BREAKING: Jon Keyser’s Epic On-Camera Meltdown

UPDATE #6: The Colorado Democratic Party is collecting reaction from around the country:

Elena Schneider – Politico – “Oh, wow.”

Alex Roarty – Roll Call – “one of the more painful interviews you’ll see this year”

Jack Fitzpatrick – Morning Consult –  “Man, there is a lot going on in this #COsenvideo”

John Frank – Denver Post – “must-see raw footage”

Kyle Clark – 9News – That was UGLY. Appears @Jon_Keyser thinks he doesn’t have to even halfway address allegations of forgery.

Seung Min Kim – Politico – Leading candidate for the most cringe-y interview by a Senate hopeful so far this year

Eric Bradner – CNN – “A bad look for the GOP #COSen candidate”

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UPDATE #5: We have the full transcript from Keyser’s horrendous interview with Marshall Zelinger of Denver7. Click after the jump to read in full.

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UPDATE #4: From the Washington Post:

Then things got weird. In a flash of recognition, he asks the reporter whether he was the one who “was creeping around my house yesterday?” The reporter confirms he knocked on Keyser’s door. Keyser says the reporter woke his kids up and then asks, “Did you get to meet my dog?” He then mentions how big and protective his dog is, to which Zelinger replies: “I don’t know what that meant, but okay.”…

…Here’s why we’re bringing this to your attention. Not even two weeks ago, we asked whether Republicans were blowing their chance to unseat Bennet, who is Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbent and one of Republicans’ best pick-up opportunities in a year they’re largely playing defense. But things hadn’t gone so smoothly for Republicans in Colorado. Recruiting problems. Ballot problems. A chaotic primary with no clear front-runner.

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UPDATE #3: We’ve updated The Big Line, and for the first time in Colorado Pols history, we’ve assigned a negative percentage to a candidate.

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UPDATE #2: Jon Keyser’s astonishing self-destruction today is going viral, with news outlets across the country picking up the story. It would take a miracle from several gods for Keyser to even be competitive in the June Primary (if he’s even still a candidate then).

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UPDATE: Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger just posted astonishing raw video of his questions for Jon Keyser at today’s debate. It is possible we have never seen a candidate implode this spectacularly in all our years of Colorado politics–no exaggeration.

How do you recover from that? He actually threatened Zelinger with his dog.

This man’s political career can be measured in hours, not days.

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Embattled U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser, facing a new request for a criminal investigation after Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger’s multi-day revelations of extensive fraud in Keyser’s primary ballot petitions, appeared at a Republican candidate debate this morning after hiding for days without comment on the rapidly developing scandal.

Today, Keyser was confronted on camera for the first time about the allegations.

And it was a disaster.

 

 

Keyser refused to answer any questions about these forged petitions, reciting the words “I’m on the ballot” and canned language about defeating Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. As FOX 31 reporter Joe St. George pressed the question, Keyser fell into a positively Mike Coffman-like robot repetition of rote talking points that had nothing to do with the allegations in any substantive way.

The event is still going on as of this writing, so we’ll update if any of the reporters in the room–we’re told that everybody is there, and for Keyser–manage to get more than this out of him. Or if there’s footage of him running through the parking lot. Or whatever happens next in this increasingly crazy story.

One thing we’re pretty sure is not happening is Keyser becoming a U.S. Senator. Ever.

 

Jon Keyser interview with Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger (5/12/16)

TRANSCRIPT

ZELINGER [2:49]: I’m going to ask you the same question you heard from the moderator. I’ve uncovered these forged signatures. What is your response to the voters who saw their names, and they tell me they didn’t write their names?

KEYSER [2:38]: Well, Mitchell, here’s the, here’s the thing–

ZELINGER [2:37]: It’s Marshall, but that’s OK.

KEYSER [2:36]: First name, Marshall? OK. Uh, Marshall, here’s the important thing: the important thing is that I’m on the ballot, OK?

ZELINGER [2:29]: What can you tell to the voter who said, “I didn’t sign this.” What can you tell that person?

KEYSER [2:26]: You know there’s — the Democrats are doing everything they can do to try to pile on, to try to make sure that I am on the ballot. They want to make sure that I am not the guy that’s facing Michael Bennet, because they’re scared. Look, I have been taking the bark of off Michael Bennet, and I haven’t even started yet. I haven’t even started.

KEYSER [2:10] I’m going to talk about the fact that Michael Bennet has failed Colorado on voting for Iran; on wanting to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States, probably right here to Colorado; that he’s voted against screening measures for refugees; that he’s doubled our national debt; that he’s supported Obamacare; that he’s voted with the president 98% of the time.

