Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 16)

Check those mailboxes, people! 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…

► Ballots should be starting to arrive at your mailbox this week. CLICK HERE to visit the Colorado Secretary of State website, where you can check on the status of your mail ballot and double-check your voter registration information. Colorado Public Radio explains what to do with your mail ballot after it arrives.

 

► Is it Festivus season already? President Trump seems to think so, as CNN reports:

President Donald Trump, with an empty public schedule and a litany of festering grievances, spent Tuesday unleashing fresh vitriol at his enemies over Twitter. His targets began with Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who this week released a DNA test seeking to rebut Trump’s insults about her claims of Native American heritage. But he soon moved on, griping about the porn actress who alleged to have spent the night with him, fake news, the Russia “witch hunt.”

Elsewhere, Trump’s campaign has already raised $106 million — more than any previous President at the same point in time relative to his re-election.

 

► The Colorado Republican Party paid for a mail piece in CO-6 touting the idea that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) stands up to the Republican Party.

 

► The truth hurts. Local media outlets are tearing apart a new television ad full of falsehoods aimed at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Outspending Truth: Reporters Rage As False Claims Recycle

UPDATE: You can add the Associated Press to the list.

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This past weekend, a new ad from a “dark money” group called Colorado Citizens for Truth his Colorado screens backed by a $700,000 buy. The new group’s agent is Katie Kennedy, also the registered agent for Stapleton for Colorado, Walker Stapleton’s SuperPAC Better Colorado Now, and a variety of other GOP campaign organizations.

Both 9NEWS and FOX 31 devoted segments last night to this new ad, which recycles a discredited smear on Democratic candidate Jared Polis originally published in the right-wing Washington Free Beacon in late September. Team Stapleton has desperately tried to get local press to pick up their narrative of this story, which concerns a crime committed against Polis in 1999 and resulted in a permanent restraining order against the perpetrator– secretary who had been caught misusing the company card and attempting to steal trade secrets. In the GOP’s telling of the story Polis becomes the perpetrator, not the victim, even though a police investigation determined the exact opposite.

In particular, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark and Marshall Zelinger slammed this latest ad as a blatant disregarding of facts they had already laid out weeks before, and cited their own debunking of the original story on September 25th. Nothing has changed between then and now, so they literally just replayed Clark’s previous commentary.

At least on social media, the response to the complete failure to win over the press on this story has been a spate of silly ad hominem attacks on the reporters who refuse to write the story the way Stapleton’s campaign wants. It’s a reaction similar in some respects to the shrill but baseless attacks on Zelinger in 2016 from Republicans after he uncovered extensive forgery in Jon Keyser’s ballot petitions for the U.S. Senate race.

But the problem here, of course, is not that the entire Colorado press corps is covering for Polis as Republicans are now asking voters to believe. The problem is that this story as told by Republicans is misleading in the extreme, and relies on visceral shock value to overcome its 180-degree factual deficiencies. Recasting the victim of a crime as the perpetrator of a crime is, it’s fair to say, as deceptive as it gets.

So why do it, you ask? That’s the easiest question to answer of all. We can’t speak to the environment in every state, but in Colorado in recent elections we have seen what can only be called a premeditated disregard for truthfulness on the part of Republican candidates and political operatives. In 2014, Cory Gardner pioneered “post truth politics” in Colorado by audaciously denying his former self on any issue that could pose a general election problem. In 2016, some of the same Republican hacks behind this latest attack on Polis knowingly pushed that totally false claim that Rachel Zenzinger “used taxpayer funds for a trip to China”–over and over again, even as the local press blasted them at every step. The “China Girl” attacks on Zenzinger ultimately backfired, but the willingness to keep pushing this proven lie after everyone knew it was a lie was notable.

In the end, our local Republicans do this because they don’t care how it looks. In their arithmetic, relentlessly pushing out false claims will win over more voters than will ever see the truth about those claims and be repelled by their dishonesty. Lying is not only acceptable, it’s integral to the strategy.

The only way to make it stop, like with now-Sen. Zenzinger, is to make sure it doesn’t succeed.

