Caption This Photo: Where Cory Goes One, We Go All

Courtesy the Shooters Grill Twitters, this is a photo from last September in Rifle, Colorado, of embattled GOP Sen. Cory Gardner and now-CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert. This was taken before Boebert challenged Rep. Scott Tipton in the GOP CD-3 primary in December–otherwise you can be assured that Gardner would not have consented to a promotional photo with the candidate not endorsed by Gardner’s boss Donald Trump.

Now that Boebert has shocked the Slope by ousting Tipton after his somnolent decade in Congress, though, Gardner and Boebert are ticketmates way up high on the November 2020 ballot! Under normal circumstances that would mean lots of joint appearances between now and then.

But as our readers know, Lauren Boebert…has baggage. Cory Gardner has enough problems without having to answer for Boebert’s fringy pronouncements on the way to icepicking Tipton’s political career–and certainly no time for, as they are known colloquially, “the trots.”

Enjoy the photo, gentle readers, because it might be the only one of its kind.

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Cory Gardner is Melting Down in Front of Our Eyes

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is a hot mess right now.

In the last 24 hours or so, Gardner has tried desperately to convince reporters that his campaign isn’t already doomed; watched his Democratic opponent win a blowout victory despite millions in negative ads; saw a fellow incumbent lose a Primary despite having President Trump’s endorsement; conducted a handful of interviews that make him sound like a lunatic used-car salesman; and got to see a new General Election poll already showing that he’s getting crushed by Democratic Senate nominee John Hickenlooper.

 

Tuesday Afternoon (June 30)

Sen. Cory Gardner tells a story about his mammoth MOV in 2014.

With just a few hours to go until polls close in Colorado, the Gardner campaign releases a laughable memo (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) that inaccurately calls Colorado “the Rocky Mountain state” (the correct answer is: The Centennial State) and lists the wrong margin of victory for his 2014 Senate win. The memo says that Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall by 2.5 points in 2014, but the actual final margin was just about 2 even. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s a weird thing to lie about.

There are a lot of other, let’s say, exaggerations in the Gardner memo, which calls Hickenlooper “the worst senate candidate in America” a few hours before Hick wins the Democratic Primary by 20 points. Check out this preemptive jab at media outlets hoping to convince reporters that Gardner is not screwed:

One thing you can count on – the Washington, DC press corps will predict losses across the board for Republicans in Senate contests this cycle. It is part of their migratory ritual every even-numbered year that more often than not proves incorrect. They’ll proclaim Colorado is now the political soulmate of California – or something equally preposterous.

Very subtle.

And then there’s this bit of nuttery:

In Colorado the floor for candidates from both parties is high and the ceiling is low. Single-digit races are the norm. Democrats will also spin yarns about their bare voter registration advantage. It’s nonsense. [Pols emphasis] For decades, Republicans had a voter registration advantage in this state, but Democrats like Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Ken Salazar, and even John Hickenlooper were able to win statewide. Independents decide elections in Colorado – they always have and always will.

First of all, a voter registration advantage is a concrete number. The advantage doesn’t necessarily play out in every contest, but you can’t dispute that the number is indeed real. The rest of this paragraph actually hurts the underlying argument; if Democratic candidates could win when Republicans had a voter registration advantage, then they should feel really good about having a natural head start in 2020.

Also, raise your hand if you believe that the 2020 Election is going to be just like Colorado’s past half-dozen General Elections by any measurement.

Nobody? Okay, let’s move on…

 

Tuesday Evening (June 30)

See you in your dreams, Cory…

Election results are coming in, and they are disastrous for Republicans. Hickenlooper defeats Andrew Romanoff by 20 points in the Democratic Primary — despite weeks of expensive negative attacks against Hick. As we wrote earlier:

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

This is a big blow for Team Gardner, even if a Hickenlooper victory was anticipated. But Gardner takes a second body blow when he learns that incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) will lose in a GOP Primary to a political newcomer who raised little money for her campaign. Just like Gardner, Tipton had the full endorsement of President Trump; it didn’t even help in a Republican Primary. Gardner can also look forward to being asked about whether he agrees with Lauren Boebert in hoping that the QAnon conspiracy theories are real.

Later, Gardner is quoted several times in a story written by Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman in which he seems to confuse Hickenlooper and Romanoff entirely:

Gardner said he also plans to press Hickenlooper to explain “his new, radical positions” on health care and the environment, though Gardner cited positions championed by Romanoff but rejected by Hickenlooper [Pols emphasis], such as Medicare for all and the Green New Deal. Indeed, much of Romanoff’s campaign against Hickenlooper centered around his primary rival’s opposition to those proposals.

They’re all socialists! The whole lot of them! Arrrgghhhhh!!!

Gardner then opens up a can of worms — inaccurately — on an issue that he really shouldn’t be discussing:

“He needs to explain why 20% of the state tried to secede when he was governor,” Gardner said, referring to a failed 2013 effort by some conservatives in 11 northeastern Colorado counties — representing 7% of Colorado’s population — to form the 51st state.

