Huge Crowd Confronts Coffman, Who Flees Event Early

UPDATE (Sunday evening): Via Twitter, the campaign staff for Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) feed the fervor with exactly the wrong response. First, Coffman and staff said “activists” were just trying to “make a show” out of trying to talk to Coffman during his publicly-announced open office hours. Then they went here:

The problem with this response is that it isn’t true — not even a little bit. A bevy of recent polls have shown the same thing over and over: Americans most definitely DO NOT want to see Obamacare gutted. From The Hill:

Only 18 percent of voters think Congress and President-elect Donald Trump should fully repeal ObamaCare, a new poll released Thursday finds. Another 47 percent said only some of ObamaCare should be repealed, while 31 percent said it should be left untouched.

As Rasmussen Reports noted last week, public opinion about repealing Obamacare is rapidly moving in the opposite direction of Congressional Republicans:

Just 30% now think Congress and the president should repeal the entire health care law and start over again, down from November’s high of 40% and matching the lowest finding in tracking since July 2014. Fifty-six percent (56%) say Congress and the president instead should go through the law piece by piece and improve it, the highest finding to date. [Pols emphasis] (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These results are consistent no matter how Republicans try to frame the question. As Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn learned firsthand earlier this month (via CBS News):

Twitter account of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) in early January.


Poll after poll after poll show the same thing: A majority of Americans DO NOT support what Congressional Republicans are trying to do with Obamacare. The American public increasingly understands that the GOP has no plan for replacing Obamacare, and people aren’t holding their tongues anymore. This isn’t a “political stunt.” This is the new reality.


UPDATE: Video from 9NEWS’ Nelson Garcia of Rep. Mike Coffman’s ignominious exit:

Safe to say, not the finest hour for statesmanship.


“Sorry, that’s all the time we have.”

9NEWS reports on a “meet your congressman” event hosted by Rep. Mike Coffman yesterday that did not go the way he and his staff expected: with hundreds of constituents showing up hoping for answers on what Republicans under President-elect Donald Trump are plotting on a host of issues.

Kronda Seibert just wanted Coffman to hear her concerns. But, she ended up trying to organize the crowd that gathered outside the large community room.

“The Representative didn’t have a plan. They expected just a small handful of people to show up,” Seibert said. “We were under the understanding it was a town hall meeting and they were only allowing four people in at a time.”

Coffman’s chief of staff, Ben Stein, sent a statement addressing what happened Saturday afternoon. The statement says the Congressman’s community event was not a town hall…

State Rep. Paul Rosenthal was there, and had this to say in a Facebook post:

Joined an unbelievable crowd of about 200 people today who wanted to see their Congressman, Mike Coffman, at a public library in Aurora. He planned it so only a few people could individually meet him at a time, so many people were turned away. It seems to me he learned that turnabout was about to be fair play after how the Tea Partier right wing fanatics lied and rallied and disrupted Democratic town halls in 2009. This crowd was passionate and respectful though, and we sang America the Beautiful, and I got us going on We Shall Overcome… [Pols emphasis]

All of this was apparently too much for Coffman, who quietly exited the event before its scheduled conclusion:

While the crowd was waiting inside the lobby, singing and chanting, Aurora Police officers are putting up crime scene tape to create a perimeter outside of the library. This allowed Coffman to leave secretly at about 3:24 p.m. unbeknownst to those still waiting to see him. The community event was scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This practice of only meeting with small groups of constituents instead of holding an open forum more like a traditional town hall is not new for Coffman, who has been very conscious of being confronted by displeased constituents ever since his district was redrawn to be a diverse battleground in 2011. It serves him well for avoiding negative press–except when his constituents are angry enough about something to show up in large numbers, in which case the strategy breaks down.

That appears to be what happened yesterday.

The past week has seen an uptick in protest actions targeting Republicans over the impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with other concerns mounting as the GOP takes total control over the federal government next Friday. In all cases–last week’s large protests outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver and Greeley offices, and now this overflow crowd at Rep. Coffman’s carefully managed “outreach” event–the response from the public has exceeded organizers’ expectations. That’s a very good sign for the much bigger demonstrations planned for next Saturday in Denver and cities around the nation, the day after Trump takes office.

