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?

Ken Buck Spills Obamacare Beans in Secret “Constituent” Meeting

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) says an Obamacare replacement plan is YEARS away.

Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent produced some impressive journalism this week when she managed to 1) Learn about a secret “constituent” meeting with Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley), and 2) Find a way to get inside the room at said secret meeting.

As Goodland learned firsthand, Rep. Buck is making some fairly bold assurances about healthcare reform efforts in Congress that don’t really jibe with some of the other GOP talking points we’ve seen and heard over the last week:

President Trump has said his administration plans to unveil a replacement plan next month, but Buck told the crowd that it could take several years to come up with a replacement. “We need to come to consensus on how much we’re willing to pay. We will leave some people behind, one way or another” either by charging too much or coming up with a plan that won’t cover everyone, he added.

He pleaded with the audience to remove from their minds the idea that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would happen before a replacement plan is in place. [Pols emphasis]

The healthcare marketplace, insurance companies and employers will have a chance to adjust before the ACA is gone, he insisted. “The idea that anyone wants to disrupt the economy in that way isn’t true.”

Whoa! These are some pretty strong statements coming from Buck that definitely don’t jibe with paid advertisements in Republican districts promising that the GOP “has a plan” for healthcare reform. Says Buck:

  1. Any Obamacare replacement plan is years away from reality.
  2. Any GOP healthcare plan will definitely not cover all Americans.
  3. Congress will not repeal Obamacare until a replacement plan is in place.

This is most definitely not the narrative that Republican leaders would have you believe about Obamacare…but that doesn’t mean Rep. Buck is wrong.

Rewarding The Worst Possible Behavior in Politics

One of the top stories of the 2016 elections in Colorado centered on a campaign mounted in a key Colorado Senate race, swing suburban Senate District 19 in Arvada, attacking the Democratic challenger in that race now-Sen. Rachel Zenzinger. The allegation that Zenzinger had “voted to spend taxpayer money on a trip to China” as an Arvada city councillor had been thoroughly debunked years before, but the Republican Senate 527 group Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government chose to recycle the charge in 2016 for Zenzinger’s rematch against incumbent GOP Sen. Laura Woods.

In 2016, this line of attack was prosecuted by CCAG with an audacity that shocked the local media out of its usual complacency about bogus claims in elections. After Denver7’s Politifact Colorado rated the whole accusation “Pants on Fire” false, citing Zenzinger’s stand against using tax dollars for the trip and the fact that the trip never even happened, CCAG actually used copy from that fact-check in another ad doubling down on the lie.

Perhaps the worst moment in this campaign arrived as small cardboard boxes in SD-19 mailboxes containing a fortune cookie “to commemorate Rachel Zenzinger’s vote for a taxpayer-funded trip to China.” This, along with another mailer that featured Zenzinger wearing a Vietnamese straw hat, introduced an ugly racist element to the message.

A complaint to Jefferson County’s elected Republican district attorney citing Colorado law against knowingly false statements in electioneering of course went nowhere, but the campaign ultimately backfired as press stories about the thoroughly false nature of the claim spread much more widely than the mailers themselves were seen by SD-19 voters. In particular, deceptively quoting from the fact-check that debunked the claim in a subsequent mailer struck Politifact Colorado and others as unacceptably contemptuous of the media’s responsibility to keep politics honest–which resulted in more bad press.

Rachel Zenzinger won this election, in no small part due to the backlash against CCAG’s false and racially charged ad campaign. The bad press Republicans earned for the campaign far exceeded any rational benefit. In all of our years covering Colorado politics, this is one of the worst message campaigns we’ve ever seen; and the proof is in the results.

So why are we bringing this up now, you ask?

Because the prestigious political insider publication Campaigns & Elections just awarded this campaign, in particular the fortune cookie mailer, Best Mail Piece For Independent Expenditure Campaign for the 2016 elections.

That’s right, folks! A campaign that was so centered on lies and prejudice that the local media blew it out of the water, and may have cost the candidate it was supporting re-election, has just been held up nationally as an example of how to do it right.