When he says “20% of the state,” Gardner is referring to 20% of the land in Colorado. Less than 2% of Colorado’s population actually ended up supporting succession in 2013. Notably, Gardner HAS NEVER SAID how he voted on this issue, which is why we wouldn’t have broached the topic if we were him. One year before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, did Gardner vote in favor of secession?

 

Wednesday Morning, July 1

Gardner starts his day as a guest of Ryan Warner on Colorado Public Radio. It is an unmitigated disaster.

Gardner also dodges questions about reports that Russia set cash bounties on the heads of American soldiers; about whether he questions his continued support of President Trump; and whether he supports the nomination of William Perry Pendley to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, which moved its HQ to Grand Junction last year with a big lift from Gardner.

Warner previewed his Gardner interview on Tuesday, writing on Twitter: “On Wednesday— when we will most likely know who his Democratic opponent is — Sen. Cory Gardner joins Colorado Matters for our first interview of the general election. What would you like to know?”

If you are one of the people who happened to submit a question, we’ll save you the trouble of looking for the clip online; Gardner definitely didn’t provide an answer.

Sen. Cory Gardner

 

Late Morning on Wednesday, July 1

Finally, a new poll from PPP is released showing Hickenlooper leading Gardner by a 51-40 margin, including a 19-point advantage among “independent” voters. The same poll shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Trump by a 56-39 margin, with a 25-point advantage among “independents.”

Let’s go back to this line in Tuesday’s memo from the Gardner campaign:

Independents decide elections in Colorado – they always have and always will.

D’oh!

 

 

—–

 

Cory Gardner is not going to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate in November, and he knows this. It’s all over but the shouting…and these are the last desperate cries of a man watching the door close on a once-promising political career.

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Primary Results Portend GOP Wipeout in November

The 2020 Primary Election is now behind us (except for those few races that may need a recount). If you are a Democrat, you should be ecstatic. If you are a Republican, you might want to go into hibernation until 2022.

Let’s take a step back and examine the view of the 2020 Primary from 30,000 feet (or what you remember the view to look like from 30,000 feet, since nobody is going to be on an airplane anytime soon).

Lesson #1: Republicans Who are Known Entities Were Roundly Rejected 

Rep. Scott Tipton

Even Republican voters are sick of the current batch of Republicans. Take a look at this brief list of well-known Republicans who were shown the door on Tuesday:

♦ Six-term Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) — who was endorsed by President Trump — lost to QAnon true believer Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert.

♦ State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Firestone) lost her campaign to return to the State House…by 30 points.

♦ Former State Rep. Justin Everett was handily defeated by Rep. Colin Larsen in South Jeffco.

This list does not (yet) include State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), who will likely need to wait for a recount to see if she won her race for an open seat on the Weld County Board of Commissioners.

 

Lesson #2: Pat Neville and RMGO Failed Everywhere

GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville “led” Republicans to a beatdown in 2018. His preferred Primary candidates in 2020, most of whom were supported with tens of thousands of dollars from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), were all soundly defeated:

HD-22: Justin Everett, a longtime Neville/RMGO loyalist, tried to retake his old House seat with a disgusting far-right message. He lost to Rep. Colin Larsen by 12 points.

HD-48: Two-time loser Grady Nouis lost by 12 points to Tonya Van Beber. Voters were apparently not impressed with the fact that Nouis is basically a Nazi.

HD-63: Neville and RMGO liked them some Pat Miller, who was Tom Tancredo’s running mate for Governor back in 2010. Dan Woog beat Miller by 25 points. (Fun Fact: This is Cory Gardner’s original State House seat)

SD-23: In one of the nastier Primary battles of 2020, RMGO spent big bucks trying to prop up Rupert Parchment against former County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. This race was also not close, with Kirkmeyer winning by about 12 points.

 

Lesson #3: Cory Gardner is in DEEP Trouble

Sen. Cory Gardner

Lessons #1 and #2 would be scary enough for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is seeking re-election in November, but that’s not even the worst of it.

Prepping for former Gov. John Hickenlooper to defeat former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic Senate Primary, Gardner’s campaign sent out a rambling, ridiculous memo on Tuesday afternoon (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) arguing that Hickenlooper was the “worst senate candidate in America” and that a Democratic voter registration advantage in Colorado is “nonsense.”

A few hours later, Hickenlooper beat Romanoff by 20 points.

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

Re-read that last paragraph. Republicans (and Romanoff) spent many millions of dollars over several weeks trying to tear down Hickenlooper. They might have moved the race about one point in the end.

Colorado voters saw and heard about the ethics complaints against Hickenlooper; either they didn’t buy it, or they didn’t care. Gardner used a silly commercial to try to convince voters that Hickenlooper didn’t really want to be a Senator; that didn’t work, either.

Gardner has been a hot mess in the last 24 hours (more on that in a later post). If we were Gardner, we’d absolutely be freaking out today, too.

 

The 2020 Primary Election went worse for Republicans than observers — including us — could have even imagined. Today is the first day of the 2020 General Election in Colorado. It’s going to be a LONG couple of months for the GOP.

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America Is Not Ready For “Yosemite Samantha”

CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert.