With that said, we’re a little reticent to use the 2009 “Tea Party” protest movement as a yardstick to measure what’s happening now. There’s no nice way to say this, but the underlying motivators of the Tea Party were…well, they did not have what well-adjusted people would call a factual basis. There’s an argument that protests driven by ignorance and unfounded hyperbolics–with an ugly foundation of racism lurking just beneath the surface–can’t really be used to measure other protest campaigns without cheapening them.

But there’s one thing about the Tea Party protests in 2009 that is certainly relevant to this debate, and will become more relevant going forward if this outbreak of protest proves more than inauguration season fashion. And that’s what they led to in the 2010 elections.

“It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a-changing.”

22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    * Unless the issue that's important to you is your health*

  2. Zappatero says:

    We can only assume that since it's so dumb for those dumb Republicans to attempt to stupidly repeal "Obamacare" as they threatened since the day it was signed into law that it was also Super Genius Brilliant for Dems to cower in fear that same time, neglect any legislative fixes, barely mention the thing except with the most tepid support  and to ("Genius!") throw it under the bus in 2 (3?) consecutive statewide elections. 

    Do I have that right?

  3. vertigo700 says:

    I honestly don't understand how Coffman keeps getting elected. CO-6 actually had a larger margin between Clinton and Trump than Obama and Romney so it doesn't seem national coattails explain it. Is it just the large veteran population because of Buckley? It doesn't seem like Coffman is very popular and he is clearly a lot more conservative than his district. Yet somehow he manages to obfuscate and triangulate to get a win. Who are these tens of thousands of voters who voted Clinton but then voted Coffman? I really do not get it. 

    • mamajama55 says:

      Coffman has a reputation for good constituent service. I haven't found that to be true – when I contacted his office about an issue regarding a veteran living in his district, his office never called me back.

      And when he runs away from his constituents as he did yesterday, that’s got to undermine that reputation.

      • spaceman65 says:

        A completely undeserved reputation.  The only time I've gotten the time of day from him was at charity events, where he was unimpressive as hell.

      • vertigo700 says:

        It seems like he made an effort towards some of the diversity in his district…meeting with Ethiopian churches for example, but it seems more lip service than anything. 

        I don't know…when I think of constituent services I think of Ed Perlmutter, who deserves his excellent reputation in that area. Many of my family members live in JeffCo and he once helped my grandmother address a Social Security issue she brought to him at a grocery store meeting. My cousins have also been helped by his office with FAFSA-related issues. 

        I know a few CO-6 folks and really have not heard much about him, but maybe I just miss it in my liberal bubble. 

  4. Moderatus says:

    9news should apologize for giving the time of day to Progress Now's fake protest

    • Zappatero says:

      spoken typed like a true Propagandist.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      That nervousness from Republican lawmakers and staffers across the country is certainly not fake. People are mad enough that they are organizing themselves now. This was no stunt. 

    • unnamed says:

      Yeah.  Not like the Tea Party protests.  Those were legit.   All of these snoflakes harassing Congressman Coffman instead of complying.  Healthcare is between an individual, the free market, and God with Trump, Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman as arbiters.  Mike Coffman is a victim.  A victim of the First Amendment solutions.  How dare they go there in high numbers to speak to Congressman Coffman and mame him a victim.  Traitors!!!  All of them!!!  Now, if you all will excuse us.  Moddy and I have some porn to watch together.

    • vertigo700 says:

      It doesn't matter if the protest (I would call it constituent meeting) was planned or not. The story does it show it as such and even if it was planned, Coffman did not handle it well. When he and his staff see a big group like this, he should have really brought them in to hear his concerns. The community room at that library holds 120 people and was reserved specifically for Coffman. A representative who was really concerned about hearing his constituents would have brought them in and allowed them to address their concerns for that full time period allotted. I actually know Krondia Siebert, she really does live in CO-6.

      It is all about optics and perception and Coffman looks really bad here.

