Stupid NRCC Pet Tricks: Colorado Budget Edition

UPDATE: Another damning fact-check of a pro-Mike Coffman ad from 9NEWS today, this one based on false claims we discussed in this space last week:

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman hopes his latest television ad convinces voters his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, can’t be trusted.

The four-term incumbent’s 30-second spot claims Carroll – who works a personal injury lawyer at Bachus & Shanker — pushed bills “making it easier to sue doctors, small businesses, even nurses.”

Accusing a lawmaker of pushing legislation to line her own pockets is a serious claim, and the Coffman campaign doesn’t have the facts to back it up…

To support this claim, the Coffman campaign is pointing to Carroll’s vote against an earlier draft of the same good Samaritan bill in a committee hearing February 2006.

Carroll did vote against the bill in committee, but she voted for it when it came to the House floor.

Just like we said when we discussed the same attack on Morgan Carroll in a mail piece last week. But more interesting still is the response from Coffman’s campaign to 9NEWS:

Why no one takes fact checks seriously. [Pols emphasis]

And there’s a quote that needs to be in a mail piece, folks! Original post follows.


tom-mostlyfalseAlan Gathright at Denver7’s Politifact Colorado fact-checking outfit takes a look at a new National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) ad targeting CD-6 Democratic candidate Morgan Carroll over…well, it’s a little bit convoluted:

The dark, grainy ad begins with an image of the U.S. Capitol building and the narrator saying, “Washington has a spending problem — and Morgan Carroll would make it worse.”

“In the (Colorado) Legislature, Carroll racked up $11 billion in new spending, nearly doubling the state budget,” the narrator continues…

In this latest NRCC attack ad, the apparent goal is to hit Carroll for being a lawmaker of either party in the Colorado General Assembly. After all, the “$11 billion in new spending” they’re referring to is from the state budget, which is one of the most bipartisan exercises in Colorado politics today:

Lawmakers exercise most of their control over the state’s general fund, which was $9.6 billion in the 2015-16 fiscal year — or 38.4 percent of the overall budget.

Yet Carroll did vote for the Senate conference committee’s budget bill, which passed on a bipartisan 31-2 vote. What the NRCC ad doesn’t mention is that Republicans control the Senate — not Democrats like Carroll. [Pols emphasis]

Both Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Senate leaders praised the bipartisan collaboration on the $25 billion budget that was described as “reasonable, responsible and delivered on time,” by Sen. Kent Lambert, the Republican chairman of the the Joint Budget Committee.

Much like the mail piece we highlighted earlier this week attacking Carroll for voting against a bill she in fact supported ten years ago, this ad depends on the viewer not knowing anything about the state legislature–above all the fact that a majority of the budget is not under control of legislators at all, and the budget passed by Colorado lawmakers Carroll is under attack for was supported nearly unanimously by Democrats and Republicans alike.

In other words the ad is complete bullshit, and very deliberately so. Whoever brainstormed this ad knew enough about the process to find Carroll’s vote, which means they knew enough to know this ad is 100% wrong from letter to spirit. It’s worse when the totality of the falsehood is such that it’s impossible for it be an accident, and that’s the case here.

As always, here’s hoping the debunking spreads as fast and far as the lie.

Fat chance, we know.

Donald Trump is Still His Own Consultant

I'll take this much advice, please.

I’ll take this much advice, please.

UPDATE: The Trump campaign is apparently considering asking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to become Trump’s new “debate whisperer.” From CNN:

Such a move — should it happen — would reflect an understanding by Trump and his campaign leadership that the first debate went poorly. That sentiment was expressed to CNN by multiple sources close to Trump, even as the campaign urged surrogates Wednesday to argue publicly that Trump performed well Monday night.

Leading up to that debate, Trump’s prep sessions included a relatively large group of people, according to a source familiar with the sessions. Campaign chairman Steve Bannon was technically in charge, but in practice, Trump led them, according to sources.

Although Trump pushed Clinton hard on trade in the first 20 minutes of their debut debate, she took control after that, landing clean shots at Trump over his refusal to release his tax returns and his treatment of women — highlighting a former Miss Universe whom Trump had publicly cajoled to lose weight.