Recapping by a wide margin the most unexpected development in last night’s primary elections in Colorado, the stunning upset victory by QAnon-loving COVID-denying gun-toting Rifle restaurant owner Lauren Boebert over five-term incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton that has instantly put the seat in play for Democrats–starting with the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby:

On Tuesday night, with her holstered Glock dangling from a designer belt, Boebert repeated her campaign mottos over and over as she talked before and after the stunning final results were announced.

“Now I’m ready to take this same fight that I have always had in me, whether it’s telling (Texas Democrat) Beto O’Rourke you’re not going to take our guns, or standing up to Governor Jared Polis when he shut down small businesses (during COVD-19), and even taking a stand against my Republican opponent when he said he’s conservative but his voting record clearly shows he is not. And now I’m ready to take that same fight to the Democrats starting tomorrow.”

With her 100-watt smile and auctioneer enthusiasm, Boebert’s confidence never waned throughout the campaign that started on Dec. 9.

Lauren Boebert’s meteoric ascent from individual activist shouting at Beto O’Rourke to actually taking down Scott Tipton in the Republican primary despite a tiny fraction of the incumbent’s resources and Donald Trump’s personal endorsement of Tipton is a major shock to the Republican hierarchy in Colorado. There are a number of reasons for this historic upset, not least being Tipton’s own well-established reputation as an uninspiring back-bencher in Congress. In the Trump era of Republican politics, it’s entertainment and bombast that wins, and Lauren Boebert is more entertainingly bombastic than Tipton on her worst day. If we were Doug Lamborn, we’d be watching our back like never before in 2022.

But as the nation absorbs the news of exactly who has won the Colorado CD-3 Republican primary, a pretty basic problem emerges–Lauren Boebert is most likely not electable. CNN:

[Boebert’s] win Tuesday night was met with instant criticism from Democrats who pointed to comments she made where she appeared to sympathize with QAnon, a pro-Trump deep-state conspiracy theory…

Cheri Bustos, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Tuesday evening. “Not even multiple endorsements from President Trump could save Congressman Scott R. Tipton from his extreme, QAnon caucus challenger. Washington Republicans should immediately disavow Lauren Boebert and her extremist, dangerous conspiracy theories.”

Bustos added that “Democrats are well positioned to compete and win this seat.” [Pols emphasis]

After Democrats took down Rep. Mike Coffman in the 2018 elections, CD-3 became the only feasible pickup opportunity for House Democrats left in the state. Democrats were therefore expected to make some greater effort to contest the seat than they had in previous elections, in which Tipton has always comfortably held off his opponents. With Boebert as the nominee, CD-3 instantly transforms from a longshot for Democrats to a very serious pickup opportunity.

If Republicans have any interest in holding this seat, they are flying consultants right now to Grand Junction to slap a filter on Boebert’s unrestrained crazypants talk-radio rhetoric. The professionalization of this upstart campaign, or not depending on whether Boebert is in any mood to be “filtered,” will be a key test of her viability. With that said there’s an argument that it’s already too late, since Boebert has been all over local media in the district, gladly answering every kind of immoderate question with potentially disqualifying answers waiting to be resurfaced. Boebert’s failed attempt to prematurely reopen her restaurant as the COVID-19 pandemic rages looks worse by the day.

All of that before we even talk about “QAnon.”

Make no mistake, this is a district with a built-in Republican advantage. Tipton ousted the last Democrat to win the seat a decade ago. This will not be a race won easily by Democratic nominee Diane Mitsch Bush, but the unexpected opportunity to expand the map in November against a fringe opponent means CD-3 will merit a hard fight–a fight that simply wouldn’t have been as intense against Scott Tipton.

For both sides, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.

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2020 Primary Election Night Open Thread

UPDATE 8:30PM: Media outlets are starting to call the Republican Primary in CO-3 for Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert.

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UPDATE 8:24PM: Democrat James Iacino concedes race to Diane Mitsch Bush in CO-3.

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UPDATE 8:00PM: Andrew Romanoff concedes, making the early night official:

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UPDATE 7:50PM:

TL;DR version: Hickenlooper wins, Tipton loses.

ColoradoPols.com

(more…)

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Steve House: “It’s Who Counts The Votes”

Former Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

Brought to our attention by the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter, this is Republican CD-6 congressional candidate Steve House calling for poll watcher volunteers to assist his campaign in November in the likely event he wins the nomination tonight to challenge incumbent Rep. Jason Crow.

The rough quote “it’s not the votes, it’s who counts the votes” is dubiously attributed to Joseph Stalin, and there is only scant evidence that he ever said this or anything similar enough to be attributable. But it does betray a certain…distrust out of the gate for the system which doesn’t seem in good taste for any mainstream candidate. From the point of view of a candidate running for election, we’d say it’s absolutely “the votes” that count, and not–at least not in America–the counting.

But if you don’t have the former, it’s fashionable to complain about the latter.

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Get More Smarter on Election Day (June 30)

The Primary Election is FINALLY here. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, DO NOT put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location and make sure to return your ballot BEFORE 7:00pm. If your ballot isn’t in a drop box by 7:00, it’s not going to be counted. 

