Debate Diary: Carroll v. Coffman, Round 3

DebateDiaryFor what should be our last Debate Diary of the 2016 election season, we’re taking you through what we’ve already speculated would be “The Most Pivotal Debate of 2016” in Colorado.

The third and final televised debate in CO-6 between Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll and incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman took place on Thursday evening and was televised live via 9News on Channel 20 (channel 657 for Comcast subscribers). If you missed the debate in favor of Thursday night football or Game 5 of the National League Championship Series (the Chicago Cubs are now one win away from the World Series) — or for any other number of reasons — we’ve got you covered with a complete question-by-question rundown.

You may have already heard about the biggest news from Thursday’s debate: Coffman’s inexplicable answer to a question about Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s offensive remarks about women. Debate moderator Kyle Clark asked both candidates if Trump’s own comments are indicative of a sexual predator; Coffman responded by saying, “I don’t know” before desperately trying to change the subject.

*NOTE: When we do our “live” Debate Diaries, we normally list the most current update at the top of the page. But because we’re posting this entire Debate Diary at once, it makes more sense to write it out chronologically from the top-down. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time and the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.  



Woods apparently thinks twice about thanking Democrats

(The wrong color of astroturf? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Woods deleted Facebook postRepublican State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada has removed a post from her Facebook page, in which she thanked alleged “supporters from the Democrat Party.”

It appears that Woods was referring to members of a Facebook group called, “Democrats for Senator Laura Woods,” who joined with Woods at a parade last month. “It was awesome to have you there,” Woods wrote on Facebook.

As I posted last week, none of the group’s members have been shown to actually live in Woods’ district and so they cannot vote for her, with one member registered to vote as far away as Boone, North Carolina.

Another group member, pictured on the site, was registered as a Republican, until asked about his voter registration last week, at which time he registered as a Democrat, saying it was a mistake.

Woods did not return a call seeking an explanation for removing the post.

In addition to possible concerns about the group’s members who can’t vote for her, Woods may worry that promoting Democrats on her Facebook page would turn away Trump supporters, whom she says are a key part of her path to victory in her district.

Woods, who’s long supported Trump and forgives him for his lewd comments, told a Denver radio station last week:

“I think if Donald Trump wins my district, I’m likely to,” Woods said on air. “And if Hillary Clinton wins my district, my opponent is likely to win.”

Colorado Republicans Can Start to Panic Now

votebuttonLongtime Colorado political journalist Ernest Luning has been keeping track of ballot return figures via his Twitter account. This is not good for Republicans:

The last time that Democrats were this far ahead of Republicans in Colorado in early voting returns was…well, maybe never.

The biggest fear for the GOP in 2016 has always been that a terrible top of the ticket — headlined by Donald Trump and Darryl Glenn — would be so disinteresting/disgusting that otherwise reliable Republican voters just wouldn’t bother to vote at all. Right-leaning political pundits have been saying for months that Republican voters could save down-ballot candidates by splitting their ticket at the polls, but that was assuming Republican voters would actually, you know, fill in the bubbles on their ballot.

If this trend continues in Colorado through Election Day, Republican candidates are going to be wiped out across the board. Perhaps the Trump campaign would have been better off staffing their field offices with people who are old enough to drive a car. 

At Least You Didn’t Lose Your Constitution



In another edition of our regular feature, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislators,” we take you to Kyrzakhistan Kryzgystuhn Kyrgyzstan, where they seem to have misplaced their constitution. From The Independent (the international one):

Politicians in Kyrgyzstan have lost the country’s constitution.

It emerged during a debate over planned changes to the law that nobody in the central Asian country knew where the original document was.

The most recent version of the constitution was approved by referendum in June 2010, when changes were made to give more authority to parliament and diminish the power of the president.

On 19 October members of the Kyrgyz parliament queried the exact location of the original copy of the document during a debate on whether to allow another referendum to take place in December, which could result in the consistution being amended again.

For anyone here in Colorado unhappy with the “Raise the Bar” ballot measure (also known as Amendment 71), things could be a lot worse.

Mike Coffman STILL Can’t Call Trump What He Is

UPDATE: Coffman’s hometown Aurora Sentinel is as flabbergasted by these remarks as everyone else:

Congressman Mike Coffman may not know that what Donald Trump has done to women constitutes sexual assault, but we do. Women across Aurora and Colorado do. District attorneys across the country do.

During a televised debate Thursday night on 9News TV, Coffman and his Democratic challenger state Sen. Morgan Carroll were asked whether Trump’s notorious taped comments about doing what he wants to women — and the subsequent flood of women saying he grabbed them, groped them and forced unwanted kisses upon them — constituted sexual assault.

“Well, I don’t know,” Coffman said. He followed the jaw-dropping comment with a political tap dance…

…He can’t have it both ways on this issue. Trump’s blatant misogyny and admitted sexual assaults are not debatable political philosophies, no matter how loudly Trump and his supporters say they are.