Who knows? Maybe the results of the elections nationally last year stripped the political operator class of their last shreds of objectivity or integrity. But for ourselves, if this is now the right way to do politics, we don’t want to do it right.

We’d prefer to tell the truth, sleep at night, and win the election.

Thursday Open Thread

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

–Winston Churchill

Cory Gardner’s Out of This World Constituent Outreach!

UPDATE: Sen. Gardner brings his super-duper surprise outreach to Ft. Collins on Wednesday evening:

—–

With a recess underway and thousands of Coloradans looking to ask their GOP Sen. Cory Gardner questions about what’s going on in Washington, D.C. under President Donald Trump, Gardner is doing his best to look like a politico engaged in outreach to his constituents–without actually, you know, doing so:

“Meeting with Coloradans” in Gardner’s case appears to mean either staged and access-managed events, like today’s panel at the Governor’s Forum of Colorado Agriculture (admission $200), or impromptu drop-ins at random locations that occur too fast for the word to get out that he’s even there–thus preventing ordinary constituents who have been trying to speak with him for weeks from being able to do so.

During today’s ag event at the Raddison Hotel Stapleton, FOX 31’s Joe St. George caught up with Gardner, and tried to ask him repeatedly why he’s not holding any public events during the congressional recess:

Folks, how many times did Gardner dodge the question about in-person town halls? We counted five times in under two minutes. Even by Gardner’s slippery standards, that could be a new record. Nothing about that made Gardner look good.

But Gardner did count among his “outreach” visits today a stop at the Colorado Space Coalition! Word is he was finally cornered by a “constituent” there, who had traveled to see him all the way from under Denver International Airport.

We joke. But to actual Colorado voters who just want to talk to their Senator, it’s probably not very funny.

Deep Jeffco Bench Ready For Perlmutter’s Next Move

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Ernest Luning at the Colorado Statesman reports on the next generation of Colorado Democrats in Jefferson County, waiting to move up in the event Rep. Ed Perlmutter makes the decision to run for Governor in 2018:

Two Lakewood Democrats say they’re likely to run next year for the 7th Congressional District seat represented by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter if the six-term incumbent Democrat jumps in the race for governor.

State Rep. Brittany Pettersen told The Colorado Statesman this week that she will run for the suburban congressional seat if Perlmutter seeks the gubernatorial nomination in 2018, and state Sen. Andy Kerr told The Statesman he’s “very seriously looking at it.”

The two legislators share many of the same constituents — Kerr held Pettersen’s House District 28 seat for three terms before winning an open seat in the upper chamber in 2012 — and both say their ability to win in their own swing districts means they’d be contenders for Perlmutter’s suburban swing seat.

Although Rep. Perlmutter’s seat is on-paper competitive, his strong leadership and deep ties to his Jefferson County constituents have made CD-7 completely unwinnable for the GOP since defeating Rick O’Donnell for Bob Beauprez’s open seat in 2006. The last real attempt at the seat was in 2012, when the late Joe Coors lost to Perlmutter 53-41%. Since then Perlmutter has faced only B-List opposition.

With that said, we do expect that Perlmutter giving up the CD-7 seat to run for Governor would embolden Republicans to make another attempt. Either Sen. Andy Kerr or Rep. Brittany Pettersen would make for excellent general election candidates against any Republican we could think of who might run–especially in potential matchups against Tim Neville, Lang SiasLibby Szabo, and other early names that have been floated.

With the biggest variable everyone is waiting on being Rep. Perlmutter’s next move, we don’t expect to see any major updates in this race until he makes his decision–a decision that reportedly depends on whether former Sen. Ken Salazar decides to run for Governor. But if Perlmutter does jump, there is a deep bench in Jefferson County waiting to fill resulting vacancies all the way down the ticket.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 22)

If George Washington were still alive today, perhaps he would celebrate his birthday in a fashion that befits “National Margarita Day.” 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…

► Colorado’s ongoing budget problems and the need for TABOR reform has not gone unnoticed by Republican lawmakers. Unfortunately, GOP leaders at the State Capitol — including Senate President Kevin Grantham — are not at all interested in doing anything about the problem.

