Denver Post Pulls Story with Coffman Interview on Personhood

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: In a very unusual development, the story referred to in the blog post below has been taken down by Denver Post politics editor Chuck Plunkett. In a post this afternoon on The Spot blog, Plunkett explains:

Tuesday night I pulled a story from The Denver Post’s online edition that had been up for several minutes. The story dealt with the abortion stances of Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman.

It shouldn’t have run. I had it taken down because a key piece of information that came to us late contradicted the original point of pursuing the story…

[T]he story launched with an important fact that I had not been privy too. That fact is that on June 18, 2013, Coffman’s office issued this statement in a press release available also to the public on his congressional webpage that clearly complicated my earlier understanding of our story.

“I voted today in favor of H.R. 1797 to limit late term abortion,” Coffman said in the statement. “I strongly support the exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother that have been included in this legislation.”

Had I known about that public statement, my news judgment would have been different.

This explanation is strange to say the least, since the story by reporter Kurtis Lee (now deleted) does refer to Coffman's 2013 vote for H.R. 1797:

Over the weekend, in a brief interview at the state GOP assembly, Coffman broadened his position on abortion, saying he now supports it in cases of rape and incest — a position he did not voice in 2012, when he supported abortions only to protect the life of the mother. In 2013, Coffman backed a House bill and noted his support for exceptions in the case of rape and incest. [Pols emphasis]

We also took note Coffman's June 2013 vote for a late term abortion ban when it happened, and how it represented a marked shift from his prior opposition to all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. This is not new information, and nothing in Lee's now-removed story is invalidated by this detail. Coffman previously supported banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and now he doesn't. That's the story.

We do not understand Plunkett's reasoning here at all–unless he simply, in his capacity as political news editor of the Denver Post, did a favor for Mike Coffman. Needless to say, that would be a big problem.

If so, it was also a big mistake, because now he has drawn even more attention to the real story here.

Original post follows.


Mike Coffman.

Mike Coffman.

The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee has done what no other reporter in Colorado could manage to do for three long weeks since Rep. Mike Coffman's spokesperson sort of told Lee that Coffman had un-endorsed the personhood amendment–sort of because it hasn't been clear if Coffman opposes personhood per se, or just the amendment.

And, after reading Coffman's comments to Lee, it's still not clear, though it appear Coffman still supports the personhood concept, at least to some degree, but not the amendment.

Lee tracked down Coffman at last weekend's Republican assembly and asked him to confirm his new-found opposition to the personhood amendment and to explain why his stance had changed:

Coffman: "There are parts of it that are unintended. … I think it's too overbroad and that the voters have spoken."

Lee noted that Coffman received high praise from personhood organizers in the past. (It's true, plus personhood supporters don't point to any elements of their amendment that are unintended, and Coffman didn't point out any unintended consequence less than two years ago, when he was last lauded by personhood organizers.)

Lee also asked Coffman whether he opposes abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. Coffman has never personally backtracked from his steadfast opposition to abortion under these circumstances.

In fact, Coffman went out of his way in the past to underline his opposition to rape-and-incest exceptions.

But he told Lee that he now supports abortion for rape or incest victims, putting an exclamation point on an about-face that started last year when, as Lee points out, his office put out a statement saying Coffman supported such exceptions in a House bill. Still, this is the first time Coffman has talked about his flip himself.

Lee described his Coffman interview as "brief," and there are still big questions hanging out there for the next reporter that manages to snag Coffman. These include: What is Coffman's current abortion stance, beyond being "pro-life?" Does he support Roe v. Wade? Does he support the personhood concept? If he still believes life begins at the zygote (fertilized eggs) stage. Does he oppose forms of birth control, like IUDs, that threaten zygotes?

The headline of Lee's article reads, "Mike Coffman adjusts abortion stance in cases of rape and incest." Trouble is, we still don't know what his abortion stance is, except he opposes a women's right to choose pretty much all the time.


14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. nancycronknancycronk says:

    Coffman has a shrewd political mind. His ability to maneuver cannot be understated.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Wow. Never heard anyone call the guy shrewd before. The first election in which CD6 was no longer absolutely safe he scraped by with less than a 2 point victory against a no name candidate who never got anything close to big funding until very late in the game largely due to his own foot in mouth gaffes, not seeming to recognize how radically his CD had changed since the days when a GOP rock could win it two to one with no need for breaking the bank. 

    • DavieDavie says:

      I gotta agree with BC on this one, Nancy.  Coffman cribbed his minimal response directly from Gardner's statement.  No thought went into it other than, "What are the fewest number of words I have to say to get outta here?"

      Barring some miracle, Coffman will be stale toast in November.

    • "His ability to maneuver cannot be understated."

      I hope those were exactly the words Nancy meant to use, because Oscar Wilde would be impressed by the backhand.

  2. Republican 36 says:

    Messrs. Gardner and Coffman Should Answer the Following Questions:

    Let's preface the quesitons by stating we don't care whether either one of you supports the Personhood Amendment or not. That's not important but the answer to these questions are:

    1. Do you support a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion or not?

    2. Do you support a woman's right to an abortion in the case of incest?

    3. Do you support a woman's right to an abortion in the case of rape?

    4. Do you support a woman's right to an abortion in order to save her life?

    Your answers to these questions are critical in this campaign. Just because you no longer support a particlual vehicle to ban abortion ("Personhood Amendment") is irrrelevant. The real question is do you still believe abortions should be banned regardless of what legislative or constitutional means is utilized to attain that goal that both of you have steadfastly supported in the past and to my knowledge have never abandoned.

    Messrs. Gardnera nd Coffman are playing a game with the voters. By disowning the Personhood amendment they want voters, particularly women voters, to assume they are no longer opposing a woman's right to choose while at the same time not actually saying that and thereby placating and retaining the support of their pro-life supporters. We should end their subterfuge by demanding they answer these quesitons.

  3. HappyWarrior says:

    No breed of political cat is hated more than the flip-flopper.  



  4. DavieDavie says:

    Is Chuck Plunkett simply a low-info Political editor?

    Maybe Plunkett was just in the middle of writing the endorsement for Coffman as a shiny new breed of Conservaliberal for the Conservaliberal district that CD6 has become when Mikey called to ask him to bury Kurtis Lee's post.

  5. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    This is the same Denver Post that bent over backward to fix Art Kane's bullshit health care stories, right?

    The same Denver Post that sold the energy section to Big Oil?

    This is unbelievable.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      This well and truly sucks. The only remaining big paper bending over backwards to make GOTPers and the reporters who support them (like Kane) look not quite so … ummm… misspoken? 

      Almost nothing in any of Kane's ACA victim stories checked out but I don't recall any corrections and now it looks like they're trying to help Coffman walk a fine line between sounding less like a troglodyte without pissing off his troglodyte base. This is the liberal lamestream media?  They get one angry letter from a rightie and they fall all over themselves bragging that the fact that both sides criticize them proves their fair and balanced. Bull.

  6. Ralphie says:

    If it wasn't accurate, it wasn't accurate and should have been pulled.  Trouble is, Plunkett gave us precious little further infformation.

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