Kelley & Co, (Mike Coffman’s Apology for Birther comments), May 25, 2012

Station:    710 AM, KNUS

Show:      Kelley and Company

Guest:      (Coffman)


Date:        May 25, 2012

Topics:     Birther, Apology, Kyle Clark, Channel 9, 9news, Redistricting, American at Heart, Birthplace,

Click Here for Audio – CLIP 1

Click Here for Audio – CLIP 2


HOST STEVE KELLEY:  But Mike Coffman in The Post, now they’re planting the seed of an idea, “Can he survive his comments?  Will this hurt his election chances?”  Nuh, with redistricting it’s not a secure district for him anymore, for Mike Coffman.  So, I get the sense that he is watching every word he has to say.  And that’s sad.  This was Mike Coffman, just to give this context, now.  All right.  Great big hullaballoo about what he said about Barak Obama not being an American.  You’re only hearing the last ten seconds of that speech he gave.  Let’s give you the entire, like forty-five second lead up, and then we’ll highlight the ten seconds where all this controversy has come from.  But what Channel 9 did with Mike Coffman, and the way Coffman responded, is really what I want to talk about.  First, the comments:

RERPRESENTATIVE MIKE COFFMAN:  Every week he’s trying to divide us, in some way, over some issue, and it’s all about being reelected because he can’t do it on his record. He cannot be reelected on his economic record. I mean, post-World War II, this is the longest economic downturn this country’s had.  Prior to this downturn, I think the average length of a recession–or, the average length of a downturn before the economy passes its pre-recession levels was five quarters.  The longest was seven quarters. We’re still going with no end in sight [since] the start of the last quarter in 2008. I mean just stunning. And it really does hinge on this election.  I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States or not. I don’t know that. But I do know this: that in his heart he is not an American. He’s just not an American.

KELLEY:  All right. So, those are the comments–the last 10 seconds. Play that last 10 seconds. Do we have that separated, anymore? Okay. Here it is. Right?

COFFMAN:  I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States or not. I don’t know that. But I do know this: that in his heart, he is not an American. He’s just not an American.

KELLEY:  All right. So, that’s Congressman Mike Coffman, here. That’s the only thing you’re hearing in other media here. And now it’s starting to go viral and people talking about it, because let’s face it, when a sitting Congressman says that the president is not an American, and you’ve  got the birther thing, and then you’ve got the Breitbart revelation of this literary agent saying that he was born in Kenya, and all of that tied together. But Mike Coffman now, is backing away from this in a huge way, and I’m not sure that he really has to. Maybe he–one can’t know one’s heart, right? Do we all agree on that?


KELLEY:  So, maybe he did step over the line by saying, “Look, he’s not an American. You can’t–I don’t know what’s in his heart.”  But I thought it was very revealing what led up to that. He was giving– setting a context and a pretext to a question he was asked whether the president was born in the United States. That really seems irrelevant to the other points that he was making. Here’s Channel 9 now, confronting Congressman Coffman:

REPORTER KYLE CLARK:  I apologize for showing up unannounced. I’ve been trying to call your staff. They won’t return my phone calls. So, let me ask you, after your comments about the president do you feel that voters are owed a better explanation than just, “I misspoke”?

COFFMAN:  I think that–I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

CLARK:  Okay. And who are you apologizing to?

COFFMAN:  You know, I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

CLARK:  I apologize. We talk to you all the time. You are a very forthcoming guy. Who’s telling you not to talk, and to handle it like this?

COFFMAN:  You know, I stand by my statement that I wrote and you have, and I misspoke and I apologize.

KELLEY:  What? Is he a GSA guy? What?  What?   We’ll pick up on this when we continue Kelly and Company. Traffic first, though. Friday morning.

