Trump Campaign Included Proud Boys in Political Ad, Released After CO Springs Rally

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last night may have been the first time Trump addressed the Proud Boys directly, telling the white nationalist group during the debate to, “Stand back and stand by.”

But after a rally in Colorado Springs in February, the Trump campaign released a two-minute ad that briefly showed a partial, but unmistakable, image of a Proud Boy at the rally, as Trump says in the ad, “And ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come.”

Another image in the ad, titled, “Stronger,” can be seen very briefly earlier in the ad.

The images show a yellow jacket worn by about a dozen Proud Boys who attended the event, which drew a total of about 10,000 people both inside and outside the Broadmoor Arena. The jackets state “Proud Boy,” and images and colors match clothes for sale on a Proud Boy website.

Proud Boy image in February Trump ad.

Efforts by the Colorado Times Recorder to find out if the image of the Proud Boys was intentionally included in the ad were not successful, but the image itself clearly shows the arms, jacket, and hat of a Proud Boy in attendance.

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Health Expert Says Boebert Campaign “Stoking Mistrust” of “Heroes” Who Work in Public Health

In response to her stance against public health orders and her campaign events that do not follow social distancing recommendations, Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert is being called a COVID-backlash candidate. And she’s embracing the label, calling it “Trump-esque,” in a good way.

But a Colorado public health expert says Boebert’s response to COVID is “stoking mistrust” of public health workers, who should be considered “heroes” for “grinding it out, trying to help their communities get through this pandemic.”

“The worst of it is stoking mistrust of public health authorities, who are just doing their best to try to come to grips with a pandemic,” says Matthew Wynia, a Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, referring to Boebert’s response to COVID-19. “The people in public health departments around the state and around the country are suffering terribly right now. They are working enormous long hours at little pay with no glory. They are getting threatened by people now from campaigns like hers, her supporters, who are calling them Nazis. And that’s the worst of it. These are heroes, who are grinding it out, trying to help their communities get through this pandemic.”

“She may not like the rules,” said Wynia. “But we have ways to change the rules, right? That’s what makes us a democracy, is that we actually have ways to say, ‘I disagree with this rule.’ And she, by the way, is pursuing that by running for office. Great. She should do that. But in the meantime, she should not encourage people to disobey the rule, when it puts other people at risk.”

Multiple events by Boebert over the past month appear to violate statewide public health recommendations.

And one indoor event, an Aug. 31 fundraiser in Aspen, with U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, violated state rules, resulting in the Pitkin County health department issuing a warning to Boebert’s campaign.

Boebert (with McCarthy) at her fundraiser that violated health rules.

Wynia said events like the Aspen fundraiser could be putting public health at risk.

“To the extent that these are rules that make sense from a public health standpoint, and she is flouting them, she is putting pubic health at risk,” said Wynia. “Now, will there be an outbreak as a result of her doing this? That’s a lot harder to say. Someone will have to come to one of her events who is infected, probably without knowing it, and we may never find that out, because there is enough transmission going on in our community right now that someone who went to one of her events wouldn’t necessarily know that that’s where they got infected.”

Aspen Fundraiser (Boebert on left)

Other outdoor events show little respect for social distancing.

For example, Boebert appeared at an Aug. 29 meet-and-greet in Montrose, with U.S. Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ), with a large crowd of people, mostly without masks.

An outdoor event in Mesa County Sept. 6 shows a similar lack of concern for distancing.

Boebert event in Montrose, CO.

“The role of government is to inform us of the risk, and then let us decide; let us choose what we are going to do,” said Boebert in a speech at a Sept. 14 campaign stop. “For instance, I know darn well, I’ve been told my whole life, the risks of eating raw cookie dough. I never want the government to come in and tell me what to do with my cookie dough. That is not the proper role. I know the risk and I’ll take it.”

A Sept. 6 Boebert event in Mesa County, CO

RELATED: “Flattening the Curve Turned into Communism Very Quickly”: How a Congressional Candidate Wowed CO Talk Radio

In the bigger picture, Wynia says Boebert’s stance against public health orders shows a misunderstanding of Boebert’s own “belief system.”

Wynia explains: “What’s she’s saying is, ‘I’m a libertarian. Freedom is very important, and the government shouldn’t force us to do things for our own good.’ That’s fine, but this is not a nanny-state activity.

“You can take every risk you want. But you’re not taking a risk when you are not wearing a mask. You are imposing a risk on others.”

“Libertarians presumably believe in stop signs and speed limits,” says Wynia. “They are considered legitimate under libertarian philosophy because they prevent harm to others.”

“Libertarians believe there should be rules. But thoughtless libertarians think the rules don’t apply to them.”

But Boebert, whose campaign didn’t return an email seeking comment, says the virus is being used to seize control.

“As the virus has shown us, they want to take away small businesses, the lifeline of our country, the heartbeat of America,” said Boebert at the Sept. 14 campaign stop. “They want to tell you where you can shop, when you can shop there, what time of day, how old you have to be at that time to be there, and certainly what you have to wear.”

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Some CO Republicans in Key Races Are Hiding Their Stance on Trump

(Can you blame ’em? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Multiple Colorado Republicans in swing districts won’t say anything about what’s arguably the most important topic of the November election: Donald Trump.

State House candidate Caroline Cornell is one such Republican.

Asked by the Colorado Times Recorder if she supports Trump, Cornell hung up the phone after saying, “I’m—I don’t—I’m afraid I have to get on another call right now. I’ll have to call you back.”

Cornell, who’s challenging Democrat Tom Sullivan in a swing state House district in the Centennial area, didn’t return the call.

Republican Suzanne Staiert, who faces Democrat Chris Kolker in one of the most competitive state senate races of the year, didn’t want to talk about Trump either–even though her stance on him, like Cornell’s, could not be found in multiple searches.

“What do you say when people ask you whether you support Trump,” I asked Staiert.

“I’ve never been asked,” she replied.

“Do you?” I asked.

“I’m not going to talk to you. I don’t consider you an actual newspaper,” she said, without saying if she thought it was a legitimate question.

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Suzanne Staiert Scrubs Campaign Website of Info About Her Partisan GOP Background

(Must almost be October – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an apparent effort to give herself a nonpartisan shine, Suzanne Staiert, who’s running for a critical state senate seat in Arapahoe County, has scrubbed information about her partisan background from her campaign website.

In one notable change in the last month, Staiert removed a statement from her website boasting, “Suzanne is already trying to keep Hickenlooper accountable in her work as the prosecutor on his ethics charge.”

Earlier this year, as director of the Public Trust Institute, a conservative advocacy group, Staiert was the lead attorney in a complaint against Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, over alleged ethics issues.

The minor allegations, two of which were affirmed, were set in motion by dark-money-funded Republicans and formed the basis for a major TV attack campaign against Hickenlooper by his opponent, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), and outside groups, including a conservative organization called Unite for Colorado. Staiert is the lawyer for United for Colorado, which also provided money for Staiert’s state senate campaign, triggering a campaign finance complaint against Staiert.

But despite her deep ties to the GOP campaign against Hickenlooper, and its high-profile use in Colorado’s Senate campaign, Staiert scrubbed her campaign website of any mention of her leading role in the effort. There’s now no mention of the name “Hickenlooper” on her entire website.

In place of the Hickenlooper information is content that reads, in part, “Person over party. