Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 22)

Get More SmarterHappy “Autumnal Equinox,” everybody! Try saying “Autumnal Equinox” three times fast. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Last week some polls showed Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump apparently gaining momentum on Democrat Hillary Clinton. This week, it seems, that narrative is no longer accurate. A new poll from Colorado Mesa University and Rocky Mountain PBS shows Clinton with a 44-35 lead over Trump in Colorado — right about where Clinton had been polling prior to last week’s outlier results.

 

► Opponents of Obamacare in Colorado are unabashedly cheering the news that health insurance premiums are expected to rise in 2017, but that’s only a piece of the story. Insurance premiums are not rising 20% across-the-board, as Charles Ashby notes for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

 

► Republican State Senator Randy Baumgardner is running into some trouble as he campaigns for re-election. As journalist David O. Williams reports, Baumgardner is having trouble answering questions about repeated instances of using state resources for his own benefit through the Colorado Department of Transportation:

The Rocky Mountain Post obtained the results of a Colorado Open Records Act request filed with the Colorado Department of Transportation last spring revealing that Randy and Lori Baumgardner were involved in three different incidents of personal use of state property.

Randy Baumgardner worked for the state highway department for 11 years starting in 2000, and his wife Lori still works for CDOT. Lori Baumgardner received multiple Performance Documentation Forms for incidents that also involved her husband, including the improper use of a fuel card PIN number in 2009, using CDOT sand on their ranch in 2014, and earlier this year using CDOT office photocopy machines to duplicate their tax returns.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 21)

Dad says to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Dad says to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Enjoy the last day of summer before the Autumnal Equinox. We really just wanted to write the phrase, “Autumnal Equinox.” It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Issues of race relations and police brutality continue to boil across the country. As the Washington Post reports:

A riot in North Carolina overnight is a fitting bookend to three months of heightened tensions between the police and the people. From Louisiana to Minnesota to Texas, a host of incidents have again and again put racial tensions back on the front burner of the presidential campaign. They’ve also inspired the national anthem protests that have roiled the National Football League.

The killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police and the murders of cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge did not lead to a period of national healing or sustained soul searching.

The stories might have disappeared from the front pages, but the incidents have continued. Temporarily-bandaged wounds are re-opening around the country this week, as frustrations boil over.

Tuesday’s riot in Charlotte came after a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott while responding to an incident that was completely unrelated to the victim.

 

► The campaign for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is responding to new allegations that Trump uses funds from the “Trump Foundation” to pay for personal or business-related expenses. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” that response isn’t working particularly well:

On Tuesday morning, the Washington Post published a story headlined: “Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems.” Written by David Fahrenthold, who has written extensively about the Trump Foundation, the piece details how Trump directed more than $250,000 of the charity’s money to help pay fees related to his businesses. Those payments could qualify as “self-dealing” and violate laws governing how the leaders of non-profit organizations can use the money they receive in donations .

On Tuesday night, Trump communications director Jason Miller issued a statement disputing David’s reporting. Sort of. Actually not really…

…And then there is the name-calling — the assertion that Dave is a “biased reporter” who is intentionally misleading the public to distract from the problems with the Clinton Foundation. “Bias” is a nasty word tossed around all took often these days about reporters — almost always with too little and, by that I mean no, proof of the claim. A reporter isn’t biased because you don’t like the facts he or she has uncovered or those facts don’t comport with your broader vision of this race.

 

► Here come the Trumpians! Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is sending his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as the featured guest at a Denver-area fundraiser for the candidate today. On Thursday, Donald Trump, Jr. will talk “sportsmen’s issues” on the Western Slope, and Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence will make (another) stop in Colorado Springs. Trump himself was just in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

 

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Texas Oil Industry Fights Self-Governance In Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The headline in the Denver Business Journal almost tells the story:

Colorado oil and gas industry backs tighter rules on changing constitution

But it misses the opportunity to take a deeper dive into which companies, and where they operate from, are working to “Raise the Bar” in Colorado via Amendment 71.