We’ll have plenty more to say about last night’s debate on 9NEWS between incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Sen. Morgan Carroll later today (watch this space), but this morning most of the conversation is focused on a very short exchange over Donald Trump’s now-infamous bragging about forcibly groping, kissing, and doing even worse to women he fancies:


CLARK: …Coffman, a question first for you here. Uh, based on the claims that he’s made do you believe that Donald Trump is a sexual predator?

COFFMAN: Oh, I don’t know. [Pols emphasis] But I do know this, that, that I’ve worked, uh, very hard as a member of the Armed Services Committee on a bipartisan basis to work on, uh, preventing sexual assaults and I…

CLARK: Alright, it’s a short answer but thank you. Senator Carroll, do you believe that Donald Trump, based on his own remarks, is a sexual predator?

CARROLL: Yes. The definition of grabbing people without their consent is the definition of sexual assault and sexual harassment. It’s his words, not mine.

CLARK: Thank you.

The uproar over Donald Trump’s multitude of recorded boasts about touching and ogling women under his financial control without their consent, including but not limited to a 2005 recording in which Trump bragged about his star-powered ability to “grab them by the p—y,” is such that Coffman really needed to have a better answer for this question than “I don’t know.” An overwhelming majority of women in Coffman’s district most certainly do know, and their judgment is that Trump’s own words flag him as “the definition” of a sexual predator.

For a man whose political survival depends on putting daylight between himself and Trump at every opportunity–but not too much, lest he offend his Republican base so much that they won’t support him–this is yet another unforced error Mike Coffman can’t afford. Coffman’s answer satisfies no one, and shows again how boxed in he is between his self-destructing party and an electorate that has had enough of Donald Trump.

And this time, it happened when the voters of CD-6 have their ballots in their hands.

Friday Open Thread

“I think that America will not trust a party to defend America that isn’t willing to defend itself.”

–James Carville

Forget the rabbit hole, Coffman is opposed to a path to citizenship for immigrants

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

9News anchor Kyle Clark did an excellent job interviewing U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman Tuesday, and his Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll Monday, pressing them on a range of issues.

On immigration, Clark asked Coffman what he’d propose for adult undocumented immigrants:

Coffman: “As long as they haven’t violated criminal laws to give them a legalized status that would allow them to work here without fear of deportation.

Clark: “Not citizenship but legal status?”

Coffman: “Legal status.”

Clark: “Any path to citizenship for those people?”

Coffman: “No. No.”

But without skipping a beat, Coffman kind of contradicted himself, with the camera rolling, saying he could possibly support a path to citizenship.

Coffman: “I don’t want to box myself in. If we get into negotiations, and there’s everything that I like, and it would be a very long path, and very selective. You know, I don’t want to totally back myself—but ideally I would say no.”

If you’re a journalist, what do you do with Coffman’s qualifier? Do you say he’s opposed to a citizenship path? Against it, unless he’s for it?

In a news segment yesterday based on the interview, Clark contrasted Coffman’s stance against a path to citizenship with Carroll’s position in favor of it. He didn’t mention Coffman’s qualifying comments.

In an email, I asked Clark why he apparently concluded that Coffman is against a path to citizenship.

Clark: “I took Representative Coffman’s answer to mean that he is not in favor of a path to citizenship but stopped short of saying he’d never support it,” wrote Clark.

Clark could have gone down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out, specifically, what Coffman means by theoretically favoring a citizenship path if negotiations produce “everything that I like.”

But it’s a rabbit hole other reporters have tried to go down without coming up with specifics on what Coffman wants for citizenship. And besides, Coffman’s statement, especially with “ideally no” tacked on, is clear enough as it is.

So Clark was right to conclude Coffman opposes a path to citizenship.


Gardner, Cruz Crisscross U.S. for Senate Majority

gardnercruzmapAs Ernest Luning reported via Twitter, former GOP Presidential candidate and current Texas Senator Ted Cruz is coming to Colorado on Wednesday to stump for Colorado Senate candidate Darryl Glenn.

Cruz endorsed Glenn prior to the June 28th Primary, which no doubt helped the El Paso County Commissioner on his way to the Republican Senate nomination in Colorado. Cruz’s latest visit to Colorado on behalf of Glenn has been about as “under the radar” as you can get in politics, in part because stumping for Glenn in any capacity is virtually pointless.

And where was Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) this week? Why, in Missouri, of course, campaigning for embattled Sen. Roy Blunt. As KBIA radio reports:

In a sign of how competitive Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest has become, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – held dueling roundtables with area military veterans…

…Blunt’s roundtable featured a similar mix of veterans and was held in Overland at the VFW hall. He was joined by fellow GOP Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Cory Gardner of Colorado. Cotton is an Army veteran.