Natividad defends Trump comment on immigrants being rapists

November 8th, 2016

In a Facebook post last month, Republican businessman Jerry Natividad, who toyed with a U.S. Senate run this year, downplayed GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s widely publicized comments about undocumented immigrants being “rapists.”

“I’m sure some of them in the drug business are rapists, either in Mexico or when they cross the border,” wrote Natividad in his Facebook post, which was obtained from a source.

The post refers to former Denver Mayor Federico Pena and former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar as over-reacting to Trump’s comment

“I guess either you have tough skin or not,” wrote Natividad.

When he announed his presidential bid, Trump’s said:

Trump: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Natividad was apparently not bothered by this.

Natividad: It’s a shame when the Hillary campaign callled Latinos needy, not one Latino, Federico, Salazar, those Texas brother Latino clowns, did not raise an eyebrow, just fell in line, mesmerized. Yet Trump mentions all those illegal Mexicans moving drugs and weapons across the border feeding our drug demise and oh my god, he said that of Mexicans. I guess either you have tough skin or not…and I’m sure some of them in the drug business are rapists, either in Mexico or when the cross the border.

Natividad did not return a call for clarification and to get his thoughts on whether he stands behind his defense of Trump, and his attacks on Pena and Salazar, especially now that Hispanic voters are seen as one of Trump’s biggest obstacles to winning the election.

natividad-sides-with-trump-2016-10-14-08-33-58

Elbert County Commissioner leaves Republican Party and sees impending “exodus”

November 4th, 2016

In what could presage the upending of the Republican Party after next week’s election, Elbert County Commissioner Robert Rowland left the GOP this week with a blazing facebook post alleging corruption, weakness, disorganization, and cluelessness.

Rowland wrote, in part:

Rowland: “I am leaving the once Grand Ole’ Party and am now going to where I feel I belong, unaffiliated (Independent).

The Party has become fractured, but worse, it has become corrupted, at every level, and it has lost its way. At the national level…we see the ‘leaders’ of the party only serve those who will protect and maintain the status quo, and who will preserve the self-serving favors that are now the motivator for most.

At the state level…we have seen this powerful inner establishment circumvent the will of the base time and time again. I still see a party that ignores accountability for the failed conservatives that it blindly supports and elects. We see the Cory Gardner’s, Mike Coffman’s protected and adored by the establishment, even though they prove time and time again that they are not the conservatives the claim to be during the campaign….

I believe our nation, this state, and our counties, cities and towns are in for a long hard fight to save our nation from the radical left and from a weak, corrupt, and disorganized conservative party controlled by the powerful who only care about their power and preserving the status quo.”

Asked why he didn’t wait until after the election to resign, Rowland said he didn’t want his departure from the GOP to be “about the election.” As Trump’s campaign manager for Elbert County, he didn’t want his action to appear as “sour grapes.”

But he thinks the anger he has toward the GOP, including the failure of party leaders to rally around Trump, is shared by many others.

“My gut tells me the party is going to go through a dramatic revolution after the election,” said Rowland, who identifies with the Tea Party wing of the GOP and emphasizes that he still sees himslef as a conservative.

“I think you’re going to see an exodus,” said Rowland. “I really do.”

Here are Rowland’s Facebook posts

Rowland part 1

Rowland part 2

Rowland part 3

Campaign aims to take advantage of climate of “misogyny” to boot anti-choice state lawmakers

November 4th, 2016

The combination Trump’s “misogyny,” last year’s murders at a Colorado Springs clinic, and the popularity of Planned Parenthood is translating into votes for pro-choice candidates in Colorado, according to Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado (PPVC) Director Sarah Taylor-Nanista.

“Violent rhetoric across the country angers women, but there is a specific connection in Colorado, where we just saw how violent anti-choice language actually ended up hurting people,” said Taylor-Nanista. “And I think it’s hitting home among women voters in a profound way.”

