New Gardner Ad Keeps Contraception “Distraction” Top of Mind

UPDATE #2: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols:

While Gardner disavowed Colorado’s personhood initiative earlier this year, he remains a sponsor of the federal version of the same policy, the Life Begins at Conception Act, which would ban common forms of birth control and abortion. [Pols emphasis]

“Congressman Gardner will do anything to hide his backwards agenda from Colorado women,” said Udall for Colorado spokesperson Kristin Lynch. “The undeniable fact is Gardner continues to push radical, anti-woman measures that would ban common forms of birth control. One 30-second ad doesn’t make up for that.”

The Udall campaign Tuesday also pointed to an amendment to the state budget Gardner sponsored as a state lawmaker in 2006 that sought to prohibit the state Medicaid program from purchasing Plan B emergency contraception.

“Spending taxpayer dollars on a non-physician oversight use of Plan B pills is something we must consider,” Gardner said during the floor debate on the amendment, which failed…


UPDATE: ThinkProgress:

Udall has pointed out that while over-the-counter birth control is a good idea to expand access, it must still be covered by insurance. Some experts say the new Republican push to move it over the counter is an attempt to undercut Obamacare’s contraception coverage guarantee.

Gardner first announced his support for over-the-counter access in a Denver Post op-ed in June, in an apparent attempt to set himself apart from “too many Republicans [who] are afraid to break the mold.” In a similar vein, his campaign released an ad Monday in which Gardner, a climate change denier, uses a wind farm as a backdrop to express his support for alternative energy sources.

But Gardner’s extreme right-wing record has been hard to shake. He’s had to disavow his former support to the Colorado “personhood” measures that would have banned abortion and some forms of contraception. As a member of Congress, he voted against measures to require insurance companies to cover birth control and to allow pharmacists to prescribe emergency contraception. He’s also stood against a bill to help poor women on Medicaid to get birth control…


The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports on GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner’s latest TV spot:

Congressman Cory Gardner has borrowed a page from Sen. Mark Udall by unveiling an ad aimed at women — in this case, the availability of birth control.

“What’s the difference between me and Mark Udall on contraception? I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock, without a prescription — cheaper and easier, for you,” Gardner says in the spot, as various women nod their heads.

“Mark Udall’s plan is different. He wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your healthcare plan. That means more politics, and more profits for drug companies. My plan means more rights, more freedom, and more control for you — and that’s a big difference.”

Although abortion and birth control is an issue that Gardner’s campaign has routinely dismissed as a “distraction,” devoting a TV spot entirely to it proves otherwise. There’s little question at this point that heavy Democratic attacks on Gardner’s position on reproductive choice has severely damaged his chances of unseating Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. It should be noted again that Gardner invited choice as a central issue in this campaign when he dumped the Personhood abortion bans soon after entering the Senate race, claiming he “didn’t know” they could also have banned common forms of so-called “abortifacient” birth control. Gardner’s acknowledgement of that potential consequence has in turn led to controversy over his continuing sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act–legislation that experts and fact-checkers alike say would have the same consequences as the state Personhood abortion ban Gardner has disavowed.

What’s the way out of this conundrum for Gardner? Like Republican strategist Katy Atkinson said–“muddy it up enough to take it away from Udall.” Gardner is hoping a combination of misdirection, faux surrogate outrage, and media complaisance will carry him through November.

As for this ad, it either means Gardner is upping the “muddy up” ante, or it isn’t working. Or both.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Of course it's not going to be cheaper than a covered prescription and there will be no monitoring to keep an eye on possible negative side effects. Either this goes over like a lead balloon with the base birth control pills are abortifacient crowd or they just assume he's lying to get elected which is fine with them but won't raise the trust level of the women he's after. Or maybe it just both pisses off the base and fails to gain votes outside of it.

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      I think it'll be the last one B.C. The base will still vote for him but he'll get grief over "caving in" on contrception at all. Left leaning voters already don't trust him as far as they can throw him. I guess he's trying to win the mushy middle by baffling them with b.s. since he sure can't dazzle them with brilliance.

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        Something else that's bothering me about this, and yes,  I've bitched about it before; when they say O.T.C. do they really mean "over the counter" as in, one must ask the pharmacist for it or do they mean "off the shelf" like asprin? It's probably the former, but with our sloppy American language one can't be certain.


        • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

          Over the Counter refers to the availability for purchase without prescription.  There are other restrictions, however, that cause pharmacies to hold OTC meds behind the counter rather than on the shelves.  For example,state restrictions on the amount of pseudoephedrine that can be purchased or drugs like Plan B (as originally approved) which was available without prescription to women or girls 17 and over but only with prescription to girls younger than 17.

          • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

            I  still think we need a third designation. Off The Shelf or OTS for drugs that require no interaction with a pharmacist. And at what point, while asking the pharmacist "which formula is right for you" is she practicing medicine? I see a fine line, easily crossed here. 

  2. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    I don't know what kind of advice Gardner is getting that makes him think this is a good way to differentiate himself from Udall, but remember that making the Pill available over the counter does the same for the morning after pill.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Exactly. Wonder what his answer will be if some non-slug reporter asks w him what he thinks about the faxt that anyone can use  birth cotrol pills for morning after pills.

    • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

      I thought Plan B was already available OTC.

      • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

        At $35-60 a pop.  Generic OCP's: ~$4.

        • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

          Right, but you said, "remember that making the Pill available over the counter does the same for the morning after pill."  I'm arguing that the latter is already true.  Nothing I've seen Gardner say has anything to do with OTC cost or brands vs. generics.

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          Udall's people should emphasize the practical aspects of Gardner's "over the counter" proposal. People understand the difference between paying $60 OTC and paying nothing, or a $5 copay, for contraception.

          At this point, who really cares about Gardner's Personhood Pretzel Poses? As R36 says, he's lost credibility. But women get that he wants  them to pay more for birth control they get now for little or nothing.

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        His base certainly doesn't approve of OTC morning after. So let's make him say right out loud that he's fine with OTC morning after, as would have to be the case if he'd like to see OTC birth control pills in general.  I'd like to see reporters quit helping him in his efforts to be all things to all people without forcing him to get specific. And doesn't he still support federal personhood? I'd like to see reporters ask him what specific wording in the federal amendment allows him to support it while also opposing the state level personhood amendment and supporting OTC birth control. 

  3. Republican 36 says:

    Gardner is Undermining His Credibility with This Ad – Again

    This ad may be the final undoing of Mr. Gardfner. On the one hand, he endorses the sale of contraceptives over-the-counter without a prescription and on the other, he remains the cosponsor of the federal Personhood amendment that would outlaw contraceptives. How can he favor the sale of a medication he wants to outlaw?

    One thing is for sure, the truth has badly damaged Mr. Gardner's chances of winning this election. Here we are, six months after his announcement for the U.S. Senate and only six weeks before voting begins, and the debate still focuses on women's rights, including abortion. And Mr. Gardner is still the issue. Suddenly, less than six months ago, Mr. Gardner threw everything he has stood for during his entire political career on the choice issue under the bus. He has spent years promoting the idea that Congress should pass a law making contraceptives and abortions illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.

    He would have been far better off admitting he is anti-choice but simultaneously stating that he wouldn't pursue anti-abortion legislation, including anti-contraceptives legislation, becuase he understands in Colorado the voters overwhelmingly are pro-choice. Instead, he is now for the sale of contraceptives over the counter, some of the same ones that cause what he believes are abortions that should be outlawed, while simultaneously supporting legislation to outlaw those contraceptives. Wow! 

    At this point, it doesn't matter whether you're a conservative, a moderate, a liberal or a Republican or Democrat, how can anyone believe anything Mr. Gardner says about any issue.

    And by the way Mr. Gardner, have you made public the redacted information about that cancelled health insurance policy you refused to make public last week. All voters want to know is whether you have your facts straight – that's all.  Why not let them decide for themselves?

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      …and the deception evolution continues.  Well played…a natural gas ad masquerading as 'green energy' pep rally.  Let's be clear.  The three things that caused the $6 billion in wind farms across the eastern plains to be developed were: 1) 2004's Amendment 37 (Gardner opposed), 2) the raising of that 10% by 2015 standard to 20% in the early Ritter years.  Gardner?  Opposed.  3) the 30% standard under the same Ritter administration?  Opposed. 

      He really does want you to believe that somehow these kinds of developments would have just magically happened in our glorious free market monopolistic energy sector without public policy intervention.

      • Republican 36 says:

        Credibility, Credibility, Credibility

        Michael, thank you for pointing this out. I had not seen this ad from Mr. Gardner but as you point out, he has always been against renewable energy, inclduing wind farms and now suddenly he's in favor of them and all other forms of reneable energy. Mr. Gardner opposes and favors every position on every issue.

        I just don't see how anyone can believe a word he has to say. He simply can't tell the truth.

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          Had a very interesting conversation witha local here last week.  Apparently Cory has been taken back on how people just won't let go of his record.  He can't understand why they don't understand that he had to take those positions to get elected!  He really didn't mean it…don't they understand that playing to the RWNJ is part of the gig? And that he would/does say/do anything in an attempt to get elected?

          BTW (in case you missed it), his BFF just announced his new gig…..

          Like mangy cats … they always manage to land on their feet.

          Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was one of Wall Street’s strongest advocates in Congress. As a member of the House Financial Services Committee charged with overseeing Wall Street he fought for the bailout of the Street, to retain the Street’s tax advantages and subsidies, and water down the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. Now, just two weeks after resigning from the House, he has joined the Wall Street investment bank of Moelis & Co., as vice chairman and managing director, starting with an $800,000 base salary and bonus and $1 million in stock.

          Not surprisingly, Cantor will run the firm’s Washington office, opening doors and keeping the congressional largesse flowing. Cantor explained, “I have known Ken [the bank’s CEO] for some time and … followed the growth and success of his firm.”

          Exactly. They’ve been doing business together for years.

          (quoted from Robert Reich)

          • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

            So he went with the bankers. I figured it would be them or K Street. Guess they gave him the best deal. Guess the financiers gave him the best deal. Payback for bailing them out.

  4. SocialisticatProgressicat says:

    I, Cory Gardner, believe that the pill should be available over-the-counter.  Ingesting it, however, over-my-dead-body.

  5. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I know no one here wants to hear this but… these ads could be very effective. If Cory turns the argument into should they be over the counter then they're both pro-birth control and are arguing over how best to deliver the medicine. And at that point it is no longer a major differentiator.

    The fact that you know and I know that Cory is no friend of women's choice is irrelevant – this approach could well have him viewed as ok by the low info voters.

    • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

      I think he already had the (and I hate this term, because it applies equally to both poles of the political spectrum) "low info voters."  They already either don't care or support uterocentric legislation.  This is a play to confuse middle roader women that he's not really the enormous threat he is to their reproductive rights.

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        Dems need to keep asking him about the specifics. Why does he still support the federal personhood amendment? When he says it's because it doesn't ban birth control ask him what kinds of birth control he considers abortifacient and wouldn't it still ban those if a fertilized egg has full rights? What kinds of birth control does he believe are in no way abortifacient and therefore would be allowed? Is he saying by promoting OTC birth control pills that he does not consider birth control pills to be abortificient or does he  agree with those who say they are and support their OTC sale regardless? Does he consider the morning after pill aborticient and if so does he nonetheless agree with it's sale OTC? 

        There is no way he can answer these questions without tying himself up in knots. So far he's just being allowed to say whatever he wants, including that federal personhood wouldn't interfere with birth control without getting specific as to why that's so in the federal but not in the state.  Dems just need to make him say, right put loud, exactly where he stands on the specifics.

        • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

          I think those are all valid questions, but they are far too lawyerly for the sort of discussions we can have in a political campaign.  I think it's far easier to do something like ask him if he will amend the legislation he is sponsoring to ensure that all currently available methods of birth control will still be legal in order to solve objections from the scientific and legal communities.  If he says there's no need to amend the bill, just remind him, as with the Bill of Rights, it never hurts to make sure by wiriting it into the contract.

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:

            I disagree.You're solution sounds pretty lawyerly too. The difference is the questions I propose are the kind that will, in our beloved modster's favorite phrase, have him tripping all over himself and, in the process, probably producing nice convenient, contradictory little soundbites that can be used against him in ads. With his trying to have it every which way at once we could get soundbites for ads appealing to pro-choicers and sound bites for ads that could be presented as coming from groups that are concerned about conservative social issues (the way their side makes up names to sound like they care about a healthy environment, safe energy production etc) to aim at the segment of the anti-choice crowd that would go so far as to refuse to vote for either candidate or vote for some even wackier third party candidate. 

            Both sides have won more than one election with an assist from sound bite ready gaffes made by the other side. Remeber the 47% loser/taker gaffe?

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            Heh. I combined your questions and posted them in DP comments on Lynn Bartel's story about the ad.  Feel free to pile on. 

  6. Charlie3637 says:

    Gardner is definitely trying to muddy the waters. However, women who currently get insurance co pay help with BC will see through this ploy.  The full cost of purchasing OTC birth control without insurance help is a significant economic factor for women. Every month, full cost of BC instead of getting insurance co pay. This is not like claritin or acid reflux meds, where you purchase as needed. This a regular, monthly expense for women that adds up over the course of the year. Udall needs to drill that into minds of voters.  Gardner is so transparent in his never ending quest to win a Senate seat in a purple state. Problem is, it isn't going to fly with women. Clearly, this ad shows that the Gardner camp is very concerned with the effectiveness of the Udall attack on Gardner stance on personhood and womens issues.  This ad is very telling that the CG camp has decided they need to try and engage to stop the damage.  


  7. dean.barnettdean.barnett says:

    If it was a good idea, wouldn't you think some of Mr Gardner's Conressional colleagues, like Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R-GA-11), an OB GYN doctor, would weigh in on the benefits of OTC hormonal birth cntrol?

  8. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    If you are explaining, you are losing…..I support an "all of the above" approach.

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