Mike Rosen Show, Mike Coffman, October 16, 2014

Station:   KOA, 850 AM

Show:      Mike Rosen Show

Guests:    Coffman, Mike

Link:       http://www.850koa.com/onair/mike-rosen-15488/

Date:       October 16, 2014

Topics:    Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), VA Hospital, Army Corps of Engineers, Oversight, Construction projects, Healthcare, Corinne Brown (CD-5, FL), President Barack Obama, Cynthia Coffman, The Denver Post, Andrew Romanoff, Aurora, Don Quick, Attorney General, Endorsements, Joe Neguese, Secretary of State, John Hickenlooper, Governor, Media Bias, Cory Gardner, Same Sex Marriage, Teachers Union, Mark Matthews, Partisanship,

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[after talking about Coffman’s bill to turn management and oversight of VA construction projects over to Army Corps of Engineers]

HOST MIKE ROSEN: —Through a special project manager


ROSEN:  To try and shake it up.

COFFMAN:  Mmm-hmm.

ROSEN:  —Had virtually no opposition in Congress, it sailed through.  And no doubt, that has helped Mike’s campaign.  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’.  Uh, 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—


ROSEN:  —in an election year, when he’s desperately trying to keep control.  But it passed the House.  It sailed through the House.  Uh, 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.  Uh, 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, uh, 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.  And you were principally associated with this bill.

COFFMAN:  Right.

ROSEN:  The sub-head[line] does say, “Partisanship is being blamed for criticism of a move to use the Corps of Engineers to oversee projects.”  But they talk about partisanship on both sides.  So, they neutralize the partisanship, here.  It says in the lede, “When Congressman Coffman last month pitched an idea to reform how the government builds veterans’ hospitals, U.S. House barely noticed, approving his proposal after just 20 minutes of debate.”  Uh, the U.S. House ‘barely noticed’? I’m not sure if I understand that.  We’ll find out more later.  “Indeed, the chamber did away with the recorded vote and instead passed it with a chorus of ‘ayes’.”  Yes, why did they do that, Mike?

COFFMAN:  Well, first of all, he didn’t say that it, uh, we held —been working on this issue for two years, held public hearings on it.  We even had a field hearing here in Denver on the issue—a formal field hearing— and it was voted unanimously in the House committee.

ROSEN:  Democrats and Republicans.

COFFMAN:  Democrats and Republicans.  And so, he never references that.  Because it was passed out unanimously, it was put on what is called the ‘suspension calendar’, that requires a two-thirds vote, and if any member objects, then you have to have a recorded vote and again it has to pass by two-thirds.  So, it was expedited.  And one of the reason it came up so late is because the House Veterans Affair Committee chairman wanted to get— we had this major overhaul of the Veterns Administration healthcare system pending, and he wanted to narrowly craft our House position to merely reflect changes in the healthcare system, and wanted to deal with the construction issue after the fact.

ROSEN:  All right.  [It] says, “In the weeks since its September 16th passage, the Coffman bill”—you see you’re getting credit for it.  Thank you.  “the Coffman bill has emerged as an issue in the Aurora Republican’s close race against Democrat Andrew Romanoff.”  ‘Emerged as an issue’.  Why has it emerged as an issue? We’ll find out.

COFFMAN:  Well — yeah, [laughs].

ROSEN:  All right.  [continues reading] “The reason, at least on the surface,”— and you bet ‘on the surface’, “—is because of how his measure would reform the Department of Veterans Affairs.  but underneath this fight is pure politics, with each side accusing the other of using the issue to gain an advantage.”  That’s the way you neutralize it, as well.  This is a device by the Democratic Party nationally, in this race, to try to cut its losses on the advantage that his participation in this effort has given to Mike Coffman.  So, of course, each side is partisan but this was an aggressive act by the Democrats, this whole fabricated controversy on the — there is no controversy!

COFFMAN:  No, and [inaudible] admission that the ranking member Democrat, Anne Kirkpatrick out of Arizona, wrote the legislation with me, and was the original co-sponsor on the bill when we introduced it.

ROSEN:  Now, we’re going to find out about Corinne Brown, a Congresswoman from Florida — the Fifth Congressional District of Florida—a district that voted for Barrack Obama 73% to 26% in 2012, and a district — she was —in which she was elected with 71% of the vote in 2012.  She’s a solid liberal partisan Democrat and she was used as a tool in this to create this contrived controversy, along with somebody that the Democrats were able to find in the Corps of Engineers that could be party to this.  Going fast forward just a second, because i have to take a break, if Corinne Brown was the one who was used to stir up a hornet’s nest because of her discomfort for this bill, why did she vote for it in committee?

COFFMAN:  Well, she not only voted for it in committee, she ended up supporting it on the floor at the end of the day, even after that 20 minute debate.

ROSEN:  So, she couldn’t have thought it was that bad, then

COFFMAN:  Well, I think it’s just — you know, this was a partisan ploy, that, at the end of the day, failed. And thank God it did.  And Republicans and Democrats rose above that partisanship and passed the bill on behalf of our veterans. And it’s because — I was very concerned.  I always felt that I would be blindsided at the end because of the fact that this is such a heavily targeted race.

ROSEN:  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.