Trying to take advantage of this election climate, PPVC is executing a multi-prong strategy to push pro-choice voters, particularly women, to the polls.

Under a $250,000 state-wide program, PPVC staff has knocked on over 6,000 doors, called over 13,000 voters, launched 10 mail pieces, and pushed earned and digital communications efforts focusing on reproductive health messages, including abortion access, according to Taylor-Nanista.

Taylor-Nanista said internal polling shows Planned Parenthood’s approval rating in Colorado to be over 65 percent.

“Beyond just the state of Colorado, we’re seeing nationally that defunding Planned Parenthood is one of the biggest incentives for people to get out and vote this year,” said Taylor-Nanista. “It’s a message that’s resonating over and over.”

Asked for a response to the alleged good will that voters feel toward Planned Parenthood, Leslie Hanks, a Denver-based spokeswoman for American Right to Life, said via email that Planned Parenthood staff should be put on trial for murder.

“Nothing generates ‘good will’ like parsing out baby body parts to increase Planned Murderhood’s bottom line!” wrote Hanks. “America needs another round of Nuremberg Trials.”

There’s no evidence Planned Parenthood profits from the sale fetal tissue, and exhaustive investigations have concluded that Planned Parenthood has broken no laws.

“In this election, where there is so much emphasis on misogyny and violence against women, Planned Parenthood is a perfect messenger,” said Taylor-Nanista. “We’re seeing that. Our partners see that. We are in a place to make an incredible impact this year.”

“Folks are coming to us and saying, ‘Can we use your messaging to further our own program?’”

In Colorado, PPVC is focusing on three key suburban state-senate districts and one state-house district, where women are widely seen as a swing voter bloc, and are responding favorably to the positions of candidates on women’s health issues, including abortion access, according to Taylor-Nanista.

In an Arvada state-senate race that’s pivotal to Democrats’ hopes of taking control of Colorado government, incumbent Republican State Sen. Laura Woods has called for defunding Planned Parenthood and favors a total abortion ban, while her opponent for the Senate District 19 seat, Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, is pro-choice.

If Planned Parenthood lost federal funding, the organization would be forced to turn away about 1,000 low-income patients, whose care is provided by federal funding, at its Arvada clinic, in Woods’ district, according to Planned Parenthood.

PPVC canvassers in the Arvada/Westminster district have visited and called hundreds of voters, mailed multiple ads, and pushed pro-choice messages out on multiple digital platforms.

During the last election, former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall emphasized pro-choice messaging throughout his race against U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who narrowly defeated Udall. This year, despite polling in Colorado that shows the popularity of pro-choice messaging, abortion has played a diminished role, both in campaign advertising and debate.

Coffman, Doty, Woods offer reporters localized election-night Trump material

November 2nd, 2016

Doty Tweets from Trump Rally 10-16The story of Trump’s impact on down-ballot races Colorado is unfolding in front of us in the strangest ways, with Colorado Republicans going every which way when it comes to the mogul.

A unique approach to Trump has been taken by Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty, who’s running against Democrat Daniel Kagan in a Cherry Hills state-state race that Democrats must win to take control of the chamber.

Doty said in June that she’d support Trump, and later called Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump “spot on.”

But then she told the Aurora Sentinel last month that her vote is a “private decision.” The Denver Post reported most Oct. 23 that Doty’s not commenting on Trump.

But lo, Doty tweeted a photo Saturday from her apparent appearance at the Trump rally in Golden, without comment, as if to say, “Look! I’m still voting for Trump, but a secret is a secret.”

But in any case, on election night, reporters should reflect on what’s worked Trump-wise for Colorado Republicans in tight races. The Doty approach?

State Sen. Laura Woods’ I-Believe-Trump-Will-“Lead-our-Country-to-Greatness-Once-Again” strategy.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s strategery of dodge trump (December), then yes Trump (February), then maybe Trump (May and August), then no Trump (October). And possibly no one (October).

