Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 25)

Get More SmarterIt was darn near…chilly this morning. 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.

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► Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is apparently a big supporter of “Official English.” When he was a Member of Congress, Pence was a frequent co-sponsor of legislation designed to make English the “official” language of the federal government. Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has also regularly co-sponsored “Official English” legislation.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump will stop in Aspen today for a fundraiser hosted by prominent Colorado Republican Larry Mizel. Meanwhile, new polling from Pew Research suggests that the majority of Americans are not big fans of Trump’s immigration policies. From the Washington Post:

Large majorities of those surveyed said they believe that undocumented immigrants fill jobs U.S. citizens don’t want, are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens and are no more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes — sound rebukes of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration.

Even some of Trump’s own supporters reported positive views of undocumented immigrants on some issues. They expressed negative views of undocumented immigrants on other issues, including whether undocumented immigrants commit more violent crimes than U.S. citizens.

A majority of those surveyed also rejected one of Trump’s signature policies: building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has vowed to get Mexico to pay for the wall, and the proposal has become such a big part of Trump’s presidential campaign that supporters chant “build the wall” at his rallies.

It’s no wonder that Trump is sorta kinda walking back some of his rhetoric on immigration reform.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 23)

Get More SmarterOn this day in history…it turns out not much happened. 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.

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Congressman Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign is mashing the panic button. On Monday, Coffman’s campaign started attacking Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll with bizarre claims that she is not a supporter of immigration reform; in 2013, in fact, Carroll was a co-sponsor of the ASSET bill in Colorado, also known as “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” Of course, it is Coffman who has been wishy-washy on immigration issues throughout his entire career, and Monday’s blatant attempt to confuse the issue was another indication of Coffman’s political worries this election cycle. 

Perhaps Team Coffman is lashing out in anger over the fact that former CD-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo — a man Coffman once called his political “hero” — is making a point to dump on Coffman whenever possible. On Monday, Tancredo clarified earlier statements that he might consider voting for Carroll (though he doesn’t actually live in CD-6 anymore) while making sure to rip Coffman again. “I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Mike Coffman,” said Tancredo in an interview with Jason Salzman.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is sorta-kinda taking a new approach to the issue of illegal immigration. As the Washington Post reports:

After spending a few days reflecting on his immigration stances and consulting with Hispanic supporters, Donald Trump on Monday detailed how he would deal with the millions of immigrants illegally living in the United States: Enforce laws that are already on the books and continue to do what President Obama is doing, although “perhaps with a lot more energy.”

This strategy marks a sudden change for the Republican nominee, who has presented himself as a politically incorrect outsider who is not afraid to take extreme measures to combat illegal immigration, such as deporting 11 million people or constructing a massive wall along the Southern border. For more than a year, Trump insisted that all illegal immigrants “have got to go” and that he would create a “deportation force” to carry out the task.

Trump struck a starkly different tone during an interview with Bill O’Reilly that aired on Fox News on Monday night. Trump said he would separate the country’s undocumented immigrants into two groups: The “bad ones” who would be kicked out of the country as soon as he takes office and “everybody else” who would go through the same process that the Obama Administration is currently using.

On Monday, Trump told O’Reilly that the first thing he would do as President would be to “get rid of all the bad [illegal immigrants.]” That sounds so easy! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

 

► Trump is expected to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Aspen on Thursday, but contrary to national media reports, Trump will not make a separate appearance in Colorado to deliver a big speech on his immigration reform proposals.

 

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Rep. Kevin Priola Doubles Down on “Family Values” Gaffe

priolakidsOne of the more significant messaging problems for Colorado Republicans this year during the legislative session was a gaffe committed by Rep. Kevin Priola, now a candidate for the Colorado Senate in closely-divided Senate District 25 in Adams County. Priola was part of a committee debating a bill to expand family leave rights for employees to attend their children’s academic functions. Priola voted no on the bill, but not before requesting a delay of the vote so he could take his own children to a doctor’s appointment.