Who Will Be Colorado’s Next Governor? (Round 7)

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton

Mail ballots are on their way this week, so it’s time to vote again. We’ve been asking our readers this question for weeks now: Who do you THINK is going to win the race for Governor?

Remember, we’re looking for your best educated guess on the outcome of this race, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of the race are (or are not) changing as Election Day nears. For previous results, click Round 1Round 2, Round 3Round 4Round 5, or Round 6).

Who gets to move into the Governor’s Mansion in January? Will it be Democrat Jared Polis or Republican Walker Stapleton?

Who Will Be the Next Governor of Colorado?
Jared Polis
Walker Stapleton
View Result

Walker Stapleton Gets The Women, Because Female Dogs

And how do we know that, gentle reader? Why, in last night’s debate in Colorado Springs, he said so!

STAPLETON: I’m outnumbered in my house, I have uh, three women that I live with each and every day, one son and a female dog, so…

But in the trademark manner we’ve come to recognize with Walker Stapleton’s unbroken string of ghastly unforced errors in debates, it didn’t go over quite the way he intended. Because whether you’re talking up your own family or taking cheap “dog whistle” shots at your opponent’s family, the female dog doesn’t count.

If this is not obvious to you, gentlemen, please ask the nearest woman to explain. She will.

Stapleton Welcomes Trump’s Endorsement

(Hugs all around! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton, who’s Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor, welcomed the endorsement of Trump yesterday, telling KNUS radio host Steffan Tubbs that he was “really happy to have the President’s support.”

“I’ll be able to walk in the front door of the White House. Jared Polis won’t get his calls returned,” Stapleton told Tubbs. “That’s not going to help the state of Colorado. And so I’m happy President Trump endorsed me, and I welcome his endorsement.”

Stapleton previously said he wants Trump to campaign with him in Colorado, so his acceptance of Trump’s “complete and total” endorsement doesn’t come as a surprise.

But Stapleton dismissed Tubbs’ question about whether Trump would be coming here, saying only that he doesn’t control the “President’s schedule” or Trump’s “Twitter account.”

Stapleton has little choice but to cozy up to Trump, even though the President lost Colorado by five points in 2016, making such a strategy risky, say political observers.

With Democrats highly energized to vote, and independent voters leaning left in the polls, Stapleton has no chance of winning if even a fraction of the Republican base doesn’t show up at the polls in November, political analysts say.

So if Stapleton were to distance himself from Trump, he’d potentially piss off Trump-loving GOP voters, making them shake their heads in disgust and stay home on election day.

Stapleton isn’t alone among key Colorado Republican candidates in embracing Trump. Others include George Brauchler, who’s running for Attorney General, State Senator Tim Neville of Littleton, who’s a candidate for a critical state senate seat, Brian Watson, who’s running for State Treasurer, and others.

Here’s the text of Stapleton’s comments to Tubbs yesterday:

Stapleton (Here at 21 minutes): I was really happy to have the President’s support, and here’s what Coloradans have to recognize. President Trump is going to be the president for the next two years. And it will help Colorado to have a governor who has a collaborative productive relationship with the White House and President Trump. We rely on the federal government for everything from school funding to infrastructure funding to the future of healthcare in Colorado. I’ll be able to walk in the front door of the White House. Jared Polis won’t get his calls returned. That’s not going to help the state of Colorado. And so I’m happy President Trump endorsed me, and I welcome his endorsement.

Get More Smarter on Friday (October 12)

One week from today, you might have already voted. For now, 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…

► According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, most Americans do not think Brett Kavanaugh should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court:

More Americans disapprove of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court than approve, and a narrow majority says congressional investigation of the new justice should not end with his elevation to the court, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll

…It also suggests the tumultuous battle over his nomination could harm the court’s reputation as the nonpartisan branch of government.

The survey, conducted during Kavanaugh’s first week on the bench, shows that 43 percent of Americans believe the court’s rulings will be more politically motivated with President Trump’s second nominee on the court, compared to 10 percent who said they will be less political. To 39 percent of the public, Kavanaugh’s presence will make no difference in the degree of partisanship.

