Get More Smarter on Monday (February 27)

Get caught up on your Colorado political news while you wait for that giraffe to give birth. Now, let’s see if we can’t Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

President Trump will deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, and as the Washington Post reports, Trump will be rolling out some fuzzy maths:

President Trump will propose a federal budget that dramatically increases defense-related spending by $54 billion while cutting other federal agencies by the same amount, according to an administration official.

The proposal represents a massive increase in federal spending related to national security, while other priorities, especially foreign aid, will see significant reductions.

According to the White House, the defense budget will increase by 10 percent. But without providing any specifics, the administration said that most other discretionary spending programs will be slashed to pay for it. Officials singled out foreign aid, one of the smallest parts of the federal budget, saying it would see “large reductions” in spending.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is proving to be very popular…in cardboard form. As Congress returns to “work” after its President’s Day recess, the buzz surrounding Gardner’s constituent indifference is only growing louder. Multiple media outlets covered Friday’s “town hall” event in Byers that was staged without the freshman Senator. Here’s more from the Denver Post:

Coloradans packed Byers Middle School gym and cafeteria Friday evening for a town hall event to ask Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner questions regarding issues such as health care, climate change and immigration.

Gardner, who did not attend the event, was represented by a large cardboard cutout…

…many town hall attendees said they have not been able to get in touch with Gardner and feel he has been unresponsive. Christine Robinson, of Parker, said she has called his office twice a day for the last month and has protested or visited his office in Denver five times without any answers to her questions.

“I am not a paid protester,” she said while waiting in line, which wrapped around the block of the middle school. “We’re here to send a loud message — to listen to us. He does not want to.”

 

► Democrats are feeling increasingly optimistic about the chances of winning several races for Governor — including in Colorado — in 2018. From the Washington Post:

As the chairman-elect of the Democratic Governors Association, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will quarterback his party’s efforts in next year’s gubernatorial contests. To say he’s bullish would be an understatement. “Democrats are going to crawl across broken glass on their knees to go vote in 2018, if the conditions exist as they do today,” Inslee said during an interview yesterday afternoon at the J.W. Marriott, before he headed to the White House for a black-tie gala hosted by President Trump…

No one can predict what the political environment will be a year-and-a-half from now, but historically the president’s party loses seats in his first midterm. 

Even if Trump was a generic Republican, which he is most certainly not, the terrain was already going to be quite favorable for Democrats. They have just 16 governorships, a dozen fewer than when Barack Obama took office.

In a separate story, the Post discusses the “hold your nose” view of President Trump that may prove to be a significant barrier for re-election in 2020. As the New York Times notes, we should get the first sense of the power of an anti-Trump strategy in the Virginia Governor’s race.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

(ICYMI) Trump rally at the Colorado Capitol today

POLS UPDATE: A memorable sign from today’s exciting little rally for President Donald Trump:

Donald Trump: the “anoited” one! At least we’re pretty sure this isn’t a reference to a certain presidential hotel suite in Moscow. Meanwhile, for comparison, LGBT advocacy group One Colorado appears to have done as well or better than Donald Trump for attendance to their LGBTQ Rally Day today:

Original post follows.

—–

With all the protests taking place almost daily in Colorado, we at ProgressNow Colorado are committed to helping citizens stay up to date on what’s happening. Today, a rally at the Colorado Capitol to support President Donald Trump gave us a chance to easily explain how to spot the difference between rallies in support of versus in opposition to Trump.

Thank you for your attention.

Will The Legislature Finally Put a Stop to “Rolling Coal?”

“Rolling coal.”

The Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports on the debate in the General Assembly over House Bill 17-1102, a second attempt by Democratic Rep. Joann Ginal to outlaw the modifications made to diesel vehicles allowing that to spew vast quantities of smoke with a flip of a switch–a practice known in the vernacular as “rolling coal.”

Given that being targeted with noxious fumes isn’t all Coloradans’ idea of fun, state lawmakers are taking a second shot at passing a bill that would make “coal rolling” – the act of using vehicle exhaust as a form of harassment – a traffic infraction with a $100 fine.