ZELINGER [1:52] Be that as it may, these voters tell me they didn’t sign the petition. What can you say to them?

KEYSER [1:46] Well Mitchel, they told you–

ZELINGER [1:45] Marshall.

KEYSER [1:44] Marshall, they, they told you that, but wait, were you the guy–

KEYSER [1:41] Hold on, were you the guy who was creeping around my house yesterday?

ZELINGER [1:38]: I knocked on your door.

KEYSER [1:37] Eh, ah — you woke up my kids. Yeah, you woke up my, my baby cried for an hour after that.

ZELINGER [1:32]: I apologize for that.

KEYSER [1:32]: (Talking over Zelinger) Did you get to meet my dog?

ZELINGER [1:31]: I met your dog and your nanny.

KEYSER [1:29]: My dog–

ZELINGER [1:29]: She was very kind. Your dog was kind.

KEYSER [1:28] My dog, my dog is — he’s great, he’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are — he’s huge. He’s a big, big guy. Very protective.

KEYSER [1:22]: Look: The p — here’s the, here’s the thing–

ZELINGER [1:20]: I don’t know what that meant, but OK.

KEYSER [1:19]: Oh. He’s a great, he’s a great, he’s a great dog.

ZELINGER [1:17]: His size. What did you mean by his size?

KEYSER [1:15]: Oh, he’s — have you seen him? He’s a Great Dane — he’s 165 pounds. He’s a good dog.

ZELINGER [1:12]: OK. So, back to the voters who told me their signatures were forged.

KEYSER [1:09] Yeah.

ZELINGER [1:07] I’ve counted ten so far. If there’s more, it’s possible you didn’t collect enough to really make the ballot.

KEYSER [1:01]: No, thats–

ZELINGER [1:00]: What is your response to that?

KEYSER [0:59]: I’m on the ballot. I’m on the ballot. There, there are people like you that have done the Democrats’ work — that have spent hundreds of hours on this. That’s not going to take away from the fact that I am on the ballot, and that I’m going to beat Michael Bennet.

ZELINGER [0:50]: And you have no qualms staying on the ballot?

KEYSER [0:48]: I’m gonna be on–I’m already on the ballot; it’s done. It’s done. You’ve spent hundreds of hours on this, and all kinds of different things, you know. Fortunately, we’ve got people that are willing to focus on the issues at hand — I am. I’m focusing on beating Michael Bennet, and I’m going to continue to focus on beating Michael Bennet, from now until November.

ZELINGER [0:32]: Well, let’s talk about the collector. The signature collector

KEYSER [0:30]: Yeah.

ZELINGER [0:30]: What do you know about what she might have done? Or who hired her — what can you tell me about them?

KEYSER [0:24]: Yeah, I–Again, as I’ve already told you. I’ve answered your question again, and again, and again. I’m on the ballot. It’s already been set, and I’m not going to let anything distract me from the fact that we’ve got to beat Michael Bennet, because 2016’s too important. It’s just too important.

ZELINGER [0:11]: Did you have any knowledge that any of the signatures were forged?

KEYSER [0:09]: I’ve answered your question again and again. Here’s the bottom line: I’m going to be on the ballot and I’m going to beat Michael Bennet in November. You can count on it. Thanks.

ZELINGER [0:01] Did you know that any of the signatures were forged?

*KEYSER WALKS AWAY*

 

 

49 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    Time for Keyser to spend some time with his family.

  2. flatiron says:

    All he had to do was blame the company he hired for letting him down while he was out serving his country on active reserve. Not a great defense but one that people might sympathize with. No one thinks these candidates go out and get 10,000 sigs by themselves.

    • It's an easy defense to make. Blame the contractor, or even the petition gatherer. We do actually understand that.

      Unfortunately for Keyser, acknowledging that there might be a problem with his signatures could get him kicked out of the race, because it's a total of 20 signatures between Keyser the US Senate candidate and Keyser the guy looking for a new job.

      • Craig says:

        He's getting some  very bad advice from his lawyers and his Washington handlers.  He needs to fire them all.  The answer's partly suggested above.  But he needs to say that he doesn't know anything about this, which he doesn't, and then he needs to say his petition gatherers were instructed to follow the law.

        If he's going to repeat himself, he just gets in trouble.  He should say it once and then move away from the reporter or ask for a question on a different topic.

