Buck Blasts U.S. Chamber of Commerce

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The schism between business groups and some members of the Republican Party in Colorado came into sharp focus Saturday when U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), speaking on conservative radio, lit into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview about his book Drain the Swamp, Buck was asked by KNUS 710-AM’s Chuck Bonniwell about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Listen, hour 3, at 15 min)

“They are one of the big problems in Washington DC,” replied Buck. “They affirmatively go after conservatives. Tim Huelskamp lost his seat in the western district of Kansas because of the U.S. Chamber targeting Tim as a conservative, and defeating him. They play, and they play very hard. We have some groups on the right, like Club for Growth, that also target folks. But, you know, the Chamber is a corporate cronyist organization that promotes corporate interests at the expense of conservative values. There are a lot of stories to tell about the swamp, and if I didn’t mention the Chamber, they certainly deserve to be mentioned.”

A spokesman from the Chamber promised to return my call with the Chamber’s decision on whether to respond to Buck.

Syndicated right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin, who resides in Colorado, has a similar view of the Chamber, writing in 2014. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a politically entrenched synod of special interests. These fat cats do not represent the best interests of American entrepreneurs, American workers, American parents and students, or Americans of any race, class, or age who believe in low taxes and limited government. The chamber’s business is the big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America.”

Buck’s comments came after some Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly appeared to anger business groups by voting against a measure that classified a hospital fee as a business enterprise within the Colorado budget, freeing millions of dollars for health, transportation, and other state priorities.

After his vote against the legislation, which passed, State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Alamosa) alleged that the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce was so angry at him that the organization refused to read Scott’s letter about the General Assembly session at an annual breakfast.

Scott wrote on Facebook that he’s either “chopped liver” or, according to Scott, “they wanted to see how many would notice” [his absence from the meeting].

Good News! Week of June 3-June 10

(Get More…Gooder! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary, which I hope to publish every Friday, will be all about small victories in the big battles: People doing the right thing for the right reasons. Stories of bravery, generosity, caring, and integrity. Where possible, I’ve connected this to Colorado politics and stories.

This is a selfish project for me – I need to see those small victories and uplifting stories just to keep going as an activist. Without them, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and attacks on democracy and civil rights, and simply stop trying to keep politicians accountable.

There are many “good news” items I haven’t covered; more possible categories for good news are: Race, discrimination, justice, bizarre news, animals, marches, town halls, community organizing, “the resistance”. Where another organization such as ProgressNow Colorado reports on “How to fight back this week”, I’m not going to duplicate coverage. As always, add your own “good news” stories and commentary.

(more…)

What’s The Matter With Kansas, Weld County Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Greeley Tribune’s Sharon Dunn reports from Weld County, Colorado, where a solidly Republican electorate voted for Donald Trump last November–and now face the consequences of their vote:

About 73,584 Weld County residents use Medicaid, according to the most recent count by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. That’s about 24 percent of the county.

With President Donald Trump’s budget plan calling for $800 billion in cuts to the federal Medicaid program over the next 10 years and reports that the American Health Care Act, if passed, could leave 23 million more people across the country uninsured, it’s likely Weld residents will feel the changes…

So we’re clear,  these are not positive changes. Unless you’re Weld County’s congressman, GOP Rep. Ken Buck:

The Congressional Budget Office released a report May 24 estimating the direct spending and revenue effects of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House but has yet to go to the Senate. The report estimates the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the coming decade.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who voted for the bill, said it’s important to reduce the country’s deficit.

“It is clear we have healthy, able-bodied men and women who can join the workforce who are not in the workforce, and we have got to cut benefits [Pols emphasis] and incentivize employment in this country,” Buck said.

There are few members of Congress willing to be as frank about the goals of Republican policy as Ken Buck. Other Republicans couch their desire to cut people off from social safety nets in platitudes about offering “better” services to needy Americans than what current law provides, or highlight individual cases of people who aren’t seeing the benefits of reform.

It’s another thing completely to say we have to cut benefits to “incentivize” lazy Americans to go to work. Buck is evoking the worst kind of prejudice against recipients of all kinds of public assistance, the assumption that safety nets breed dependency and complacency instead of bridging financial gaps any family could face. The argument that we need to “incentivize employment” by cutting public assistance assumes a lack of work ethic that is simply offensive to recipients–especially considering how many recipients work full time at jobs that don’t pay enough to cover basic needs.