[traffic report and commercial break.   Then, from 46:15]

KELLEY:  On to some unfinished business with Mike Coffman. Okay, this was Channel 9 confronting Congressman Mike Coffman after his comments about Barak Obama, you know, not being American.  And then he really, really – the term is “walked that back”, really tried to put out the fire.  I’m not so sure now, — it’s not a coverup, but the apology is worse than the original crime, I think.  Listen to this Channel 9 confrontation:

[replay of the audio from the Kyle Clark interview, transcribed above, with this additional piece]

CLARK:  Was it that you thought it would go over well in Elbert County where folks are very conservative and you’d never say something like that in the suburbs?

COFFMAN:  I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

CLARK:  Is there anything I can ask you that you would answer differently?

COFFMAN:  You know, I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.

KELLEY:   Okay.  That – see,– Now, it gets ridiculous.

WELLS:  mmm-hmm.

KELLEY:   At some point, Congressman Mike Coffman has been welcome here, and has been on this show many, many, many times.  We have a call into him this morning.  I’m not sure he will come on.  I can’t criticize him, he may have had a scheduling conflict or whatever.  But at some point, you know, certainly you’ve got to talk about this.  I think, I think that’s over the top.  You almost incriminate yourself when you answer like that.  It’s like taking the fifth, right?

CO-HOST BILL ROGAN:  It made him look very small.

KELLEY:   So, really, were the comments originally  worthy of a major apology or do you think, “Hey, if the guy really doesn’t believe—he certainly prefaced everything saying, “What he’s doing, all these things, aren’t in keeping with America,” so maybe he did step over the line too far in saying he’s not an American.  I don’t know.

ROGAN:  What also made him look bad, too, when the reporter — excuse me, Steve, for jumping on you, there – when the reporter said, “We’ve been trying to reach you but we haven’t had our phone calls returned.”  That makes him look bad.  And if he doesn’t return Sonny’s call, trying to get him on our program, that will also make him look bad–

KELLEY:   Well, I’m not trying to make –

ROGAN:  –Because he’s trying to avoid the issue.

KELLEY:   Let’s not make him – Nobody — I don’t have an agenda here. It’s like, come on!

ROGAN:  But he may think you do.  He may be just trying to lay low now.

KELLEY:   All right.  Well, listen.  We’ve got to – we’re going to take a break, here.  Hopefully, stay tuned, Congressman Mike Coffman may call us back.  Do you think this is, as The Post is questioning today –.  See, that’s what happens, a little seed is dropped, and then you try to hide from it a bit, and then all of a sudden it gets bigger than the whole original thing was in the first place.  303-696-1971.  Do you think this will cost Congressman Coffman his seat in his redistricted area?  It’s 7:49.  Kelley & Company continues here on 710 KNUS, and coming up – let me see, I just got so many things here.  Which one do I want to tease you with?  Okay, we’ll do that, do that, do that–

WELLS:  [laughs]  Steve, we’ve got a break!  Break! Time!

KELLEY:   Really?  Okay, […] Clinton, posing with […] porn stars, when we return.

[Later, at 56:45, when caller Pat is on the line explaining his take and interpretation after listening to Coffman on another radio show, and commentary on still others.]

KELLEY:  And Congressman Coffman, I know he’s a stand up guy, he’ll come on here and, you know, we really wanted to talk to him, and you know, scheduling or whatever, what.   But I think that the way he answered Channel 9 was not right.  What do you say?  We’ve got to go, here,  but Pat, yes or no?

CALLER PAT:  I – no,– he did fine.  You know, if somebody shows up at your door –

KELLEY:  All right.  That was quite shy from a yes or no.  We’ll come back, though. Let’s check traffic for you. Sorry about that, Pat!


KELLEY:   So the apology gone wild with Congressman Mike Coffman.  Did he need to really apologize?  And the way Channel 9 – I won’t say they ambushed him.  I thought they were well within their rights.  They caught up with him.  And then this kind of like pleading the fifth thing, over and over again.  It was uncomfortable to listen to —

WELLS:   Mmm-hmmm

KELLEY:   So, we’ll come back to that, and hopefully we’ll have Congressm—well, the call’s in to the Congressman, who’s been on here many times – we’ll talk to him for you.  But not sure when.  Clinton:  I maintain he’s a sleaze ball and probably knew these were porn stars, and he’s just true to form.  […]

[at 1:18:16]

KELLEY:   All right, as we continue here.  Channel 9 confronts Mike Coffman, to shift gears, here.  And, I don’t know.  Congressman Coffman:  did he acquit himself well?  Did you miss that, by the way?  Congressman Coffman—well, here’s what he said.  Give us the short version.  Here’s the version [that] everyone is playing, Sonny. This is the ten seconds of what exactly he said.