 

► The stock market is falling. As the New York Times reports, President Trump is pointing fingers at everybody else.

President Trump responded to falling stock prices on Thursday by continuing to throw rocks at the Federal Reserve, which he has described as “crazy,” “loco,” “going wild” and “out of control” for slowly raising interest rates against the backdrop of a booming economy.

No other modern president has publicly attacked the Fed with such venom or frequency. Indeed, some scholars said the only close historical parallel was with President Andrew Jackson, who campaigned successfully in the 1830s to close the Fed’s predecessor, the Second Bank of the United States.

Mr. Trump’s pointed remarks reflect the high political stakes less than a month before midterm elections that have been cast by his political opponents as a referendum on his presidency. Mr. Trump has been riding the economy hard, bragging about job creation, tax cuts and reduced federal regulation, and claiming credit for the rise of the stock market. Now that the market has lost 5 percent of its value in the last week, Mr. Trump is insisting someone else is to blame.

 

► The Trump administration claims that changing the next U.S. Census is not a political maneuver designed to help Republicans. As Philip Bump reports for the Washington Post, this argument doesn’t hold much water:

What the Kobach email reveals, though, is that the political effects of asking the question on immigration were part of the calculus on deciding whether to include it — in case there was any question in that regard. There’s an existing problem in counting noncitizen immigrants in the census, and experts argue that including the question will itself drive down response rates to the survey.

Including the question, in other words, will itself help meet Kobach’s goal of getting undocumented immigrants out of population totals (to whatever extent they’re already included) even without anyone actually answering it.

Oh, you mean those conversations about citizenship questions.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 11)

We swear, it’s almost over. For now, 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…

► Dozens of accusations of judicial misconduct against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh have been transferred to the 10th Judicial District, which is headquartered in Denver. Westword looks at 10th Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich, the man who will be in charge of handling these complaints. Don’t expect a whole lot here, since Tymkovich is on President Trump’s short list of potential future Supreme Court justices.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) will say absolutely anything if he thinks it might help him get re-elected. The New York Times, meanwhile, re-confirms that Republican leaders are pulling up stakes in CO-6 and abandoning Coffman.

 

► Democrats across Colorado are calling on State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) to resign from the legislature after new reports surfaced about prior domestic violence arrests. Melton is thus far refusing to step down and is getting some public support from prominent figures in the black community, as Colorado Public Radio reports. The CPR story also links to a police report from 1999 that is pretty horrible.

 

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The Kiss of Death

In a state Donald Trump lost two years ago, where Trump’s popularity has spiraled downward ever since, in a race Walker Stapleton is already losing despite attempts to put distance between himself and Trump post-primary.

There seems like little else to say.

Just Wow, Walker Stapleton (Redux)

Via American Bridge and KRDO-TV Colorado Springs, a moment from last night’s gubernatorial debate at Colorado State University-Pueblo in which Republican Walker Stapleton earned a sustained round of indignant booing from the audience:

STAPLETON: Does that mean you tell your kids to smoke weed for schools? Is that the, uh, is that the idea? [Pols emphasis]

We’re honestly not sure what’s worse here–Stapleton suggesting that Jared Polis would give his four and seven-year-old children marijuana, or the awful half-smile half-grimace Stapleton has on his face as the crowd reacts to this outlandishness:

That, gentle readers, is the face of the guy who never gets the joke, never tells the joke right, and never understands why nobody else is laughing. If it seems like every time these two candidates meet Walker Stapleton has some kind of bizarre highly embarrassing on-camera gaffe or meltdown, it’s because that’s exactly what’s happening.

Again, maybe it’s a Bush thing.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 9)

Nevermind Columbus [ducks]. Happy Leif Erikson Day! 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…

► United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley abruptly resigned today. Haley and President Trump broke the news after a meeting at the White House, as the Washington Post reports:

Trump praised the work of the former governor of South Carolina, who was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations shortly after Trump’s inauguration last year.

“She’s done a fantastic job, and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” Trump said, adding that Haley has been “very special to me.”