As Blair Miller reports for Denver7, ballot returns are expected to greatly exceed the total voter turnout from the 2018 Primary Election.

 

► Democrat Amy McGrath appears to have defeated Charles Booker in last week’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate Primary in Kentucky. The Associated Press called the race for McGrath after nearly a week of ballot counting; McGrath will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.

POLITICO takes a separate look at Colorado’s U.S. Senate Primary Election and concludes that former Gov. John Hickenlooper appears to be a good bet to hold off a challenge from former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Booker’s loss in Kentucky is another ominous sign for Romanoff, since both candidates tried to position themselves as the most progressive candidate on the ballot:

A handful of national progressive organizations, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, backed Romanoff down the stretch, and Our Revolution, which launched out of Sanders’ first presidential run, also endorsed him. But many of the groups who jumped into Kentucky stayed on the sidelines in Colorado.

If you’re looking for hints as to the outcome in today’s big Senate battle, take a look at what Colorado Pols readers think will happen.

 

Colorado isn’t the only Western state holding a Primary Election today. Voters are also casting ballots — though mostly by mail — in Utah, where the top-ticket race is a battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. As POLITICO reports, former Gov. Jon Huntsman is in real danger of losing a GOP Primary to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox:

Huntsman’s willingness to serve in both Democratic and Republican administrations — as well as his reputation for moderation that includes his role as a co-chair of the bipartisan group No Labels — is testing Utah Republicans’ tolerance for the kind of technocratic governance he represents.

“This race is kind of Huntsman versus Huntsman,” said Doug Foxley, a political strategist and senior adviser to the Huntsman campaign. “Some of these people have feelings about Jon — and they’re either voting for him, or they’re voting against him.”

Recent polls show the primary as a near-tie between Huntsman and Cox. Also on the ballot are two well-known state Republicans — former state House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state GOP chairman Thomas Wright — who have ranked behind the two frontrunners.

Voters are also going to the polls in Oklahoma today, as POLITICO notes, but the overarching story of the day might be the spotlight on mail balloting in Colorado and Utah.

 

► President Trump has repeatedly claimed that he was not briefed about intelligence concerns that Russia had issued “bounties” for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. But as The New York Times reports, that position may not hold for much longer:

American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.

The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.

The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious.

But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically.

It is well known that Trump does not normally bother reading his daily intelligence briefin

 

 Does Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) have a breaking point when it comes to President Trump? We asked that question last year, and we asked it again on Monday. The answer is the same.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Mayor Mike In The Hot Seat Over APD Attack On Protest

Ex-Rep. Mike Coffman, now Mayor of Aurora.

As Denver7’s Ryan Osborne reports, the Aurora City Council is holding an emergency meeting this evening to respond to growing controversy over the aggressive response by the Aurora Police Department to a peaceful protest held Saturday afternoon and evening seeking justice for Elijah McClain:

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman called a special city council meeting for Tuesday to hear from police about their response to Saturday’s protests over the death of Elijah McClain.

“We are hearing many questions and concerns from the community about the tactics used by the Aurora Police Department during Saturday’s protests, and council needs to hear first-hand specifically what happened,” Coffman said in a statement. “The tragic death of Elijah McClain brought out many peaceful people over the weekend who want their voices heard, and unfortunately there were disruptions that overshadowed the broader message.”

…Naomi McClain, who is Elijah McClain’s sister, said she felt like police, at one point, were “just trying to shut us down from continuing our protest” after the department declared an unlawful assembly.

9NEWS:

Aurora city councilman Juan Marcano, an advocate for police reform, attended the protests to observe. Marcano said he had been briefed with the rest of the council before the protests that officers intended to remain relatively hidden unless protestors began destroying property.

“It was just really surreal to see basically a pop-up orchestra concert get displaced by a line of riot cops,” Marcano said. “It’s not something I want to see in my city.” [Pols emphasis]

FOX 31:

Some protestors say Aurora police used too much force during what they described as a peaceful protest. The statements came on a day when the Aurora Police Department released new information about the weapons used to disperse crowds on Saturday evening…

Aurora police tweeted out that they announced they’d be deploying the crowd-dispersing tactics after allegedly seeing some people carrying rocks and sticks.

But the protestors FOX31 spoke with say they were never violent. [Pols emphasis]

While peaceful protests filled the streets around the Aurora Municipal Center on Saturday and shut down nearby I-225, Ex-GOP Congressman now Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman spent the entire day according to Facebook riding around with the fire department on unrelated calls. Coffman’s choice to visit all 16 Aurora fire stations in one day instead of monitoring the massive protest right outside his office strikes us as a very questionable decision, especially since Aurora currently has an interim police chief while the search for a permanent chief goes on. It all adds up to failed leadership, or at least it plausibly can.

Who takes the fall when the cops charge batons-out into a violin recital?

At some level, that would be the mayor.

(more…)

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How About Now? Nope, Gardner Still Sticks with Trump

A Tweet for your soul?