We’ll never know Trump’s exact impact in Colorado’s down-ballot races, but that shouldn’t stop reporters from having fun trying to figure it out anyway on Tuesday night, using our abundant local material.

Best local journalism of the 2016 election season

November 1st, 2016

Here are my favorite election stories by local journalists:

Denver 7’s Marshall Zelinger of course gets the top prize in both the journalism and entertainment categories. His series of stories showing forged signatures on the ballot-access petitions of former GOP state Rep. Jon Keyser had a game-changing impact on Colorado’s U.S. Senate race and reflected everything you want from journalism, especially at a time when it’s going to the dogs. (Don’t miss your chance to see Zelinger’s Keyser interview again here.)

Without the state-senate campaign coverage by Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Independent and Ernest Luning and John Tomasic at the Colorado Statesman, we would’ve had little reporting—until the final weeks—on the key state senate races that will determine control of Colorado government. Other outlets weighed late, which is great, but these races were so pivotal and important to the entire state this year, they deserved the early and sustained focus they got only from the Statesman and the Independent.

Luning also exposed a Democratic state legislative candidate who basically made up his entire resume and was later defeated in his primary race. In a similar vein, Goodland’s piece revealing the potential jail time faced by state house candidate Tim Leonard also deserves high praise. So does former Post reporter Joey Bunch’s treatment of Darryl Glenn’s legal troubles as a young man.

Denver Post reporter John Frank’s series of inside-view articles on the revolt by Colorado Republicans against Trump at the GOP National Convention informed the national debate on the growing #NeverTrump and plain-old anti-Trump movement among Republicans.  (Frank’s prodigious output generally also deserves mention.)

The Denver media’s political-ad fact-checkers have my eternal admiration because their job is tedious and difficult but really valuable. So, a shout out to Denver 7’s Alan Gathright, The Denver Post, 9News’ Brandon Rittiman, and  CBS 4’s Shaun Boyd. Reporters, like the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby, who dip into this territory, deserve credit too.

She got ribbed by fellow reporters for burying the lede, but former CO Springs Gazette reporter Megan Schrader gets credit for reporting U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s off-the-cuff comment that he planned to vote for Trump after all. The story generated national buzz and shows what’s lost as we shed campaign-trail journalism.

The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins’ story about anonymous campaign flyers may later play a role, in a small way, in a legislative fix that all sides would welcome.

I thought the debates moderated by 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman were particularly informative.

It’s the little things that can make politics fun, so hats off to Molly Morrison at KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs for revealing that Trump was rescued by the Springs’ Fire Department after the head-strong mogul had insulted the Springs’ fire marshal. Nice.

Kudos to 9News‘ Rittiman and Denver’s 7‘s Zelinger for asking U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, after he released an ad critical of Trump in August, who he’d vote for. The fallout from his response—that Coffman would still consider voting for Trump or for the Libertarian candidate–got national coverage. And it t turned out to be a harbinger of Coffman’s troubles later, as he’s tried to both support and oppose Trump at the same time, ultimately opposing Trump. We all love it when journalists follow up beyond the canned statements and ads.

Finally, can you beat the editorials in the Aurora Sentinel? No. Even if you like U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), you still have to love the writing in the Sentinel’s endorsement of his Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll, as well as the fire in its other editorials on any political topic.

FACT CHECK: Woods’ introduction of Trump

October 31st, 2016

Colorado State Sen. Laura Woods, who’s battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in a critical state senate race, introduced GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Golden Saturday.

Below is a partial transcript of Woods’ comments. Woods, who’s long supported Trump, got the most media attention for leading the chant of, “Lock her up,” referring of course to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But reporters should have flagged other falsehoods in the speech. To fill the gap, I’ve done so below.

Laura Woods: Good morning everyone. Good morning patriots.

I was supposed to come up and say something I forget. Why don’t we just state with, Lock her up!

[Crowd chants “Lock her up.”