With all of this in mind, Rep. Buck’s dismissive insult of 24% of the population of the largest county in his congressional district is politically mind boggling to us. There is nothing to be gained politically from making such heartless assumptions about thousands of your own constituents. With so many residents on Medicaid, even the most hard case talk radio-loving social Darwinist knows someone who could be affected. We’re not saying this could endanger Buck’s re-election in his deep red district, but it’s horrible both for his own public image and for the Republican brand generally. It undermines more moderate Republicans looking to put a kinder face on these proposals.

Ken Buck’s lack of a filter is at least as big a threat to fellow Republicans as it is to Buck personally.

Ken Buck: “It’s Just Very Difficult” to Spread News of “Good Things” Happening in Washington

(There are good things happening? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said on a Denver radio show Friday that it was “premature” for the Trump Administration to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the last election–and that it’s “just very difficult” at his town halls to get his positive message out “about the good things that are going on” in Washington.

Asked by KDMT 690-AM host Jimmy Sengenberger if he thought it was a “smart move” for the deputy attorney general to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel, Buck said:

“I think that it was premature,” Buck answered. “I don’t think it was warranted at this time. I can see politically whey they want to remove themselves, the Department of Justice, from this inquiry. And I understand politically why it was done. But as a prosecutor, you wait until you have probable cause before you start doing things like special prosecutions or grand jury or other criminal investigations. So I just felt it was premature.”

Buck is a former Weld County District Attorney.

Buck’s comments came on the day it was revealed that Trump told Russian officials that former FBI Director James Comey was a “nut job” and his firing by Trump alleviated pressure on Trump about his campaign’s Russian ties.

Earlier in the week, a recording emerged of former GOP House Majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, saying he thinks Russian leader Vladimir Putin paid Trump. McCarthy said he was joking, even though he said, “Swear to God” after he made the comment in the audio tape. Multiple Trump officials, including Trump’s Attorney General, James Sessions, have admitted talking to Russians during the campaign.

Buck said Congress and Trump are doing a lot of good work, but “when I go to town halls, trying to the get positive message out about the good things that are going on is just very difficult.”

Asked why, Buck said the media “is fundamentally unfair in this situation; it’s a left-leaning media,” and Trump has “not done us any favors.”

He added that “the left if very well organized and focused on a singular message.”

“I tell ya, Jimmy, I think there are great things happening in the country, and the stock market today is reflecting some of those great things,” Buck said on air. “We have consumer confidence that is outstanding right now. We have low unemployment. You know, I was driving to the airport the other day, from Greeley down to DIA, and I saw five different HELP WANTED signs, and I haven’t see that in years….”

“For some reason, this narrative continues that there’s some sort of collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russians, and there’s just no hard evidence that leads to that conclusion,” said Buck.

Buck took over Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District when U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was elected in 2014. Gardner defeated a Democrat, Betsy Markey, to win the seat in 2010.

Buck says journalists are “inventing this Russia story”

(Спасибо дружище! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Some Colorado conservatives are joining Trump in blaming the press for the daily-eye-pop-head-spin news stories streaming from the White House.

Leading the charge are local talk radio hosts, but conservative politicians are also mad at journalists.

Appearing on KOA 850-AM’s Mandy Connell show yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) lamented that the media are “inventing this Russia story.”

Buck: “When George Bush won, he was the dumbest human being alive, even though he’d gone to great schools and gotten great degrees. Every time he stumbled in a speech, it was a story for two or three days. He just wasn’t smart enough to be president ” Buck told Connell. “And then we get Barack Obama, and he’s the smartest person in the world. He’s just a savior.

“And then we get Donald Trump. And they’ve got to find something with Donald Trump. He’s a very successful businessman. So obviously he’s not stupid. So now now we’re inventing this Russia story, and just on and on.”

Citing the anonymous sources used by the New York Times in its story about Trump pressuring Comey to lay off Flynn, KNUS radio host and (former Fox 31 Denver reporter) Julie Hayden said on air May 15.

Hayden: “I have been dismayed — I mean, as a reporter– at just how they just make it –. I mean, they really do just make it up, you know!”

C0-host Chuck Bonniwell jumped in with, “They don’t care. They just don’t care.”

You can always criticize journalists, and some people will never accept anonymous sources, but that’s why we have professional journalism. To utilize such sources in a responsible way. That’s not making stuff up–or not caring.

Gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler also pointed to media bias among reporters covering Trump. On KNUS 710-AM May 15, Brauchler said:

Brauchler:  [Journalists] don’t need Trump’s help. But he gives it to them anyway. That’s the only part that’s a little frustrating, is like, ‘If you, Mr. President, could just pull it back– just a little bit — it would expose, I think, how biased that they truly are.’ Because right now, there’s just enough there that they make mountains out of molehills, and all this other stuff.  But if he can just pull it back, just a little bit.

To her credit, KOA host Mandy Connell faults Trump for blundering, but then she attacks the “viciousness” of the media and says the “media has picked [his blunders] up, [and] blown up into massive proportion.

“Trump keeps giving the media ammunition with which to shoot him,” said Connell on air. “If he would shut his pie hole sometimes and not shoot from the hip, they would not have the ammunition that they currently have.”

In truth, the media are working sources and exposing serious dangers to us and our democracy. That’s what the fourth estate is supposed to do. Thank you, journalism.

Listen to Buck on KHOW May 18:

Buck hopes Trump didn’t collude with Russia

(Because, you know, that would suck – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

On KOA 850-AM this morning, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) compared the Russian interference in the 2016 election to the attacks on Obama over his birth certificate.

Asked by host April Zesbaugh if he thought “we will get to the bottom of the Russian meddling in our last election,”Buck said:

Buck: I also think that politically, people are going to be raising this issue just like people raised the birth certificate or other issues on President Obama that I didn’t think were credible but that some people did. And they kept gnawing at it.

Though he doesn’t think the birth-certificate issue was credible, Buck does believe proof might emerge that Trump colluded with Russia, saying only that he hopes Trump did not do so.

Buck: I think we have got to reach a consensus among most people in this country that while Russia did try to interfere, hopefully we will find that the Trump campaign did not collude or collaborate with the Russians in that effort.


Buck did not call for an independent investigation of Russian meddling.

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday, in the wake of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) called for a special prosecutor to investigate of Russian interference in the last election.

“By the way,” said Bennet, “Everybody I know up here believes [Russian interference] happened. “But the President says, ‘Maybe it was the Chinese. Maybe it wasn’t the Russians.’ No intelligence agency in America believes that. No senator believes that. And the President who has access to all of that intelligence is saying that it might not have been the Russians, that it might have been the Chinese.”

Bennet said Trump has “hard time” distinguishing between reality and “somebody shooting their mouth off on the internet.”

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 5)

Remember, kids: Don’t put the guacamole in your tortilla-chip hat until just before you are ready to leave the house. It’s time to Get More Smarter! 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…

► As you may have heard, Congressional Republicans finally passed a bill on Thursday related to the repeal and destruction of Obamacare. Republicans toasted to the (poor) health of Americans at the White House last evening, but the political blowback is already underway. From CNN:

The Cook Political Report, a non-partisan campaign handicapping service, changed the ratings on 20 GOP-held districts Friday morning — all of them moving in Democrats’ favor in advance of the 2018 midterm election…

…Two of the 20 changes affected members who actually opposed the AHCA: Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Mike Coffman of Colorado. Of Coffman, Wasserman wrote: “Coffman ended up voting against the AHCA, but his hesitation to announce his position likely won’t assuage voters who want to send a message to President Trump next year.” [Pols emphasis]

Think about the changes the Cook Report made this way: To win back the House majority, Democrats need to gain 24 GOP seats. Twenty Republican seats just moved toward Democrats — in less than a day and with a single congressional vote.

That’s a big deal.

Aurora Republican Mike Coffman did indeed vote “NO” on Trumpcare 2.0 on Thursday, but it doesn’t appear as though Coffman is going to get any real political cover from the decision. Coffman’s vote on Thursday won’t extinguish the memory of his longstanding support for repealing Obamacare, including the fact that he was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the failed Trumpcare bill in March of this year.