Last October we wondered aloud about whether there was anything that President Trump could do — or fail to do — that might convince Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) to finally begin to distance himself from the incredible sinking ship that is the S.S. Trumptanic. A couple of months later, The Colorado Sun asked if Gardner had a breaking point when it came to Trump.

The answer then was the same as it is now: “Nope.”

Of course, October 2019 was a much simpler time in America, when we could almost focus on the fact that the President of the United States tried to extort a foreign country in order to aid his own re-election hopes. Things have gotten significantly more complicated in the last nine months, so we thought we’d check in once more on Gardner.

Does Cory Gardner have a breaking point when it comes to President Trump? Let’s take a look…

 

(more…)

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“Shovel-Ready” Cory Gardner Is Stimulus Shameless

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Say Anything).

That’s Sen. Cory Gardner, extolling the benefits in this weekend’s Pueblo Chieftain of two legislative achievements Gardner claims credit for as economic stimulus (emphasis ours) benefiting “a record number of Coloradans looking for work.” Specifically Gardner is referring to the Arkansas Valley Conduit irrigation project in southern Colorado for which funding was recently appropriated by Congress, as well as the Great American Outdoors Act that Gardner and a large majority in the Senate voted to recently approve.

To be clear, we agree on the economic stimulus value of both of these pieces of legislation, and nobody is going to knock Gardner for supporting local funding priorities. It’s as true today is it was in 2009 when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided critical economic stimulus that helped prevent an event great recession than what we know today as the “Great Recession.” But when Cory Gardner uses the words “shovel ready” to describe these projects as job creators in an economic downturn, we can’t help but remember Gardner’s own words back in 2010, when the “failed stimulus” was a mantra every Republican recited verbatim:

[Rep. Betsy] Markey, considered among the most vulnerable of the House Democrats, questioned Republican Cory Gardner’s honesty and defended her support of the stimulus package and the health care overhaul…

Gardner spent most of the debate chiding Markey and ruling Democrats for what he called out-of-control spending. He elicited some of the loudest cheers of the evening when he laid into Markey’s vote for the pricey stimulus package.

“You want a shovel-ready project we don’t need? It’s digging more debt,” Gardner said. [Pols emphasis]

Zing! And the Fort Morgan Times reported in February of that year:

Gardner noted that Wednesday will be the first anniversary of the Democrats’ stimulus package and that, with recent snow in D.C., the Dems at last have a shovel-ready project. [Pols emphasis]

As you can see, Cory Gardner has got a real sense of humor!

But only when a Democrat is President.

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Colorado’s 15-Round Magazine Limit Upheld

This gentleman’s manhood is now limited to 15 rounds.

On a day of momentous U.S. Supreme Court action, the Colorado Supreme Court lays down the law locally by unanimously upholding the state’s 2013 15-round limit on gun magazine capacity passed in the wake of the Aurora theater and other mass shootings the previous year–9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger reports:

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its ruling Monday morning, ending the seven-year challenge by Loveland-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

In 2013, one year after the Aurora Theater Shooting, Colorado’s democratic-controlled legislature passed a number of gun reform bills, including House Bill 13-1224, which banned the sale and transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. Then-Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law, which took effect July 1, 2013…

“We hold that HB 1224 is a reasonable exercise of the police power that has neither the purpose nor effect of nullifying the right to bear arms in self-defense encompassed by article II, section 13 of the Colorado Constitution,” the 7-0 ruling concluded.

The challenge to the 2013 magazine limit passed in Colorado cited the gun rights language of the Colorado Constitution, which Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has argued is more restrictive against regulations on guns than the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. At the federal level, Colorado is of course not the only state with a limit on magazine capacity, so the ability of local gun-rights activists to score some kind of judicial coup with our state’s “unique” constitutional language ends here.

Seven years ago the polls still showed strong public support for the laws passed in Colorado including the magazine limit, but the fierce political retaliation engineered and funded by the gun lobby against Colorado Democrats for daring to pass these bills overcame public support in successful recall elections. Since the passage of Colorado’s landmark package of gun safety bills in 2013, the issue has evolved to the point where gun control is a much less politically risky subject for Democrats to take on.

With Colorado’s magazine limit now unanimously upheld in the state’s highest court, the next order of business should be putting a stop to reported widespread flouting of the law by unscrupulous gun dealers encouraged by politically-motivated law enforcement. With this ruling, sheriffs who think they can cherry-pick the laws they choose to enforce and politicians who encourage the public to become lawbreakers should be on notice.

If there are loopholes in the law, close them. And when people break the law, lock them up.

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What’s Going to Happen on Tuesday?

John Hickenlooper, Andrew Romanoff.

Colorado’s Primary Election is almost over, but before we get there, we want to know what Colorado Pols readers think will happen on Tuesday evening. Who wins, and by how much? Former Gov. John Hickenlooper or former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

(Note: We included a tie vote as an option, but for the love of God, let’s all just hope this doesn’t happen).