The issue is expected to loom large in Priola’s closely-watched race for the Senate against Democratic opponent Jenise May–and as the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic reports, Priola seems eager to tackle the problem head-on:

This year at the Legislature, progressive groups pilloried Priola for voting against a parental leave bill after asking for time off from the committee that was considering the bill in order to take one of his kids to the doctor. Priola’s critics called him a hypocrite.

Priola said the flap actually says something positive about how he goes about his work at the Legislature.

“Honestly, it was going door to door that colored my decision on that bill. I’ve probably knocked 45,000 doors through the years. Not once, not one time, has one person ever said, ‘You know what, I really wish I had time off to go to my kids parent-teacher conference. [Pols emphasis] That’s a problem in my life.’ That never happened, not one time. And that’s because people live in the real world. They have good relationships with their employers, and employers know that if they’re too harsh, employees will just call in sick to go to the conference, or they’ll say their aunt died…

“It’s having that real world experience. I’m a small business owner. I work with people. I have lots of conversations. Too often, people run legislation that sounds good but that just clutters up the statutes, and no one is really coming to say this is a real problem. So you sometimes say, ‘C’mon, maybe this is just silly.’” [Pols emphasis]

Needless to say, or at least we hope it isn’t needed, this is a really horrible answer. The truth is that working parents of school-age children do need leave from work from time to time to attend their children’s academic functions. Priola “never heard about it” knocking on doors because he didn’t ask. But if you ask parents if they think they should be able to take leave from work for their kid’s school functions, they’re going to say yes in overwhelming numbers.

And that’s why downplaying parents’ need for parental leave, and especially calling the issue “silly,” is a huge mistake for Priola. Democrats have already signaled an intent to attack Priola on this issue, and this dismissive response proves the point they are trying to make. Sure there are a lot of good bosses, but Priola’s assumption that everybody has a good boss just doesn’t hold water in middle-class reality.

To have made the original mistake during the legislative session is one thing. To crassly double down like this as a candidate in a tough race? That’s a sign of real hubris.

The Saddest Vacancy Committee in Colorado

Cameron Forth

Cameron Forth

Cameron Forth is the new Republican candidate for State House in HD-18 (Colorado Springs). You might not know Cameron Forth, which is okay, because he probably doesn’t know you, either. And he’ll tell you that.

As of Thursday night, Forth is the new Republican challenger to Democratic Rep. Pete Lee, who was first elected in 2010 and has been comfortably re-elected ever since (this is not your typical conservative Colorado Springs district; about half of HD-18 voters are registered Unaffiliated). Republicans had already nominated Sonya Rose as their candidate, but Rose decided that she didn’t want to run after all, so the GOP needed to quickly convene a vacancy committee.

The Colorado Independent covered the events at last night’s vacancy committee, and the result is one of the more unintentionally-hilarious stories of the 2016 election cycle. You really need to read the entire story, but in the meantime, here’s a fun excerpt to get you started:

Speaking from a lectern, Rose nominates local land surveyor Cameron Forth for the post. His previous political experience included running for Congress in Iowa as an independent a decade ago.

“I don’t even know anyone in this room,” Forth says to the assembled local Republicans when he accepted the nomination. [Pols emphasis]

But, to Forth’s apparent surprise, he’s quickly challenged.

Forth ended up (kinda) winning the vacancy committee, which wasn’t totally official because Republicans didn’t have enough people show up to qualify for a quorum (State Party Chair Steve House had to formally appoint Forth as the candidate later). Forth emerged as the choice of the vacancy committee after two rounds of voting, despite the fact that nobody knew who he was.

You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 19)

Get More SmarterThe Rio Olympics come to a close this weekend. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

The Get More Smarter Show is back today, featuring an extended interview with Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County). Watch the interview and find out if Rep. Perlmutter will be going to Mars (no, really).

 

► Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s Presidential bid, just two days after Trump made significant leadership changes at the top of his organization that appeared to leave Manafort on the bench. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” Manafort’s departure confirms the obvious:

Campaigns never, ever like to admit they are making a change as a result of problems within their operation. It shows weakness, they theorize, and weakness is bad when you are trying to get someone elected president of the United States.