This is about public safety and public health, said Rep. Joann Ginal, a Fort Collins Democrat who showed three videos of people intentionally “rolling coal” at others during a hearing in the House Transportation and Energy Committee earlier this month.

The proposal isn’t about going after diesel trucks, Ginal told the committee. It’s more about those who modify their vehicles, usually either with a tailpipe or smokestack, in order to blast smoke at another driver, bicyclist, motorcyclist, pedestrian or other human target.

Ginal said the request for the bill came from her local police department, and would give law enforcers a tool they can use when they see “coal rolling.”

Last year, legislation cracking down on “rolling coal” died in the Colorado Senate after passing the Democratic-controlled House. But this year, as the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports, there’s a GOP co-sponsor in the Senate:

It’s the second year Ginal, D-Fort Collins, has run the bill. It stalled in the Senate transportation committee last session. This year, it has a Republican co-sponsor in Sen. Don Coram of Montrose.

If the bill becomes law, it would give police the ability to fine drivers who intentionally spew exhaust in a way that obstructs another person’s view, creates a safety hazard or in a manner that’s harassing to other cars or pedestrians. Violators would be fined $100.

Last year, Republicans took considerable fire for their decision to kill this bill, in effect siding with people who commit an act tantamount to vandalism–not to mention the negative public health effects of intentionally spewing black diesel smoke into the environment. It’s worth noting again that this is not legislation to further punish people with smoky vehicles due to age or poor maintenance. “Rolling coal” is made possible by a deliberate modification to the vehicle for the express purpose of…well, being an asshole.

So we’ll be watching closely to see if the GOP-controlled Senate lets the bill through this year.

Monday Open Thread

“Did I end up finding a little blue pill to cure America’s electoral dysfunction? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.”

–Mo Rocca

Cardboard Cory: The Most Popular Cardboard Cutout Ever


Cardboard Cory.

Denver7’s Oscar Contreras reports from Friday night’s “town hall” for Sen. Cory Gardner at Byers Middle School in Denver–an event that Sen. Gardner declined to attend, but was nonetheless headlined by…we’ll let Denver7 explain:

Hundreds of Coloradans have wanted to speak with Sen. Cory Gardner since the beginning of the year. Friday night, he finally granted them that wish – sort of – as a cutout of the Republican senator made an appearance at a local middle school.

About 1,500 people showed up to an “in absentia” town hall meeting at Byers Middle School, where constituents hoped to talk about pressing issues currently affecting them.

“Over 14,000 people have signed a petition requesting a meeting; hundreds of people have either called or protested outside his office requesting the same. But so far, Senator Gardner has said no,” said Katie Farnan, a lead organizer with Indivisible Front Range Resistance, a progressive group.

That’s right–over 1,500 people showed up on a Friday evening at an urban Denver public school with horrible parking (Washington Park, after all) to share their concerns with a cardboard cutout of Sen. Cory Gardner. And as the Denver Post’s Hayley Sanchez reports, the crowd knew it all along:

“I am not a paid protester,” [Christine Robinson of Parker] said while waiting in line, which wrapped around the block of the middle school. “We’re here to send a loud message — to listen to us. He does not want to.” [Pols emphasis]

Robinson said she thinks many Coloradans oppose some of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet selections — including Betsy DeVos, for secretary of Education, and Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency — but Gardner is voting against his constituents’ wishes.

Here’s the two-hour “town hall” in its entirety, with the main event starting just about 20 minutes in:

Gardner did issue a statement about this event Friday, in which he studiously ignored its existence and praised himself for the generally nonpublic appearances he has made in the past week of congressional recess. It was something for the media to print, but nobody who attended this event, or several other Gardner-less “town halls” held this week will find it very satisfying.

What can we add about the bizarre spectacle of over 1,500 people who turned out to talk to a cardboard cutout? Well, it’s a clever way to point out Gardner’s very deliberate lack of accessibility to his Colorado constituents–a point that has been driven home by huge protests outside his offices, and a dramatic confrontation on video this week as Gardner tried and failed to slip into an office building in Interlocken to meet with somebody “more important” than the constituents waiting for him in the lobby.

