“Cinamon, What Else?”

We weren’t the first to ask the questions, but they’ve been simmering for awhile–why does the campaign of GOP Senate candidate Jane Norton feel the need to control access to her so tightly? Why is the starkly limited access to Norton by the media, when it occurs at all, so scripted? Why are surrogates like Josh Penry doing all the talking instead of Norton?

Today’s excellent feature story by the Denver Post’s Allison Sherry helps answer:

Welcome to the new Jane Norton campaign for U.S. Senate. Her edges are sharpened. She’s asking for money everywhere. And she takes every opportunity on even the smallest of stump stops to whack her chief GOP opponent.

It’s a Norton, observers say, acting like she is actually in the middle of a heated primary.

“She has needed to do a better job of presenting her own conservative credentials,” said former Gov. Bill Owens, a supporter…

Though she says she relishes the meet-and-greets, she is seemingly still getting on her feet.

On her Eastern Plains trip, she regularly turned to staff or prominent volunteers, such as former state Sen. Mark Hillman, to help her through questions from voters.

At the Wray coffee shop, Norton was asked why she was a better candidate than Buck.

“I’m true to conservative principles, and we need people who will have broader appeal,” she said, glancing at staffer Cinamon Watson, sitting at a table nearby. “Cinamon, what else?”

In a telephone town hall later that day, Norton crouched in a Burlington motel room and took questions from more than 2,000 people who listened in. After responding, she often asked Penry – who was on the line from Denver – whether he could add anything.

Folks, this is a very bad story for Jane Norton. As we said yesterday, these attacks on opponent Ken Buck as an “ole-boy insider” are absurd and eyebrow-raising hypocritical. But today’s story reveals more: possibly the most in-depth look at her campaign that voters have read so far, this is a portrait of a thoroughly vacuous candidate, relying on slogans and superficial impressions to win. The idea that a U.S. Senate candidate has to turn to staff to help articulate her appeal, having nothing but two completely meaningless–not to mention contradictory–jingles to offer herself when asked why she deserves support over Buck? And people wonder why Buck is erasing Norton’s lead in the latest polling?

This is what Norton’s handlers didn’t want the voters to see outside of small, friendly “Tea Party” groups she is trying desperately to win over, but there was no way to conceal it forever. We see growing parallels to the ’08 candidacy of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president–so much anticipation and fear, but then they let her talk without a script.

42 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ralphie says:

    If she has to use surrogates to answer questions from the voters, that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

  2. Ah Choo says:

    Say it ain’t so. That would make him the most insidery of insiders.  

  3. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    It’s funny, I always figured I was one of the safest people to interview a candidate – because I just ask them to tell me what they’re going to do and why. As many have complained here – I’m way too gentle.

    But if a candidate can’t answer that basic question – that would make the interview quite painful – for both of us. And make their vacuousness(?) quite clear.

  4. H-man says:

    (About what to write on their hands when they campaign)  

    The reason you should vote for me?  Canamon? Josh? Anybody?  

    That’s a trick question?


    • BlueCat says:

      what Palin lacks in IQ points and knowledge she makes up for with self-confidence, looks and personality that the right goes nuts over. Norton combines Palin vacuity with none of the above.  

      Bennet is clearly very smart but generating excitement is not his strong suit. If Norton survives she’ll not only be caught looking dumb as a post on numerous occasions (that never hurt GW), she’s also so incapable of generating any pizzazz, Bennet certainly won’t look duller by comparison.  Dumb and charisma free is not  a good combo for beating an incumbent. And sorry AR fans, Bennet is a foregone conclusion.

      • H-man says:


        Assume you are right on Bennet getting through and assume that Buck get’s through and further assume that the money roughtly equals out in the general, what are your thoughts?

        The dynamics are different.

        • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

          Bennet vs Buck will give us two thoughtful intelligent individuals who are both very willing to dive in to specifics. They’re going to beat the snot out of each other on substantive policy differences.

          In other words, it will be democracy at its best.

        • BlueCat says:

          opponent than Norton but mainly because I see Norton as weak and slipping.  Still think Bennet wins but not by a large margin and not without a strong GOTV.  Have confidence in Bennet campaign’s ability to get it done. I’m a Bennet delegate to state and the calls and e-mails reminding me to get my butt over there have been very high volume. They have whips, greeters, etc. lined up and charged up.  The petition on top of Assembly route is part of the drive. As for money, Bennet has enough to compete with anyone.

  5. ClubTwitty says:

    and get back to ya


  6. caroman says:

    Darn, you beat me to it.  That was the funniest quote in response to a softball question about why Norton is a better candidate than Buck.  She cites two things and then says, “What else, Cinamon?”

    And, this does play into the whisper campaign that Norton’s just not that smart.

    Maybe she needs a hand prompter, a la Palin.  Be sure to check her palms from now on.

  7. BlueCat is quite right-Norton can’t pull it off if she looks clueless (as opposed to Palin who acts confident even if she’s full of it). And boy, does she look like a deer in the headlights.

    And since perception is reality in this game, Norton’s drip, drip, drip of nothing but dithering is bringing her down, down, down.

  8. pistol says:

    At least we know her policy advisors, unlike many other candidates.  Norton’s campaign strategy has veered dramatically since the firing of Cummings/hiring of Penry; remains to be seen if it gains traction. If she is still getting up to speed on specific policy issues, now is the critical time while the vast electorate is not paying much attention.

  9. I’m sure there are a lot of U.S. Senators that don’t have a clue as to what is going on so they rely on policy advisers.  Norton would be no different.  

    Of course, she has to know a little about something to get elected because she can’t look over at Cinamon or Penry in the middle of a debate to ask them what she believes.  

    • Early WormEarly Worm says:

      bring Cinamon into the job interview to explain why she is the best person for the job.  “What do you think of the latest proposals in the Iranian nuclear negotiation?  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”  Fine answer.  “Why should I vote for you?  Cinamon, can you answer that?”  Not going to work.

    • pistol says:

      Like you, I am always amazed at the lack of knowledge by senior elected officials, often in arenas one would expect greater expertise. There is no platform for personal policies in all matters the electorate demands, hence the constant reliance upon advisors; in Norton’s example, at least they are transparent and she appears open to differing viewpoints. That is refreshing

    • sxp151 says:

      If you’ve got a few decent one-liners memorized, there is absolutely no reason to ever say what you believe in a debate. Or even to believe anything.

      There were people who thought George W. Bush won his debates. No, seriously. There were even people who thought Sarah Palin won her debate.

      Acting like you’re all into “knowing facts” and “analyzing events” is poison in a political debate.

      Norton could win a debate by answering every question with the phrase, “Well I don’t know much about x, but I do know one thing: your taxes are too high!”

  10. redeye says:

    Josh posted a whiny statement for her on her fb page.

    Jane Norton Another leading conservative backs Norton. ColoradoPols will no doubt say this is good for Ken Buck. It’s Ok liberal bloggers. We’re glad you’re rooting against us.


    http://blogs.westword.com/late… hours ago via Facebook for iPhone В· View Feedback (5)Hide Feedback (5)4 people like this.

    So now Jane Norton can’t even post her own Facebook entries? Yikes…

    about an hour ago В· Flag

  11. colawman says:

    To be fair to Norton, we need to examine the context of the Q & A. She was asked a difficult question. It was obviously a setup. Granted, it is a question always asked in employment interviews, promotion interviews, scholarship interviews, pageants, etc. etc. But the Denver Post set her up! They knew Norton would be unprepared for the fastball high and tight.

    I believe it was an honest and sincere attempt to be responsive.  What is telling; Cinamon obviously was stumped by the question as well!

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