For that we can go to TRACER–Colorado’s campaign finance tracker, to see that the major contributor is the questionably named “Protect Colorado” (registered with the Secretary of State as Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence) set up by former Denver Post journalist Karen Crummy. 

Wow, a cool million from this innocuous-sounding group in just the last filing.

Hmmm. It seems a curious journalist might want to poke around a little more, rather than just quote Greg Brophy, as the DBJ article does:

“We’ve received funding from a whole bunch of businesses and trade groups, all of whom in the past have been subject to constitutional amendment proposals and have had to fund the defense against all these constitutional amendments,” said former state Sen. Greg Brophy, a co-chairman of the Raise the Bar campaign. 

That’s true, contributions have come from numerous special interest groups, but the majority of dollars comes from oil and gas companies, a large number of whom are not based in Colorado at all. 

Rather they are headquartered in Texas. For instance Pioneer Natural Resources of Irving Texas put in $100,000 according to company disclosures. Noble Energy (Houston Texas) has put up quite a bit of financial backing for the dubiously named “Protect Colorado.”  And Anadarko (The Woodlands Texas) has contributed millions of dollars to make it more difficult for Colorado citizens to self govern. 

It may indeed be that Colorado’s Constitution is too readily amended. However the root of that issue may not be ballot rules, but rather that the deck is stacked, it seems to many, against local communities.

The cause may be that the State Legislature and “Blue Ribbon Task Forces” fail to address a clear and present need to make sure that oil and gas operations don’t unduly impact or harm local residents.

If that is the case then “Rigging the Bar” may seem a useful tactic to the out-of-state interests that want Colorado citizens to sit down and shut up. But over time it could very likely prove to be be a losing strategy.

Oil Executive Favored as Trump’s Interior Secretary

Forrest Lucas

Forrest Lucas

As Politico reports, Donald Trump is likely to choose a well-known oil and gas executive as his Secretary of Petroleum Interior should he win the race for President:

Forrest Lucas, co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil and an outspoken opponent of animal rights, is a leading contender for Interior secretary should Donald Trump win the White House, say two sources familiar with the campaign’s deliberations.

The Republican businessman, 74, is well known in Indiana, where in 2006 he won the naming rights to Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts football team, for a reported $121.5 million over 20 years. He and his wife have given $50,000 to Mike Pence’s gubernatorial campaigns, according to Indiana state records.

Lucas’ company, Lucas Oil, is a fast-growing manufacturer of automotive oils, lubricants and other additives used in everything from cars to heavy-duty trucks.

One person briefed by the Trump campaign said Lucas is a “front-runner” for the Interior secretary job. The person, who was granted anonymity to talk about private discussions, added that Trump wants a “more business-friendly and business experience-heavy cabinet.”

Yikes.

DC Oil & Gas Lobbyist Says Colorado’s Air is Clean Enough

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a recent Denver Post column, Matt Dempsey from the Washington-based Center for Regulatory Solutions attempted to undermine a new report that highlights the public health threats due to ozone pollution from the oil and gas industry.

A DC-based political consultant complaining about clean air rules while working on behalf of an organization that has taken more than $100,000 in contributions from the American Petroleum Institute in recent years is probably not a surprise. But there are several factual problems with Dempsey’s argument that deserve closer scrutiny.

The oil and gas industry has an ozone problem, and it’s a lot bigger than what we know.

Colorado’s made progress in cleaning up our air. That much is clear, but it doesn’t mean that our air is yet as clean as it should be.

Ozone pollution is serious. It can trigger asthma attacks and worsen other lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. At-risk populations are most likely to be affected including children, the elderly, and minority communities.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 14)

Get More SmarterThe 2016 election will be all over in 54 days. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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 Republicans are trying to get excited about Presidential nominee Donald Trump as a new (questionable) poll shows His Hairness leading Democrat Hillary Clinton in our state. John Frank has more for the Denver Post:

Democratic strategist Rick Ridder said the polling trend is a natural phenomenon in Colorado, where party registration is evenly split and independents make it a swing state.

“Anybody who thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the state of Colorado by double digits was dreaming,” said Ridder, a veteran of six presidential campaigns. “The history in Colorado shows that it is difficult for a Democrat or a Republican to get over 50 percent of the vote.”

Meanwhile, Dan Balz of the Washington Post takes a look at Colorado trends from a national perspective:

Make no mistake. Donald Trump is a distinct underdog in Colorado. He’s hobbled by demographic realities here and by a record of statements that have alienated the very groups of voters who will be pivotal in November.

But Democrats here say it’s premature to declare that there has been a permanent shift in the politics of the state. They worry about a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton and warn against complacency born of overconfidence…

…Trump is also potentially hobbled by the absence of a competitive Senate race. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who had a tough race six years ago, appears in a strong position. His opponent, Republican Darryl Glenn, won a crowded primary, but his hard-right conservatism and lack of resources have left his campaign sputtering.

 

► Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn may very well be the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history. Molly Ball of Atlantic Monthly wonders if we should even still consider Glenn a “candidate” given his lack of movement:

Since winning the primary in June, Glenn has barely mounted a campaign, Wadhams and other Republican insiders told me. He barely speaks to the press, makes few appearances, has few staff, and has yet to run a television ad. Bennet has been on the air with gauzy positive spots touting his bipartisanship since the beginning of the year.

“All he does is go to Republican and conservative events,” Wadhams complained. The deep-red county Glenn hails from is also home to the social-conservative powerhouse Focus on the Family and five military installations, including the Air Force Academy.

 

► Donald Trump will be in Colorado Springs on Saturday evening for a campaign rally. Let’s get those elevators up and running!

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 13)

Get More SmarterThe Denver Broncos unveiled a new all-orange jersey scheme; come on, that’s exciting! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Good news for those of you who use money: The U.S. economy is doing very well. As the New York Times reports:

Household incomes for American families rose strongly in 2015, breaking a yearslong pattern of income stagnation. The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,516, an increase of 5.2 percent over the previous year — the largest one-year rise since at least 1967, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

The income gains mark an important turning point in the recovery from the 2008 recession, showing that recent economic gains are being distributed more broadly.

The economic recovery, however, remains incomplete. The median is still 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, before the recession. It also remains 2.4 percent lower than the peak reached during the boom of the late 1990s. The number of people living in poverty also remains elevated, although it shrank last year by 3.5 million, or roughly 8 percent.

Still, most economists saw the report as remarkably positive. In an exuberant tweet, Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, called it “unambiguously the best” such census data “ever.” Household incomes in 2015 were higher than when President Obama entered office, and it is likely that the gains are continuing during his final year in office.

Economic data shows strong gains across several metrics, particularly among the middle class. Middle class incomes grew in 2015 at the fastest rate in modern history.

 

► The good news keeps coming. Uninsurance rates have reached a record low, as the Washington Post explains:

About 4 million Americans gained health insurance last year, decreasing the nation’s uninsured rate to 9.1 percent, the lowest level since before the Great Recession, according to new federal figures.

The figures, released Tuesday from a large annual Census Bureau survey, show that the gains were driven primarily by an expansion of coverage among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, the kind of coverage sold on the insurance exchanges that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

The decrease in the share of people who were uninsured slowed from the year before. Between 2013 and 2014, some 9 million people gained coverage — more than twice the increase as from 2014 to last year.

Sorry, Republicans. It looks like you may need to make some changes to those anti-Obamacare talking points.

 

► There’s big news from the Colorado Independent in one of the most competitive house districts in the state. Republican Katy Brown, who is running against Democrat Jeff Bridges in HD-3, has a deep history with the Fraternity Sorority Political Action Committee (FratPAC) that she would rather not discuss.

 

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FratPAC: GOP House Candidate Has Some ‘Splaining To Do

FratPAC.

FratPAC.

The Colorado Independent’s Susan Greene blows the lid off what could be a most damaging story in Colorado House District 3, the open swing-district race between Democrat Jeff Bridges and his Republican opponent Katy Brown:

Katy Brown, the Republican vying for Colorado’s highly competitive House District 3 seat, touts her experience as a web developer, Cherry Hills councilwoman and community service volunteer. Yet she has erased from her public profile one of her pet causes: championing fraternities’ and sororities’ political agenda in Washington. [Pols emphasis]

Brown served from 2012 through December 2015 on the board of the Fraternity Sorority Political Action Committee, also known as FSPAC, or FratPAC. The group describes its role as “helping position the fraternal community [to] influence legislation that will preserve the fraternity and sorority experience for future generations of student leaders.”

…FSPAC spent much of 2015 pushing for the Safe Campus Act, a bill introduced by three House Republicans that would have made it tougher for universities and colleges to suspend or sanction students accused of sexual violence. The measure would have restricted schools from investigating sex assault cases unless police are involved. It also would have extended due process rights to fraternities and sororities so that, as FSPAC wrote, “entire organizations cannot be suspended without cause.”

Victims’ groups and college administrators’ guilds condemned the police reporting requirement, saying it would intimidate some sex assault victims and prevent them from coming forward. Some critics denounced the bill for giving more protections to frat boys than to rape victims. Ultimately, some sorority and fraternity advocacy groups backed off their support of the bill, saying it was too divisive. It’s unclear whether FSPAC formally withdrew support for the Act, and the organization did not respond to inquiries for this story.

Katy Brown (Alpha Chi Omega).

Katy Brown (Alpha Chi Omega).

The fight over what just about everyone agrees is a major problem with sexual assault on college campuses has raged back and forth with national stories meant to persuade that either the problem is very widespread as experts and victim advocates suggest, or that the problem is exaggerated–and complicated by “personal moral failings” and deception of alleged victims.

In early 2015, Rolling Stone retracted a feature-length story on sexual assault at the University of Virginia after significant problems with the victims’ story were uncovered. Anecdotes like the UVA case are regularly used to discredit all claims of sexual assault, and undermine the larger movement to address the problem.

And that’s the side Katy Brown was on.

Since the UVA scandal, which resulted in the bill supported by Katy Brown’s FratPAC to “protect” alleged rapists on campus, other cases of extremely lenient sentences, like that of convicted Stanford University rapist Brock Turner, and more recently University of Colorado’s Austin Wilkerson, have moved public opinion back toward respect for victims and anger at a status quo that lets rapists walk free.

In a highly educated swing district like HD-3, Brown’s long record as a board member of FractPAC could be a very serious liability. The brief moment of glory the “men’s rights movement” enjoyed when the UVA story was retracted does not change the fact that sexual assault is a major problem on college campuses. As a longtime board member of FratPAC, Brown fought not just against cracking down on “rape culture” on college campuses, but also proposals against hazing pushed by the families of hazed dead students.

If this doesn’t take the shine off Brown’s fluffy-positive “crypto conservative” campaign, we don’t know what will.

Oops! J. Paul Brown Trips on 527’s Yard Sign

GOP Rep. J. Paul Brown, running for re-election in Southwest Colorado’s HD-59, was delighted last month to see one of “our” yard signs on display in the district:

brownmessage

The problem with Brown referring possessively to this sign as his own are the words you can barely make out in the lower right of this photo–where the sign says it is “not authorized by any candidate or any candidate campaign.” You see, this sign isn’t from J. Paul Brown’s campaign at all! It was paid for by a 527/IE organization registered in Brighton called Restore Colorado Business. And even in today’s Citizens United free-for-all world, keeping 527s separate from actual campaigns is important. As in, you know, legally important.

We’d hate to think that Brown recognized this sign because he was illegally coordinating with an “independent” 527. On the other hand, there are no laws against stupid.