KELLEY:   All right.  “In his heart, he is not an American, just not an American.”  Now, nobody knows anybody else’s heart, I don’t think.  So for that reason, okay, you apologize.  All right.  But, really, it was what led up to that, where he lines out, he itemizes very clearly why he doesn’t think Barak Obama is the right president for this–, and deserves a second term.  Okay, but it culminated with an answer to a question of “Do you care–” or “Do you know–”, “What do you think about Barak Obama’s birth in the United States”.  You know, the birther argument.  So anyway, he says that, and then a massive apology.  You know, writes a written apology, apologizing for what you just heard.  Channel nine confronts him.

WELLS:  [laughs] What’s you’re favorite color?

KELLEY:   “I stand by my statement, I blah blah blah”   So, here’s the thing. Now, if you look back on this a month from now, on that interview, really, it was probably a wise thing to do.   “Look, I apologize, I stand by my statement.”  That’s all you’re going to get.  Because the trying of they, and I don’t fault Channel 9 wanting a comment, “Expound on that a little bit,” and “Look, I made the statement and I apologize.  Let’s move on from that.  If you want to refer back to the statement, go ahead and do that, which is pretty clear, he apologized.

ROGAN:  Who was the reporter? Because I thought he did an outstanding job.

KELLEY:  I agree.  And it wasn’t Adam Schrager.  Who was that?   We were looking for that earlier today, and I apologize, don’t have it.

ROGAN:  He deserves credit. I thought he did a good job.  Although some people might spin it, “Well, he was badgering Mike Coffman.”  I don’t think he was at all.

KELLEY:  Yeah, a good reporter will keep neutral and keep, you know, ask the next question. Now, I would not be able to that.  I’d be, “Come on! What’s the deal?  Come on!  I’m just asking you a basic question here.”

ROGAN:  Yeah. You would take a different route to try to get something else out of him

WELLS:  Yeah, you’d go, “Are you kidding me?”

ROGAN:  But you can tell, too, sometimes, when there are reporters who do badger people

KELLEY:   Yeah

ROGAN:  And this was not the case.

KELLEY:   No. Agreed.  The point is, though, was that the right response?  And do you think it’s going to–  It almost sounded like taking the fifth, you know, one of these GSA government employees, taking the fifth.  Now Sonny, our producer says, if he is still part of the reserves, okay, think about this, because he is a military guy, and I believe he is part of the reserves — it may be his commander that’s telling him, “Look, stay quiet.  This is what you do, no matter what you’re asked.  This is how you respond to it.”

ROGAN:  Let me ask you, Steve.  Put you in the shoes of Mike Coffman.

KELLEY:  Yeah.

ROGAN:  What would you have said?

KELLEY:  Well, given the fact that he wasn’t expecting that.  You—first, after the first 2 times you say it and then after that, that’s when you turn the table on the reporter saying, “Look, here is a copy of my statement.  Go online. You’ll see a copy of the statement.  It says it all.  Or you can read it for your listeners, and all.  Now, if you’d like to — I’ve dealt with that.  What can we move—Are you suggesting that I shouldn’t be running for Congress? Is that what you’re saying?  Okay?  Everybody – nobody makes a mistake?  Did you ever make a mistake?  Did I go too far?  I’m a passionate guy.  I’m genuine.  I love this country.  What, are you going to crucify me here in the media?

ROGAN:  Yeah.  How many times do you want me to apologize?

KELLEY:  Yeah.  Or you take the legal route and you just repeat that, but it doesn’t come off well.