    • Kvothe says:

      The other possibility is that he is totally complicit in this deception and if he denies involvement then there would be a criminal investigation when the truth comes out.  Better to look suspicious than to out right lie and then get caught.

  3. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Keyser fell into a positively Mike Coffman-like robot repetition of rote talking points that had nothing to do with the allegations in any substantive way.

    Not a very god comparison if you're making the point that his campaign will be over in hours. Not that I think Keyser will be but Coffman went on to get elected twice after that performance.

  4. PKolbenschlag says:

    Off to "hike the Appalachian Trail" 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Now, now, I think that's been done already. Until proven otherwise, Keyser is a good "family values" kind of guy. Unlike the former governor, and current congressman, from South Carolina who was partying down in B.A. with his Argentine "spitfire," while still married, instead of hiking on the A.T.

      For his one full year in the legislature, Keyser got a 43% rating from Conservation Colorado, which isn’t bad for an R.

      • TobiasFunke says:

        That's at least the second time I've seen that Conservation Colorado stat from you. Thing is, it doesn't make up for his regressive-as-hell stances on a bunch of other issues. 

        He's OK on the environment. What else ya got? 

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Whatever he pretended to be in his half-term in the CO House, you can bet your sweet ass the minute he'd get to Washington there would be a sit-down with his fellow-electeds, Koch, Inc. and the American Petroleum Institute in McConnell's office where they'd splain' 'how things work in the Republican caucus. 

  5. Republican 36 says:

    Mr. Keyser is blaming George Soros, liberals and Democrats for the problems with his petitions. I wasn't aware that Marshall Zellinger and Channel 7 News is part of the Soros organization, or the liberals or the Democrats.

    Mr. Keyser's answer to Mr. St. George of FOX 31 dug his hole deeper. Regardless of whether he was aware at the time the petitions were turned-in to the Secretary of State, he has to answer just one question:

           Does he know whether any of the signatures on his petitions were forged?

    Blaming George Soros, liberals and Democrats for insufficient petitions or forged and fraudulent names on those petitions, the petitions his campaign gathered and submitted to the Secretary of State is, at best, ludicrous.

    Mr. Keyser has now made integrity a front and center issue in the Republican primary campaign for U.S. Senate and its his integrity that's the main issue.

    If he had integrity, he would want to know whether someone, operating as an agent of his campaign, had forged signatures.

    If he had integrity and he found out someone on his behalf had forged signatures on his petitions, he would admit it – publicly and take the consequences.

    It may not mean much to some people but let us not forget that Mr. Keyser was a state representative and he is to this day a licensed Colorado lawyer.  When he took the oath of office as a state representative in January 2015, he swore to uphold the constitution and laws of Colorado.

    His oath as a lawyer requires the same and more. The oath specifically includes a promise that "I will employ only such means as are consistent with truth and honor." Avoiding Mr. St. George's question is inconsistent with that promise.

    The news media is certainly doing their job honorably and well. Its now time, past time, for Mr. Keyser to be forthright and honest with the voters of Colorado and way past time for Secretary of State Wayne Williams to investigate and take the appropriate action.

    • cpolind says:

      I believe that you're correct about the Secretary of State office being accountable for the simple fact that allegedly fraudulent signatures put Keyser on the ballot. The Secretary of State as you stated, however, doesn't think so. At least that's what I was told by their office.
       

  6. PKolbenschlag says:

    Watching the RightWing trolls at twitter: #copolitics is like being sloppy drunk at the laundry mat.

  7. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    As a Bennet supporter, I am absolutely terrified that we might face Keyser on the ballot. The voters would be laughing so hard, it's possible we'd pull the wrong lever by accident!

    • PKolbenschlag says:

      He has a dog, V. It weighs 160 lbs. 

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        I have two dachshunds, totaling 34 p[ounds between them, who will chase his mutt into another county.   Dachshunds don't know they are small!

        • gertie97 says:

          I'd take on a Great dane any day over two wiener dogs, V.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            You got it, Gertie.   Humans, if we see somebody two or three times our size, know enough to avoid conflict is possible.  Dogs don't depend much on eyesight, relying more on their great hearing and incredible sense of smell.  My Maguffin has a yuuge bark.  I've often seen him charge a 100 pound dog and seen that dog retreat.   Of course, I'm frantic to get him back before a fight starts because size does matter.  But Dachhunds — literally "badger hounds" — were bred to root badgers from their burrows-   Of course, they were bigger then, but still go psycho at the sight of another dog.  My daughter lived with us for a while and had an 80 pound and a 40 pound dog.  My 17-pound dachshunds bossed them both around routinely.  

            • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

              Our nephew and his wife have two dash-hounds and you're not kiddin', V. They can raise the dead with those barks and if those little guys get their jaws locked onto you, they'll never let go (that badger hound thing) . Maybe that's what Keyser is- a dachshund.

            • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

               I've often seen him charge a 100 pound dog and seen that dog retreat.  

              Many moons ago, the gardener at the Antlers motel in Glenwood Springs (who was a wizard, by the way) kept his very tiny Yorkie on the grounds. When we remodeled the place, the first encounter between that Yorkie and my Irish Wolfhound, Fagin ( on my Avatar ), was the stuff of movies. Somewhere there are a couple of snapshots of the melee (it was BS…Before Smartphones), but I couldn't tell you where. 

              Fagin didn't quite know what to do with that noisy little cat-sized thing snarling and yapping at his ankles. Dachshunds are equally ferocious….

              and um…sorry to continue the threadjacking.smiley

  8. Early WormEarly Worm says:

    Those two clips are painful to watch. He refuses to answer the questions and then says, "I've answered your questions again and again and again." That's cringeworthy.  He is sweating, stammering, talking way too fast, and his body language says "trapped animal."  On the ballot or not, he is toast.

  9. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    I thought pols was exaggerating that this was the worst on-camera meltdown ever.  But with the possible exception of Mario Rubio's tiny hands speech, this is a disaster par excellence.

     

     

  10. Republican 36 says:

    By the way, at least two times when Marshall Zelinger was interviewing Mr. Keyser today, Keyser said he has "peeled the bark off Michael Bennet." May I suggest Mr. Keyser look at his trunk. It appears all the peeled bark surrounding him is from his tree.

    • OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

      peeled the bark off…what the hell does that even mean? Exposed? Made vulnerable? Jesus, the man real is nothing more than "a noun, a verb, and I'm a combat veteran" with silly lines like that. 

      • Republican 36 says:

        It means to expose the truth about someone.

        In this case, Mr. Keyser has exposed a fundamental truth about himself. He has exposed one of his major character flaws. Fulfilling his ambition is more important than his integrity and the truth.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          "fulfilling his ambition is more important than…….."  Also sounds like Ted Cruz.

          • FrankUnderwood says:

            Yes, they are both ambitious but Lyin' Ted would not have had a meltdown like this. When flustered, he would have started talking about how he won't "fornicate with rats" or sharing some other such interesting and relevant information with us as a distraction. Ted can think on his feet…..

  11. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    "peeled the bark off Michael Bennet". 

    Hey..this fucker is trying to steal Zaps' thunder. He deserves to be pilloried.

  12. Diogenesdemar says:

    This was exactly the kind of primary meltdown we had anticipated …

    … from  Drümpf!  Thanks Jon!

    Negative big-line odds.  ROFL!

    Well, I'm off the liquor cartel store to see if I can stock up on some more popcorn …

  13. Diogenesdemar says:

    So, Moddy …

    … how's things?

  14. TobiasFunke says:

    Mitchell needed a liferaft to get out of there thanks to Keyser's flop sweat.

  15. Traveler says:

    The honor code for cadets at the US Air Force Academy is:

    "We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.
    Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably (so help me God)."

    Apparently Jon Keyser has forgotten this or thinks it's B.S. and is now living by the Democrat/Liberal/Progressive/Socialist mantra of … "The Law applies to Thee; Not to Me."

  16. JohnInDenver says:

    How did this guy go through military officer training, law school, and (presumably) some sort of candidate training and remain so clueless about how to answer questions?

  17. Republican 36 says:

    The Colorado Secretary of State has now spoken. He said only a district attorney can handle a criminal forgery case. That's true as far as it goes. Of course only a local DA could prosecute the petition carrier for forging names on Mr. Keyser's petitions but that doesn't relieve Secretary of State Williams from insuring that only candidates with enough valid signatures are placed on the primary election ballot. That is his duty and responsibility regardless of who has jurisdiction over a criminal act of a petition gatherer.

    If enough signatures were forged to take Mr. Keyser's total in CD-1 below the threshold requirement of 1,500, then his name should be stricken from the primary ballot. This is simple. If the names on the petition carried by one of Mr. Keyser's petition circulators were forged they are invalid and cannot be counted as valid by the Secretary of State. The evidence uncovered by Marshall Zelinger from Channel 7 News is staring Secretary Williams in the face. His attempt to characterize this as a criminal case is merely a means to cover his dereliction of duty.He needs to investigate and take the appropriate action based on the results.

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