 

► Is anybody home at the State Department? As CNN reports, foreign policy experts are concerned about the radio silence from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his debut on the international stage over two days in Europe last week — and said less than 50 words in response to press questions, according to pool accounts. On Wednesday, he departs for Mexico — a trip Americans first learned of from the Mexican press…

…That silence may reflect ongoing upheaval in the Trump White House, administration power struggles, Tillerson’s personal inclinations or the growing pains of a former ExxonMobil CEO adjusting to running a governmental organization. Regardless of the reason, diplomats, analysts and current and former State Department officials say there are risks if the dead air continues.

A voiceless State Department, they say, allows other countries to set the narrative about US policy and events, unsettling allies and potentially shortchanging US businesses, citizens and interests overseas.

 

► A 9News “Truth Test” uncovers something you probably won’t be surprised to learn: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) does not have anything resembling a plan for the repeal and/or replacement of Obamacare, despite what you may have heard from some paid media ads running in the Denver area. More paid media could be in the works as well, as the Washington Post reports:

The American Action Network, founded by veteran GOP fundraisers to support the speaker’s agenda, will spend $2.2 million on TV and digital buys over the next two weeks to promote GOP efforts related to overhauling the law across two dozen media markets. That’s in addition to $5.2 million already spent on Obamacare-related advertising since the start of the year…

…Politically, lawmakers are trying to soothe fears among voters that they are going to scrap the law without a clear roadmap for what comes next. While some of the opposition efforts at town hall meetings are being organized by progressive outside groups, there is also organic anxiousness. Our reporters who have fanned out across the country report back that many people they’re interviewing have never before attended these sorts of meetings.

Meanwhile, a new poll shows that SUPPORT for Obamacare continues to rise in the United States.

 

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

GOP Lawmakers Say Reform TABOR! GOP Leaders Say, “Meh”

Colorado Senate President Snidely Whiplash Kevin Grantham.

Peter Marcus of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on the ongoing effort by a pair of Republican lawmakers, Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, to enact a change to the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights that would allow the state to keep more revenue when economic times are good–by changing TABOR’s revenue cap growth index from the rate of inflation plus population to the growth of personal incomes in the state.

Senate Republican leadership on Tuesday described an effort to reform TABOR as “interesting,” though leaders say it is not representative of the majority of the caucus’ priorities.

Senate President Kevin Grantham of Cañon City responded when asked about the proposal, which has sponsorship from two Republican lawmakers, Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa.

The lawmakers are proposing that the state’s spending cap under TABOR — the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in the state constitution — be tied to personal income rather than the current formula: inflation plus population change. The idea is that government would be allowed to grow when economic times are good…

Crowder and Thurlow have both ran afoul of conservative advocacy groups at the state capitol over stands that deviated from the hard party line. Crowder in particular angered well-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity with his DOA proposal last year to exempt the state’s hospital provider fee from TABOR’s revenue limit, one of the biggest public breaks for a Republican from the pro-TABOR orthodoxy since 2005’s Referendum C backed by then-Gov. Bill Owens. Like in 2005, what we’re seeing today is TABOR forcing an arbitrary limit on revenue the state can keep–creating the bizarre conundrum of meager tax refund checks going out to citizens while basic functions of government face heavy budget cuts.

So it’s great to see this effort from two Republican lawmakers to make a small but sensible change to TABOR: one that preserves the law’s stated objectives, while not imposing a limit to revenue growth that deprives the state of the ability to carry out essential functions to serve our growing population. But unfortunately, Thurlow’s and Crowder’s good intentions are hitting a wall with the GOP leadership in the Colorado Senate:

“It’s an interesting concept,” [Senate President Kevin] Grantham said. “We have to look at what’s the end result of what this bill will do. The end result will be more money out of taxpayer’s pockets. They like to call that state revenue. When I hear that, I hear money out of taxpayer’s pockets.” [Pols emphasis]

And with that, any chance of an adult discussion of this Republican-authored proposal to help the state to carry out its basic responsibilities…evaporates.