Scott Tipton Attack On Gail Schwartz Over Coal Crash Crashes

UPDATE: From Gail Schwartz’s campaign via the Twitters:

—–

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton is feeling the heat from Democratic challenger Gail Schwartz, firing off a new attack ad against Schwartz meant to hurt her with pro-energy voters on the Western Slope.

The first problem is, it’s wrong:

“Unfortunately, Delta County, Colorado, has taken the brunt of Gail Schwartz’s tenure in the state Senate,” Tipton said in a press briefing. “Instead of representing her constituents, she did go to Denver and took her orders from someone else. She sided with climate alarmists in Denver and Aspen, pushing renewable energy policies that are directly responsible for the loss of over a thousand coal mining jobs and a 12 percent decrease in tax revenues in Delta County alone.”

Problem is, that bill, SB252, wasn’t about coal, at least not directly.

The bill doubled the state’s renewable energy standard for rural electric associations, meaning they had to generate at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. For-profit utilities in the state have a 30 percent standard.

As Ashby correctly reports, the Delta-Montrose Electric Association supported increasing the renewable energy standard in 2013, and has boosted its production via renewables exactly as was hoped when Senate Bill 13-252 was passed. As locals already know, Delta County coal mines have shut down for a variety of reasons, including fires and a global glut of coal on the market–not anything the legislature did. And it gets even worse:

Tipton also cited HB1365 for hurting the coal industry, which the Legislature approved in 2010. That measure called for converting some Front Range coal-fired power plants to burn natural gas instead, a bill Schwartz voted for that Tipton opposed.

Two prime sponsors of the bill were Western Slope Republicans Sen. Josh Penry of Grand Junction and then Rep. Ellen Roberts of Durango. [Pols emphasis]

As we’ve discussed previously, attacks on Gail Schwartz over the landmark Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act to convert coal-fired power plants along the Front Range to natural gas ignore that it was a bipartisan initiative that passed with heavy Republican support. The plan was passed in part to address declining air quality along the Front Range that may well have forced federal action, and the only people against it were in the employ of not the energy industry–but one small part of the energy business in Colorado (coal) in competition with a much larger energy business (natural gas). And natural gas, with both parties voting in unison, won the battle.

Talk-radio ignorance aside, everyone who understands the issues here knows these hits on Schwartz over the coal industry’s problems are bogus. Coal is in permanent decline as an energy source, just like horses and buggies made way for automobiles.

And that means it’s time for Scott Tipton to get some new material.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 9)

Get More SmarterThe 1-0 Denver Broncos look like they found their quarterback for the (near) future. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Republicans across the country are having trouble (again) with Presidential candidate Donald Trump, this time because of the GOP nominee’s proclivity for praising one Vladimir Putin. As Politico explains:

Donald Trump’s extraordinary embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his campaign on the defensive for a second straight day, coming after the Republican nominee praised the Kremlin strongman and appeared in an interview on a TV network backed by Moscow.

Trump’s warm words for Putin have raised the hackles of fellow Republicans and put his allies in the awkward position of claiming their party’s standard-bearer is not really praising the Russian leader. It has particularly alarmed the GOP’s hawkish national security wing, which hews almost universally to its longstanding view of Russia as an implacable foe of the United States.

Trump inflamed the situation Thursday evening by criticizing U.S. foreign policy during an interview broadcast on RT America, a television network owned by the Russian government that often toes the Kremlin’s line. He even dismissed U.S. officials’ concern that Russia may be seeking to disrupt the Nov. 8 election as “pretty unlikely,” though he went on to say that any such interference would be “inappropriate.” (Trump’s campaign manager said the interview was meant as a “favor” to host Larry King, whose show is syndicated and broadcast on RT.)