 

► The healthcare legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate, and its future is as uncertain as ever. Republican Senate leaders are already questioning the wisdom of the House passing a bill that many members never even had a chance to read first.

Check out this video of a reporter asking Republican Members of Congress if they had read the healthcare legislation — that’s Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) who walks quickly away from the question near the end of the clip.

 

► Other than Mike Coffman, Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted along party lines on Trumpcare 2.0. Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) had been coy about his support for the latest healthcare bill, but as the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, Tipton is drinking all of the GOP Kool-Aid:

The most recent version of the American Health Care Act passed the House on Thursday with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., saying it met his test of making insurance more affordable.

“As the House developed the American Health Care Act, I was adamant that the replacement plan needed to ensure people with pre-existing conditions would have access to affordable health insurance,” Tipton said in a statement after the vote. “The bill provides these assurances.”…

…Critics took immediate issue with Tipton, among them ProgressNow Colorado, whose executive director noted Tipton’s comment to The Daily Sentinel in February that, “Every policy is still going to be in effect. People are not going to be left without coverage.” Tipton broke his promise to constituents with his vote, said Ian Silverii.

Tipton’s comments are complete and utter nonsense. It has been widely reported that the GOP healthcare bill would all but eliminate the requirement that insurance companies don’t penalize people with pre-existing conditions.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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New Poll Shows Tough 2018 Road for Colorado Republicans

Magellan Strategies, a Colorado-based polling firm that is known to lean-Republican, released a fresh new batch of polling numbers in Colorado today. For Republicans hoping to see better results after an awful Keating Research poll in March…

Well, let’s just say that things are looking up — but only because Republican numbers are essentially upside-down.

Magellan Strategies polled 502 “likely 2018 General Election voters in Colorado” on April 26 and 27, and the results are pretty dismal for Republicans. Take a look at some of the “key findings” as presented by Magellan:

♦ Among likely 2018 voters, 47% approve and 49% disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President. Among unaffiliated voters, 40% approve and 53% disapprove of the job he is doing.

♦ The generic Congressional ballot shows voters prefer the Democrat candidate to the Republican candidate by a 5-point margin, 39% to 34% respectively. Among unaffiliated voters, the generic Democrat candidate leads the generic Republican candidate by a 13-point margin, 34% to 21% respectively.

♦ Among all respondents, 34% approve of the job the Republicans in Congress are doing and 58% disapprove.

♦ Among likely 2018 voters, 40% approve of the job Senator Cory Gardner is doing, 37% disapprove, and 23% do not have an opinion. Among unaffiliated voters 37% approve of the job Senator Gardner is doing and 35% disapprove.

President Trump’s approval ratings are definitely upside-down in Colorado. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is right on the precipice of being flipped on his head, but remember here that Magellan Strategies generally tilts rightward in its poll results.

Gardner should also be worried that he continues to poll far below Trump among likely Republican voters. In the Keating Research poll from March, Gardner had a 63% approval rating among Republicans compared to 83% for Trump. According to Magellan Strategies, Gardner has a 59% approval rating among Republicans compared to 85% for Trump. In short, Gardner is losing support among Colorado Republicans at the same time that Trump is slowly gaining favor.

There are a lot of reasons why Gardner is losing favor among voters, including Republicans, and it starts with his disinterest in speaking with constituents. It doesn’t help that Gardner is getting splinters in his pants from regularly riding the fence on issues while he bends over backward to show deference to Trump on subjects that are supposed to be right in his wheelhouse.

The only good news for Trump and Gardner is that they won’t have to appear again on a Colorado ballot until 2020. But for Republicans campaigning in 2018, these numbers must be absolutely terrifying.

Buck, Coffman Emerge as Swing Votes in Trumpcare 2.0

TUESDAY UPDATE: Concerns over the status of “pre-existing conditions” in the latest version of Trumpcare is costing Congressional Republicans the support of key moderates. From the Washington Post:

The revamped Republican push for a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health-care system ran into a new roadblock on Tuesday when a key lawmaker, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), said he would vote against the current proposal.

