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October 16, 2014 08:34 AM UTC

9NEWS' Kyle Clark Shreds Gardner on Federal Personhood Bill

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #2: Talking Points Memo:

Colorado GOP Senate nominee Cory Gardner has been confronted before by journalists when he has tried to deny that a federal bill he sponsors is in effect a personhood bill, which could significantly limit abortion access.

But at a debate Wednesday night, moderator Kyle Clark of KUSA in Denver put Gardner's dodges in perhaps the starkest terms yet, adding fuel to the fire Sen. Mark Udall has been trying throughout his campaign to fan with women voters…

"What I'm asking you about here is what appears to be the willing suspension of the facts," Clark said. "People who agree with you on the issue of life think you're wrong about how you're describing the bill. Everybody seems to have a cohesive idea of what this is with the exception of you, and I'm just wondering: What should voters glean from that fact?"

MSNBC's Steve Benen:

I can appreciate why some, especially on the right and at the Denver Post’s editorial page, may find this focus excessive. There’s no shortage of important issues in the 2014 elections, and investing considerable time and energy on one part of the GOP congressman’s work as a legislator may seem unnecessary. At first blush, it’s not an unreasonable point.
But that’s what made Kyle Clark’s questioning so worthwhile: this isn’t just about personhood. Cory Gardner championed radical legislation to remove women’s access to abortion and forms of contraception. Then he lied about it. Then he lied about it some more. Asked to explain himself, the Republican won’t apologize for his often shameless dishonesty, and can’t coherently justify why his claims so plainly contradict reality.
In other words, this may just be one issue among many, but it’s offering the public a chance to learn who Cory Gardner really is, what he does, and why kind of politician he’d be if elected to the Senate. As Clark’s line of questioning suggests, the challenge for Colorado voters is asking what else the congressman isn’t telling the truth about. [Pols emphasis]


UPDATE: Jason Salzman on the same subject: "the revolt by journalists against Gardner continues."


We've got a few posts to get up about last night's final U.S. Senate race debate between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner–which, if you haven't watched it, was easily the best-run debate of any we've seen this year. 9NEWS political reporters Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman brilliantly challenged both candidates on the issues they've had the most trouble with on the campaign trail.

As we'll demonstrate in several examples, this had the effect of damaging Cory Gardner vastly more than his opponent. When the questions turned to Gardner's continued support for the federal Life at Conception Act abortion ban–and Gardner's blanket denial of its intended effect even as the experts, fact-checkers, and the bill's primary sponsors say otherwise–what followed was an absolutely devastating clip of video.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reported on the exchange between Clark and Gardner:

Gardner has been repeatedly been asked on the campaign trail about his sponsorship of the federal Life Begins at Conception Act, which, as Clark pointed out, nearly everyone but Gardner agrees would outlaw abortion.

"We are not going to debate that here tonight because it's fact," Clark said. "It would seem that a charitable interpretation would be that you have a difficult time admitting when you're wrong and a less charitable interpretation is that you're not telling us the truth.

"Which is it?" [Pols emphasis]

Gardner said the bill is "simply a statement that I support life."

"The personhood bill, congressman, is a bill. It's not a statement," Udall countered. "If it became law, it would ban all abortions and it would ban most common forms of contraceptives. Coloradans deserve the truth from you. You have to really give a straight answer."

The problem for Gardner as he attempts to talk his way out of the situation he himself created, by publicly disavowing the state Personhood abortion bans while remaining a sponsor of the functionally equivalent Life at Conception Act, becomes less about the issue of abortion each time he tries. Every attempt by Gardner to extract himself from the hard questions about his actions on this issue makes him look more untrustworthy.

Clark and Rittiman didn't spare Udall the hard questions either, asking Udall to justify his campaign's focus on abortion and birth control. Udall responded ably to this question that these issues are important to women–and citing the Denver Post's recent endorsement of Gardner that crassly attempted to dismiss the issue, he said that "if the Denver Post doesn't want to stand by Colorado women, that's their business."

Bottom line: FOX 31's Eli Stokols' now nationally-famous interview with Gardner, wherein Gardner repeated the words "there is no federal Personhood bill" over and over while Stokols confronted him with facts that clearly prove otherwise, laid bare Gardner's deception for anyone who saw it. Since then Gardner has been hit with the same questions in two debates, at the Denver Post and then last night at 9NEWS–and amazingly to us, he still doesn't have a better answer. When we say this is surprising, we genuinely mean it. Even if Gardner's revised answers were no less bogus, it would still go better for him than mindlessly repeating something that no one believes anymore.

And that is the key point Democrats must drive home right now: it's about trust, not just about abortion.

It is not an exaggeration to suggest that the outcome of this race depends on it.