Click after the jump to cast your completely un-scientific vote…

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Pre-Primary Predictions

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Primary-Prognostication-Palooza! The President takes a pounding in the polls, a potential politician pretends to be a professional, and more pretentious pablum from some political putzes. Tune in to hear our predictions for the June 30 Primary Election in Colorado.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedyclick here.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Andrew Romanoff Leaves State to be with Dying Father

MONDAY UPDATE: Our sincere condolences.

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As The Colorado Sun reports in “The Unaffiliated” newsletter:

A week from the primary, and just as his stock is rising, Andrew Romanoff is taking a break from the campaign.

He said his father, who has suffered a series of falls and strokes, is dying. He’s flying Tuesday to be with his family with no return date in mind. [Pols emphasis]

Given the virtual nature of the campaign trail, Romanoff may not miss as much as he would otherwise, but his family’s situation is consuming his time. He learned about his father’s faltering condition just before the final debate, during which he gave a less spirited performance than the first two.

The real world does not always pause for election deadlines. We’re sure this was a difficult decision for Romanoff, but we can’t say we would have made a different decision in his shoes.

Please join us in sending out our best wishes to Romanoff and his family.

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Another Roberts Stunner: Abortion Restriction Law Shot Down

UPDATE: Reproductive rights advocacy group Cobalt’s statement:

Cases like June Medical Services v. Russo illustrate the importance of having access to abortion without limits or cutoffs. Louisiana is one of the most restrictive states in terms of abortion laws and there are just 3 abortion clinics in the state. Laws like admitting privileges, waiting periods, and mandatory counseling are designed to push care out of reach and will force people to seek abortion care later in pregnancy. Colorado must remain a place where people can seek abortion care when the patient’s home state has failed them.

We must defeat the abortion ban on the ballot in Colorado this November.

And we must replace Sen Cory Gardner with a Senator who reflects our Colorado values on abortion access and reproductive rights. Both of the Trump Justices Sen Gardner confirmed to the Court were on the wrong side of today’s decision. Justice Kavanaugh wrote the dissent. Sen Gardner’s votes to confirm these Justices flagrantly ignored Colorado voters and values, and we will hold him accountable.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Hill reports on another Supreme Court decision today with a very high probability of enraging the religious right:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana abortion law, handing a win to abortion rights advocates who feared the conservative court would break with past rulings to rein in protections that emerged from the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.

The justices voted 5-4 to invalidate Louisiana’s admitting-privilege law in the first major abortion ruling of the Trump era, which came after the court struck down a nearly identical Texas law four years ago.

The ruling, which underscored the razor-thin voting margin over abortion rights, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s four liberals, is likely to make future Supreme Court decisions over a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy an even more pressing issue in the coming presidential election.

In this case, Colorado’s Justice Neil Gorsuch and Trump’s other Justice Brett Kavanaugh voted to uphold Louisiana’s trial-balloon challenge to abortion rights. For Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who squeaked into office in 2014 in part by evading and even weaponing the issue of abortion via a much-analyzed reverse psychology sympathy ploy, the votes of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are damning proof for Democrats that Gardner poses a very real and proximal “threat to abortion rights.”

On the other hand, this case is the latest demonstration of the increasingly pivotal role on the Court played by Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005. From the Affordable Care Act to LGBT rights and now on abortion, Roberts has emerged as a crucial firewall against the rightward lurch by the Court that has been broadly feared ever since Republican treachery forestalled the appointment of Merrick Garland in 2016.

With rumors continuing to spread in Washington about retirements from the Court both awaiting and trying to beat out the November elections, voters can add the future of the Supreme Court to the fate of the nation, the world, and all the other weighty questions this election will serve as a history-defining referendum for.

But, you know, no pressure or anything America.

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Elijah McClain Protests Shine National Spotlight On Aurora

Elijah McClain.

Aurora Sentinel:

An extensive protest against the death of Elijah McClain quickly jolted from peaceful to disorderly and back again Saturday when Aurora police deployed pepper spray against rowdy protesters they said were throwing rocks and bottles at cops.

Police and local sheriff’s deputies wearing riot gear and bearing shields called the protest an “unlawful assembly” and began to disperse the crowd at about 8:30 p.m. June 27. The scene was surreal and chaotic as musicians slated to play in a violin vigil wandered among the tense scene of protesters and riot-gear-clad police, string music wafting with the sounds of havoc…

Aurora police and officials had been gearing up for the protests at Aurora city hall over the 2019 death of McClain, the 23-year-old unarmed black man who died after being detained by Aurora police last August. The protests come amid a wave of renewed media attention and flurry of promises for new investigations.

The death in police custody of Elijah McClain last August has provoked nationwide outrage during the ongoing protests over police brutality in America, being an unarmed young Black man who committed no crime before being tackled, placed in a carotid choke hold and injected with ketamine by responding paramedics–resulting in an eventually fatal heart attack on the way to the hospital. All of the responding officers claim their body cameras “fell off” during the struggle, though recordings from those devices released months later raise major questions about whether that is actually what happened. Adams County DA Dave Young (not to be confused with Colorado Treasurer Dave Young) initially made the decision to not prosecute, but public outcry over that decision in the context of the larger related nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd resulted in Gov. Jared Polis reopening the investigation with Attorney General Phil Weiser now in charge.

