Coffman vs. Romanoff, Round 3: Live Blog!


Insert candidates here.

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. Tonight we're at the auditorium in the Denver Post building for CD-6 debate #3 between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff. (we covered Round 1 in Highlands Ranch with a Live Blog on Aug. 14.)

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.

Andrew Romanoff beat the absolute crap out of Mike Coffman tonight. It was almost unfair — Romanoff pummeled Coffman at every opportunity, while the incumbent largely just stood there quietly. This was stunning. Truly.

We can't get over Coffman's inability to hold his tongue completely. When Romanoff talked about Coffman's personal attacks, Coffman immediately responded…with personal attacks. Really, really, really weird.

Closing arguments.

Romanoff goes first, says time for a change in Congress.

Coffman says Time magazine recently named him one of the most effective Members of Congress(?). "God Bless you for being here tonight, and God Bless the United States."

7:00 pm
Coffman gets to ask his final question of Romanoff. He flips through his notes for a moment, seemingly forgetting what he wanted to ask.

6:59 pm
Romanoff asks Coffman: What does "support" mean to you, since you claim to support issues you have opposed in your record.

6:58 pm
Coffman begins his question by attacking Romanoff for going to private schools himself? Coffman's question is completely lost because of his insistence on attacking Romanoff personally. Bad call.

Romanoff: "Thank God you haven't picked on my dog yet."

6:56 pm
Time for candidates to ask their own questions.

Romanoff: What puts you in a better position than the women of this district about what to do with their bodies?

Coffman: I'm pro-life, and I believe there ought to be exceptions.

6:54 pm
What is most pressing issue in CD-6?

Coffman: Jobs and economy. Says he has worked with Sen. Bennet on reforming laws to help companies that build satellites, or something.

Romanoff: People want a Congressman to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class. Says he'll make higher education more affordable and supports equal pay for women — using this as a transition to mention Coffman's opposition to Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

6:51 pm
Question about PAC money. Coffman says voters should know where money is coming from and who is donating, which is bizarre since Coffman accepts PAC money. Coffman calls Romanoff a hypocrite for not accepting PAC money.

Question for Romanoff is about why he worked with PACs as a State Rep.

Romanoff says he learned from his experience. Says Ken Gordon once asked him how anything will change if nobody moves to refuse PAC money.

6:50 pm
Was Obamacare true reform?

Romanoff: We can't wait for certainty or predictability to act on something. "Voting 50 times against the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with nothing" is not a way to move forward. Romanoff is absolutely CRUSHING Coffman tonight.

6:48 pm
Question: What parts of Obamacare do you like?

Coffman talks about legislation he authored in 1994(!) when he was a state legislator. Says something about community health care clinics, and that we don't even know the impact of Obamacare. Very strange.

6:44 pm
Question: What is biggest falsehood your opponent is saying about you?

Romanoff: (jokingly) "How much time do I have?"

Romanoff says he is disappointed by 19 months of personal attacks from Coffman's campaign. Very strong answer.

Coffman's turn: Says it is just about being dishonest, just like a recent ad that Coffman doesn't elaborate upon. Romanoff asks, "Which one?"

Coffman talks for awhile and then attacks Romanoff — seriously — by mocking him for attending Harvard and Yale. Bad timing, Mike.

6:42 pm
Coffman seems unusually subdued tonight. Perhaps he's just trying not to appear combative, as he did in Debate #2 in Aurora when yelled at Romanoff on several occasions.

6:41 pm
Coffman says background checks for guns are 2nd Amendment violation. Romanoff responds that universal background checks do not violate Amendment 2.

6:40 pm
Coffman says Romanoff opposed a rainy day fund — then Romanoff responds saying that isn't true. This debate is moving way too quickly from one topic to the next.

6:37 pm
Question about TABOR — is it still useful?

Coffman says yes, then launches into complicated response about missed opportunities to fix TABOR. Huh?

Coffman says he couldn't vote on Referendum C&D in 2005 because he was serving in Iraq. Coffman was also a candidate for Secretary of State when he returned to the U.S. — did he really not vote in 2005?

6:35 pm
Romanoff: It's one thing to claim to support NREL at a debate, but Coffman has voted to cut funding for NREL. "It's not what you say here, but what you do there [in Washington D.C.]"

6:34 pm
Are subsidies for clean energy companies a good idea for federal government? Romanoff jumps on Coffman's prior answers, saying it is clear that Coffman is going to do nothing to deal with Climate Change.

6:29 pm
Should Colorado allow same-sex marriage? Coffman says NO, Romanoff says YES.

Do you think people are contributing to Climate Change?

Coffman: NO
Romanoff: YES

Lots of murmuring in the crowd to Coffman's response. Coffman seems really unsure about how to deal with this question.

Do you think Climate Change can be fixed?

Romanoff: YES
Coffman: "Don't Know." Moderators press him, and he answers, "NO." Coffman is clearly uncomfortable.

6:28 pm
Time for Yes or No questions.