Thank you very much. You just got all the jitters out of my stomach. So I appreciate that.

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or an unaffiliated voter you attendance today at this rally proves you are a proud American who believes this country can be made great again.

As Don mentioned, I am State Sen. Laura Woods from Jefferson County. I have served Arvada and Westminster in the state senate for two sessions. I am now running for my last four-year term. I am a native of Colorado.

I am a proud American, and I am a patriot to the core. I love this country, and I love our state, but I too am very worried.

I am worried because for decades we Americans have watched the media and the political elite and the corrupt media drive an agenda across our nation and into our schools and down throats [FACT CHECK: “Corrupt media” is a tough accusation to support, but it’s her opinion.]

As conservatives, as patriots, we have been choking on that agenda for decades. Hillary Clinton has made millions while in government selling access to foreigners, to corporations, and to others, while hard-working people like you and I want to make an honest living. [FACT CHECK: There’s no evidence that Clinton “made millions” by selling access.]

Hillary broke the law so she could hide her emails, and lied to us again and again, and again yesterday. [FACT CHECK: Hillary has not been convicted of breaking any law.]

We are people who believe no one should be above the law. Hillary and her team have actually paid people to attack people at rallies just like this one.  We are peaceful Americans holding peaceful rallies. [FACT CHECK: Clinton has not been shown to have paid anyone to disrupt Trump.]

Hillary Clinton allowed four people to die in Benghazi. [FACT CHECK: This is not true.]

Hillary Clinton and her campaign have had private meetings with dozens of reporters, and she’s been given the questions in advance, while this same media attacks us at every turn. We just want the media to report the truth. [FACT CHECK: Reporters, overall, treat both sides the same way.]

And if that’s not enough, Hillary Clinton is on record saying she wants open borders. Who cares what the rest of Americans think.  We Americans want safe neighborhoods. We want safe cities. [FACT CHECK: Clinton does not advocate an open-border immigration policy.]

Hillary Clinton has called Americans a basket full of deplorables, but she hates people of faith and she demands that we change our beliefs while we as Americans go about loving our neighbors and loving our country. [FACT CHECK: It’s not supportable to say Hillary hates people of faith, or that she demands anyone to change his or her faith, but this is Woods’ opinion.]

Hillary Clinton and her team are scheming to steal this election, while we are citizens who believe in a fair political process, and we want our votes to count. [FACT CHECK: There’s no evidence that Clinton is trying to perpetrate election fraud.]

Hillary Clinton has been in the center of the swamp, as Donald Trump says, for decades. You guys are great.

So folks, we can change the course of our country. We can stop those elites who are wanting to control us. We can stand up to corruption. You and I can help drain the swamp.

In fact, we have to be the ones to do it. We are the ones to do it.

I am a Donald Trump supporter not just because he’s the Republican candidate but because I believe he will lead our country to greatness once again. I believe he will make America safe again.  I believe he will put you and your family, as citizens of this great country, first again. I believe he will support our military and our law enforcement and I believe he will put Americans back to work again by creating jobs. Donald Trump is a business man who’s created thousands of jobs. And he’ll bring a common-sense business approach to government. Now there is a fresh idea.

So folks if this list of horribles about Hillary Clinton doesn’t convince you of the importance of this election, I can’t imagine what will. ….

Colorado Republicans join Trump in leveling disproven allegation of “widespread” election fraud

October 30th, 2016

woods-likes-voter-meme-alleging-voter-fraudJohn Sampson, a former Republican state senate candidate who resigned this month from his position as Adams County GOP vice chair, agrees with Donald Trump that Democrats and others in the United States “rig elections and engage in systemic and widespread voter and election fraud.”

Sampson, who made the comments on Facebook Tues., is apparently joined by State Senator Laura Woods (R-Arvada), who liked a Facebook meme last weekend titled, “Breaking News: Fox News Is Reporting Widespread Voter Fraud, Obama Says It’s Dangerous to Report It.”