There’s no question at this point that Gardner has become the local face of developments in GOP-owned Washington, D.C., and the perception that he doesn’t want to answer for what’s happening to the constituents who elected him is politically very damaging. It has begun to stand out among national political observers that Gardner is well out of step with the desires of Colorado voters. It’s true that Gardner will not be up for election until 2020, the same year President Donald Trump will be up for election again. That extra padding of time for Gardner may give him, even after a difficult week like this one, hope that he can triangulate his way through.

But if thousands of people are willing to show up to put “Cardboard Cory” on notice, that’s a bad sign.

Weekend Open Thread

“I would rather be politically dead than hypocritically immortalized.”

–Davy Crockett

(Some) Colorado Lawmakers React Angrily To Trump Weed Threats

Rep. Jared Polis (D).

As the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning reports:

Word that the White House could begin cracking down on the marijuana trade in states that have legalized the drug drew swift rebuke Thursday from Democratic lawmakers in Colorado, the first state to cultivate a recreational pot industry.

“Whether it is building a wall or stripping protections for trans students, President Trump has already shown he’s willing to trample Colorado values to further his regressive agenda,” said state Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, in a statement. “Now, he’s going to use his Department of Justice to trample states’ rights? The people of Colorado voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana, and the federal government needs to respect the will of Coloradans.”

…U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat and a founder of the bipartisan congressional Cannabis Caucus, invoked states’ rights and the burgeoning marijuana economy in his sharp criticism of Spicer’s statement.

“The president has said time and again that the decision about marijuana needs to be left to the states,” Polis said in a statement. “Now either the president is flip-flopping or his staff is, once again, speaking out of turn; either way, these comments leave doubt and uncertainty for the marijuana industry, stifling job growth in my state. The public has spoken on recreational marijuana, we’ve seen it work in Colorado, and now is the time to lift the federal prohibition.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper has a less strident but still fairly supportive tone, via Politico:

Hickenlooper also weighed in on the issue of legalized marijuana. Following White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s statement Thursday that the Department of Justice would be “taking action” on the recreational use of marijuana, Hickenlooper called legalized marijuana “one of the great experiments of the 21st century.”

He said while he was against legalized marijuana, the state has anecdotally seen less drug dealers and has not experienced an uptick in usage among teenagers.

Twenty-four hours since the Trump administration’s announcement of “greater enforcement” of federal law prohibiting recreational marijuana sales and possession, we’re struck by how little comment there’s been from Colorado politicians–especially Republican Colorado politicians who presumably would be opposed, and would have more pull interceding on Colorado’s behalf with Trump than Democratic lawmakers.

Yesterday’s announcement by White House spokesman Sean Spicer contained very little in the way of details on what the “greater enforcement” against marijuana would look like, and the administration has refused requests for more information. That vacuum leaves room for rumor and misinformation that further darkens the picture for this billion-dollar industry.

If we really do value the marijuana industry’s economic and public revenue benefits to our state, the time to speak up is right now. That includes, in fact it’s fair to say it depends on, Republicans with access to the new administration leading the opposition.

If they don’t? Well, there are going to be a lot of upset (and sober) stoners voting in 2018.

Ken Buck Scrambles Obamacare Repeal Message

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

As the Denver Post’s John Ingold reports, Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley just helped deprive Coloradans of whatever security they might have felt about health care, after other Colorado Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner assured us that the Affordable Care Act would not be repealed without a replacement in place:

In a meeting with constituents in Douglas County on Tuesday, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck said he believes that fully implementing a replacement could take years after the vote to repeal the law. His fellow Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, though, told constituents in a video message last week that he would not vote to repeal the law without “a concurrent replacement.”

…Buck said he believes that a repeal of the heath care law will occur “soon” but will have its effective date delayed. Crafting, passing and fully implementing the replacement plan, he said, “will take a while to formulate.”

“I think other Republicans are expressing their optimism that something can happen concurrently,” Buck said. “I think realistically, if we do the process the right way, replacement is going to take a period of time.”

To be fair, Buck does assert that “there won’t be a change that happens next month that is going to completely alter the health care system, but Buck’s willingness to accept repeal without any replacement creates major uncertainty for everyone who has gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act–or benefited from improvements to coverage like keeping kids on parents’ plans longer and requiring pre-existing conditions to be covered.

Obviously, this sets up a conflict between Buck and the promises made by other Colorado Republicans–and given the reticence of most Republicans to be specific about the plan for health care going forward, we wouldn’t look for any clear answers anytime soon.

If that’s cold comfort for you, there are protests just about every day lately.

White House Blocks Prominent News Organizations from Briefing

This was probably inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying:

CNN, The New York Times, Politico, and other mainstream news organizations were blocked from participating in a White House media briefing on Friday afternoon. Journalists expressed outrage at the unusual move, and the Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the briefing as a result. Spicer reportedly allowed sympathetic outlets into the gaggle—an informal question-and-answer session between a press secretary and journalists—including the Washington Times, Breitbart, and One America News Network. Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in a statement that the consortium of reporters will “strongly protest” the move and further discuss it with White House press staffers.

Kudos to the Associated Press and TIME magazine for boycotting the press briefing in solidarity with their media brethren.

Get More Smarter on Friday (February 24)

It’s cold outside — colder than the reception you might receive if you tried to talk to Sen. Cory Gardner. Now, let’s see if we can’t Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has almost made it through the workweek recess without actually having to answer questions from real constituents about, well, anything. But Gardner’s consistent refusal to engage with the people he is supposed to represent is escalating into a full-out disaster for the first-term Senator, and the problem is only getting worse. On Thursday, multiple videos of Gardner evading a woman and her baby in a Broomfield hotel lobby became national news, with Gardner consistently brushing off questions by telling her — and other constituents — to just “go to my website” instead.

Gardner’s constituent indifference has become a national story.

 

► Once upon a time (also known as January), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) promised to hold a big town hall meeting before Congress votes on a potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Coffman didn’t make any effort to hold a town hall meeting during the current President’s Day recess, but as Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Statesman, Team Coffman says there will be an event in April:

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman plans to hold a traditional town hall in April, when the Aurora Republican will be at home in his district during a scheduled congressional recess, his aides said Friday.

Coffman spokesman Daniel Bucheli told The Colorado Statesman that Coffman is looking for the right venue and nailing down the date for a town hall, likely sometime during the second full week of April. He was confirming an announcement made by campaign aide J.D. Key Friday morning at a GOP breakfast meeting in Highlands Ranch.

The immediate question, of course, is whether or not this means that Congress will not be voting on a potential repeal of Obamacare in the next 6-8 weeks; Coffman promised to hold a big town hall meeting before a potential vote on repealing the healthcare law. Coffman could have just been blowing smoke up everyone’s you-know-what, which the Congressman has been known to do, but this promise would be harder to walk back given the steady crowds trying to contact their elected officials across the country.

 

► It would not be a complete surprise if Congress is unable to take action on repealing Obamacare, as Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) seemed to indicate earlier this week. Former House Speaker John Boehner was widely quoted on Thursday laughing at the idea that Republicans could coalesce around a single idea on health care reform. Meanwhile, Politico reports on a new draft document outlining another potential GOP healthcare plan:

A draft House Republican repeal bill would dismantle Obamacare subsidies and scrap its Medicaid expansion, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by POLITICO.

The legislation would take down the foundation of Obamacare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes. It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high-risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020.

The replacement would be paid for by limiting tax breaks on generous health plans people get at work — an idea that is similar to the Obamacare “Cadillac tax” that Republicans have fought to repeal.

Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that Republicans would introduce repeal legislation after recess. [Pols emphasis] But the GOP has been deeply divided about how much of the law to scrap, and how much to “repair,” and the heated town halls back home during the weeklong recess aren’t making it any easier for them.

The basis of the leaked plan is, essentially, to tax healthcare plans for “cost containment” while doing nothing to address coverage. This won’t end well.