6:26 pm
Coffman is asked why he doesn't support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (even though he called for such reform in a Denver Post editorial last summer). Coffman says that we shouldn't support people who broke the law intentionally, then talks about his legislation to help immigrants who want to join the military.

Romanoff says that reform is possible if Congress would do anything to act on legislation passed by the Senate.

6:24 pm
Question about birth control. Coffman says he supports access to birth control and recently received an award from an organization whose name he didn't mention.

Romanoff asked about how Coffman has acted negatively on birth control. Romanoff lists Hobby Lobby decision support, and Coffman's co-sponsorship of redefining rape.

Romanoff is hitting Coffman HARD on every question.

6:21 pm
Oooh. Tough question for Coffman about why he has changed his positions on issues such as immigration and Personhood.

Coffman says he opposes Personhood, then offers strange answer about how he "didn't run on immigration" in prior elections.

Good response from Romanoff, who says Coffman opposed adding Aurora to the CD-6 boundaries in re-districting. "I will be happy to relieve you of that responsibility."


6:20 pm
Romanoff goes after Coffman for supporting the government shutdown last fall.

6:18 pm
Next question: Would you support cuts to Buckley Air Force Base?

Romanoff says he thinks both he and Coffman would agree that Buckley needs to be protected.

Coffman says he supports the President in military base realignment. What's going on here? This is the 2nd time already that Coffman has said he supports President Obama.

6:15 pm
Next question on tax reforms.

Coffman talks about inversion, when companies re-incorporate overseas in order to avoid taxes. Says we need a "Territorial Tax System," and we need to reform taxes in general. Coffman started alright, then went off into technicality-ville.

Romanoff says we need to stop corporations from skirting their tax obligations.

6:12 pm
Romanoff is attacking Coffman early and often. Brings up that Coffman has called Social Security a "ponzi scheme."

Coffman responds by saying he sponsored legislation to reform food stamps and Social Security disability. "I do think that wealthier Seniors should pay more for their Medicare benefits." Bizarre and rambling response from Coffman.

6:10 pm
We're moving along faster than Don Suppes can delete his Twitter account. Next question is about the rising national debt.

Coffman: I break with my Party on the issue of defense spending. Nation building (like in Iraq) is a bad idea.

Romanoff: Eliminate redundant government programs. Says Department of Health and Human Services should be able to negotiate better prescription drug prices. Says we shouldn't dismantle Medicare, which he says Coffman has supported.

6:07 pm
Next question is on federal government responsibility to provide access to higher education.

Romanoff goes first, says federal government is absolutely responsible for helping students to get college education.

Coffman says his father went to an HVAC training school, and says administration is biased against "trade schools." Okay, then.

6:06 pm
Coffman says he wrote the President "a bipartisan letter" about…something about Sunni Arabs and Iraq.

6:04 pm
Romanoff won the backstage coin toss, so Coffman goes first. Question #1 is about ISIS and President Obama's plan to deal with the threat.

It takes less than 1 minute for Coffman to mention that he is a former Marine. That might be a record.

Coffman and Romanoff give fairly similar answers to this first question.

6:00 pm
The candidates and moderators have arrived. You can watch the debate online at Moderators are Denver Post Political Editor Chuck Plunkett and CD-6 reporter Jon Murray.

5:43 pm
The crowd is filing in to the auditorium while we wait for the candidates and moderators to arrive.



20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DawnPatrol says:

    Wow — this is a friggin' bloodbath.

    I can only imagine how sweaty, nervous and Nixonian ol' Mikey must be looking right about now.

    Keep punching hard, Andrew! No quarter, no prisoners!

    • BlueCat says:

      Bet it won't be reported as such in Denver Post political editor Chuck Plunkett's lame paper.

      • DawnPatrol says:

        I wouldn't touch that bet, BC!  Still, in spite of the pro-GOTP pressm word will filter out, and perhaps some of Coffie's major stumbles will even end up in pro-Romanoff ads. He (Coffman) can't get away with such pathetic, halting, blithering appreances forever.

  2. DawnPatrol says:

    OMG…just…OMFG. Could Coffman have been any more lame or ill-prepared?

    I'm speechless.

  3. The realist says:

    Coffman reminded me more than a little of Lamborn in this debate. And frankly, Romanoff brought to mind someone of much greater stature – someone like a Kennedy.

  4. FrankUnderwood says:

    "I'm pro-life, and I believe in exceptions."  Coffman really said that?  

    I am pro-choice and I believe that Roe v.Wade doesn't authorize the big government to compile a list of exceptions (e.g., rape, legitimate or otherwise, incest).

    If you are pro-life, then you believe (as Cory Gardner did, at least prior to March 2014), that human life begins at conception and is entitled to legal protection.  (Or Gardner may still believe that at the federal level but not in Colorado.)

    I don't agree with the underlying premise (i.e., that a fertilized egg is the same as a human being), but if you buy the underlying premise, then the conclusion makes sense.

