Hugh Hewitt Show, Mike & Cynthia Coffman, July 18, 2014

Station:   KNUS, 710AM

Show:      Hugh Hewitt Show

Guests:    Coffman, Mike

Coffman, Cynthia


Date:       July 18, 2014

Topics:     Amendment 64, Legalized Recreational Marijuana, Ukraine, Russia, John Suthers, Andrew Romanoff, Governor John Hickenlooper, Redistricting, Gerrymandering, Veterans Administration (V.A) Scandal, Cold War, Iraq War, Ramadi, Fallujah, Haditha, Sunni, Shia Arabs, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Individual Mandate, Supreme Court of the United States,

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HOST HUGH HEWITT: From the Western Conservative Summit 2014, I had hoped to have a lot of fun today, but it’s such a grim day with the scenes in the Ukraine — so appalling.  I’m joined by one of the very best men in the United States Congress, Congressman Mike Coffman — Decorated Marine Corps veteran, laid down his job in Colorado, went off to serve in the war, came back, got elected to Congress.  Mike Coffman, it’s always an honor and a pleasure to talk to you, Mike.


HEWITT:  Tell us your reaction to these events in Ukraine.

MIKE COFFMAN:  You know, I think, to sum it up, weakness invites aggression.  And I think we’ve had weakness in terms of our foreign policy towards Russia.  And the Russia today is not the Russia we hoped for, and it seems to be emerging to look like the old Soviet Union that I remember in my first assignment– actually the United States Army, before the Marine Corps, when I was assigned to the 1st Armored Division in Europe in the early 1970s during the Cold War.  And I think we better recognize that, and recognize that very soon.

HEWITT:  Mike Coffman, when you reference your long and storied military career, you also went off to Iraq when duty called. The first time I campaigned with your wife, who will join us in the second segment — she will be the next Attorney General of the Rocky Mountain state– and you were off serving.  And now, Iraq is in chaos, probably in some of the places you actually served in uniform.

MIKE COFFMAN:  Literally, every place I served — Ramadi, Fallujah, Haditha– has fallen to the insurgency. And I think General Amos said it best, I think yesterday.  When the commandant of the US Marine Corps stated publicly that the United States simply, in his words, withdrew too early; that our presence — that some residual presence of the U.S. military would have, in fact, been a stabilizing factor in Iraq.  The roots weren’t deep enough within the Iraqi political culture to be able to have those seedlings take.  So, the minute we left, the Shia dominated government of Bagdad reverted to the worst sectarian instincts and turned against the Sunni Arabs, and we have what really is a Sunni Arab revolt and a coalition, which ISIS is a part of that coalition.

HEWITT:  Your Commandant–because you are a Marine, said–spoke the truth.  I was very pleased that Commandant Amos did that.  Now the question becomes the people served in the war and this Veterans Administration scandal, I’m sure — I don’t even know how anyone dares to run against you.  I don’t know how this left wing nut decides to run against you, but you’re keeping your eye on the V.A. and trying to get this thing fixed.

MIKE COFFMAN:  Yeah, I think it’s stunning.  Here is an organization that has a sacred mission of honoring our nation’s commitment to the men and women who made tremendous sacrifices in defense of our freedom.  And yet, this organization is unfortunately, I think, mired in bureaucratic incompetence and a culture of corruption at the very top.  And so, we’ve got to clean house with the Veterans Administration.  And right now, the first thing that we’re addressing is the Veteran’s Health Administration, and I certainly take the point of view that our veterans ought to have a choice in whether or not they want to go through a government run healthcare system, or to be able to go outside that system to private providers, being reimbursed by the Veterans Administration. I think that that is a critical reform that is absolutely necessary.

HEWITT:  […] I want every veteran out there who wants a voice on the Hill to go to coffmanforcongress [spelling out website URL] — I’ll tweet out the link during the brea– and help him.  Because for whatever reason, the left has come after Mike.  Pretty much every two years, without fail, since you went off to serve the country in uniform. That’s what I can’t get.  Of all the people to pick on, they pick on the Marine!  And so, what is that?  Do they not like having a decorated war guy up there, who’s been there and done that?

MIKE COFFMAN:  Well, what they did is they targeted my seat in the redistricting process.  A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver, signed off on their map, without any amendments and it certainly is, uh, what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district.  So, it’s a Democrat leaning district.  Obama carried it by five points last time.  And so, it’s the number one target — I’m the number one target for any sitting House Republican by the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee.  And I’m proud of it.  And I need the support of all the folks out there that are concerned about returning Constitutional government to the United States.

