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March 22, 2014 03:41 PM UTC

Did Gardner hear Wadhams' radio warnings about the toxicity of personhood to state-wide candidates?

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dick Wadhams.
Dick Wadhams.

Back in August, Republican pundit and strategist Dick Wadhams was asked by KNUS radio host Matt Dunn if a "pro-life Republican" can win a "state-wide at the present time.”

Wadhams: “As long as they don’t make that the centerpiece of their campaign, or, to be honest, as long as they don’t endorse and embrace the personhood amendment. Bob Schaffer did not endorse personhood. Archbishop Chaput did not support personhood. It has dragged down a lot of Republicans in Colorado and across the nation.”

I like the “to be honest” part, because it shows that Wadhams was going the extra mile to be frank, to express a reluctant truth.

Maybe GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner was listening to Wadhams, because yesterday Gardner reversed his longstanding support for the personhood measure, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, saying he didn't fully understand it.

Until yesterday, Gardner certainly fell in the category of someone who embraced personhood, like Wadhams said no pro-life Republican candidate should do, if he or she wants to win a state-wide election.

During his run for Congress, in 2010, Gardner couldn’t have been more clear about his support for personhood. “I have signed the personhood petition,” Gardner was videotaped saying.. “I have taken the petitions to my church, and circulating into my church.” Gardner touted his personhood support to win his first congressional primary election.

The video of Gardner confirms what the founder of Colorado’s personhood movement, Kristi Brown (formerly Kristi Burton) told me a couple years ago at a news conference. She called Gardner one of the “main supporters” of the initial personhood campaign. Gardner was “very, very supportive” and attended personhood events and talked about the measure, she said.

Gardner continued to "embrace the personhood amendment," to use Wadhams' phrase again, as recently as last year when he endorsed federal personhood legislation.

Things changed yesterday, about a month after Gardner announced his candidacy for state-wide office. That's when Wadhams' (or someone's) advice about the toxicity of personhood to state-wide candidates seems to have struck Gardner.

But will Gardner be able to un-endorse and un-embrace personhood and win?

Ask Ken Buck, the last failed GOP Senate candidate in Colorado. In 2010, Buck un-endorsed personhood, just as Gardner did yesterday, saying he didn't understand the measure, particularly that it would ban forms of birth control. And apparently like Gardner, who said personhood is driven by "good intentions," Buck said he still supported personhood "as a concept."

Buck was still hammered for his extreme anti-abortion position, and it arguably caused him to lose his race to Democrat Michael Bennet.

Wadhams appeared to acknowledge Buck’s vulnerabilities in a February Denver Post opinion piece, where he wrote that Republicans need “a new generation” of candidates to respond to the “challenges with suburban women, unaffiliated voters and Hispanics.”

But how could Gardner be part of that new generation without dumping personhood? Especially with the ghost of Ken Buck hanging around. He had dump it.

But, still, how many suburban women—or women anywhere—can get excited about a candidate, like Gardner, who was a full-on supporter of an amendment that would take away their option to have an abortion, even if they were raped? That is, until he started running for state-wide office.

Not many, to be honest. And I think Wadhams would have to agree.

Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog


34 thoughts on “Did Gardner hear Wadhams’ radio warnings about the toxicity of personhood to state-wide candidates?

  1. I would hope the Gardner had something better to do than listen to Wadhams on the radio.  I understand Wadhams may want to be seen as relevant, but he is not. Former State Party Chairman, with the emphasis on former.

    1. Wadhams has forgotten more about politics than you'll ever know, AC. Colorado Republicans have been on the losing side side since they veered hard right. Dick couldn't prevent that. He deals in the real world; you and your ilk deal in the world you tell each other exists despite evidence to the contrary.


    1. @dwyer — pro-life is not a synonym of anti-choice.  As BC put it very eloquently, progressives are just as pro-life as any personhood supporter.  We just believe that pro-life means don't stop caring for the person after they are born.

      The Republican definition of 'pro-life' is the mother doesn't have a choice but to carry any pregnacy to term regardless of circumstances.  And once born, deal with it because you're on your own sucker!  And the death penalty is okey-dokey by us.

        1. Concur… I am very pro-life….but a womans' right to make the decision to carry or abort a fetus is HER, I repeat, HER decision. No one else has that right…period.

          1. Up until what time is the question?

            The court in Roe v. Wade recognizes at some point the woman loses that right, even before the kid is a teenager.

      1. Progressives are pro anything if it means spending other people's money.

        It is their nature.  

        Pro-life is not a political platform it is a religious belief as to when life begins.

          1. The AC's readjustment made him mildly less of an asshole, but no more intelligent.  

            Pro-life is not a political platform


            Who knew?  Apparently there are these things called 'political parties' that have 'platforms' and one can even look them up.  

            THE SANCTITY AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

        1. AC – from TNTSNBM:

          (From the Ft. Morgan Republican County Assembly)


          The assembly also approved three resolutions to send to the state assembly for possible inclusion in the state Republican Party platform.

          The first would urge all Republican candidates to work to repeal the recent gun laws approved by the Colorado legislature in 2013.

          The second would urge the support of Amendment 67, called the Brady Amendment, which is backed by the Colorado Right to Life committee. It is meant to offer "protection" to "unborn children." It would require the inclusion of the words "person" and "child" in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. This is intended to prevent abortions by giving the fetus status as an "unborn human being."

          The third resolution says that there must be no use of foreign laws in interpreting the U.S. Constitution and U.S. laws.