    This is where the "pro-life with exceptions" people piss me off.  They are disingenuous.  If you sincerely believe that that fertilized egg equals a human being, then how it came into existence is irrelevant.  If you really are pro-life, there shouldn't be exceptions for different circumstances.

    Their days of straddling the fence between their libertarian wing and the egg-loving bible thumpers is rapidly coming to an end.


    • BlueCat says:

      They aren't pro-life. They're anti-abortion. There's a big difference. Once the fertilized egg has matured into a child and reached the far side of the birth canal, if it's a child born to a poor family or single mom than any help for that child or for that family or that mom becomes an attack on capitalism. At that point they're all just worthless takers who don't deserve a living wage, decent health care, or affordable housing. If they're born to someone here without papers, they want to amend the constitution to take away that child's birthright citizenship.  

      Calling themselves pro-life is a sick, sick joke. They howl for the death penalty (too bad if DNA evidence keeps clearing the mistakenly condemned) and they're all for letting people get away with stalking and shooting unarmed black kids even if those kids are just walking home, minding their own business. I never ever use the term pro-life in reference to them. All the pro-choice people I know, every single one, is a hundred times more pro-life than any of them.


  5. DaftPunk says:

    I'm shocked that Coffman tried to get more mileage out of dissing an Ivy League education.  This isn't Dumfuckistan, and anti-intellectualism won't play in a purple district.

    Zorro has to be getting up in the years, and Andrew's dog jokes may need a new punch line soon. I hope he's hanging in there.

    • Duke Cox says:

      I think being a politician is like being a stand up comic…fresh material is critical to your success.


    • FrankUnderwood says:

      They do it because they've learned from their Queen that there is great mileage to be gotten from dissing education and educated people as elitist and elites.  After all, their Queen showed them that spending five years getting a four-yar degree in basket weaving followed by a stint as mayor of Wasilla followed by 18 months as governor of Alaska is all the training and education one needs to be placed a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States.

      It reminds me of what fictional President Barlet on the West Wing once said to his opponent (played brilliantly by James Brolin), a dimwitted Southern Republican Governor, "You've made a Zen-like thing out of being intellectually disengaged."

      Even Zippy or Skippy (I get the two confused) will occasionally comment that some of us are intellectual bullies picking on the intellectually disengaged. 

  6. itlduso says:

    So today's meme promoted by Coffman's campaign and adopted by Eli Stokols is "Coffman, calm and refusing to engage, is debating like a candidate with a lead." (Stokols),  Coffman's side said, "Coffman stood back sometimes because he was confident in his position in the race, based on internal polling that (the campagin manager) would not disclose."

    I'm surprised that Stokols bought that load.  Thoughts?


    • Progressicat says:

      It reminds me a bit of Baghdad Bob calmly reporting the infidels "committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad." as American tanks drive by in the background.  Coffman may want to pretend he's ready to welcome Romanoff with bullets and shoes, but he's being overrun.

      • itlduso says:

        Ah yes, "Baghdad Bob".  We have our own shill who I call "DC Dan", as in Dan Senor.

        But, I'm still a tiny bit concerned about Eli Stokols' buy-in.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        What I think what really stood out to me in Chuckie's rag was the paragraphs describing Coffman's tortured logic about Climate Change.  This is one of those issues like gay marriage that Republicans lost a long time ago and it is catching up to them now.  Coffman couldn't deny it but he couldn't say it was a problem.  Romanoff followed up with the perfect reply saying that as long as dinosaurs like Coffman are in office, nothing is going to get done.  That one is going to leave a mark.

    • BlueCat says:

      True but that was a quote from an important local source which had a legit place in the article and the article in general was better than I expected. Maybe constantly being called out as a rightie shill has encouraged Plunkett to try not to be quite so blatant in his role as political editor.  

      It's also true that pols defending seats and who are not behind in polls try to avoid engaging while challengers and those coming from behind are more aggressive. All the Romanoff people will say is that internals are close. That probably does mean slightly behind at this point. Miklosi was certainly more than 2 points behind in most polling at this point and finished strong. That being the case I'd say Romanoff being as decisive and energetic as possible isn't a sign of desperation but a smart strategy for where the race is today and he's doing a great job of it. 

      Coffman's strategy is also correct for  where the race is now but even the Post article shows how he's not doing a very good job of it, managing to sound calmer than last time but often sounding more weak and confused than confident. Yes, even the Post said so. He had very lame explanations for where he stands on many issues including climate and choice, and Romanoff got him good on his complaints about his new district, showing distaste for all "those" people he now has to deal with. The Post article included all that. 

      The yes/no questions, also included in the Post article,  were even more telling. They showed Romanoff agreeing with Coffman on issues that appeal to moderates while the disagreements were all on issues where Coffman's stands appeal to the far right base and Romanoff's appeal to women, minorities, progressives and moderates. 

      Romanoff, as the challenger and with less name rec compared to a multi-term congressman, definitely is the one who has to make more of a splash. I think he succeeded. 

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