Trump was so awful on Monday that there’s really not much his campaign can do that would be strategically worse than how they prepared for the first debate. Still…asking Christie to be in charge here is sort of like hiring an electrician to fix your toilet.


As you may have heard, there was a Presidential debate this week. Democrat Hillary Clinton thoroughly trounced Donald Trump on Monday at Hofstra University in New York in a performance that was so lopsided Trump was trying to drum up a “broken microphone” conspiracy theory on Tuesday morning.

Trump is notoriously difficult to manage as a candidate and is prone to taking his own advice over the suggestions of…well, of anyone else, really. As The Daily Caller wrote in August, echoing a theme we have seen repeatedly this cycle:

Sources who were or are currently close to the Trump campaign tell The Daily Caller that Trump operates essentially free from advice, bringing into question how much — if any — influence these advisors have…

…In March, when asked who he talks to for foreign policy advice Trump replied, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”

Trump’s general aversion to taking advice is not new information, of course, but it may really be starting to cost him politically. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix”:

I’ve spent the past 20 months or so covering the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.  By now, I thought I had heard it all — from his penchant for insults and bullying to his decidedly unorthodox campaign style. I didn’t know it was possible for me to be shocked by anything he said or did in the context of this presidential campaign.

Then I read this paragraph in a terrific New York Times story headlined “New Debate Strategy for Donald Trump: Practice, Practice, Practice“:

The team had primed Mr. Trump to look for roughly a dozen key phrases and expressions Mrs. Clinton uses when she is uncertain or uncomfortable, but he did not seem to pay attention during the practice sessions, one aide said, and failed to home in on her vulnerabilities during the debate. [Pols emphasis]

Now. Go back and read that sentence again.  Done? Read it once more. It’s that important.

Donald Trump is one of two people who will be president next January. (Sorry Gary Johnson!) Monday night was, inarguably, the most important  day of the general election campaign to date. Every person in politics — and not — had circled the first debate as a major moment in the campaign, Trump’s best chance to fight back against the narrative that he lacks the policy chops and the temperament to be president of the United States.  The audience for the debate was expected to be somewhere between 80 and 100 million, the largest for a political event ever. (It wound up achieving that goal.)

All of these things pointed to the absolute necessity for Trump to perform well. And, what happened?  His debate prep team couldn’t get him to pay attention.  That is, literally, stunning. [Pols emphasis]

The next Presidential debate takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday October 9th. While it would seem obvious that Trump needs to do a better job in preparing for his next rhetorical battle with Hillary Clinton, there is little reason to suggest that he will change anything about his debate style between now and next Sunday. This certainly is weird, but then again, nothing about Trump’s Presidential campaign has had much to do with anything that we might consider “normal” in politics.

BREAKING: Hickenlooper Backs Minimum Wage Increase

THURSDAY UPDATE: Colorado Public Radio’s Rachel Estabrook reports:

In an interview with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, the Democratic governor said he is concerned that people making minimum wage now can’t afford to live in many parts of Colorado.

“I’m not sure there’s another way to help move more people out of poverty than to raise the minimum wage… I think in this country, if you work 40 hours a week, and you work hard, you ought to be able to afford an apartment somewhere,” Hickenlooper said.


That’s the late-breaking word from Colorado Public Radio via Twitter:

We’ll update with CPR’s interview tomorrow, but we figured readers would want to give feedback as soon as the word was out. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s support for Amendment 70, as a pro-business former bar owner, is a critical boost for the campaign to increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

And it’ll be a pleasant surprise to his Democratic base.

PPP in Colorado: Clinton 46%, Trump 40%, Johnson 6%, Stein 2%

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Public Policy Polling finally giving Colorado politics junkies what they’ve been dying to see since Monday night’s presidential debate–post-debate poll numbers.

And the numbers say Donald Trump lost more than the debate Monday night:

New Public Policy Polling surveys in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, conducted on behalf of VoteVets Action Fund, find Hillary Clinton leading in each state. Voters in all five states see Clinton as having been the runaway winner of Monday night’s debate, and they question Donald Trump’s temperament and preparedness for office.