WELLS:   Mm-hmm, or did he need to apologize–?

ROGAN:  Yeah.

WELLS:  –for that statement.

KELLEY:  There’s the argument.  Some would say, “No.  Why are you apologizing?”

WELLS:  It was just his opinion, and I mean, it wasn’t that bad.  It’s not as bad as what people are making it out to be, in my opinion.

KELLEY:  If he would have come out directly and said, “This president is not an American!”

WELLS:  Yes!  And starting a petition, or something, and all that.  But he was just saying, “Tsk. He’s just not an American.”

KELLEY:  Mm-hmm

ROGAN:  You wonder when he said it, in the back of his mind he was thinking, “Uh-oh.  Probably shouldn’t have said that.”

KELLEY:  [laughs] Well you know what–

WELLS:  Yeah, maybe not.

KELLEY:  I love folks who just say what’s on their mind.

WELLS:  That’s why you love Bill, so much.

ROGAN:  But you can misspeak.

KELLEY:  Well, I like that.  I like anybody that speaks what’s on their mind, now

WELLS:  Mmm-hmmm. Not pussy foots around

KELLEY:  Yeah.

ROGAN:  But one apology is enough.  Mike Coffman could have said, “How many times do you want me to apologize?  I misspoke.  It wasn’t really what I meant to say.  It came out wrong. How many times do you want me to apologize?”

KELLEY:  Exactly.

ROGAN:  “Have you ever misspoken before?”

KELLEY:  Yeah.  All right.  So, there you go.

ROGAN:  You know what’s interesting about that whole clip.  He could have probably had a sit-down interview, or done it in a non-ambush fashion, if he had returned the reporter’s call to begin with.

KELLEY:  Yeah, and that’s another—that’s a different level now. We had calls into Mike Coffman.  He was on one of our competitors—Caplis and Silverman, of Craig Silverman, listens to this show a lot.  And, you know, it’s no secret.  So, they had Mike Coffman on.  That’s fine.  We’ve had Mike Coffman on, too.  I will not play the game, though, when you want to come on and use the air for something that you want, positively, so if we don’t get a return call in a timely fashion, let’s say by next Tuesday after the holidays, then guess what.  When Mr. Coffman’s people call and say look, he’s got an initiative, he’s got this, he’d like to come on the air,–

ROGAN:  A ribbon cutting ceremony–

KELLEY:  Yeah, the answer is no.  Thank you very much.  You weren’t willing to come in during a heated time.  You’re not coming on to tout and pump yourself up.  I don’t care what party you are.  I don’t care if I happen to agree with your politics, you’re not going to be – you know, that’s not how you manipulate and use the media, at least, you’re not going to here!

ROGAN:  This isn’t the same, but I had a manager in the minor leagues when I was announcing ball games, who used to say to me, “Ask me the tough questions,” because it gives him a chance to explain his point of view.  He loved the tough questions.  And when I didn’t ask tough questions, after the interview, he’d say, “Those were some softballs, there, Bill.”  But it gave him a chance to explain his point of view.  I think everybody, if you have nothing to hide,  and you have – you know, if your agenda is right, you’d be happy to answer tough questions. Why wouldn’t you be?

KELLEY:  Sure. Well, anyway.  I think we have to be so guarded, so careful, because there are so many ways you can say the wrong thing and have it be interpreted incorrectly.  And, you know, it really speaks highly of people that are able to– you know, handle that. And those are the kind of people you want, under fire, in tough situations representing you in Washington.

ROGAN:  I know when there are tough situations, what I like to do is go into the corner and crawl into the fetal position and cry.  That’s the way I handle adversity.  How about you?

KELLEY:  Every time Murphy hammers you, that’s what you do.  You run over to the corner –

ROGAN:  Well, Murphy gave me chocolate earlier, chocolate kisses, which indicates that she probably wants to get a smooch or two from me back, so –

WELLS:  Oh!  Ew-ugh!


ROGAN:  Hey, to everybody!  Have a great, safe Memorial Day Weekend!