PolitiFact Colorado Debuts With Devastating Coffman Refudiation

mostlytrueWe’ve been anticipating the first story from the new collaboration between Denver’s ABC affiliate 7NEWS and the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking resource PolitiFact operated by the Tampa Bay Times. Last night, Politifact Colorado debuted with its first fact check of 2016, and it’s a doozy: powerfully validating a key attack on Rep. Mike Coffman from women’s advocacy group EMILY’s List:

Emily’s List is stoking the abortion debate in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District race with a fundraising email saying Republican incumbent Mike Coffman “co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.”

Emily’s List — a political organization that supports the election of Democratic women who support abortion rights — has endorsed Coffman’s opponent, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, an Aurora Democrat. Its mailer focused on reproductive rights, abortion and Roe v. Wade…

We wanted to check the accuracy of Emily’s List’s characterization of Coffman’s role in the legislation.

Coffman did co-sponsor the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which attempted to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt “forcible rape” — and not rape in broader terms…

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

7NEWS’ Alan Gathright, a veteran political reporter going back to the storied days of the Rocky Mountain News, correctly notes that Republicans did amend the bill under intense fire from, well, everyone with a conscience–but being amended by voice vote, there’s no record of Coffman’s agreement or lack thereof with the change.

And the bottom line: he was a co-sponsor of the original “forcible rape” language.

Emily’s List said that Coffman “co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape.”

The record shows Coffman did co-sponsor the bill to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt “forcible rape.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s important to recognize just how hard Coffman has pushed back on criticism of his record on abortion. In April of 2014, Coffman’s campaign successfully prevailed on Denver Post political news editor Chuck Plunkett to remove a story about Coffman’s abortion record that had already been published, claiming that the story “shouldn’t have run.” The story acknowledged Coffman’s shifting stand on abortion, but uncomfortably provided fresh coverage of what had been Coffman’s longstanding position–that is, no abortions, and no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Much like now-Sen. Cory Gardner’s audacious deceptions on the issue in 2014, the response to any examination in the media of Coffman’s abortion record is feigned exasperation in public and aggressive bullying in private.

Well folks, it’s possible that in the new PolitiFact Colorado, we have an outlet that won’t be bullied. We’ll need to see more fact-checks like this one to be sure, but that would be a welcome–and sorely needed–development in Colorado politics.


8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Davie says:

    I gotta ask, did you use "Refudiation" in the ironic sense (i.e. we're talkin' about a Republican here folks, so gotta use GOP Inglish instead of American English)?

    Or did you actually mean to use "repudiation" which can be found in any standard English dictionary?


  2. BlueCat says:

    The fact that it's doozy does not make it necessarily “devastating”.  Coffman, you will remember, has been unhurt by doozies such as statements he made, apologized for, unapologized for, apologized for the apologies for, about Obama, rinse repeat, in a previous cycle. Your faith in the general electorate paying much attention to this kind of stuff is touching but more than a little naive. Same goes for your obsession with pointing out, repeatedly ad nauseum, that Gardner lied about his real position on choice/personhood as a great weapon against him. It wasn't. Neither is this. Certainly worth discussing here but devastating? Doubt it.

    • DawnPatrol says:

      Your point is well made and well taken, BC. But maybe this time the devastating information will be disseminated far more widely, loudly, repeatedly and forcefully by a messenger who cannot so easily be ignored.

      I believe very strongly that the esteemed Morgan Carroll may be just that messenger. Time will tell, of course.

      In the meantime, thank Yaweh that at least COPols is getting the word out there in some form, because we certainly can’t count on the Post or local “librul media” TeeVee folk to speak up.

      • BlueCat says:

        And I hope that team Morgan Carroll will be smart enough to use this without obsessively focusing on it, on who lied about what and choice as their primary message. There is so much more available to use that is higher on the priority lists of most CD6 voters. Take it from someone who has extensively canvassed the district for over a decade.

        • DawnPatrol says:

          Absolutely; no Mark Udall is she, I think. I believe it will be but one stalk in her large, comprehensive Stinkweed bouquet for the backsliding, cowardly dissembler, Mike Coffman.

          • BlueCat says:

            I think so too because I think she's pretty smart.

            • notaskinnycook says:

              I hope so. What really pisses me off is that Udall was right about Conman Cory's record on the subject of choice all along. But there was so much more to choose from in the Conman's record that, had Udall broadened his criticisms, he might still be in the Senate. Let's hope Morgan learns from this and hammers Coffman on his entire record of anti-everything but defense spending.  

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