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November 02, 2015 12:32 PM UTC

Cory Gardner Loves Him Some Marco Rubio

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: CNN’s Jeremy Diamond notes the irony as well:

Gardner also deflected questions about Rubio’s poor voting attendance record, citing a “double standard” between Rubio and past presidential contenders running from the Senate.

But Gardner took a very different stance toward voting absences last year in his election fight against Sen. Mark Udall, the Democrat Gardner unseated last November. [Pols emphasis]

“What was Senator Udall’s record? Absent for over half the public hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Absent for all public hearings on emerging threats,” said a narrator in a Gardner campaign ad slamming Udall for missing national security hearings.

“Mark Udall’s wrong and absent when it counts,” said the ad, which Gardner posted on his Facebook page.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

News outlets are treating today’s announcement on the Fox News Channel (above) by freshman Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado that he will endorse fellow Sen. Marco Rubio  in the Republican presidential primary as a big deal. The Denver Post’s John Frank reports:

“Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation,” Gardner said in a choreographed appearance on Fox News.

Gardner’s endorsement of Rubio for the 2016 GOP nomination makes him the first U.S. senator to pick a favorite — and the campaign’s highest profile backer in Colorado. Rubio endorsed Gardner in 2014 and cut a Spanish language TV ad for him. It’s also a sign of Rubio’s strong performance in the GOP debate in Colorado.

Sen. Cory Gardner.
Sen. Cory Gardner.

Count us among observers who still don’t see how Rubio particularly shined during last Wednesday’s chaotic presidential debate in Boulder, except possibly by failing to join in Ted Cruz’s ill-advised fit of petulant media bashing. Frank wryly notes that while Gardner claims to have just reached the decision to endorse Rubio, from the tone of the endorsement “his choice seemed clear for weeks.”

If you watch the five-minute clip above of Gardner’s endorsement on Fox News today, it’s interesting to note that the Fox anchor actually questions Gardner pretty strongly over Rubio’s record in the U.S. Senate–including one bit that might come back to haunt them both:

In the Fox News interview, Gardner also defended Rubio for missing Senate votes, despite criticizing his 2014 opponent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, for not attending ISIS hearings.

“I think if you look at others who have run for president, this seems to be a double standard that’s taking place right now,” Gardner said… [Pols emphasis]

But as John Frank linked back to in his latest story, Gardner’s the one exercising a double standard. From a story last October on a Senate race debate:

Gardner pressed Udall on his previous statements downplaying the Islamic State’s threat level and criticized him for missing Senate subcommittee hearings on emerging national security threats. [Pols emphasis]

“Where were you?” Gardner asked. “And what’s more important than our national security?”

As USA TODAY reported in September, Marco Rubio has the worst record of missed votes of any U.S. Senator–more than his colleagues in the Senate who are also running for President, and certainly more than Sen. Mark Udall missed while unsuccessfully defending his seat from Cory Gardner just last year. It may not be a perfect apples-to-apples comparison between a Senate and a presidential campaign in terms of the time commitment, but it certainly doesn’t help Rubio to have this hypocrisy hanging over Gardner’s endorsement of Rubio’s campaign.

Bottom line: we certainly understand why Rubio turned to Gardner for a timely boost. Gardner’s narrow victory in 2014 has been spun into a “model” for Republican success in competitive races in many national conservative circles, despite the fact that it was a product of what most acknowledge today as an audacious campaign of deception, misrepresenting Gardner’s record on a range of key issues from abortion to renewable energy. Rubio would obviously love to appropriate Gardner’s aura of fresh-faced victory for himself, but it may not be possible to replicate what Gardner did in 2014.

Because it’s actually quite difficult to prevaricate as well as Cory Gardner.


13 thoughts on “Cory Gardner Loves Him Some Marco Rubio

  1. One more time, very little credit goes to Gardner for his victory which actually wasn't all that narrow in a state where the margin in statewide races is often pretty small. It wasn't his skillful lying that got him to the Senate. He got handed that victory by an awful, clueless campaign on the part of Senator Udall.

    If Gardner's campaign is being used as a model, the model must be to hope for an opponent whose team is a clueless as Udall's. One that will completely fail to show their candidate in an appealing light in favor of a laser like emphasis on scolding your candidate on a single issue as if that's all they've got to the point of becoming tedious and exasperating to their own supporters much less anyone else.