During her introduction of Trump during a campaign stop in Golden Saturday, Woods said Democrats are trying to rig the election.

Woods: “Hillary Clinton and her team are scheming to steal this election,” said Woods, without citing any evidence, “while we are citizens who believe in a fair political process, and we want our votes to count.”

Woods, who’s battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in a key Arvada/Westminster legislative race, said Trump will “lead our country to greatness once again” Woods has stood firmly behind Trump throughout the ups and downs of the mogul’s campaign, saying she’ll likely lose of Trump loses her district.

When he took the stage after Woods, Trump warned Colorado’s election officials, including its county clerks, who run the state’s elections and are mostly Republicans, that they’re being monitored.

““We have a lot of people watching you people that collect the ballots,” said Trump, as quoted in The Denver Post, adding he has “real problems” with Colorado’s mail-in ballot process.

In the wake of Trump’s repeated accusations about rigged elections, multiple media outlets have concluded, based on previous exhaustive studies, that voter fraud is a non-issue in the U.S., incluidng, of course, Colorado.

Asked if his concerns about election fraud extend to Adams County, Sampson told me Friday he doesn’t think Stan Martin, the Republican County Clerk and Recorder there, is perpetrating fraud.

Still, Sampson says there a “potential for fraud” due to problems with mail-in ballots, Diebold voting machines, and ineligible voters.

Another early Trump Supporter in Colorado, congressional candidate George Athanasopoulous, has been outspoken about his concern about voter fraud, echoing the allegations from Trump and Woods.

Sampson on Facebook: When Donald Trump refused to answer Chris Wallace’s question as to whether or not he would accept the results of the election, Clinton, the DNC, and the usual list of suspects (an appropriate description if there was ever one), went apoplectic.

They decried his response, stating that Trump needed to accept the voice of the people, bow to the will of the people, and accept their, repeat THEIR, decision.

Really? Are you sure? If so, then can someone please tell me why the Democrats, Clinton, and the usual list of suspects (again, appropriate), feel the need to rig elections and engage in systemic and widespread voter and election fraud?

I mean, if they truly accepted the will of the people, accepted THEIR votes, then there would be no need to rig elections now, would there? But that is the problem. The DNC, Democrats, Clinton, and the usual list of suspects are abject hypocrites.

They rig elections and engage in systemic and widespread voter and election fraud because they DON’T, repeat DON’T, trust the American voter and don’t think the American voter will vote for them simply based on their positions on the issues. In short, they do not, will not, and never will, accept the will of the American voter nor will they honor the “Everyday American’s” decision. For they believe the great unwashed are too stupid to be trusted.

It’s simply a matter of trust. We’re not trusted, nor respected by The Clintons, The Democrats, The DNC, and The Usual List of Suspects (which includes Wall Street, The Media, Hollywood, and the Pollsters).They arrogantly believe they are “Oh So Superior” to us and we are simply backward children that need to be taken care of.

The only way Socialism and Communism flourish is when elections are corrupted and the will of the people is thwarted. They have to rig elections in order to achieve and remain in power. Left to the will of the people, Socialism and Communism cannot flourish.

Donald Trump hit the nail right on the head when he said the system is rigged. It has been for decades. We’re just finally waking up to that fact. I just hope we didn’t wake up too late and didn’t hit the snooze button one too many times.

 

Post made the right move to dump manipulative online polls from editorial page

October 28th, 2016

Yay! The Denver Post is dumping its stupid, manipulative polls from the editorial page.

Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett announced the decision in a column yesterday.

Plunkett: Overall, the problem that I see with the surveys is that the information they allow us to gather is such an untrustworthy representation of reality that any reporter who cited the results as credible in a story would, or at least should, be laughed out of the newsroom.

Any person who read them and decided to change their thinking based on the results would likely be disserved.

When I was on the politics desk, and answered calls about these polls, I couldn’t help but be honest and admit I didn’t think that we should be running them.