Which brings me to this week and the insistence by everyone affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that the addition of Breitbart News boss Stephen Bannon and the elevation of pollster KellyAnne Conway to the two top jobs within the organization was DEFINITELY not a shake-up.

Conway said Wednesday that calling it a shake-up was a misnomer. Rather, she said, this was an effort to “expand the senior team that allows us to meet the needs,” adding: “I think Paul Manafort as chairman and Rick Gates as deputy have done a phenomenal job building our campaign over last five or six months to put it in a competitive place going into the fall. So I look forward to continuing to work with both of them.”

Or not.

On the plus side, perhaps we have seen the last of Trump legal counsel Michael Cohen making a fool of himself answering questions on TV.

 

► Meanwhile, Trump expressed something similar to actual remorse in comments Thursday in Charlotte. Politico ponders the question of whether or not this signals an actual shift for Trump, or just an out-of-character blip on the radar:

The Republican nominee on Thursday night delivered one of his most surprising speeches yet, expressing “regret” if his past inflammatory rhetoric had caused personal pain. It was a stunning statement coming from a candidate who has said “to apologize for me is very difficult” and that his last sorry was “too many years ago to remember.”…

…But this isn’t the first time Trump has been reeled in only to return to his explosive ways. Following the firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and the elevation of Manafort in June, Trump delivered a scripted and targeted speech on the stakes of the election and the importance of defeating Clinton…

…The pivot didn’t stick, however, as Trump made a series of inflammatory statements after the convention that sent his poll numbers into free fall.

If you’re holding your breath…you should probably stop.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 18)

Get More SmarterBack to school, back to school; to show my dad, that I’m not a fool. 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.

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► According to polling results released Thursday by Quinnipiac University, Colorado’s U.S. Senate race is really starting to get away from Republicans. Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) leads Republican Darryl Glenn 52-38 in a head-to-head matchup. These numbers are similar to those reported by NBC/Marist last week, in which Bennet was leading Glenn 53-38.

Quinnipiac has a strange history of polling in Colorado, however, and they added to their weird reputation in a press release announcing the poll numbers. Here’s a quote from Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac University: “There is still time for Darryl Glenn to summon enough support to win a Senate seat the GOP sorely needs.”

Um, no. There may not even be time for Glenn to get this race to within single digits.

On Wednesday, Quinnipiac released polling numbers in Colorado for the Presidential race, showing Hillary Clinton with a 10-point lead over Donald Trump.

 

► Speaking of Trump, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, says that her plan moving forward is to “let Trump be Trump.” In other words, Donald Trump has apparently given up on the idea of being elected President.

 

► The U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday that it will no longer employ the use of private prisons, citing evidence that they are less safe and less effective than government-run prisons. From the Washington Post:

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical reportconcluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report. Yates said there are 13 privately run facilities under the Bureau of Prisons purview.

There are several private prisons in Colorado that house criminals convicted of state or local crimes; it is unclear how this announcement might affect these facilities.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 17)

Get More SmarterHappy Flag Day…in Bolivia. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has made some major changes at the top of his campaign as the candidate pledges to increase his level of Trumpiness in the final months of the election cycle. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix”:

“I am who I am,” Trump said. “I’ve gotten here in a landslide and we’ll see what happens.”

What that quote — and the subsequent staff moves — should tell you is that Trump believes he made a mistake in bowing to establishment pressure and bringing in a veteran hand like Manafort to oversee things. Trump sees his current problems in the race as deriving not from being too much of himself but from not being enough of himself.

What moving out Manafort and elevating Conway and Bannon should tell you is that Trump has decided that he is going to run the last three months — or so — of the campaign on his own terms. Win or lose, he is going to go out being himself.

If you come across a Republican weeping quietly in the fetal position today, try to give them an encouraging pat on the back or something.