58 thoughts on “9NEWS’ Kyle Clark Shreds Gardner on Federal Personhood Bill

  1. You can tell that the dishonesty question is a big issue in the con man's campaign. That is why the campaign came out so forceful with the football story. Most other campaigns would have laughed it off , the con man's campaign almost had the sense of desperation with the way they handled the situation, which then in the end caused more people to have second thoughts about the con man's honesty on other issues.

  2. Udall's response is going to leave a mark … and here we go – Gardner has been waiting for this moment, the moment when he is called out forcefully by Udall about his lies on personhood. He knew it was coming, and he hopes he can simply say "Udall is a one-issue social warrior who demeans Colorado women and all voters with his single issue campaign."  

    Gardner hopes – with the help of the Denver Post's "obnoxious" endorsement calling the issue of women's rights "obnoxious" in so many words – he can flip the personhood issue into one of Udall's weaknesses. 

    But Gardner is not that good of a politician – he's so obviously lying, the issue now has become one of Con Man Cory's character. 

    Voters deserve to know the truth and be told the truth by a candidate before they case their votes. Voters deserve to know if a candidate has the balls to stand up for what they believe – Gardner is proving to be a gutless chicken sh!t. And no one wants a gutless chicken sh!t as their senator. 

    1. Cory Gardner's sponsorship of The Life At Conception Act is not a simple statement that he supports life. If so it would be called the Life at Conception. A Resolution is nonbinding and has no force of law. An Act is what a law is called before it is passed. It is also sometimes called a bill.

  3. This cheap, lying Gardner turkey is nice and plump and just begging for a political carving, Udall campaign.

    So get out your long political knives and START CUTTING!

  4. I'm not sure which is more damaging to Gardner – that he is a bald faced liar who cannot be trusted or if he is a gutless chickensh!t who dropped out of football his sophomore year and wilts under the pressure of a tough choice and standing up for it, ie, personhood. 

    But one this is for certain – he is Junior Varsity caliber and not ready for the big leagues of the United States Senate. 

    1. Once more, this utterly and devastatingly pierces the carefully scripted, completely fabricated facade the Koch Bros and Herr Rove have constructed around Con Man Gardner, pretending that he's a straight-shooting, straight-talking, trustworthy moderate, when in TRUTH, Con Man Gardner is anything but.

  5. Yes, Cory is lying.

    No, it doesn't appear to be causing him problems.  Part of this is because Republicans have successfully lain some of their own failures to govern on the Democrats' stoop by crying "excess" and "left wing ideology pushing."  Dems certainly haven't helped themselves by arguing why the things they've done and are trying to do don't suck as much as Republicans say rather than forcefully making the case for why they're good– but that's been the case since Reagan, so whatever.

    What this shows most, though, is how utterly impotent the press has become.  If it were Cronkite or Murrow questioning Cory's honesty, he'd be destroyed as a candidate.  Unfortunately, the Fourth Estate has become such a shit fest of newsertainment, incompetent reporting, and "news" that breaks so fast and so often that it drives even the notion of news into meaninglessness.  Nobody cares what these reporters, even the few good ones that remain, says as their entire institution has cast its credibility into the dustbin of history.

    We can scream "Liar!" as loudly as we want from the gallery, but nobody cares, and nobody really remains to help them care.

    Sad, that.

    1. True – reporters need to take the next step past "personhood" and ask Gardner

      1. Do you support abortion in the case of rape and incest

      2. Do you support the banning of certain forms of birth control, and if so, what are these and why should they be banned?

      3. If he answers no to all of these, ask, if the Federal personhood bill was passed into law, would it ban abortion in certain cases and ban certain forms of birth control.

      4. If he comes back with his non answer "the Federal bill is just a statement that I support life," ask him – how do you define life?

      1. As I noted above.  I don't think any of that matters.  He doesn't feel compelled to be honest when answering the basic question.  Not giving answers to more exploration isn't going to hurt him any.  In other words, they can ask, he won't answer, and it won't change anything.

        There's a reason why Udall didn't follow Romanoff in releasing his internals to gainsay the narrative that he's behind.  He is behind, and I'd bet cash money that his internals show it.  That could change as we get closer to election time and his polling could be flawed, Colorado's a crazy place, but don't bet on it.  What's not going to change it?  Reporters pounding Cory on his dishonesty on personhood.

        1. I think it will matter, on the margins, if these "journalists" (aka "stenographers to liars") would just finally punch in, do their damned jobs, and ask the tough questions. And the margins are all we need to win at this point.

        2. But they should be pounding him on his position on Personhood.

          Unless he says otherwise, he supports the government interfering in private personal medical decisions, and making abortion illegal in the case of rape, incest, or to save a woman's life.

          That's a position opposed by more than 70% of the Colorado electorate on multiple occasions.  The press has a duty to illuminate a candidate's position, and give voters a glimpse at how they'd govern.