HEWITT:  And that is absolutely [inaudible].  The guy who was a target of the bad guys is now a target of the Democrats.  And it’s just — the astonishing irony is they’re running a left-wing, labor stooge against you.  And so, I want people to know that, that Mike Coffman, who put on a uniform on, left his job, went over and fought, needs your help right now– [spells the URL].  And I’m serious!  This is the number one race for the Democrats, right?

MIKE COFFMAN:  This is the number one race.

HEWITT:  When we come back from break I’m going to talk with your wonderful wife, Cynthia, with whom I campaigned on your behalf many years ago, when you were deployed.  And it’s so good to see her again, and she is herself running and we’ll tell people about that during the — after the break when Cynthia joins us […]

[commercial break]

HEWITT:  […] I’m sitting next to two of them:  Mike Coffman, Congressman extroadinaire, running again for re-election, number one target of the Democrats in the United States, coffmanforcongress[.com]; and next to him, his wonderful wife, Cynthia Coffman who is a Deputy Attorney general, is going to be the next Attorney General.  They’ve had a great Attorney General for — how long has John [Suthers] been the A.G., Cynthia?


HEWITT:  Nine years.  And so this state has had steady, rock solid leadership for nine years, and now they want to do away with that–Democrats want this, and they want to put in a mini-Eric Holder, right?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  That’s exactly right. The Democratic who is running against me for this position really could have gone to law school with Eric Holder, they are that compatible in the way they see the rule of law.  And they believe it’s up to them to pick and choose what laws they will defend on behalf of the country and the state.

HEWITT:  See, now, Mike Coffman, when I first met your wife, you were deployed. And I couldn’t believe — that’s probably eight years ago?  Seven years ago? Nine years ago?

MIKE COFFMAN:  Uh, 2005, 2006.

HEWITT:  Okay, you were deployed 2005, 2006, and there she was, and she stepped right up.  She had never run for anything, and she knocked it out of the park. So, did you know you had married a pol?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  I knew that, but I was surprised the Marine Corps would take him back at his ripe old age,–

MIKE COFFMAN:  [hearty laughter]

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  –and recycle him as a civil affairs officer.  That was five weeks after we got married.

HEWITT:  Was it?  Only five weeks?  Now, what I find amazing is, I don’t think I know of another couple that are  running campaigns, that are both targeted by the Democrats at the state and Federal level.  So, Mike Coffman, how much does she listen to your advice and how much to you listen to her advice when it comes to campaign technique?

MIKE COFFMAN:  I think pretty good, because I think that, you know, you always — so I, I think, like they say, you know, never be your own lawyer if you go into a courtroom.  And I think it’s like that in politics, where I don’t — you don’t have an objective eye on yourself and it’s better to reflect off someone else.  And so, no better two to reflect on each other than a husband and wife team in the political environment.

HEWITT:  […] The Attorneys General are so important. And I talk about Attorneys General wherever I go. They brought the lawsuits that have punched holes in Obamacare. They brought the lawsuits that have protected state initiatives.  They brought —  in California,  we have not had a serious Attorney General in twelve years! They abandon everything [that] the people pass. And so what’s your commitment to the people of Colorado and the United states if you win?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  Well, it’s very simple.  It’s to follow the oath of office that I take to defend the Constitution of the United States and the state of Colorado.  And to represent the people and the laws of the state.  You had mentioned the Attorney General of California.  She is pivotal to what’s happening in Colorado right now, in our court system, [inaudible]–.

HEWITT:  How is Kamala [Harris] messing up California?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  You know, If Kamala had just gone to the United States Supreme Court and argued the Hollingsworth case, we would have a decision on the definition of marriage and the constitutionality of marriage.

HEWITT:  You’re right!

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  But, because she refused, the party that went, the plaintiff didn’t have standing and the case was sent back down, [inaudible] Proposition 8.

HEWITT:  And as a result, there were more cases today out of Utah, and out of all sorts of places. […] There was another decision today, and I can’t keep up, because she didn’t do her job.


HEWITT:  And so Attorney Generals have to defend the laws that they are given, whether or not –.  If you don’t like a law, you still have to defend it, right?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  You do.  This is not about opinion.  This is about representing what the people put on the books, either themselves or through their elected representatives.  And that’s the job.