And if you see Sen. Cory Gardner, it’s probably best that you just not use the “T” word. Gardner quietly announced his support for Trump on Friday, but the lede was so buried that the original story didn’t get widespread attention until Tuesday.

 

► New polling results from Quinnipiac University show that Hillary Clinton maintains a  double-digit lead over Donald Trump in Colorado. Quinnipiac has Clinton up 49-39 in Colorado; 47-44 in Iowa; and 50-38 in Virginia. Quinnipiac’s numbers in Colorado are in the same ballpark as the Real Clear Politics polling average of Clinton +11.

 

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Just Go Away, Eric Nelson–Pretty Please?

Eric Nelson impersonating a U.S. Air Force major in an undated photo.

Eric Nelson impersonating a U.S. Air Force major in an undated photo.

The Aurora Sentinel’s Quincy Snowdon reports on the ongoing embarrassment over ex-Democratic House candidate Eric Nelson, who remains on the Aurora Public Schools board despite revelations of lies about basically everything related to Nelson’s past:

Former APS Superintendent John Barry, who moved on from the district three years ago, reiterated Tuesday what the majority of the school board and several community members have already made clear this summer: Nelson should cease his work on the school board because of his fictitious resume and falsified military record.

“Mr. Nelson, veterans in Aurora ask for your resignation,” Barry, who is a retired Major General in the U.S. Air Force, said before the meeting. In an initial report published by The Colorado Statesman earlier this summer, Nelson was accused of falsifying several points on his resume, including academic degrees, military decorations and affiliations with multiple professional organizations. An investigation solicited by APS for a fee of about $18,000 substantiated those initial claims.

During the public comment section of the regular board meeting, Barry read a letter penned by U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, that called for former U.S. Attorney John Walsh to investigate whether Nelson violated federal law. Specifically, Coffman — and now Barry — asked the prosecutor’s office to determine if Nelson was in violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, a federal law intended to punish anyone who misrepresents receipt of military decorations.

It’s anybody’s guess how long this charade is going to continue. The APS board has no authority to remove Nelson from the board, though they have censured him and relieved him of basically all of his responsibilities besides attending meetings and voting on proposals.

Whether Nelson finally puts an end to the distraction or serves out his term in disgrace, he’s a lesson to everyone in politics on why you vet all candidates. Yes, even for the school board.

Because, well, you just never know.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 16)

Get More SmarterDid you remember to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal on Monday? 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.

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► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asked former Interior Secretary and longtime Colorado politico Ken Salazar to lead her White House transition team. From the Denver Post:

As head of a lineup that includes former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Salazar will be in charge of meeting with Obama administration officials and preparing for a smooth handoff between presidents.

The role has become more official in recent years; transition staff will meet regularly with White House officials and use workspace provided by the General Services Administration.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was tapped by Donald Trump in May for a similar assignment. “Once Hillary Clinton makes history by being elected as the nation’s first woman President, we want to have a turnkey operation in place so she can hit the ground running right away,” Salazar said in a statement released Tuesday by the Clinton campaign.

By leading Clinton’s transition team, Salazar is in prime position to nab a key role in a potential Clinton Administration. This is a significant development for Colorado, as well, as Salazar has long been rumored to be preparing a bid for Governor in 2018. If Salazar were to land a top job in the Clinton Administration, it would likely preclude him from running for Governor.

 

► Republicans are adopting a strange new strategy when it comes to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte rolled out the newest talking point on Monday, saying that she will be voting for Trump for President, but vows to “stand up to him” if elected.

 

► It may not qualify as the first rule of politics in Colorado, but it should definitely be in the Top 5: Never use pictures of non-Colorado mountain ranges in literature or video campaign advertisements.

 

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Anti-Vaxxer PAC Registered in Colorado (Oh Boy!)

antivaxpac

Measles.

Measles.

Here’s a newly-registered political committee to keep on the radar: the Colorado Coalition for Vaccine Choice Political Committee, created “to support or oppose Colorado state and local political candidates based on their views on protecting medical informed consent, vaccine exemptions provided in Colorado Revised Statutes 22-32-140, C.R.S. 25-4-903, and C.R.S. 25-4-902.”

