Video: GOP Gubernatorial Candidates on Cliven Bundy

FRIDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Independent's Mike Littwin:

Each took the question. Each took a shot at Harry Reid. And each chose not to mention the race issue. Yeah, I was puzzled, too. Had they missed the news? Do they believe the ugly stereotype about Republicans and race? Did they really think that this was the time to get on the Bundy bandwagon? Didn’t any of them call Hannity for advice?

…In summary, these people who want to be your governor seemed entirely unconcerned about someone bringing in his militia buddies to fight off the feds, whom he says he doesn’t recognize as legitimate.

Or if they were concerned about it, they forgot to mention it. It could be that they were just preoccupied with making sure not to mention, under any circumstances, that their pal was a racist crank.


A revealing video clip from Thursday's 9NEWS gubernatorial debate hosted by reporters Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman. In the clip above, Clark asks GOP gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez, Mike Kopp, and Scott Gessler what they think of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's dispute with the federal government. Mr. Bundy has been a cause celebre among conservatives since a standoff between BLM agents and armed militia in support of Bundy early this month. Remarks by Bundy about African-Americans and the desirability of slavery last weekend, however, have given many of his supporters pause.

But it doesn't look like our GOP gubernatorial candidates are very perturbed by that stuff:

KYLE CLARK: I'm curious what you all make of the land dispute in Nevada, between the rancher Cliven Bundy and the and the federal government. Senator Dean Heller from Nevada says that Mr. Bundy's supporters are "patriots," whereas Senate Minority Leader, uh Majority Leader, rather, Harry Reid calls them "domestic terrorists." What do you think, Mr. Beauprez?

BOB BEAUPREZ: It's pretty outrageous to call any American citizen a "domestic terrorist" unless they've committed a terrorist act, and I don't think Mr. Bundy has. He certainly is, uh, my guess is not without fault, but this is another issue that's very personal to me, because we've now got a ranch up in our own mountains. And I've been asked specifically, do you think this kind of thing could happen in Colorado, and unfortunately my answer is yes, because I think government has gone completely mad. That's the issue here. The excesses of government in trying to resolve a dispute with a, with a rancher who's been there for generations, for heaven's sakes, do we need to bring in helicopters, and SWAT teams, and it, it looks, it looks like martial law has broken out. There's got to be a more common sense way to resolve this dispute. I am very concerned about the overreach, not only in that case, but there's numerous other cases, of federal power on private citizens, and that's something I think a governor needs to stand up and push back on, and even though he's a Republican, I've been curious to see how quiet Mr. Sandoval seems to be in Nevada.

CLARK: An early statement of support and then not much past that. Again, Senator Heller calls them "patriots," Senator Reid calls them "domestic terrorists." What do you think of Mr. Bundy and his supporters?

MIKE KOPP: Well, first of all, I think Harry Reid is rarely right, and this is no exception to that rule. Um, the fact of the matter is the federal government has dramatically overreached. You know we have like seventy agencies in the federal government that have armed police officers. Seventy. I'm not sure why the federal government needs to have that kind of armed force, um, against its own citizens. If I were governor there, the thing I would be interested in doing would be part of a broader policy that I would be interested in enacting, and that is, putting myself between the citizens of the state and the federal government to advocate for the citizens, for the freedoms of the people, of my state. In this particular case, you know you have somebody who should have paid their permitting fees, but you also have a federal government who has just gone incredibly overboard in the matter. There's no question about that. And I think most people look at that, probably, with the same degree of skepticism about their actions.

CLARK: Mr. Gessler, what do you make of Mr. Bundy and his supporters?