In an interview with WHTC radio in Holland, Mich., Upton, a former chairman and current member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he could not support the latest version of the House GOP plan because he does not believe it does enough to protect people with preexisting medical conditions — a growing concern among Republicans.

“This amendment torpedoes that, and I told the leadership I cannot support the bill with this provision in it,” Upton said. “I don’t know how it all will play out but I know there are a good number of us that have raised real red flags.”

Upton’s comments came the day after Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a longtime opponent of the federal health-care law known as Obamacare, came out against the current Republican plan to repeal and replace key parts of it — also citing concerns about preexisting conditions.

Here’s a list of pre-existing conditions in Colorado that might not be covered under the current iteration of Trumpcare.

—–

Trumpcare 2.0

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Congressional Republicans are having trouble finding the votes to support another legislative repeal/replacement of Obamacare — or “Trumpcare 2.0.” From CNN:

The White House and congressional Republicans are in serious danger of not having enough votes to pass their health care bill.

Several Republicans have come out Monday against the current measure to repeal and replace Obamacare, bringing CNN’s whip count to 21 Republicans — mostly moderates — opposed to the bill with another dozen lawmakers still undecided.

And President Donald Trump, whose White House was optimistic the House could pass a bill Wednesday, once again muddied the waters by suggesting the measure may still be changed.

“I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now,” he said during an Oval Office interview Monday with Bloomberg News. “It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”

Over the weekend there were a plethora of national stories about how Republicans and the White House were feeling good about potentially reaching the number of required “YES” votes in order to push Trumpcare 2.0 to a vote on the House floor. That enthusiasm has apparently begun to wane.

According to a detailed whip count from The Hill, two Colorado Republicans could play a pivotal role in the fate of this latest health care bill. The Hill lists Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) as a current ‘NO’ vote, with Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) listed as a ‘YES’ on the proposed bill. This marks an interesting change from mid-March, when Coffman was a 100% supporter of Trumpcare and Buck was — well, Buck was all over the place.

We’d attempt to read the political tea leaves here, but since both Coffman and Buck have hunkered down on all sides of the debate over the last few months, your guess is as good as ours.

Get More Smarter on Monday (May 1)

If someone left a bouquet of May Day flowers on your front door today, we want to hear about it. Seriously. It’s time to Get More Smarter! 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…

► Congress has come to agreement on a budget proposal that will keep the federal government funded through September. As the Washington Post reports, President Trump got absolutely rolled on the negotiations:

Perhaps the best negotiators are not the people who tell everyone that they are the best negotiators.

A spending agreement was reached last night that will keep the government funded through the end of September. This will be the first significant bipartisan measure passed by Congress since Donald Trump took office.

The White House agreed to punt on a lot of the president’s top priorities until this fall to avert a shutdown on Friday and to clear the deck so that the House can pass a health-care bill…

…But Democrats are surprised by just how many concessions they extracted in the trillion-dollar deal, considering that Republicans have unified control of government.

 

► Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are casting this week as the last real chance to approve a potential plan to repeal Obamacare. The White House is taking its usual blustery stance about having enough votes from Republicans to pass a bill out of the House, though the outlook is not so rosy when you ask Congressional leaders. It is unclear whether House Republicans have enough support from moderates to pass something along to the Senate, and there is little reason to believe that any potential legislation could move at all if it were to land in the Senate.

The main sticking point in the current healthcare negotiations revolves around pre-existing conditions. Trump maintains that any new Obamacare repeal “will be every bit as good on preexisting conditions as Obamacare.” But in order to gain the support of right-wing Republicans, such as the Freedom Caucus, Congressional Republicans are actually trying to gut protections for pre-existing conditions.

 

► By the end of the day today, there will be little evidence left of a weekend snowstorm in the Denver metro area. But it did snow — quite a bit, in fact — and the weather didn’t stop a huge crowd from turning out in Denver in support of efforts to combat Climate Change. Thousands of people showed up at Civic Center Park on Saturday to take part in a march and rally that was also happening simultaneously in more than 300 cities around the world.