          1. Illuminated.  Glimpsed.  Gardner's still leading.

            70% of Coloradans who voted in elections when our personhood amendment was on the ballot voted against that specific measure.  Beauprez and Hick are tied.  Udall is behind Gardner.  Both those Rs support personhood.(and deny it).  People are willing to vote for folks who hold positions they oppose, fracking *cough*, because they believe that implementing those particular positions by a candidate can be successfully opposed or moderated.

            1. On fracking, there's no choice between the two candidates.

              On abortion and reproductive freedom, there is a diametric choice, but it's being made out to be one between two liars, not one who supports women and one who doesn't.

              1. I'm not disagreeing that they hold different positions on reproduction.  I'm simply saying that, to the extent it matters to voters, it's already mattered.  And Cory won't get personhood to happen as a senator unless he has 59 other votes and a new president in office.  People know this.

        3. Maybe, but I read a comment about Gardner's reaction to the "football flap" that makes sense – he seemed to overreact to the charge that he didn't play football, and posted several pics of him a in a football uniform, as if his campaign feared the "liar" tag was sticking and they didn't want a rumor about his lying about playing football to get turned into a meme. Most campaigns would laugh that off as irrelevant, but Gardner's was quick to set the story straight. That might be a "tell" that they do in fact fear Gardner being perceived as a liar.

          He is definitely a chickensh!t for not being able to stand up for what is a core belief of his. 

          1. I agree. Politically gut this sleazeball snake oil-salesman liar by methodically, relentlessly undermining and destroying his fundamental deceit — that's he a "moderate" and "honest." Chop chop chop away at his core deception, lay him bare, and defeat his sorry ass into early retirement.

            1. Give Cory a case of the "Varsity Blues" – ie, he quit playing football after his sophomore year on the Junior Varsity team – why? Was football too tough a sport? Is politics too tough a sport for him now? Why can't he hold up his No. 1 core value as a principle to be proud and spike it in the end zone? If he really wants to represent all of Colorado, he should not be afraid to show all of Colorado exactly who he is. 

              Colorado voters need to keep him on the Junior Varsity squad representing the 30% who support personhood. 

          2. The football story turned out to be a lie.  He did play football.  Now there is a narrative that those accusing Gardner of Lying are themselves not telling the truth.

            If the Dems continue to make this about personality and truth telling they will not get anywhere.  Udall's favorables are under water and Gardner's are not.

            1. The Democrats did not pursue this story – it was started by his old football coach. The gardner campaign response was more of panic than denial. The way they responded, it is evident that they feel that their candidate is already perceived as a liar – perhaps from the debates? con man cory has the most to lose from incidents of this nature.

  6. I think people are tired of the personhood issue.  I think Udall needs to fight back more on minimum wage, climate change, the Lily Ledbetter act.  Gardner is getting away with appearing moderate.

    1. I agree.  We need to hear more about Gardner's other poor issue positions.  But it does need to be in a coherent framework.  He doesn't care about the middle class, he doesn't care about hungry families, he doesn't care about corporate welfare in the form of government aid given to low paid workers.  He doesn't care about the American people unless they are in the the top 1%.  Fold in women's issues with health care, pay and child care and you have a story in there.  Shutting down the government…priceless.  He has no vision for this country that doesn't lead to disaster.

  7. Very few are getting the bigger issue, which is: Republicans lie constantly, are allowed to lie (tho less frequently now) by the press and Democrats, and every lie they get away with encourages another. 

    The press needs to push back, especially at the national level where they are addicted to he said/she said stenography. These local guys have been pretty good, but they rarely get this much attention.

    And Democrats need to push back against every lie and psychotic utterance of Tea Party Republican Conservatives every chance they get without the thought that it's "disrespectful" or bad manners or impolitic. 

    1. Maybe, but there's the follow up to the liar issue – he's a chickenshit who lacks the balls to stand up for his No. 1 core belief, a belief that 70% of Coloradoans reject. 

      He belongs on the Junior Varsity squad representing the 30%, not the Varsity representing the majority of the state. 


      1. BT, but your problem is nobody cares.

        The personhood/abortion issue is not very high on most voter's list of top issues.

        How about an issue like the economy?

        That issue people care about.

        1. Colorado's economy is humming – voters know that. But yes, I think Udall should be pointing out that Gardner voted to shutdown the government and sap $21 billion from the national GDP, just weeks after the Colorado was pummeled by record rains, flooding and devastation that hit the state's tourism industry particularly hard.

          Gardner is an extremist partisan who is better suited representing Eastern Colorado from Yuma, not the entire state and country as a Senator in DC.

          And people do care about personhood – 70% voted against it last time. 