SCOTT GESSLER: Well, let me first address Harry Reid. That, uh, that man never misses an opportunity to insult his political opponents whenever he can. And that's not the way to go about things. The fact is, I think the government, federal government overreached here and overreacted. You know when I started my career as a federal prosecutor, one of the things I learned is that governmental power should be restrained. It should be limited. It should be treated with care. Because it's a dangerous thing. And we do have a Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, where the first thing they're looking to do is to, is to hammer people, instead of work with them to find ways to find solutions. Um, Mr. Bundy I think has his own problems, but no one should have treated him the way he was treated. I think that what we need to do is, you know, be prepared to speak out against the federal government when it oversteps its bounds, and recognize that most people want to do the right thing most of the time. And a government should respect that, and find a way to work with them.

CLARK: Thank you, Mr. Gessler.

Whatever you might think about Bundy's dispute over grazing rights on federal land, don't you think one of our GOP gubernatorial contenders could have acknowledged that his extreme throwback racist worldview isn't very defensible? Were they counting on absent Tom Tancredo to do that?

Yes, folks, that last part was sarcasm.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. gumshoe says:

    And they wonder why they can't win a big election in Colorado. I expected more from at least Mike Kopp. 

  2. dwyer says:

    I plan on watching the debate on Saturday, so my question reflects that I have not heard the whole debate.

    Why didn't the panel of journalists ask the candidates about Brady's racist remarks and the his statement that he doesn't believe in the United STates??

    I also think that the Secretary of the Interior as well as Ken Salzar( as former Secretary of the Interior and universally liked in Colorado)  should hold a press conference and explain why the BLM went in "loaded forbear."  This is an example of where the government should explain to its citizens why the confrontation was necessary…..particularly if threats had been made.  Right now, there is silence from the Dept of Interior and the public may know that Brady did not pay his grazing fees…but not how this whole thing escalated…..

    • Smoking Mirror says:

      Hmmm…and I say this in the nicest possible way.  The assertion that Ken Salazar is "universally liked" is debatable from both the left and the right.  And why wouldn't the BLM come in "loaded for bear" to pick up a guy who hasn't paid his bills in 20+ years, particularly when he is being backed up by a bunch of militia nuts?  Personally, I think it would be better to have some nice federal agents invite him downtown wnen he goes in to pick up eggs and beer at the nearest big town, but that's just me.  I suspect that BLM (or ATF) cowboys may view the risk/reward differently.n  Never did think much of those guys and the efficacy of their tactics.

      • dwyer says:

        @smoking mirror….

        Okay, I 'll concede you Salazar…I thought there was a link someplace to a poll showing his popularity…but I can't find it with a simple search….

        It is the Secretary of the Interior who should give the explanation for the confrontation…..not you, my friend.  That was my point… official explanation so that citizens know why the BLM felt it necessary to proceed that way…

    • Duke Cox says:

      This has nothing to do with the quarterback of the New England Patriots, the patriarch of an old TV tribe, or anyone else named Brady…his name is "Bundy".

  3. mamajama55 says:

    That's a classic Gessler punt: Asked directly what he thinks about Bundy and his associates, he responds;

    Well, let me first address Harry Reid. That, uh, that man never misses an opportunity to insult his political opponents whenever he can –

    Then Gessler blathers on about Federal government overreach, and implies that the primary mission of the BLM is to "hammer people". Then, finally, he gets around to expressing an opinion about Bundy, who "has his own problems".

    So Gessler is a master of misdirection. Nothing new there. Like dwyer, I wish that Bundy's racist quote about the wonders of slavery had been part of this conversation.

  4. Duke Cox says:

    This is as much fun as watching Chris Christie scramble for his political life.


  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Why wasn't Brophy at this debate??  

    I'd really enjoy hearing his perspective on Bundy . . .

    (. . . if you want to understand a melon-farmer, can you think of anyone better to ask than a melon farmer??)

  6. DaftPunk says:

    Bundy talk is mere rabble-rousing.

    The rabble have been roused.

  7. DawnPatrol says:

    Racists, liars, cowards, obstructionists, hypocrites, gun sexualizers, oligarchs, science and nature haters, neanderthals, misogynists and false patriots — ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present your 2014 Teabag Republican Party!

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