Better luck in 2019, we guess.

Truth Test: Mike Coffman’s Mythical ACA “Replacement”

We wrote last Friday about Rep. Mike Coffman’s so-called “listening tour,” underway this week to gain insight on the effects of the Affordable Care Act in Colorado ahead of upcoming votes to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health reform law. Coffman’s “listening tour” stood in contrast, among many other contradictions, to an ad campaign running in Colorado right now praising Coffman for a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that they claim he already has.

Obviously, only one of these can be true!

9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman took a critical look at this pro-Coffman ad campaign last night in a Truth Test:

CLAIM: Our healthcare system isn’t working. Mike Coffman has a plan to fix it.
VERDICT: Overstatement

Mike Coffman doesn’t have a plan to replace Obamacare, but his staff points out he “does have some very specific principles that he expects to see included in the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.”

That is not the kind of thing you’d write if the plan was actually done…

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.

In any case, we’ve seen some G-O-P proposals to replace Obamacare, but since they haven’t settled on one we can’t really fact check those promises yet.

Rittiman goes on to debunk most of the horror story bullet points in the ad, or at least give them some context. There’s no attempt to bridge the enormous gap between what Coffman says he wants preserved from the ACA and any GOP replacement plan that’s been publicized. In the end, the spot is fundamentally deceptive to the point of quite honestly being a waste of everyone’s time:

And that gets us to the bottom line: this ad is glossing over the fact Republicans have yet to unite behind a plan on healthcare in an effort to make you think it’s going to be awesome, no matter what plan they end up with.

Because it’s…wait for it…not “Obamacare!”

As long as you pesky reporters don’t ask any more questions, this should all work out fine.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 21)

You have only one shopping day left until George Washington’s birthday. 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…

► Congress is taking a break for its annual President’s Day Recess, but that doesn’t necessarily mean elected officials such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are likely to make themselves available to constituents. As the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports, local residents are so incensed with Gardner’s inaccessibility that they are planning their own town hall meeting as protest. The Denver Post has more on Friday’s town hall meeting (sans Gardner):

Organizers invited U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who declined, but Farnan said it’s important to hold it anyway so that residents can share their ideas and demonstrate that town halls still matter.

“You should be standing in front of your constituents and hear what they have to say as long as it’s civil and respectful,” Farnan said.

Aides to Gardner said the Republican senator has meetings this week with the Colorado Space Coalition, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Colorado Health Care Association — to name a few — but no public forums. [Pols emphasis]

But they defended his outreach efforts and noted his past use of telephone town halls, a tool that has become an increasingly popular substitute on Capitol Hill.

You may not have any real access to your own U.S. Senator, but if you’re lucky, you might get invited to listen to him talk on the telephone! That’s pretty much the same, right?

Unfortunately for Sen. Gardner, this routine is wearing thin across the state. In the meantime, Colorado residents show no sign of letting up on demonstrations and protests.

 

► Before leaving Washington D.C. last week, House Republicans released a vague outline of a proposal about what to do with Obamacare if they end up repealing the health care law. On Monday, former South Carolina governor and current Rep. Mark Sanford admitted in a television interview that he could not guarantee that the Republican health care plan would allow all Americans to keep their current health insurance coverage.

As The Hill explains, Republicans may have a hard time convincing constituents that this vague new plan is even half-baked.

 

► We all know that campaign finance loopholes are big enough to accommodate whatever metaphor you prefer, but some paid campaigns are so brazenly sketchy that it’s hard to believe they could exist. For example, this barrage of advertisements promoting Walker Stapleton’s campaign for Governor apparent interest in term limits. The intent is so obvious that even Republican-aligned groups like Compass Colorado can’t help but applaud the name recognition boost for Stapleton.