          Finally, if Udall didn't think it was working, don't you think he would stop going to it? I think it's telling that he keeps using it. Remember, the Colorado polls said Romney would be president and Ken Buck, not Michael Bennett, would win … is Gardner really as strong as "some people" think he is?


            1. Not sure about that. He has had plenty of time and oppty to pivot and yet … and that pivot may be coming soon to close out the campaign. I'm starting to see his NSA ad popping up again. And he could blow Gardner out of the water with an ad highlighting his extremism by tying him to the gov't shutdown and loss of $21bil, right in the middle of the some of the worst flooding in the state's history that crippled tourism for some towns. Partisan ideology above the people of Colorado. Just like personhood. Same message, different issue. 


          1. I'm with you on the shutdown Big Time. Gary Shapiro of 9News did an interview with Corey and he did the same thing he does with personhood. 

            Why did you vote to shutdown the government?

            "I voted to fund the government"

            But your vote shut down teh government

            "I voted to fund the government"

            Gary Shapiro laughed but didnt follow up like Kyle did. That clip or getting an interviewer to ask and follow up will be just as devastating or more than the personhood interviews. 

            1. He's a Con Man – not a Statesman. On a host of issues, his narrow ideology rules his decision-making: on personhood, on shutting down the government and I am sure there are more. 

              How does he defend this? By lying. 

        2. BT, but your problem is nobody cares.

          You're really saying nobody cares that Cory Gardner is a bald face liar.  Because Faux News has inured voters to bald face lying by Republicans.

          What is your next proud achievement?  Inuring voters to Republican child molesters?  Or just simple crooks that lie, cheat and steal, but hey, it's ok, nobody cares, right?

          You are contemptible, and the party you represent is exactly what is wrong with politics today.

          ESAD, ACHole

  8. Mirroring my own point, if you didn't catch the Steve Benen part of Update #2 for this piece, here's the crux of his logic, superbly stated:

    "But that’s what made Kyle Clark’s questioning so worthwhile: this isn’t just about personhood. Cory Gardner championed radical legislation to remove women’s access to abortion and forms of contraception. Then he lied about it. Then he lied about it some more. Asked to explain himself, the Republican won’t apologize for his often shameless dishonesty, and can’t coherently justify why his claims so plainly contradict reality.
    In other words, this may just be one issue among many, but it’s offering the public a chance to learn who Cory Gardner really is, what he does, and why kind of politician he’d be if elected to the Senate. As Clark’s line of questioning suggests, the challenge for Colorado voters is asking what else the congressman isn’t telling the truth about. [Pols emphasis]"

    Inherent in Con Man Gardner's continuous look-you-in-the-eye lying about Personhood is his willingness to lie about everything in equal fashion. Pummel him relentlessly based upon his fundamental lack of credibility and honesty, while exposing his extreme, temporarily well-hidden wingnuttery, and you destroy the empty-suit candidate from the ground up.

    I trust Senator Udall will spend these final days and weeks doing just that.

    1. You know the GOPers are running scared when they have to pull out the "polls" to bolster their case … Polls don't elect politicians, voters do. 

      Just ask Mitt Romney and Ken Buck. 

      1. do you suppose for one minute the GOP isn't spending as much as it can to affect the polls… They think if they portray this as a lost cause, we libs will give up…'cause we are a bunch of quiche eating, tree hugging liberals, and if you say "BOO" to us we will cower in awe of your mighty Republicanness and not vote…they are just working their "squash the Dem GOTV" strategy.

        Polls are crap, this is close…every vote counts….

        1. Yep, if there is one thing the GOP knows how to do – it is game a system, whether it's Wall Street, healthcare … or election polling. 

          They know the poll aggregation game can be rigged – they've been doing it for years with Rassmussan until people realized Raz is a hack pollster for the GOP and wised up, a little. 

          Now the GOP gets polls that lean conservative so they can be thrown into the aggregator mix and show they are "winning" – except, they aren't. Just ask Mitt Romney and Ken Buck

      1. Zombies!!!

        That can make a person lose sleep.

        I have a question about a Gardner ad.  He is in a cozy, cute restaurant talking about people losing o&g jobs.  Are those real, Colorado people and do you, if you have seen this, know the restaurant?  It was as if it was from the movie "Pleasantville".  Very creepy.

        1. It looked a little bit like "The Main Event" in Yuma, but it was hard to tell.  I assume they shot that piece at the same time they filmed him in front of his grandparents home and his Main Street ad with his daughter.

          1. Thank you.  I wondered if that was a real place or a set.  I've never seen people here or in the midwest be that animated in a local restaurant.  

            And, there was one ad with his daughter along with him with his wife almost dragging their son between the two of them.  I really felt sorry for the little guy.

            Gardner's ads are so weird.  

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