incident occurred in Washington DC after Trump proposed banning Muslims from America. Other Republicans condemned Trump, but Coffman simply told a Roll Call reporter, “I’m not going to go there. Thanks.” (Coffman had issued a statement on the topic that didn’t mention Trump.)

Seriously, how can you not have anything to say about Donald, even if you’re the lowest informaation voter on Earth?

And putting aside the fact that Trump is the leading GOP prez contender, who’s condemned most every swing voter  in Coffman’s district, the Donald is a totally legitimate topic for Coffman to address.

Some of Coffman’s actual factual positions align with Trump’s (against birthright citizenship, in favor of a worker underclass, against raising debt limit in certain circumstances, and more) Coffman should clarify where he stands vis a vis Donald on these issues.

Plus, Trump is politics in its rawest and most accessible form. Why hasn’t Coffman condemned Trump? It’s a serious and puzzling question.

It’s clear now that Coffman will continue to run from Trump questions until a local reporter, who is in a position to have an exchange with Coffman, insists on answers. With Trump surging and the key caucuses and primaries upon us, I’m looking forward to hearing what Coffman says.

Coffman declares immigration reform dead for this year

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Appearing on KOA 850-AM’s Morning News Jan. 13, Rep. Mike Coffman first said he doesn’t “see anything happening on immigration reform” in Congress this year.

Then he told radio host April Zesbaugh, “Certainly, I’ve worked hard in my congressional district to break that narrative” that “Republicans are anti-immigrant.”

So he declares immigration reform dead and says he’s not anti-immigrant.

The irony is, if Coffman and his fellow House Republicans weren’t anti-immigrant, immigration reform wouldn’t be dead right now. It would be moving forward, as laid out in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that Coffman opposed and was killed by House Republicans in 2013.

Millions of law-abiding immigrants would be starting to come out of the shadows and living like my own immigrant grandparents did. They’d be paying more taxes, working their asses off, and no longer living in fear of deportation. We’d be spending tens of billions more on border security and have 20,000 agents on the border, too, fwiw. The Chamber of Commerce would be happy. I would feel proud of our country, not guilty, when I see my daughter’s friend holding hands with her immigrant father.

Coffman would no doubt be standing up his his district and saying he actually accomplished something on immigration. As it is, he’s defined by what he’s not done and what he still opposes: birthright citizenship, bilingual ballotscomprehensive immigration reform, a path to citizenship.

With his Spanish lessons and criss-crossing votes for modest reforms, maybe Coffman has worked hard, in terms of rhetoric and smoke screens and cover up, to create a perception of hard work on  immigration, but he was a roadblock to actually accomplishing anything when it really mattered most.



Local Angle on SOTU Address: Coffman draws $174,000 salary while already taking $55,000 pension plus benefits

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

There’s a local angle on Obama’s comment last night that “some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber. For everyone else, especially folks in their forties and fifties, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher.”

The local connection was sitting in front of Obama in the form of Mike Coffman. He’s part of an even smaller number of people who’ve fought to abolish retirement packages, like the ones Members of Congress get, even though he’s receiving a $55,000 retirement package (from the state of Colorado) while, at the same time, drawing a $174,000 salary as a U.S. Congressman.

As the National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher reported in 2013 when Coffman was urging Members of Congress to give up their pensions:

If there’s one thing I learned in both the United States Army and the Mar­ine Corps about lead­er­ship, it was lead­ing by ex­ample,” Coff­man lec­tured them, point­ing to his chest at a com­mit­tee hear­ing. “Nev­er ask any­one to do any­thing that you your­self would not be will­ing to do.”

What Coff­man left un­said that day in a speech about his bill’s “sym­bol­ic” im­port­ance was that he was col­lect­ing a $55,547 state-gov­ern­ment pen­sion in ad­di­tion to his con­gres­sion­al paycheck. Hav­ing spent two dec­ades as an elec­ted of­fi­cial in Col­or­ado, he has re­ceived re­tire­ment be­ne­fits since 2009, the year he ar­rived in Con­gress.

But, Goldmacher asked Coffman later, doesn’t the Aurora Congressman realize he’s taking a defined-benefit penion, like the one he’s opposing?

“I am,” he told Goldmacher. “I am.”

At the time, I hoped reporters would ask Coffman directly, does Coffman see any hypocrisy in his own actions? And if so, what does he think he should do about it?

No one asked him, but it’s not too late.

Has Coffman voted to defund Planned Parenthood six or seven times — a journalist’s guide

Monday, January 11th, 2016

In a blog post last year, I showed that Rep. Mike Coffman has voted a total of six times to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that would stop 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.

Then last week, Coffman voted again to defund the women’s health organization, but his vote came on an amended version of the same anti-Planned Parenthood bill he voted for in October of last year. I’d counted his October vote as his sixth vote to defund the organization.

If you’re a reporter, and you want to be fair to Coffman, do you count his vote last week as number seven? Or does he remain a six-time voter to defund Planned Parenthood?

To get an impartial opinion, I asked Fred Brown, a former Denver Post editor and political reporter, for his view on whether Coffmn’s vote on the amended bill should be reported as his seventh vote to defund Planned Parenthood. (I asked Brown to assume my tally was correct. I did not ask him to fact check my work, but you can do so here.)

Brown told me he’d count the two votes on the same bill as one vote for my tally, leaving it at six times Coffman has voted to defund.

“If there’s a different bill number, it’s a different vote,” wrote Brown, who’s also a nationally-known expert on journalism ethics.