 

► Republicans in the State Senate are crowing about a new budget proposal in an effort to pretend that they are actually interested in governing. From John Frank of the Denver Post:

Colorado’s top lawmakers are negotiating a far-reaching measure in the final days of the legislative session that is designed to save hospitals from major budget cuts, generate $1.8 billion for road repairs and lower the state’s spending cap.

Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, unveiled the details early Monday after days of closed-door negotiations with top Democratic lawmakers. But moments after he announced an agreement on the legislation, an aide passed him a note from Democrats that declared no deal.

We don’t doubt that many Democrats aren’t happy with this latest funding proposal, considering some of the nonsense included in Sonnenberg’s bill:

The latest negotiations include requiring the maximum federal co-pay for Medicaid, the government-funded health care program for people with low-income, as well as a cut to the business personal property tax for small business owners, up to $25,000. Other provisions would change how TABOR refunds are issued and funnel more money to rural schools.

Republican lawmakers continue to insist that there is plenty of money hidden away in government coffers that could pay for everything if they could just move some decimal points around here and there. Note also how Republicans would include a tax cut for businesses alongside a big new financial burden for low-income Coloradans.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Ken Buck Flees 9NEWS Camera Crew in Washington

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Rep. Ken Buck has struggled recently to explain a major contradiction in his statements about the American Health Care Act, a.k.a. “Trumpcare”–in the immediate aftermath of the bill’s failure in late March, Buck had told 9NEWS reporters that he was not “sold” on the bill, but then changed his story to claim he had always supported the bill in an op-ed. After that op-ed was Tweeted out by none other than President Donald Trump himself, 9NEWS tried to circle back with Rep. Buck to get an explanation.

And as readers know, Rep. Buck cancelled on 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark at the last minute.

Well, last night 9NEWS aired their followup to the story. Reporter Brandon Rittiman went to Washington to get a straight answer out of Buck, and…well, he wasn’tcompletely successful:

When Congressman Ken Buck cancels an interview set up 10 days in advance, giving us just a few hours notice, and then won’t commit to another time, we go ‘Buck hunting.’

Political Reporter Brandon Rittiman met up with the Fourth Congressional District Representative on Wednesday outside of his office in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

That interview lasted less than two minutes, included a ride in an elevator and ended with Buck walking away…

“What you said was that the president tweeted something that made me change my opinion, and you know all along that I had told people within a few hours after I had talked to you, that I as going to vote yes on it,” said Buck. “The president’s tweet had nothing to do with my position.”

Actually, that’s not true.

The American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor before receiving a vote late last month.

Immediately after the bill was pulled, Buck told 9NEWS he remained undecided.

In the end, Rittiman wasn’t able to get an answer explaining Buck’s clear contradiction, but Buck’s weird misdirection about Trump’s Tweet bought him a few extra seconds to get past Capitol security–where Rittiman couldn’t follow. Buck didn’t change his story in response to Trump’s Tweet, he changed it before the Tweet in the op-ed Trump later posted–but obviously that doesn’t make it any less of a contradiction.

Buck certainly didn’t come out of this looking like a statesman, and his flip-flop is a metaphor for the struggle of his entire party to keep their dead-horse promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act: something the American people no longer want, and for which Republicans can no longer claim to have a better alternative.

And for a guy who says he wants to “drain the swamp,” Buck sure knows how to hide in one.

DO NOT Stand Up 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Yesterday, Rep. Ken Buck cancelled his scheduled appearance on Next with Kyle Clark on 9NEWS.

Note to politicians everywhere, we don’t recommend doing that:

Next hoped to let you hear from Congressman Ken Buck on Monday. He’s back in Colorado on break, and to push his new book called Drain the Swamp.

But Buck, a Republican who represents Northern Colorado, backed out of our long-scheduled interview this morning. Buck’s been making the rounds for his book on a lot of Republican friendly media outlets like Fox News and Brieitbart. Despite cancelling his interview with Next, Buck was on conservative talk radio and Christian radio Monday.

His publisher emailed this morning to say, “Congressman Buck just called me to say that something immovable came up.”

Hey, you know, stuff comes up right? The trouble is, Clark had some specific questions for Rep. Buck:

We hope he didn’t have an issue with the fact that we were obviously going to ask him why he tried to re-write history on his Obamacare repeal stance, in addition to the book.

