(Bumped into Thursday for self-evident reasons – promoted by Colorado Pols)
THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Veterans’ advocacy group VoteVets.org has launched an online petition, calling on signers to tell Rep. Mike Coffman that “Veterans don’t use their service as an excuse to smear the Commander-in-Chief.” From their open letter:
American exceptionalism means holding our country to a higher standard. Without a doubt, President Obama’s policies and actions reflect a belief that, as Americans, we must lead the world by example. That includes showing respect for other countries, cultures and religions, building alliances when we can, but also striking at those who do us harm – like Osama bin Laden.
What undermines American exceptionalism is comments such as yours, Congressman Coffman. You have undermined our politics and our democracy – the very foundation of what makes American great. What is worse, you used your service in the Marine Corps as an excuse to make those attacks on the Commander-in-Chief. Such statements are a disgrace to those who have worn the uniform.
Congressman Coffman, stop using your Veteran status to smear the patriotism of the President who ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, took thousands of troops out of harms way and has nearly doubled the Veterans budget. If you truly believe in American exceptionalism, start by leading by example when it comes to our democracy and political debate.
THURSDAY UPDATE: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols with reactions today:
State Rep. Joe Miklosi, the Democrat challenging Coffman, issued a statement blasting Coffman’s “extremism.”
“These outrageous comments once again make clear that Mike Coffman is Colorado’s version of Rush Limbaugh,” Miklosi said. “This kind of extremism is why Washington doesn’t work.”
“Mike Coffman has shown an offensive lack of respect for the Office of the President and has done so simply to score political points,” Miklosi continued. “This kind of rhetoric is beneath his office and has no place in politics.
“Disagreeing with the President is one thing but to accuse the Commander in Chief of being un-American is simply shameful. Its this kind of behavior that causes so much dysfunction in Washington and it needs to stop.”
9NEWS breaks this evening…um, really not good:
At a May 12 fundraiser at the Elbert County Fairgrounds, [Rep. Mike] Coffman wrapped up a 12-minute speech to donors with an unprompted discussion of President Obama’s citizenship and national identification.
“I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that,” Coffman said. “But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.” [Pols emphasis]
After a short pause, which Elbert County Republican Chairman Scott Wills recalled as “deafening silence,” Coffman was met with applause, tentative at first…
Coffman issued a written apology Tuesday evening.
“I misspoke and I apologize,” the statement began. “I have confidence in President Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States.”
Folks, we honestly don’t know how you’re supposed to walk this back. This isn’t some merely unfortunate turn of phrase like “hugging the tar baby,” this is a sitting member of Congress flat-out saying the President of the United States is “just not an American.” Whether or not he was born in America, and for good “birther” measure, Mike Coffman makes it clear he wasn’t present at Kapi’olani Hospital on August 4, 1961 to know if Barack Obama was born there.
Okay? Coffman didn’t “misspeak.” Like Jessica Peck’s vow to “help” Coffman’s election with her nonprofit, it’s just a case of dropping one’s filter with a recording device rolling.
It should go without saying that this is politically very bad, except perhaps for somebody running in Tom Tancredo’s old district. Which, as we’ve tried to warn Coffman, doesn’t exist anymore.
This may be the moment Coffman finally learns that lesson.