Trump said Haley first told him about six months ago that she would like to “take a little time off” at the end of this year. Nevertheless, the announcement surprised many in the Trump administration.

Trump said he is hopeful that Haley will return to the administration at some point, perhaps in a different capacity.

As the Associated Press reports, Haley’s departure came as a surprise to key U.S. allies, as well as many Congressional Republicans active in foreign policy areas.

 

► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton might actually be getting worse as we get closer to Election Day. Over the weekend, Stapleton had a bizarre debate moment where he struggled for 14 seconds to repeat two numbers intended to support whatever argument he was trying to make. On Monday during a debate in Pueblo, Stapleton was booed by the crowd for making an awful joke suggesting that Democrat Jared Polis encourages his young children to smoke marijuana.


► As Politico reports, the Republican House Majority is crumbling in front of our eyes:

With a month to go until Election Day, there are now 209 seats either firmly or leaning in the Democratic column — only nine shy of the 218 the party needs to wrest away control of the chamber — according to the latest update of POLITICO’s race ratings.

The ratings, which reflect extensive reporting on the state of the 23-seat GOP majority, evaluations of both parties’ strategies, historical trends and polling data, reveal Democratic candidates have grabbed the lead in a number of House districts — including some with longtime GOP incumbents. Republican outside groups have already started cutting off funding to some races in which prospects had dimmed.

The GOP still has a path to keep the House, but it would require either a near-sweep of the toss-up races or a significant change in the political environment in the final four weeks of the campaign.

According to a new poll from CNN, Democrats have widened their lead in the “Generic Congressional Ballot” to 13 points.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Who Will Be Colorado’s Next Governor? (Round 6)

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton

Mail ballots will be out in the wild starting next Monday. We’ve been asking our readers this question for weeks now: Who do you THINK is going to win the race for Governor?

Remember, we’re looking for your best educated guess on the outcome of this race, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of the race are (or are not) changing as Election Day nears. For previous results, click Round 1Round 2, Round 3Round 4, or Round 5).

Who gets to move into the Governor’s Mansion in January? Will it be Democrat Jared Polis or Republican Walker Stapleton?

Who Will be the Next Governor of Colorado?
Jared Polis
Walker Stapleton
View Result

The Republican Candidate for Governor of Colorado

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, ladies and gentlemen…

This video clip is from a gubernatorial debate on Saturday in Grand Junction — hosted by Colorado Mesa University and Rocky Mountain PBS — the third debate in two days for Stapleton and Democratic candidate Jared Polis (Debate #4 takes place tonight in Pueblo).

According to an email from Stapleton’s campaign that went out on Sunday afternoon, Stapleton “offered a stark contrast between him and liberal Jared Polis.” Indeed he did. Stapleton supporters tried desperately to spin Saturday’s debate as a victory for the Republican candidate, but there’s no way around this gaffe. If you look closely, you can almost see the smoke coming out of Stapleton’s ears as his hard drive tries to reset.

This is the same Walker Stapleton who told Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver last week that he is “a numbers guy.” This is the same Walker Stapleton whose policy positions are little more than a series of words that someone looked up in a Thesaurus.

It is fair to say that you can summarize Stapleton’s entire campaign for Governor with this 14-second clip. Stapleton is running for the top office in Colorado, and here he is trying to recite facts and figures like he was up all night cramming for an exam instead of actually demonstrating a real grasp of important issues.

This is Walker Stapleton.

Denver Post Endorses Jared Polis for Governor

Democratic candidate for Governor Jared Polis

On Sunday, the Aurora Sentinel made the first major newspaper endorsement in the 2018 race for Governor. The Sentinel’s endorsement of Democrat Jared Polis included a no-holds-barred takedown of Republican Walker Stapleton that began with the very first sentence:

Making the case for Jared Polis to become Colorado’s next governor is just as easy as understanding why Walker Stapleton is unsuited for the job.

Today the Denver Post published their own endorsement in the race for Governor: A cheery, flattering, and wholehearted backing of Polis:

Coloradans have the chance to cast their vote this fall for a governor who is thoughtful, innovative and has proved his mettle as a leader both in the business world and as a congressman for the past decade.