In other words, the “anti-vaxxer PAC!” There’s no money or expenditures to report yet, but election season is still very young.

Our readers will recall that the last couple of years have seen a significant upsurge in “anti-vaxxer” political organizing among Colorado Republicans, in particular the 2015 “Parents Bill of Rights” sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville and backed by Sen. Laura Woods that created a very serious public relations problem for the Colorado Senate GOP majority.

In light of recent outbreaks of preventable diseases like mumps and measles, and polls showing overwhelming public support for vaccinations, “anti-vaxxerism” is a risky stand to take for any politician. It should be noted that even though anti-vaxxer sentiment doesn’t always break cleanly along partisan lines, the fight over the “Parents Bill of Rights” framed the debate in Colorado as red vs. blue.

Anyway, here’s a committee you’ll want to watch closely to know who the “anti-vaxxers” believe speak for them.

Remember to keep some hand sanitizer close by in case you meet up.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 12)

Get More SmarterRepublicans, you have a problem. Well, several problems. 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.

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► A new poll of Colorado voters shows that Democrats Hillary Clinton and Michael Bennet have opened up substantial leads over their respective Republican opponents. According to NBC/Marist, Clinton leads Donald Trump by 14 points in Colorado, while Bennet holds a 15-point lead over Republican Senate challenger Darryl Glenn.

 

► Republicans are starting to seriously panic over the 2016 election cycle. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded on Thursday that he “might not be Majority Leader next year” during an address in Louisville, Kentucky. Even Donald Trump is starting to falter in his belief that he will become the next President of the United States:

“At the end, it’s either going to work, or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation,” Trump told CNBC.

Assuming he’s not on vacation at the end of this month, Trump will stop in Aspen on August 25 for a fundraiser hosted by Denver Republican Larry Mizel.

 

► Trump is now reversing course on earlier statements — comments that he had already gone out of his way to confirm — that “President Obama founded ISIS”:

Donald Trump on Friday backpedaled on his assertion that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State, blasting the media for seriously reporting what he suggested was a sarcastic comment.

“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS, & MVP,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”

Perhaps Trump’s entire campaign for President is just one big sarcastic joke. Trump’s reversal on his own statements also made an ass out of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who appeared on 9News Thursday via satellite to defend the remarks that Trump walked back today.

“The one thing about Donald Trump is he doesn’t go tip-toeing around the rules, the semantic rules, of political correctness,” Pence said when pressed about the factual inaccuracy of Trump’s words. “Everybody in the country knows exactly what Donald Trump means.” [Pols emphasis]

Um. Not so much, no.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 11)

Get More SmarterIs it possible that Donald Trump and Darryl Glenn joined forces to create the ZIKA virus? Some people might be saying that. 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.

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► Crickets.

This has been the standard response from Colorado Republicans to anything Donald Trump says, and the Colorado media is starting to really pay attention to the silence. From Brandon Rittiman at 9News:

Ranking members of the GOP in Colorado stayed largely silent on Donald Trump’s latest controversial statement, which some have taken as an incitement of violence against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said at a Tuesday rally. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment, people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Darryl Glenn declined to comment, his campaign staff told 9NEWS.

GOP Congressmen Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Ken Buck did not respond to 9NEWS after numerous requests for comment.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman did manage to track down Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) for comment. Coffman called Trump’s statement “reckless,” but once again refused to go any further in condemning the Republican Presidential nominee. This is sort of like a “Profiles in Courage” story…except, you know, the exact opposite.

 

► So, um, yeah. How best to put this? Colorado Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is crazier than than a bag of cats. As the Huffington Post reports:

An overlooked debate exchange may give a clue about why Republicans reportedly are writing off their Senate contender in Colorado: He can sound as conspiratorial as Donald Trump.