 

► The Trump administration on Thursday made it clear that the President plans to crack down on the recreational marijuana industry.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Friday Open Thread

“We often want one thing and pray for another, not telling the truth even to the gods.”

–Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Trump Takes Aim at Recreational Marijuana

UPDATE: Once again Sen. Cory Gardner’s backside is flapping in the breeze:

Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, where marijuana production and distribution has become an established industry, spoke with Sessions before his confirmation about the business in his state and was assured there will be no sudden changes in policy.

“That was the take-away from my conversation with Jeff,” Gardner said. “It’s not a priority of the Trump administration.”

Time for an update, Senator.

—–

As The Cannabist reports:

Recreational marijuana is in the sights of the Trump administration, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday.

Spicer, during his daily briefing, gave the first clear glimpse at the new administration’s views toward the burgeoning rise of legal marijuana.

“There’s a big difference between (medical marijuana) and recreational marijuana, and I think when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” Spicer said, when asked about the topic of legalization. “There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”…

A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday found 71 percent of Americans surveyed would oppose a federal crackdown on legal marijuana, and 93 percent are in favor of medical marijuana.

MUST WATCH: Constituents Corner Cory Gardner

UPDATE: Here’s another camera angle of the encounter:

—–

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Wild video now circulating on social media of a confrontation this morning between Sen. Cory Gardner and several constituents in a Broomfield office building–in which Gardner tries mightily to escape with a proffered business card and promises of a future “tele-town hall,” and fails miserably as his persistent constituents tail him onto an elevator. Transcript:

CONSTITUENT: We are at 380 Interlocken Crescent trying to meet with Senator Gardner as he’s going into a meeting this morning.
(Gardner enters building, applause)
CONSTITUENT: Hi, Senator Gardner!
GARDNER: How are you?
CONSTITUENT: Hi, I’m Kathryn Ashton Hirst, nice to meet you I’m one of your constituents.
GARDNER: Nice to see you. Nice to see you. How are you guys doing?
CONSTITUENT: Came from Breckenridge Colorado today.
GARDNER: Thanks for coming in.
CONSTITUENT: We’re hoping you’re going to hold a town hall for us soon.
GARDNER: Thanks. If you go to our website there’ll be a tele-town hall soon.
CONSTITUENT: We have been. I’ve tried to sign up for three of them and I have yet to hear, I have yet to hear from your office.
(Crosstalk)
CONSTITUENT: I’ve tried to sign up for town halls, and they’re not returning my calls.
CONSTITUENT #2: Tell him there’s no scheduling either.
GARDNER: Excuse me, I’m trying to…yeah do you have a card you can give them…yeah, look at our website for tele-town halls, that would be fantastic.
CONSTITUENT: We want a town hall. We have…we’ve gone to your website, we’ve called your office, and we’re trying to get on your list…
CONSTITUENT #3: How about in person?
GARDNER: Call the office and we’ll be in touch.
CONSTITUENT: I’ve been refused for three of them, Senator Gardner.
CONSTITUENT #2: I’ve been calling a lot. (unintelligible)
GARDNER: Excuse me…
CONSTITUENT: You’re going to the ninth floor.
GARDNER: Well, um, it’s, uh, if you call the office we have…
CONSTITUENT: We have called the office.
GARDNER: I’m told we have the information on our website, so…
CONSTITUENT: Well we don’t, and I’ve tried to call and I’ve tried to get on three of your town halls.
GARDNER AIDE: Excuse me, you’re blocking the elevator…
CONSTITUENT: And I have yet to have been called back.
(Crosstalk)
GARDNER: (unintelligible) you weren’t on the town hall?
CONSTITUENT: Because there’s, you guys dial us and I’ve asked to be on three of them and I have yet to be reached on any of them.
GARDNER AIDE: Could be a capacity issue.
GARDNER: Well I’m curious now that, so we called you and it didn’t work?
CONSTITUENT: No you haven’t called me. I’ve called to get on your town halls several times…
GARDNER: Oh ok, take Jorge’s (?) card, can you take Jorge’s card, and call him [Gardner motions to staffer]…
CONSTITUENT: I would love to…
GARDNER: And we will add you to the next tele-town hall. (Crosstalk)
CONSTITUENT: Okay I have asked to be added…
(Crosstalk)
CONSTITUENT #3: You had lots of town halls last year.
GARDNER: And we had several yesterday, public forums, open forums, so…
CONSTITUENT: Where?
CONSTITUENT #3: When are you going to start announcing them, Senator?
GARDNER: Well, they’re on the website, I think we talked about them yesterday, I think… (Crosstalk)
CONSTITUENT: They’re not on the website.
CONSTITUENT #3: I’ve called a half a dozen times, signed forms… (crosstalk)
GARDNER: Well, the Governor’s Ag Forum…the Governor’s Ag Forum was well-publicized, so thank you. Thank you.
CONSTITUENT: We look forward to seeing you again Senator Gardner! We look forward to that town hall!
CONSTITUENT #2: Yeah don’t hide from us!