It should be noted that the specific type of chokehold placed on Elijah McClain has been outlawed by recently-signed Senate Bill 217, Colorado’s landmark police accountability law passed after the legislature came back to wrap up COVID-19 delayed business. Likewise the new rules for initiating police contact would seem to prevent, or at least change the policy enough to where what happened to Elijah McClain while innocently walking home would not happen now. It’s undeniable at this point, however, that the swift progress made on this issue in the last few months is a result of the massive nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd.

In Denver, several nights of intense confrontation between police and protesters, which appears to have included local “Boogaloo Boi” and “Proud Boy” fringe elements hoping to stir up trouble, gave way to considerably more peaceful protests once Denver Police made the decision to refrain from violent confrontations with protesters after curfew. From what we can read of the aggressive response to yesterday’s protests in Aurora, former Republican Congressman-turned-Mayor Mike Coffman would be wise to adopt a similar approach.

Because what happened to Elijah McClain cannot and should not be defended.

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“Fauxgressive”–Lorena Garcia Unloads On Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff.

With Democratic ranks closing and polls signaling the outcome of the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary election will not be close, the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter adds to du jour reporting on the trouble challenger Andrew Romanoff has had laying claim to the mantle of “progressive champion” in the race to flank the frontrunner John Hickenlooper, after a long record of political centrism in office and as a candidate in prior elections based on political expediency.

The point is expressed by none better than the most authentic “movement progressive” who ran in the Democratic Senate primary, community activist Lorena Garcia:

Lorena Garcia, arguably the most progressive candidate to run for Senate in Colorado this year, disagreed often with Romanoff, whom she calls a “fauxgressive.”

“I think there are efforts to unify the progressives around Romanoff, but it’s not working,” Garcia said Wednesday.

“I think it’s not working because many of these progressive leaders who are now pushing energy his way had originally denounced Romanoff when he entered the race and are now trying to claim he is the progressive champion. This is not only insincere, it’s inauthentic, and progressives demand authenticity. People may still vote because he says the right things, but the excitement for this race is gone.”

Garcia’s complaint about Romanoff’s “inauthentic” brand echoes what we’ve heard from just about everyone who has actually been involved in Colorado politics going back to Romanoff’s heyday in the mid-aughts. Fifteen years ago, Andrew Romanoff was the epitome of a calculating technocratic centrist politician, no more apparent than in the 2006 anti-immigrant special session in which Romanoff permanently alienated many of the state’s politically involved Latinos. In 2014, when Romanoff had his sights on a swing congressional seat, he came out for a federal balanced budget amendment and turned against single-payer health care.

Because Romanoff in the 2020 primary has embraced all of the ambitious bullet points of the nationwide progressive Democratic agenda, there’s a natural tendency on the part of supporters of that agenda to channel their anger into this race as a proxy for the larger battle. The problem, as Garcia explains very well in today’s story, is that Romanoff is simply not a credible advocate for that agenda having campaigned on both sides of every major issue from energy to health care to immigration–and for all of the fervor of Romanoff’s supporters, this is why is has not been able to consolidate support even on the left side of the Democratic coalition.

It’s not about having the perfect candidate. It’s about having an authentic candidate.

If the polls are right, that will be the story of this primary.

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Coloradans are Voting in Record Numbers

According to data just released by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, nearly 1 million ballots have already been returned ahead of the June 30 Primary Election. This is a HUMONGOUS jump from 2018, and it’s not a story that we’ve seen mentioned yet.

Take a look at a comparison of ballot returns today and with five days remaining until the Primary Election in 2018. We’re basing these comparisons on ballot return press releases issued by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in 2018 (here) and 2020 (here).

 

We’ll have more commentary on why these numbers are so huge as soon as we figure that out. It may be the coronavirus and people spending more time at home; it’s harder to forget about that ballot on your kitchen table when you’re sitting at your kitchen table for six hours every day.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 26)

Don’t look now, but we’re rounding the bend of June and rolling into July already. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

***If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, don’t put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location near you.*** 

 

It might still be the first wave. Maybe it’s a second wave. The number doesn’t really matter, because the important part is that the COVID-19 is still growing in the United States with 40,000 new cases being reported. Texas is seeing a huge spike in coronavirus cases, as is Arizona — two Republican-led states in the southwest that were too anxious to reopen without making sure it was safe to do so.

The Washington Post explains how Arizona lost control of the pandemic:

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, “eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,” warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, “Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.”

But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment.

Florida — another Republican-led state — is slowing down its reopening process because of a surge in cases; on Friday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases (the state’s previous daily high was 5,500).

Colorado has also seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, but not nearly to the extend of neighboring states. Within Colorado, El Paso County is one of the worst-hit areas; it’s not a coincidence that El Paso is a solid-red Republican county.

At the White House today, Vice President Mike Pence will provide a media briefing on the nation’s coronavirus response…the first such briefing IN TWO MONTHS.