    1. Not only do I disagree, I'm starting to consider your tedious Udall bashing as another undeserved win for Cory Gardner. Udall wasn't a great campaigner but he wasn't that bad, and Gardner's lies matter much more to me than Udall being stiff.

      You should check your contempt to make sure it's not playing into the GOP's strategy, especially if you consider yourself pro choice. And I think you do.

      1. I've had this same argument with BC, but I know where he/she is coming from. I don't completely blame Udall but we need to admit his campaign was weak and he didn't know how to deal with Cory's lies.

      2. We can't agree on everything. I attended several Udall events and witnessed the frustration of veteran boots on the ground volunteers trying to tell them they needed some positive ads and being blown off. Udall is a charming man, an outdoorsy Colorado guy and we wanted to see some of that grinning fourteener summiting Udall in some ads. We knew Colorado voters eat that stuff up.

        We were the ones going door to door and knew that, even among women, the one note campaign wasn't going over. They stuck with it because they felt that was the way to get the all important Colorado women's vote. We were talking to Colorado women, mainly registered Dem and unaffiliated, who were telling us they weren't one issue votes and were more concerned about the economy. They felt they weren't hearing anything about that. Remember, most voters, even registered Dems, are pretty low info and not rabidly partisan.  

        We knew we were going to lose long before it happened. The ads were driving the numbers in the wrong direction. The expert ops thought they knew better than us bumpkins. They didn't. They didn't know their asses from hot rocks. But the buck stops with Udall. It was his team.

        1. PS. Playing victim and always blaming everything on the sneaky tactics of the mean Rs is hardly a winning attitude. It concedes all the power to the mean Rs and throws in the towel. Nothing the Dem could have done in the face of those mean R bullies. I don't buy that. Far better to recognize that we don't have to be victims. There's no law of physics saying Rs get to be the bullies and we have to settle for defense.

          Udall was among the many Dems who didn't want to discuss the positives of the Obama economy so far and what could be achieved going forward because they didn't want to touch anything Obama with a ten foot pole, tacitly buying in to all the R criticism of Obama as an economic destroyer against all the actual evidence. Romanoff was just as bad with his let's demand a balanced budget opener. The old DLC I'm almost just like an R approach from another era with another political landscape, now long gone. They both lost. They weren't helpless victims. They based their campaigns on losing messaging.

          1. Agreed – there was about 0, nada, zip mentioned about the Colorado economy from Udall & Co. – sure, a Senator doesn't have much to do with his state's economic success of failure, but for crying out loud, couldn't have Udall at least have said something to the effect "are you better off now than you were four years ago, and answered, yes: unemployment is down, housing prices have rebounded, etc. 

            Instead we got a lot of narrow, disjointed special interest focused messaging – on yes, important issues, but ultimately a muddled message that was not uplifting. And contrasted to that blinding smile and shiny suits – voters when with shiny happy people. 

  2. It's now clear to me that Gardner's philosophy is that the best defense is a strong offense.

    He accuses others of applying a double-standard regarding attendance, when that is precisely what he is doing.

    Just like he accused Udall of running away from his record and trying to change the subject in response to Eli Stokols' questioning about his support for Personhood.

    Gotta give Con Man Cory credit.  He could sell the Brooklyn Bridge to a New Yorker.

    1. The best defense is a good offense, something Rs have known for decades. Look at the Bush/Kerry election. You know there are all these stories circulating about how your guy, an America love it or leave it full throated supporter of the Vietnam war, got into a safe as houses champaign national guard unit courtesy of his daddy, didn't even bother to keep his commitment there and got away with it. The opponent won bronze and silver stars in Vietnam. Uh-oh. What do you do? No problem. Attack the genuine war hero, twist his record, spread lies, turn it into a liabilty while at the same time distracting attention from your guy's sorry ass service record. Hey, it works. Especially when a cooperative media presents your evidence free lies versus the well documented facts as just two opinions. 

      The thing to remember is if you're defending you're losing, you're back on your heels, you're sounding like you're a little ashamed of your party, making excuses or, even worse, claiming to be almost or maybe even just as good, just as patriotic, just as fiscally responsible, just as whatever which is to say you're at best not the better choice, only maybe just as good or no worse.  

      Not exactly inspiring stuff. When are Dems going to get over the fear the long gone Reagan revolution put into them and stop playing permanent defense?

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