Clinton has solid leads in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia- states seen as important to her path to 270 electoral votes- and modest leads in Florida and North Carolina, where wins would be indicative of a dominant overall victory in the Electoral College. If these results hold up, Donald Trump has no path to victory…

PPP’s full memo shows Hillary Clinton up by six points in Colorado, in a four-way contest including the Libertarian and Green candidates. Clinton is up seven points a head-to-head matchup. Excluding the minor parties puts Clinton over the finish line in Colorado, defeating Trump 51%-44%. It’s true that we don’t have a previous PPP Clinton/Trump poll to plot a trajectory from, but their polling has certainly proven accurate enough in previous elections to take seriously. And it’s consistent with other polls coming out showing a large swing to Clinton following Monday night’s debate.

So with that, the Trump “September Surge” is over. The overall trend toward a Democratic victory in November, disrupted in September by an upswing in indicated support for Trump as Clinton battled pneumonia and the greatest anti-Clinton smear campaign since the 1990s, may simply be back on track.

Assuming so, you’ll want to recalculate down the ballot accordingly.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 28)

Get More SmarterHappy National Drink Beer Day, Colorado! 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.


► The first post-debate poll of the presidential race shows an undeniable swing in support to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton:

Over the weekend, Morning Consult’s tracking poll put Donald Trump one point ahead of Hillary Clinton. After Monday night’s debate, it has the Democratic nominee leading by three.

In the post-debate survey of a four-way race, Clinton bests Trump 41 to 38 percent, while Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson claims 8 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein carries 4. In Morning Consult’s previous poll, Trump led Clinton 39 to 38.

A large plurality of the survey’s respondents saw Clinton as the winner of Fight Night at Hofstra, with 49 percent declaring the Democratic nominee the debate’s winner, including 18 percent of Republicans. Just 27 percent said that the angry man with the sniffles had carried the day. More critically, 9 percent of respondents said the debate had changed their minds about whom to vote for. Which is a rather large figure, considering the polarization of the electorate.

► Meanwhile, FOX News has found it necessary to issue a memo to their on-air talent reminding them that online “polls,” basically the only polls kind to Trump after Monday’s debate, have no scientific value. Yes, you already knew that. Donald Trump’s campaign and Sean Hannity did not.

► In Colorado, we’re waiting for post-debate polling to observe the extent of Clinton’s post-debate swing in our state. Trump is buying ads here, and Clinton is expected to resume full ad rotation soon.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


AG Coffman Shouldn’t Impede Colorado’s Clean Energy Future

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Yesterday the lawsuit to stop the President’s Clean Power Plan from moving forward began its oral argument in the court. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is the EPA rule that seeks to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the authority of the Clean Air Act.

The lawsuit is backed by some 27 state attorneys general, including Colorado’s Cynthia Coffman, and lots of fossil fuel and utility interests. Colorado Public Radio recently gave a rundown on the CPP and the lawsuit.

Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman signed on with about two dozen other states to challenge a key provision of the Obama administration’s fight against global warming. It seeks to reduce carbon emissions 32 percent by 2030.

Climate is in the news for lots of reasons. Based on all the election coverage and sideshow reporting it might be easy to forget that the world goes on, for instance pollution still happens, aside from all this.

Recent news we might tune into includes the conclusion by some scientists that our planet’s atmosphere passed the 400 ppm of CO2 for good—a threshold well past the 350 ppm that some have long tied to a planetary tipping point.

The International Business Times reports:

Now, scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory have revealed another sobering finding. This September — usually a month when the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their lowest levels in the northern hemisphere, the level of the greenhouse gas remained stubbornly above the 400 ppm.


This measurement all but ensures that monthly carbon dioxide levels won’t drop below 400 ppm any time in the foreseeable future.