You can detect a very rare flash of public contempt from Gardner for these constituents, when he tells them “look at our website for tele-town halls, that would be fantastic.” Gardner defends himself by claiming to have held several “public forums,” citing yesterday’s appearance at the Governor’s Ag Forum as an example (admission $200). Gardner is able to delay with affected concern that the constituent was not able to connect to his tele-town halls just long enough for the elevator door to open and Gardner to escape down the hallway with staffers watching his flanks. The whole experience is very bad for Gardner, who spends most of the recording ducking his head out from behind his staff.

Yes, Gardner (mostly) keeps cool–but watching him first try to evade his constituents, then evade their obvious points about a face-to-face meeting, shows the limits of even Cory Gardner’s world-famous slickness.

And we’ll be watching for this video in the news.

Who’s Telling the Truth About GOP Obamacare Replacement?

(¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last week, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) if he could guarantee to his constituents that they’d “have coverage if you have it now.”

“The answer to that is no, right?” asked Hayes.

“Yes,” replied Sanford. “The answer is, we don’t know with precision.”

Colorado Republicans need to be asked the same question, because over the past months most them, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, have repeatedly implied that no one will lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. But am I hearing them right? Is this a promise?

For example, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) stated KOA 850-AM Feb. 17, “And let me just say, nothing will be repealed unless it’s concurrently replaced.”

If nothing means nothing, then no one will lose their health care coverage, at a minimum, much less all the other benefits of Obamacare (e.g., coverage for under-26 family members, pre-existing conditions, no caps on coverage).

Coffman’s office sort of confirmed his stance to 9News this week.

9News: Coffman’s office told us he wants to keep the changes Obamacare made for pre-existing conditions, the ability for parents to keep children on their plans until age 26, and maintaining coverage for people who gained it under the ACA—including the Medicaid expansion, which has been criticized by some of Coffman’s fellow Republicans.

But that’s a aspiration, not a promise, and Coffman’s constituents want to know if Coffman would vote for a still-unkown Obamacare replacement that would throw people off the health insurance rolls.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) expressed the same promise in the form of an aspiration, as he likes to do when dealing with a tough question.

Gardner: “What we have to do is create a bipartisan health care plan, health insurance plan, to make sure that we can do better than Obamacare,” said Gardner on KOA 850-AM Jan. 13.

Is he saying his constituents won’t lose their insurance? I think so, but he needs to be asked point blank–and repeatedly, because that’s often what it takes with Gardner (e.g., Will he vote for Trump? And will he hold a town hall? And what about the federal personhood amendment?)

In some communications, Colorado Republicans are stopping short of promising that their constituents won’t lose their health insurance, but they’re guaranteeing that elements of Obamacare won’t be lost.

“…[U]nder the Republican replacement plans, no individual with a pre-existing condition will be denied insurance coverage or see their rates spike,” wrote Congressman Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton in The Denver Post Jan. 13.

That’s a serious promise.

But the larger question remains. What exactly are you saying? Will you vote for a bill that doesn’t guarantee health insurance for all Americans who have it under Obamacare? If not, how many are you willing to throw off the rolls or put at risk of losing their coverage?