If we’ve learned anything from 1980s action movies, no American wants to be seen cozying up to the Russians. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” Trump’s political love affair with Putin may be the last best chance for Republicans to walk away from the GOP nominee:

It’s a totally inexplicable position for the Republican nominee to take.  Hell, it’s an inexplicable position for any politician in either party running for any office to take.  You can tell that in the tortured ways in which Trump’s backers within the GOP are trying to deal with his bromance with the Russian leader…

…This is not an issue in which Republicans can retreat behind the old Trump’s-the-nominee argument.  Trump isn’t speaking for the vast majority — or even a healthy minority — of voters within the Republican party. Backing a candidate who repeatedly flirts with Russia and its leader is not the sort of thing that you can just write off to being a good soldier for the party in the post-election analysis.

If you are a Republican elected official considering whether to jump off the Trump train, it’s now-or-never time.  You go along with Trump’s views on Putin’s Russia and you don’t get to run away from him if he goes down in flames over the next 60 days.

Colorado Republicans such as Rep. Mike Coffman and state Sen. Laura Waters Woods have missed their exit on Trump before…will they take this final off-ramp?

 

► Colorado House Democrats continue to significantly outraise their Republican counterparts, according to the latest campaign finance reports. 

 

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House Democrats Continue Outraising Republicans

We’ve been keeping track of fundraising numbers for state legislative races as they become available. In the latest round of available finance reports (through 9/6/16), Democrats continue to outraise Republicans by a significant margin.

For this round of reporting, we organized the numbers based on total contributions during the last reporting period (August, basically). As you can see from the chart below, 12 of the top 15 candidates are Democrats.

Note that these contributions and cash-on-hand numbers don’t necessarily match up for each race; some candidates have obviously already spent a sizable sum on direct mail or other forms of advertising.

house-fundraising-9616

 

Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 8)

Get More SmarterIt really doesn’t matter if you’re ready for some football, because it’s happening anyway; the Denver Broncos kick off the NFL season tonight at home against the Carolina Panthers. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► NBC News and talking puppet Matt Lauer hosted a “Commander-in-Chief” forum on Wednesday evening that was widely panned by critics because of Lauer’s apparent unwillingness to ask difficult questions of Republican candidate Donald Trump. From CNN Money:

The “Today” show co-host was criticized for spending too much time on Clinton’s emails, lobbing softball questions to Trump, and neglecting to fact-check the Republican nominee when he falsely claimed to have opposed the Iraq War in 2002.

“This #NBCNewsForum feels like an embarrassment to journalism,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on Twitter.

“Lauer has done great interviews. But that’s one of the weakest, least incisive performances I’ve seen from a presidential forum moderator,” tweeted Will Saletan, a writer at Slate.

Lauer’s journalistic indifference didn’t prevent Trump from making a number of questionable statements, however. As the Washington Post reports:

Donald Trump defended his admiration for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a forum here Wednesday focused on national security issues, even suggesting that Putin is more worthy of his praise than President Obama.

“Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said. “We have a divided country.”…

…He reaffirmed his view that having men and women serve alongside one another is the root of the military’s sexual-assault problem. He said recent intelligence briefings have convinced him that Clinton and other Obama administration officials did not heed the advice of experts. And he praised Putin, noting among other things the Russian president’s “82 percent approval rating.”

Trump’s comments are a problem for Republican candidates such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who face new scrutiny over whether or not they agree with Trump on foreign policy issues specifically.

Trump also made some bizarre claims about his visit to Mexico last week.

 

Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is confused by the word “Aleppo” (hint: it’s a big city in Syria).

 

► “This is the race of Coffman’s career.” That single quote is a pretty good summary of a CD-6 preview from Corey Hutchins of the Colorado Independent. Elsewhere, the Denver Post reports on Democrat Morgan Carroll’s first TV ad of the cycle.

 

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Jason Munoz Takes Aim At Clarice Navarro Over Trump

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

The Pueblo Chieftain’s Jon Pompia reports from this weekend’s Chicanos Against Trump rally in Pueblo–a story that steadfast Donald Trump supporter Rep. Clarice Navarro has to find at least a little troubling:

The day’s list of speakers included elected Democratic officials — City Councilman Larry Atencio, state Reps. Daneya Esgar and Joe Salazar — as well as political hopefuls, including Jason Munoz (Colorado House of Representatives for District 47) and Garrison Ortiz (board of Pueblo County commissioners, District 2.)