At a pre-primary forum in late June, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn was asked what the FBI could do to better address cases like that of Orlando massacre shooter Omar Mateen, who had for a time attracted the attention of the bureau before he killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub…

…“I think we need to have hearings on this. I think people need to be held accountable,” Glenn said. “I want to know whether or not our FBI personnel were personally directed to look the other way. Don’t you want to know that?” Glenn said. “The president should be held to account for that if he gave direction that limited the FBI.” [Pols emphasis]

Glenn is indeed channeling his inner Trump by suggesting that President Obama is somehow connected to the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier this summer. This “I’m just sayin'” crap is small-minded and irresponsible — particularly coming from a guy who is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

 

► Demonstrating once again that he can’t let a news cycle pass without saying something ridiculous, Donald Trump boldly declared that President Obama is “the founder of ISIS.” From Politico:

Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on President Barack Obama, doubling down on his accusation that he’s a founder of the Islamic State and claiming that both Obama and Hillary Clinton remain the terrorist group’s most valuable players.

The inflammatory accusation comes as Trump has set off another round of hand-wringing within the Republican Party, returning to his freewheeling ways after the GOP convention with overtures for Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, attacks on the Muslim-American family of a fallen war hero, and a suggestion that “Second Amendment people” are the only ones who can stop Clinton.

In short, we’ve now “learned” that President Obama is both the “founder of ISIS” and was probably somehow involved in the Orlando nightclub shooting massacre. He sounds like a busy guy.

Oh, nevermind. Apparently Obama is not really the founder of ISIS. Also, he is not connected with the Orlando shooting massacre.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 10)

Get More SmarterNever look a bear in the eyes…or Michael PhelpsIt’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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Critics across the country are aghast at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest controversy. Speaking at a campaign event in North Carolina, Trump all but suggested that someone should assassinate Hillary Clinton or potential Supreme Court nominees if Clinton ends up winning the race for President. As the Washington Post reports, Trump’s increasingly-controversial rhetoric is starting to wear on the American public:

But Trump’s rhetorical asides appear to be taking a toll among the electorate overall. Many voters find his remarks distasteful, even given his explanations. The possibility that he was joking or being sarcastic, or that he meant something other than what some people heard, doesn’t alter the growing view that Trump is reckless with his words.

Each day brings new polls showing the Republican nominee lagging Clinton nationally and in several key battleground states. The surveys show widespread uncertainty about whether Trump has the temperament to serve as president — a doubt that his ever-replenishing supply of rhetoric continues to feed.

“Don’t treat this as a political misstep,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a Clinton supporter and a staunch gun-control advocate. “It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”

ProgressNow Colorado wonders what Trump would need to do to finally convince Colorado Republicans to say they will not vote for him this fall. You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that NO COLORADO REPUBLICAN POLITICIAN has responded to Trump’s suggestions of violence. Around the country, Republican officials are struggling to explain Trump’s latest — and most dangerous — rhetorical bomb.

ElsewhereThe New York Daily News calls on Trump to drop out of the Presidential race in a front-page story. Former Republican Congressman and TV personality Joe Scarborough says its time for the GOP to drop Trump. One former Republican Senator is pushing for Trump to be removed from the GOP ticket through formal Party channels.

 

CNN is keeping track of Republican elected officials who have disavowed Trump and indicated they will not vote for His Hairness this fall. The list is at 87 names and growing.

 

► According to Kimberly Railey of the National Journal, an internal memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) shows polling numbers that have Democrat Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 14 points in CO-6. If these numbers are anywhere close to accurate, it means that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) probably cannot win re-election in CO-6.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 9)

Get More SmarterJust when Donald Trump supporters thought last week was the worst it could get… 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to hit refresh after an awful week on the campaign trail, but things aren’t looking much better for His Hairness after a tough day on Monday. Democrat Hillary Clinton is consistently extending her polling lead to double-digits now as high-profile Republicans are increasingly finding their voice of opposition.