HEWITT:  People will want to know, though.  I didn’t ask Mike this, though, because it’s a federal — I don’t think that the United States government ought to be regulating guns.  And the United States Supreme Court has said that’s really up for states to do.  You had a couple of initiatives that took guns away from people, and there has been big blow back. Where is your opponent on this?       ?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  You know, he has been strangely silent.

HEWITT:  Heh heh.  What a surprise! –on Mike Bloomberg’s Colorado visions?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  But he won’t have much more opportunity to do that, so–.

HEWITT:  Oh?  Tell us!

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  Yes!  I think– you know, I look forward to having him answering that question, having him explain to us what he would have done when Governor Hickenlooper refused to carry out the execution of Nathan Dunlap.

HEWITT:  That’s where I was going– Nathan Dunlap.  I talked yesterday with Bob Beauprez– about two days ago.  I was stunned to learn that the governor punted.  It’s the longest punt in the history of the NFL.  It is a punt of years and years and — I thought he had commuted the sentence, actually.  He didn’t.  Tell people what he did.

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  The governor had a couple of options.  He could have commuted Nathan Dunlap, convicted mass killer,–he could have commuted his sentence, returned him to general prison population, or set a date for execution.  And instead, he went right down the middle, picked something nobody even thought was an option, and he said, “I’m not going to decide.  I’m going to grant a temporary reprieve to this gentleman, who has taken credit for his crime and bragged about it, — I’m going to give him an opportunity to sit in prison until I am no longer governor.”

HEWITT:  You see, I’m still astonished by that. It’s been three days since I learned that. And I have actually never heard of anything like that before.  Have you?


HEWITT:  Did the Attorney General whom you serve as the Deputy Attorney General at any time — What did you guys — did you say, “That’s not possible.  That’s not actually an option?”

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  Well, we scrambled for the law books.  We had about fifteen minutes’ notice that the announcement was going to be made.  And in fact, the Governor in his general powers can make a decision–  ‘lights on’ decision. Um–.

HEWITT:  He can punt.

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  He can decide not to decide, yes.

HEWITT:  It is actually epic spinelessness on John Hickenlooper’s part.


HEWITT:  A last couple of questions, Cynthia and Mike.  Your state is one of two that have legalized marijuana.  The Federal Government prohibits it.  It’s illegal.  It should be shut down.  And on the other hand, you’re obliged to uphold the law, but to try and help the communities that don’t want it.   What in the world is going on here?  This is not good for the country.  Mike or Cynthia, who wants to take a look at that?

MIKE COFFMAN:  You know, I think it’s a horrible decision that Colorado made.  But I’m forced to represent them in the Congress, at least when it comes to banking regulations.  And I’m worried that right now, these are all cash businesses because federal banking laws are such that they can’t handle these accounts.  I think it makes it even more prone to criminality. And even more prone to a lot of things, in terms of the inability to collect the revenue that’s due on marijuana.  But, horrible decision, but it was made by the people of Colorado.

HEWITT:  Cynthia?

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:   Hugh, I’ll just add to that.  I think we’re living up to our reputation of being “colorful Colorado” –

HEWITT:  It is very colorful.

CYNTHIA COFFMAN:  –in several aspects.  As Mike said, this is in the Constitution, now.  The people of the state wanted it.  And as the Attorney General, I will enforce it.  And I will do my best to make sure that the regulations are carried out, and that we do business in a way that does not impact kids.  And that’s my big concern—is the access they’re going to have to marijuana.

HEWITT:   That is –.  The Weekly Standard piece was stunning–how many kids in junior high school are walking around –.  Last quick question, on the border.  I know you’re both strong border people.  And Mike, I’ll let you take this away.  I need that fence built and I know that you’re one of those people who believes in fences.  But, do you think that this current crisis is going to move Congress in that direction?

MIKE COFFMAN:  Well, I’m not sure.  I think we are — We have such an immediate thing to address. And that is, we can’t simply yield to the president’s request, without having a path out of this situation.  And it, uh — he’s hiding behind a 2008 law that was designed for children who were the subjects of, I think, sexual exploitation. And so, we’ve got to look at rewriting or repealing that law.  Uh, I think –.

HEWITT:  Mike, we’re out of time.  Cynthia and mike Coffman, I’ll give your URLs when we come back.  Good luck!