              1. Hey, don't feel bad. Pueblo Dems heard 17 resolutions, approved maybe half of them – I don't recall but one or two having any relevance to jobs. Other issues that I do support, but not jobs. Just saying. 

            1. From the same article: (I like Jerry personally, but he comes up with some doozies every now and then…)


              Sonnenberg told the crowd that he is backing a ballot initiative that was filed last Thursday to deny state severance taxes to cities or counties that ban fracking.

              If the initiative gets 18,000 signatures on petitions within a deadline, it would go on the ballot in November.

              He said that populations that do not support fracking should not share in the economic benefits.

              Given his concern for economic benefits (his county has benefitted dramatically from the state renewable portfolio standard overwhelming supported by Front Range voters) I'll anxiously await for my soon-to-be state senator to promote a harmonization of our state severance taxes with our surrounding states.  You know, in the interest of "economic benefit".

    2. @JS

      Let me see if I can clarify before drowning in a sematic political pool. Do you agree that a candidate can be against the Personhood Amendment and still call himself/herself pro-life?  A position  others would call anti-choice?

      1. If you accept the scientific definition of abortion, it doesn't occur until after implantation, so the destruction of fertilized eggs, prior to implantation, doesn't constitute an abortion. So depending on your definition, you could be against personhood but still opposed to all abortion, even for rape. There are different ways you could be anti-choice and anti-personhood, depending on the definitions.

  2. A candidate who has consistently been in favor of personhood for years and as recently as June 2013 co-sponsored legislation on the federal level supporting personhood cannot run away from a key issue just to win a statewide race. He has not evolved; he is deliberately attempting to lie to the people of CO in order to win an election. Evolution is looking at Udall’s record on GLBT issues going way back to votes in the House of Representatives. He has been consistent and his record supports his belief that no one should be discriminated against due to sexual orientation. Society as a whole has evolved on gay marriage. Gardner is a small time player and learning that this is the big leagues. This will get people to the polls. Very unwise and a politically transparent move.

  3. Pro life means that you believe life begins at conception.

    People that do not believe life begins at conception are not pro life as that term is used in the field.

    The pro-Abortion crowd argues that Abortion is OK until the unborn child is delivered or can live outside of the womb.

    Both views tend to view their positions as absolutes.

    The courts have, since Roe v. Wade, taken the view that at some time of  development, around the 6th or 7th month, the child in utero was protected from Abortion and before that time they are not.

    As technology has evolved since Roe v. Wade, and the human features of the fetus become detectable earlier in the pregnancy, more seem to view the argument for protecting the fetus at an earlier stage in the pregnancy and states have ennacted legislation pushing further back in the pregnancy the time at which the fetus deserves protection.

    1. @AC

      A contraire, this statement is incorrect:

      The courts have, since Roe v. Wade, taken the view that at some time of  development, around the 6th or 7th month, the child in utero was protected from Abortion and before that time they are not. – See more at:


      Roe v. Wade divided pregnancy into three parts.  During the first trimester, the woman's right to abortion was absolute; during the second trimester, the STATE could regulate abortion because of the STATE'S interest in the developing life; in the third trimester, the STATE could prohibit abortion, as long as provisions allowed for abortions if the life or health of the mother was endangered.  Not all states choose to prohibit abortion in the third trimester.


  4. Pro life means that you believe life begins at conception.

    Who the hell are you…Daniel Webster? You don't get to define that term. Pro-life means you are in favor of respecting the sanctity of life and the care of living beings. Which would include caring for children AFTER they are born.

    You have already lost this race. I am very much looking forward to the public humiliation and crushing defeat you and my ol' pal Cory are going to experience in November. Until then, this is going to be a fun time at the penny arcade.

    Like fish in a barrel.


  5. To a party that claims itself to be about 'small government' forcing a position that is contrary to what 70% of the electorate have shown they are against, and which would–in policy effect–make this

    equal to this


    for purposes of ethics, criminal law, foreign and domestic policy.  << This is the 'Personhood' provision.  One can see why it is in fact 'convenient' for Cory to 'evolve' on this issue quickly, as soon as he has the nomination sewn up.  Throwing up Fladen, I mean flack about his grand tippy toe toward 'moderation.'  

    Yet, there it is right smack in the Republican POLITICAL Platform 

    We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.  

  6. So, all of those Personhood Supporters will now stand strong behind Garnder? So, they're okay with him sacrificing the lives of all those unborn babies to further his political aspirations?   

    1. According to the conversation Michael Bowman had with the elderly woman, Curmie, they don't think he really means it…and they are OK with that… "Go ahead and lie through your teeth Cory Boy, (wink, wink), we have your back."

      1. And who else are they going to vote for? On the other hand whose votes is he going to gain? 

         I don't see this as doing him any good. He will be asked specific questions as to just how moderate his position has become and his answers will not fool anyone that he has become more moderate. What will he say if asked if there should be exceptions for rape and incest? What will he say if asked if he thinks all abortion with no exceptions should be against the law?

        I think he'll say "look over there" which will tell everyone with middle of the road views, the kind who helped defeat personhood 3 to 1 last time, that he's for everything personhood represents even if he doesn't want to claim he supports the amendment. His voting record, including very recently, will tell everyone that he always votes against moderation on this issue.

  7. I was going to make a joke about this, but then realized this is not funny.

    If someone is posting using their own SSN, that is stupid and could lead to identify theft.  If this is a "made up" SSN, it could really be someone else's SSN.  If this is the SSN of someone who has died, that, too, could cause ID problems.


  8. @MB

    I clicked on "a quick google search" and it brought me to JonBenet Ramey's facebook page.  What was that all about? I didn't search for a SNN number.

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