President Trump, meanwhile, is apparently watching an entirely different movie than everyone else:

 

President Trump is hemhoraging support. As a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds, Trump’s disapproval ratings have reached an all-time high:

Trump’s approval rating sits at just 40% overall, while a record 58% disapprove.

What’s more, a whopping 49% of voters “strongly disapprove” of the job Trump is doing. That kind of intensity of disapproval is a record never before seen for this president or any past one. [Pols emphasis]

So much winning! The #1 most disliked President ever!

 

Sticking with the subject of political polling, 9News released new data on Thursday showing that the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination is pretty much over. According to data from SurveyUSA, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a 2-to-1 favorite over former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election.

 

Hickenlooper is probably not going to beat Romanoff by 30 points, but as the saying goes, you can tell the “fat lady” to start warming up.

 

Political suicide. On Thursday the Trump administration announced another boneheaded decision that one Republican consultant called “pretty dumb” earlier this week. As The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that “the entire ACA must fall.” The administration’s argument comes as hundreds of thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the brief by saying there is “no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.” Dismantling the ACA would leave more than 23 million people without healthcare plans, according to a recent analysis by the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi, who on Wednesday filed a bill to expand the ACA, said in a statement.

Again, the Trump administration is making a big show of trying to take away health insurance for millions of people in the midst of an historic global pandemic that is pummeling the United States. Is Trump trying to lose in 2020?

This is also bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has repeatedly voiced support for destroying the ACA through the courts.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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This Is What Political Suicide Looks Like

UPDATE: This lede from The Washington Post summarizes the story well:

President Trump insists on the campaign trail that he wants to protect insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions. His legal team just told the Supreme Court otherwise.

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President Donald Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

NBC News reported late last night, and the rude shock despite this being a fully expected development reverberates as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the health and economic security of Americans:

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to wipe out Obamacare, arguing that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law must be struck down with it.

The late-night brief, filed Thursday in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, carries major implications for the presidential election. If the justices agree, it would cost an estimated 20 million Americans their insurance coverage and nullify protections for pre-existing conditions.

The Trump administration’s brief comes as the U.S. has recorded more than 120,000 deaths from COVID-19, with nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases. On Wednesday, the nation hit a new record for the highest daily total of new infections reported with more than 45,500.

The brief filed by Trump administration seeks to close the loop on the Republican legislative attempt to repeal (forget “replace,” that’s so 2015) the Affordable Care Act during the period of total GOP control in Washington from 2017-2019. As readers know, despite Sen. Cory Gardner’s steadfast support for every ACA repeal bill put before him for a vote, Republicans could not summon up the political will to follow through on their promises to get rid of “Obamacare” with the painful consequences of that action fully in view. But they did manage to pass a zeroing out of the individual mandate tax penalty, and that chipping away at the foundation of the law is the basis for today’s argument that the ACA can’t legally exist without the mandate.

The point? This is all happening because Republicans wanted it to happen. They kicked the leg out from the proverbial stool, and are now arguing their actions should kill the entire law–somehow without Republicans having to take political responsibility.

But as the New York Times reported earlier this week, that’s just not going to fly in 2020:

Republicans are increasingly worried that their decade-long push to repeal the Affordable Care Act will hurt them in the November elections, as coronavirus cases spike around the country and millions of Americans who have lost jobs during the pandemic lose their health coverage as well…

Republicans have long said their goal is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act but have yet to agree on an alternative. This week’s back-to-back developments — Ms. Pelosi’s bill announcement on Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the administration’s legal filing — has put Republicans in a difficult spot, strategists say.

“Politically, it’s pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic,” [Pols emphasis] said Joel White, a Republican strategist who specializes in health policy and has presented legislative proposals to House and Senate Republicans and the White House. “We need quick solutions here; we need stuff that we can do tomorrow, because our countrymen are hurting.”

Well folks, it appears that the only thing Republicans in Washington are prepared to “do tomorrow” is strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, with no plan to remediate the resulting loss of health coverage millions of Americans would face after that decision. It’s generally agreed today that the Republican attacks on health coverage after Trump took office played a big role in the electoral backlash against the GOP in 2018.

Going down this road in 2020, in the middle of a global pandemic with an election fast approaching isn’t just grievous policy malpractice. It’s a political catastrophe for Republicans like Cory Gardner, who has invested so much in trying to appear responsive to the country’s needs in the current emergency by voting for economic stimulus measures he decried when a Democrat was President. It is not an exaggeration to state that Gardner’s entire career in federal office, in Congress and in the U.S. Senate, has been built around opposition to the Affordable Care Act–with an accompanying promise that the ACA would be “replaced” with “something better.”

Everything Cory Gardner has promised for ten years on health care lies in ruins today. Gardner, along with his party, are revealed to have no health care agenda other than the destruction by any means necessary of Barack Obama’s legacy. Americans caught in the crossfire of the GOP’s political vendetta, including hundreds of thousands in Colorado who have benefited or even had their lives saved by the Affordable Care Act, are the success stories Republicans want to condemn to the status quo ante.

When they say elections matter, this is what they mean. This is life and death stuff, and the consequences have perhaps never been more starkly apparent to Americans than they are today.

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