…As the challenger to incumbent Clarice Navarro, Munoz — a fifth-generation Coloradan — was critical of her support for Trump.

“My opponent is too busy flying to New York City to help Donald Trump get elected than to stay in the district to help solve the issues and problems our people face,” Munoz said. [Pols emphasis]

“I hope to encourage all of you to talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends, talk to everyone you can, and ask them to observe: who’s the better candidate, myself or my opponent?”

Ever since she emerged as one of Trump’s national go-to Latino apologistas, Rep. Clarice Navarro has done as much or more to put her House seat in play as anything her underdog opponent Jason Munoz has done. Munoz got off to a slow enough start in this race that he wasn’t really considered a serious challenger to Navarro until she raised her own profile by defending Trump on a national stage–but then outraised Navarro in the July reporting period. Navarro’s continued support for Trump, even after last week’s highly controversial address on immigration, is politically very hard to understand.

But if it proves to be her undoing on Election Day, there will be no denying that.

How You Like Donald Trump Now, Clarice Navarro?

SATURDAY UPDATE: Rep. Clarice Navarro responds–doubling down for Team Trump:

So be it, Representative. Let the record show she declined a life jacket.

—–

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Kurtis Lee, formerly of the Denver Post now writing at the Los Angeles Times, reports on the reverberations from Donald Trump’s much-discussed speech on immigration this week–a speech that has Trump’s supporters cheering, running for the exits, and/or some combination thereof:

Donald Trump has held photo ops with his National Hispanic Advisory Council and in recent weeks boasted about his increasing support from this crucial voting demographic.

But that was before his speech on immigration this week.

On Thursday, several who sit on the council announced their resignation, citing Trump’s refusal to truly listen to their views on immigration reform.

Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration lawyer who was a member of the council, said in a Facebook post that he gave Trump a plan that would “improve border security, remove hardened criminal aliens and most importantly, give work authority to millions of honest, hard-working immigrants” in the country.

“He rejected that,” wrote Monty, announcing his resignation from the council after Trump’s speech. “So I must reject him.”

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

The revulsion being expressed by many of Trump’s Latino supporters over his speech this week is notably not shared by his Colorado Latino surrogates even if they can’t bring themselves to fully embrace it–as Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner reports:

Colorado businessman Jerry Natividad, a state co-chair of Hispanics for Trump, said he and other Hispanic community leaders from across the nation were hoping to see a “very aggressive, but sensitive immigration reform package.”

“We didn’t see it” last night, Natividad told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.

Still, Natividad said he supports many — but not all — of the stances Trump has taken on immigration…

Natividad told CPR News a few months ago that he didn’t care for some of Trump’s rhetoric, but would vote for the Republican nominee after drinking a glass of bourbon.

Of particular interest is the response from a Colorado Republican lawmaker who has emerged as one of Trump’s go-to apologists with Latinos, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo. Navarro has been questionably vocal in her support of Trump while representing a heavily Latino district. Any comment on Trump’s speech, asks Kurtis Lee?

Last month, Trump held a roundtable meeting with members of the council, where they discussed creating jobs and the Republican presidential nominee’s plans on immigration.

Among those who attended was Colorado state Rep. Clarice Navarro, who said she left feeling optimistic about Trump.

“I’ve always felt he does care about the Latino community, and now it’s on us to get him elected,” she said at the time.

On Thursday, she could not be reached for comment. [Pols emphasis]

Latino supporters of Trump have broadly described a feeling of deep betrayal over Trump’s hard-line speech on immigration this week, except for some weird self-loathing stuff about “taco trucks on every corner” from the head of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierrez. Up to now, Navarro has practically dared her opponents to make Trump an issue in her race–boasting of her close contact with and him writing an op-ed in USA TODAY defending both Trump’s personal character and agenda.

Well folks, push has now come to shove.