Colorado Republicans in high-profile races — such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada) — may soon have to pay the political piper when it comes to their statements about Trump. The Aurora Sentinel published an editorial today calling on Colorado Republicans to immediately and irrevocably denounce Trump:

Either GOP elected officials have such poor judgment that they cannot themselves be trusted to represent their more rational constituents, or they are so cowardly that they will not risk their own political jobs by angering the tea party inmates that are now running this surreal GOP asylum. It is this very same cowardice and poor judgment that allowed for segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South, the Holocaust, apartheid and a long list of odious regimes in places like Russia, China and all over the Middle East.

Don’t miss former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s biting criticism of Coffman’s Trump dance.

 

Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to change anything about his campaign, including his awkwardly-received economic policies. At least he knows he can count on the “Balloon Boy” family.

ICYMI, Trump did not show up in Colorado on Monday.

 

► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton continues to rise in national polls, and her campaign is expanding its list of battleground states to include Arizona and Georgia.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Coffman, Woods Missed Their Exit on Trump

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

August 8, 2016. Mark it down.

History will record Monday as the moment when the full-scale revolt against Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump began in earnest. Trump had an absolutely terrible week of campaigning last week, causing collateral political damage across the country and here in Colorado as well. If Monday is any indication of how the rest of the election cycle will unfold, things are going to get a whole lot worse for Trump and Republicans.

On Monday, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) penned a strongly-worded editorial for the Washington Post to explain why she cannot, and will not, vote for Trump for President. As CNN explains:

“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize,” she said.

However, there were three incidences in particular that led her to make her decision: when Trump mocked a disabled reporter; when he said Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be fair about Trump University because of his Mexican heritage; and when he attacked a Gold Star family, the Khans, after they spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention.

The editorial from Sen. Collins came on the same day that a group of 50 former Republican intelligence and military staffers made their opinions known that Trump is unfit for the Presidency. From Politico:

Donald Trump’s effort to appeal to establishment Republicans suffered another setback on Monday as 50 senior GOP national security officials warned in a new letter that Trump would “risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

The signatories of the letter, which was first reported by The New York Times, all worked in Republican administrations, with many serving as top aides to President George W. Bush. They said none of them would be voting for Trump.

“Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President,” they wrote. “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

Here in Colorado, the Aurora Sentinel published a blistering editorial calling on Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to finally dismiss Trump once and for all:

The moment of truth, and I do mean truth, for Colorado Republican elected officials is now as they must either unequivocally denounce the catastrophic candidacy of Donald Trump or suffer the inevitable consequences.

Eject!

Eject!

For many Colorado Republicans, including Coffman and state Senator Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada), it may be too late to abandon Trump now. We should clarify: It may be too late politically to abandon Trump, though there are still plenty of moral reasons to make the switch.

Coffman’s half-assed attempt last week to kinda, sorta distance himself from Trump was widely panned; Coffman took withering fire from the likes of former CD-6 Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, who said of Coffman that “The only thing authentic about him is his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.” As the New York Times wrote over the weekend, Republican officials are not happy with how Coffman completely botched his #MaybeTrump rollout:

In the past week, the campaign of Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, who represents suburban Denver, began airing a television ad in which he pledges to stand up to Mr. Trump if he becomes president. Other Republicans are expected to follow suit as early as this month.

But even that approach may be insufficient. House Republican officials were furious at Mr. Coffman for not being prepared to answer predictable follow-up questions about whether he still supported Mr. Trump. [Pols emphasis] Democrats responded with an advertisement showing photos of Mr. Coffman and Mr. Trump side by side and urging voters to reject them both.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, Coffman has been trying to walk a fine line between showing manufactured disdain for Trump while refusing to say whether or not he’ll actually support the Republican nominee (lest he anger constituents in CD-6 who are staunch Trump supporters). Obviously, this approach is not working.

With support for Trump now in rapid decline, it’s clear that Coffman, Woods, and other pro-Trump Republicans such as Rep. Clarice Navarro miscalculated in their efforts to stand next to Trump and still emerge unscathed in a General Election. Republicans are terrified that Trump’s plummeting support will cost them — at the very least — control of the U.S. Senate.

Losing just the Senate may have been a best-case scenario for the GOP.