Plunkett acknowledged in his column that the polls were offered as click bait, adding a grain of sand to the newspaper’s attempt to shore up its resources. But they run counter to  the truth-seeking mission of The Post.

In the online world, newspapers have the competitive advantage of credibility. (Yes, they still have it!) They can push out light stuff or sports or entertainment or mayhem, but misinformation, which is basically what the online polls are, should be avoided at all costs.

Why it’s a bad idea to explain how you’d cheat the election system, especially if you’re CO’s Secretary of State

October 27th, 2016

Appearing on KNUS 710-AM Oct. 22, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams explained to host Chuck Bonniwell and co-host Julie Hayden how he’d commit election fraud, if Williams were a bad guy, an “unethical Democrat,” as Boniwell put it.

Bonniwell: What would you do if you were a nefarious person trying to cheat the Colorado System? …This is what I would do. I’m not going to. I’m not saying I would do it. But if I were an unethical Democrat trying to rig the system, what would you tell them? How would you do it? You wouldn’t do it, but just to help [inaudible]. What would you do to corrupt the system?

Williams: If I were advising someone, it would not be through the system of online voter registration, because you got to have a driver’s license for that. The easiest way to do that in Colorado is you go in with a non-verifiable ID, a utility bill, and register to vote using that. And you cast a ballot with that. That’s why I think we need photo ID. I have testified asking the legislature to pass photo ID when I was a county commissioner, when I was a county clerk, when I was secretary of state. And they’ve never done it.

Williams said 50 Colorado voters, who registered and voted same day, later did return a post card from the address provided, raising questions about who they were and where they went. But this is light years away from proving that fraud was committed, and it’s consistent with how many citizens live. That is, they move a lot.

In fact, voter fraud has been shown to be an almost nonexistent problem in states like Colorado that don’t require photo idea. A recent Loyala study gives you the details. In the wake of Trump’s accusations about voter fraud, media outlets across the country have confirmed that voter fraud is a nonissue in the U.S.

And Williams didn’t discuss the flip side, namely that photo ID laws stop legitimate voters from casting ballots. In nine states that passed such laws, it’s estimated that over 3 million voters will be affected.  That’s the real issue here.

If you look into it (I did here), you know it’s really hard for many Colorado citizens to obtain a photo ID, and a photo ID law would almost certainly stop many folks from voting.

To his credit, Williams went on to say on air that Colorado does a good job at preventing election fraud, and he’s told other media outlets election fraud is not a problem in Colorado.

In light of all this, it seems that, if you’re Colorado’s secretary of state, and you’re asked how to commit voter fraud, your fact-based-PR-person, Lynn Bartels, should whisper in your ear, “Don’t explain how almost no one does it! Say, it’s a non-issue, and tell the conservative radio hosts to focus on encouraging everyone to vote!”

Woods likes Facebook post accusing Obama of treason

October 26th, 2016

woods-likes-comment-accusing-obama-of-treasonState Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) has apparently liked a Facebook post accusing President Obama of treason.

In a Facebook discussion Oct. 23, Woods liked this comment, which was provided by a source:

“I’ll tell you what is dangerous. Having a lying, treasonous President! Obama illegally takes millions of US taxpayer dollars, ‘launder’ them into Swiss francs, and ships them to Iran…. That in turn gives the money to ISIS to kill Americans. That used to be called TREASON!”

Woods, who does not return my calls to discuss posts like this, makes no secret of her ultra-conservative beliefs, leading The Denver Post to label her as “one of the most conservative lawmakers in the chamber.”

She’s stood by her conservative positions, despite having to defend her record in one of Colorado’s most competitive state senate districts, where she faces Democrat Rachel Zenzinger.

But aligning herself with those who accuse Obama of treason? A reporter who has access to Woods should find out what’s up. It brings up basic questions about her judgment that should be answered before Colorado’s most important state senate race is decided.