 

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

CPAC Conference? Call It The Beau-PAC Conference!

Bob Beauprez (right).

With the upcoming 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington making headlines after disinviting their keynote speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, those of us with Google alerts tracking two-time Colorado gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez are getting fresh updates. As Politico reported yesterday on the controversy:

Milo Yiannopoulos lost his keynote speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference after tapes surfaced of the right wing provocateur and senior Breitbart editor advocating for sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”

“Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the group which sponsors CPAC, in a statement Monday afternoon. The group called Yiannopoulos to “further address these disturbing comments,” but defended its original decision to invite him as a nod to “the free speech issue on college campuses.”

…President Donald Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, will be headlining this year’s event, along with top White House aides Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus. But the Milo controversy quickly threatened to taint the event and raised questions about what it would mean if other speakers still attended.

CPAC organizers had a conference call at 1 p.m. on Monday to discuss the controversy and how to address it, according to a GOP source familiar with the matter. The decision to disinvite Yiannopoulos was unanimous and did not even need to be deliberated, the person said. Among those on the call were ACU board members Amy Frederick, Bob Beauprez, Mike Rose, Matt Smith, Matt Schlapp and Becky Norton Dunlop, along with Vice Chair of the ACU Foundation Millie Hallow. [Pols emphasis]

To have been a fly on the wall for that conference call! There hasn’t been much coverage of the Yiannopoulos meltdown in local press, which is odd since he just toured through Colorado on a college speaking tour that generated plenty of earned media. But it seems to us that somebody should pick up the phone and ask American Conservative Union board member Beauprez what led to their unanimous decision to ban this guy.

And if you happen to be headed to CPAC this weekend, you can catch Beauprez as the moderator of this truly fascinating panel discussion on Saturday morning:

We can’t explain the ID of Beauprez as the representative of Colorado’s 10th congressional district, since Colorado only has seven congressional districts. Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement of how long Beauprez has been out of office? We digress. Anyway, we are of course very interested in hearing what Beauprez and Rep. Ken Buck have to say about border security.

In…Heaven. Aren’t you at least a bit curious?

Radio host should call crazy on Coffman’s comparison of Petraeus to Clinton

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Last week, the Trump Administration decided against offering the job of national security adviser to former CIA director David Petraeus, after the retired four-star general indicated he wanted to have authority over personnel.

Patraeus was Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Aurora) favored candidate for Trump’s national security adviser–despite Patraeus’ resignation from the CIA as the FBI was gathering evidence that Patraeus leaked classified documents to his biographer with whom he was having an affair.

“I’ve worked with general Patraeus,” Coffman told KNUS host Krista Kafer Feb. 14. “I know he had a misstep, obviously, in terms of working with classified information. Much less than what Hillary Clinton did [laughs]. And he was certainly disciplined for it. But I think he’s well-trusted here on Capitol Hill, and I think by the American people as well. I think he would do a great job as the national security adviser to the president.”

(Listen here at 5 min 20 seconds.)

Kafer should have pointed out that unlike Clinton, Patraeus faced felony charges for his leaks, eventually agreeing to a plea-deal conviction.

FBI Director James Comey, who’s no friend of Hillary Clinton, and other experts have stated that Patraeus’ actions shouldn’t be compared to Clinton’s use of a private email server. She faced no charges, much less a conviction. And she didn’t hide documents in the attic. CNN reported on Comey’s testimony on this topic in July:

Comey pointed out that Petraeus not only shared the classified information, but also hid the documents in his attic and then lied to investigators.

“So you have obstruction of justice, you have intentional misconduct and a vast quantity of information,” Comey said. “He admitted he knew that was the wrong thing to do. That is a perfect illustration of the kind of cases that get prosecuted.”

He added: “In my mind, it illustrates importantly the distinction to this case.”

Kafer should have called crazy on Coffman’s comparison of Patraeus to Hillary Clinton.