Still the lawsuit and arguments are taking up a lot of the space for climate news. In the CPR story listeners learn that Colorado’s state leadership is split on the Clean Power Plan:


Trump Dumps Big Bucks On Colorado

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

Sandra Fish reports for Colorado Public Radio:

Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump returns to the airwaves this week with two weeks of ads scheduled.

Several Denver stations filed nearly $1 million in ad contracts with the Federal Communications Commission Monday and Tuesday…

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spent $2.3 million on more than 9,000 ads in Colorado during June and July. But her campaign hasn’t been on the air specifically in the state since, though the campaign aired ads nationally during the Olympics and is running some cable ads nationally.

The recent tightening of the polls in Colorado that provoked Donald Trump’s presidential campaign into a blitz of appearances last week is of course responsible for this new round of spending by his campaign. Polls nationally appear to be swinging back toward Hillary Clinton after Trump’s thumping in Monday night’s debate, but we haven’t seen post-debate numbers for Colorado specifically to know what the effect is here.

Either way, it’s a safe bet the Clinton campaign and supporting groups will follow suit. Game on, swing state!

The local television stations, anyway, are grateful.

Congressman Coffman’s “Community” Challenge

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmansmileEvery two years Democrats choose a challenger to go against Mike Coffman. Each time Mike has defeated these challengers in spite of real/perceived massive Democrat support. This year the Democrats sense there is an opportunity to finally achieve their goal because of the Trump candidacy and the consternation it has created.

If you have an opportunity to hear Mike speak he will tell you about the challenges of a Gerrymandered district that includes portions of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. The Democrat drawn district is meant to include a greater population of Democrat voters and fewer Republican voters to switch it to Democrat control. In his district Mike identifies the various communities. They include, Hispanic, Black, African, Ethiopian, Korean, White, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and others. The community that has the most influence that Mike doesn’t speak of is the Paul Ryan community.


Yes, Scott Tipton Voted Against Public Lands

A new ad today from the congressional campaign of Democrat Gail Schwartz, running for incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton’s CD-3 seat covering the Western Slope and parts of southeast Colorado including Pueblo, hits Tipton for his support for “selling off public lands.” The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports that Tipton’s campaign is most displeased:

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., is taking issue with his Democratic rival’s newest television ad.

In it, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz says Tipton wants to sell off public lands and make them available to private individuals and corporations.

That’s not even close to being true, Tipton said.

“I’ve been a longtime advocate of keeping our federal public lands and ensuring that the American people have continued access to them,” Tipton said. [Pols emphasis]

“Never once have I advocated to sell them off.”

In the ad, called “Public Lands,” Schwartz said Tipton “wants to cut off access to public lands for generations to come, killing thousands of jobs,” adding that the land should remain open for ranching, hunting and fishing.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

We’re a little confused about this report on Schwartz’s new ad–according to Ashby, Schwartz offered as justification for the claim legislation that doesn’t quite go the distance in terms of demonstrating Tipton’s willingness to sell off public lands. Because Ashby’s story doesn’t quote a bill number, it’s not so easy to figure out what he’s referring to.

But it really doesn’t matter–because in about five minutes of Googling, we found a recent vote from Tipton that proves Schwartz is right. On July 14th of this year, fellow Colorado Rep. Jared Polis offered this amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017:

Mr. POLIS. Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment, along with my colleague, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva), the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee.

The amendment is very simple. It offers a choice for those in Congress to make. It is a choice for Members to vote on whether we want to keep our public lands public or not. [Pols emphasis]

Very simply, my amendment says that none of the funds available through this bill can be used in violation of the law with regard to keeping our public lands public. This amendment would not undo anything or undermine any current congressional or administrative land exchanges that are done legally.

The amendment would, however, prohibit the use of funds in this bill to pursue any extra-legal ways to turn Federal land over to private owners through various things like a commission, or others that have been espoused…

I would point out that there are Members in this body–in fact, the chair of the authorizing committee in this general area–who speak regularly about privatizing our public lands, so there is a real threat. This is not simply something that comes out of nowhere. I think the peace of mind that we would get by including this kind of language in an appropriations bill would make it very clear that Congress supports the opinion of the American people, supports the economy in districts like mine, and wants to keep our public lands public.