He told us, and you after the plan failed that he hadn’t decided whether to support it.

Days later, he won praise from President Trump for claiming he did support the repeal bill.

We’d like to ask him if that’s swampy… or just sticky.

As we noted earlier this month, Rep. Buck’s ex post facto claim that he had supported the “Trumpcare” Affordable Care Act repeal bill didn’t comport with what he had told the very same 9NEWS right after the bill was pulled for lack of support. Buck’s attempt to explain his rather obvious dishonesty to the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews didn’t come across very well, and we would hope that the ensuing couple of weeks would have given Buck time to come up with a better answer.

Or not, in which case you get ridiculed by the state’s highest-rated television news station.

Get More Smarter on Monday (April 17)

You know there is still a rogue Easter Egg in your backyard somewhere. It’s time to Get More Smarter! 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…

► We’re halfway through the month of April, and there is still no end in sight to the large-scale protests of Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration. Denver7 has more on a big Denver rally on Saturday:

Thousands took to the streets in Denver demanding to see President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Protesters gathered at Civic Center Park and rallied together Saturday afternoon to ask for transparency and honesty from the president when it comes to his financial dealings.

The Tax March in Denver, one of more than 150 held across the nation, was also held in the hopes of creating pressure for Congress to enact legislation forcing elected officials to release their tax returns.

More rallies are planned for this weekend with a focus on addressing Climate Change.

 

► One of the biggest political stories in the country this week is taking place in Georgia, where the outcome of a special race to replace Republican Rep. Tom Price (now President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services) could foretell big changes in the 2018 election. Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff may be able to get better than 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s election and avoid a runoff election with one of 11 Republican candidates. As CNN explains:

That’s what makes this race so fascinating: It shouldn’t be competitive. When Rep. Tom Price was tapped as Donald Trump’s health secretary, Georgia politicos were readying for what was likely to be an all-Republican fight featuring a few token Democrats. But Ossoff has jolted the 18-candidate field and unified most of the district’s Democrats and Trump skeptics.

Republicans are concerned enough about this race that President Trump took to bashing Ossoff on Twitter this morning.

 

► The White House is taking criticism from a late Friday announcement that visitor logs would no longer be made public. As the Washington Post writes:

Donald Trump appears to have made a cynical calculation that he will not pay a high political price for being the most secretive president since Richard Nixon.

All the leaks about infighting among senior staff and the president’s proclivity for tweeting have created a false sense that the public knows what is happening inside his White House. In fact, the administration has gone to great lengths to conceal pertinent information from the American people.

After dodging questions on the subject for weeks, the administration waited until the afternoon of Good Friday to dump the news that it will not follow former president Barack Obama’s policy of voluntarily disclosing the names of most visitors to the White House complex. The president’s communications director cited “grave national security risks” as a justification, even though Obama had made an exception for national security.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Ken Buck’s “Buckpedaling” Skills Have Not Improved

Last week, Rep. Ken Buck saw his profile elevated substantially after President Donald Trump highlighted Buck’s op-ed in The Hill, in which Buck claimed that he would have supported the American Health Care Act (a.k.a. “Trumpcare”):

Unfortunately for Rep. Buck, his claim that “I supported the AHCA, will continue to support it, and will encourage my colleagues to support it as well” contradicted what he told 9NEWS right after the bill was pulled for lack of support:

[M]oments after Republicans pulled the American Health Care Act, Buck told 9NEWS he remained undecided.

“It was changing and I thought getting better in some respects, and I was looking forward to hearing the rest of the debate, but I had not committed … ,” Buck said in a phone interview. “I was not completely sold on the bill.” [Pols emphasis]

That’s a completely different answer from the one he gave in an opinion piece for The Hill Thursday, a piece shared by President Donald Trump on Twitter Thursday.

This weekend, the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews attempted to get to the bottom of this contradiction, and Buck didn’t acquit himself well:

Asked Thursday night to explain the conflicting public positions, Buck said he was playing his cards close to his chest so not to upset ongoing negotiations among House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump and the conservative Freedom Caucus — of which Buck is a member.