  5. Bright Bart says:

    Much as I hate to say it, this anger is legit. Republicans shot themselves in the foot by letting ObamaCare repeal go forward without having any discussion about what to do for a replacement. People are scared of what congress might do now.

    • Davie says:

      But at least the Republican Congress will be sending out $9 Trillion in welfare checks to needy billionaires and multinational corporations soon!  

    • Republican 36 says:

      BB you are right on target. Uncertainty always breeds fear. When Obamacare was moving through the House and Senate there was a lot of fear among people, even those who already had health insurance, about what the new law might mean for them. Politically, the Democrats suffered from that fear but now the shoe is on the other foot and there are 22 million more people who are insured today than were in 2010. The fear is palpable and the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves because they've never attempted to develop any "replacement" or develop a coalition within their caucuses and with Democrats to pass any legislation. Now no one is sure what will happen which breeds fear and correspondingly opposition.

      President-elect Trump seems to understand this. Tonight he announced, without any specifics, that he will in the near future propose a plan that covers everyone at a reasonable cost and he specifically said Medicare will be held harmless. He also said something very unRepublican. He said he will make the drug companies negotiate prices with both Medicare and Medicaid. That would be a giant step forward in containing costs but the Republican members of Congress have always voted against that proposal.  Retirees are especially upset because under Speaker Ryan's plan some of the benefits they enjoy will be eliminated and instead of the present insurance they will receive a voucher.

      The most interesting debates in Washington will be the ones fought between President Trump and the orthodox ideological right-wing Republicans. That second group has interpreted the election results as a mandate for their ideology. They are mistaken. Mr. Trump had an "R" behind his name but what he represented, as did Senator Sanders, was a rejection of the gridlocked status quo in the Capitol, including the Republican side of that status quo.

      • ParkHill says:

        Do you actually believe ANYTHING Trump says stuff? Really? You're quoting him as if the words coming out of his mouth actually mean anything. Remember "Drain the Swamp"?

        There's that great Peter Sellers movie called "Being There". The entire premise of the movie is people making attribution errors.

      • Karenh says:

        You are certainly welcome to cling to statements you have cherry-picked from the gibberish, but he changes his mind on everything at warp speed and calls anyone who disputes him a liar.  And if you go down the line of Cheato's appointments you will find that, without exception, every single nominee is glaringly unqualified for that position.  The bullies, bigots, and bandits we are faced with are only interested in forwarding their plutocracy.  It has gone from Build the Wall and Drain the Swamp to Build the Swamp.

        • Republican 36 says:

          I'm not defending Mr. Trump or his incoming administration. The point I was trying to make is the fear the Republicans have created over health care is coming back to bite them. Mr. Trump, at least for a moment, seems to have sensed that danger. 

          What we will see over policy toward Russia, our NATO policy, health care programs and host of other issues is a showdown between Mr. Trump and the Republicans in Congress. 

  6. doremi says:

    Comrade Moderatusky,

    Didn't you call the last event at Gardner's a "fake protest"? 

    Did that woman on 9-news have fake breast cancer?  Will my brother just have to have fake health insurance after Comrade Coffman and his ilk repeal the ACA?

    I do see that the R’s have a plan …. a plan to hoodwink us with their fuzzy happy ad campaign that they just started. Yuk!

  7. mamajama55 says:

    This story is everywhere now…TPM, Daily Kos, all over Twitter, Huffpost, and still finding new venues.

    Now on national TV: All in/ Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow Show…along with other GOP congresspeople across the country who thought that they were going to have polite little chitchats with handfuls of constituents, and instead got swarmed by angry people who want to know what is going to happen to them when their health insurance is taken away.

    Cowardly Coffman.

  8. DawnPatrol says:

    Kowardly Kommunist Komrade Koffman is and always has been a spineless jellyfish and a posturing, obfuscating worm. Just like Komrade Kory Gardner.

    Same as it ever was. Same as he ever was. Same as they’ve always been.


  9. spaceman65 says:

    He fled the interview!  Our little Jerry Lundegaard


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