Despite Rep. Polis’ advocacy on the floor of the U.S. House in favor of this amendment, it was defeated by the GOP majority on a 239-188 vote. One of the “no” votes against Polis’ amendment was the very same Rep. Scott Tipton who now says with great offense that he “has always supporting keeping our federal lands.”


We doubt this is the only such vote from Rep. Tipton that could be reasonably considered “against public lands,” but it’s a very clear example, as well as quite recent. The fact is that, whatever Tipton’s personal views may be, selling off public lands for private exploitation is a very popular cause among many of Tipton’s fellow Western Republicans. If Tipton has ever chosen to stand up to his “Sagebrush Rebellion” colleagues, it’s nothing we’ve seen break the surface in public.

And just over a month before the election, it’s too late now.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 27)

Get More SmarterHappy National Voter Registration Day! 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.


► The first Presidential debate of the 2016 General Election is in the books. After 90 minutes of debating at Hofstra University in New York on Monday, Democrat Hillary Clinton was the clear winner over Republican Donald Trump. We live-blogged Monday’s debate, so click here to check out the blow-by-blow action.

If you’re looking for more reaction from last night’s debate, most pundits agreed that Clinton walloped Trump. As the Washington Post reports, Trump is already making excuses for a terrible performance:

The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

Trump’s surrogates in the spin room were downbeat, and the candidate himself has already begun making excuses: “They gave me a defective mic,” he complained to reporters during a gaggle. “Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. I wonder, was that on purpose?” There was no clear problem with his microphone during the debate, Jose DelReal notes.

The only problem with Trump’s microphone on Monday was that it kept amplifying Trump’s actual words. For more on the debate, just use the Google; reaction is not difficult to find. You can also check out Politico’s five takeaways from Monday evening. The Associated Press also fact-checked some of the more notable comments from the debate.

Trump’s “stamina” attacks on Clinton fell flat on Monday in part because His Hairness was dealing with case of the sniffles.


► Aurora Democrat Morgan Carroll continues to hit hard at Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. Carroll’s latest TV ad ties Coffman to Trump with some very effective examples.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Morgan Carroll’s Latest Ad: Holy Crap

In an ad released today, Democratic congressional candidate Morgan Carroll takes aim once again at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump–with a new focus on how Trump’s rhetoric matches perfectly with Rep. Mike Coffman’s record:

Our humble website serves as the reference for one of the claims in this ad, that Coffman told bilingual voters to “pull out a dictionary”–which is correct and documented here.

Carroll’s ad last week attacking Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, and then tying Rep. Coffman to Trump, appears to have just been the beginning. This new ad takes a much deeper dive into Coffman’s record, establishing the commonality between Coffman and Trump in more tangible and harmful terms to Coffman than the last ad. It’s fair to say that in all the years of Coffman’s quest to hold on to a seat whose constituency completely changed out from under him with the last redistricting cycle, he has never been called out like this.

The other important dynamic to note here is how Trump has forced the “birther” issue back into the spotlight–doing so again during last night’s debate with his bizarre claiming of credit for “forcing” President Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate. For a politician like Coffman trying desperately to bury his related past misdeeds, every time Trump brings this issue back up is a new disaster. Especially with an opponent holding his feet to the fire (see above).

This is uncharted territory for Mike Coffman. And good reason to be afraid.

What Principles Allow Coffman to be Coffman?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s string of attacks against U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman raise questions again about what underlying principles motivate Coffman.

Tancredo now says he doesn’t know if Coffman, a Republican from Aurora, has “any real set of principles” at all.

But reporters haven’t really explored the question, about how Coffman can go from being, for example, opposed to all abortion, even for rape, to being okay with some abortions. Or from embracing Tancredo as a “hero” to apparently ignoring Tancredo’s criticism of him. Or from saying the Dream Act is a “nightmare” to allegedly supporting it.

It’s time for reporters to help us understand the set of principles that allow Coffman to act this way.

To illustrate the point, I offer this video.

Tuesday Open Thread

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

–Mark Twain