“I talked to the leadership of the Freedom Caucus that was negotiating with the various groups and I told them that I was leaning yes on the bill in the morning before the vote was supposed to take place,” Buck said. “And they asked me to keep that quiet because they were still negotiating some details and they weren’t sure if the bill was going to get pulled or not – there was some talk about that that morning – and I agreed to do that. When I was asked by Brandon Rittiman whether I was committed on the bill, I forgot the exact language, but that to me, yes, if you would have had the vote, I would have voted yes. But it is wasn’t a commitment in the sense that I was out advocating for the bill and trying to push the bill.”

Got that? Rep. Buck says he was “leaning yes” on the morning of the vote, but Freedom Caucus leadership wasn’t sure about the count, so they asked him to “keep quiet” about being a yes. Then after the bill was pulled, he told 9NEWS that he was “not completely sold”–presumably again at the request of leadership, even though there was nothing at that point to be gained.

Except for Ken Buck covering his ass, of course!

Folks, this explanation is nonsensical. Buck’s claim that he was, is and will be a “yes” on the AHCA today cannot be made to fit with his statement right after the vote that he was not a “yes.” It’s silly to try to reconcile these two claims because you can’t. Buck should just take his lumps and admit he “misspoke,” the standard euphemism in politics for when you say something wrong/stupid/bigoted/obviously bullshit.

During Buck’s unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, the term “Buckpedal” was coined to describe his many reversals from hard-right “Tea Party” stands during the 2010 primary versus what he needed to say to have a prayer of winning a statewide election. Buck was an early victim of ubiquitous online video that froze him in time making statements he would later regret.

As you can see, it’s a lesson Rep. Buck still hasn’t learned.

Would Buck have voted for the GOP bill to repeal Obamacare?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: An op-ed from Rep. Ken Buck supporting Trumpcare gets Tweeted out by President Donald Trump himself:

Unfortunately for Rep. Buck, he appears to be contradicting himself with this new position supporting the moribund American Health Care Act, which we suspect won’t make The Donald very happy:

It’ll be fun to see how this shakes out, won’t it? Stay tuned…

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Rep. Ken Buck (R).

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told a conservative radio host Friday that he would have supported the GOP’s proposal to replace Obamacare, if it had come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

Buck told KNUS 710-AM’s Steve Kelley that he was “very reluctantly willing to support” the American Health Care Act, in part, because Trump “deserves a honeymoon” after showing his willingness to “work with conservatives.”

Steve Kelley: So, were you going to vote for it?

Ken Buck: You know, I told the Speaker that I didn’t like a bill. I didn’t like the process, but if they needed my vote I would vote for it. I consider myself a lot more conservative than this bill, but I also think it’s important that we get things done. And I also feel like this President deserves a honeymoon. He gave us a great Supreme Court nominee. He gave us a great cabinet. And he has proven that he is willing to work with conservatives, and conservatives should step forward to work with him. And so, I was very reluctantly willing to support this…

Kelley: The idea of, “this [death of the AHCA] may be, in fact, the best thing because it is going to force the issue.” Do you agree with the President on that?

Buck: I think it is going to force the issue. I don’t think it was the best thing. I think the best thing would have been to pass this and also force the issue.

Buck, who’s a member of the House’s ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, joins U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in publicly supporting the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, while the rest of Colorado’s GOP House members didn’t take a public position.

The Freedom Caucus, Buck said on air, was invited to the White House to “go bowling” with Trump, and also to attend “probably a half dozen” meetings and dinners  to discuss the health care legislation, but ultimately Trump couldn’t get enough votes needed to pass the GOP bill.

Buck’s comments on KNUS were made from Dulles airport at the end of Friday after the GOP legislation was withdrawn.

On Friday morning, just before the bill was scheduled for a vote, The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews quoted Buck as saying, “I’m reading and I’m trying to gather information and I’m not going to have my arm twisted by anybody.” Matthews tweeted that Buck was undecided.

After the bill failed to come up for a vote, Buck told 9News he “was not completely sold” on it. This led 9News and other Denver outlets to report that Coffman was the only Colorado House Republican to publicly support the Republican legislation.

Buck was not among 33 Republicans identified by the New York Times as opposing the bill and causing its demise. None of Colorado’s Republicans were on the Times’ list.

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