Jared Polis, 43, has a vision for this great state that is easy to support, and critically, we think he has the gumption to actually deliver results…

Coloradans would be fortunate to have Polis as governor pushing for a brighter future.

He’s won our endorsement and we hope he wins your vote. [Pols emphasis]

While the Post isn’t as negative about Stapleton as the Sentinel, there is no indication that backing Polis was in any way a difficult decision for the Post editorial board. Oftentimes editorials like this will go out of their way to praise both candidates and call the decision-making process a “tough call” between “two well-qualified individuals.” It’s telling that the Post does not do this, reserving these four lines for Stapleton:

But the current state Treasurer’s vision seems less well-defined and is based in large part on a dedication to fiscally sound practices.

While admirable, it isn’t as critical a priority in a place like Colorado where voters must approve tax increases and debt increases and where the annual budget must be balanced (according to law) — on time, every year.

Stapleton has made immigration a major issue in his public campaign, which we think is overstating the impact a mostly federal problem is having on the day-to-day lives of Coloradans.

There are much more important issues than making sure that the rare person arrested on a felony charge and released from jail while awaiting a trial is instead held until federal immigration officials can make their own apprehension.

Of course, the endorsement of one or two newspapers — even those that cover two of Colorado’s largest cities — does not in itself mean that Polis is headed to victory in November (though there is plenty of reason to call him the clear frontrunner).

What these endorsements do confirm, however, is that Stapleton’s campaign strategy is an abject failure. Stapleton says very little about important issues in Colorado, choosing instead to focus on the same tired attacks about Polis and his “extreme and radical agenda.” If you’re going to try to paint your opponent as an extremist, it had better work; otherwise, news outlets like the Sentinel and the Post destroy that entire narrative with a single endorsement.

As we pointed out last month, Stapleton’s “policy ideas” are about as fulfilling as eating a sleeve of saltine crackers for dinner. This is the other broken leg of his campaign stool, because without real ideas for solving real problems, Stapleton’s entire message just boils down to, “But, I’m not Jared Polis.” That might work if you were running against a lunatic like former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, but it’s toothless against a solid, likable candidate such as Polis — particularly when Polis is all over the airwaves with positive messages.

Walker Stapleton’s gubernatorial campaign isn’t dead…yet. But nobody would blame them if they started making funeral arrangements.

Live Debate Diary: Governor

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton

What better way to kick off the home stretch of the 2018 mid-term election than with a long time feature at Colorado Pols that we call our “Debate Diary.”

We’re LIVE at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver for the first gubernatorial candidate debate forum of the General Election. Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Walker Stapleton have agreed to participate in 10 debates/forums over the next couple of weeks, with a particularly-busy schedule in the next couple of days that includes a CBS4/Colorado Sun/KOA debate tonight; a debate sponsored by Colorado Mesa University and Rocky Mountain PBS on Saturday in Grand Junction, and a debate moderated by the Pueblo Chieftain on Monday.

There are more than 50 tables full of Denver business leaders for this event sponsored by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

*NOTE: The most current update will appear at the top of the page. As always, unless something appears in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time and/or the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.  

 

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Wild Card: The St. Louis Cardinals Almost Complicated Stapleton’s Rocktober

(Boo – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton Cardinals Fan

Rocktober is here! The Colorado Rockies began their battle with the Milwaukee Brewers last night, having earned themselves a playoff series appearance for the first time since 2009. And thanks to this season’s success occurring in an election year, there are naturally plenty of politicians looking to highlight their support to share in the team’s glory.

Gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, clearly one of biggest baseball fans among Colorado’s elected officials, is likely both disappointed and relieved that the Rockies are facing off against the Brewers rather than the perennial NL Central powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals.

Following the Rocks’ Tuesday night clinching of a playoff spot, Stapleton tweeted simply, “ROCKTOBER!” At the time, the Cardinals were still in contention for a playoff spot.

An anonymous  Twitter account replied with a pair of photos showing Stapleton wearing a hat and displaying a jersey of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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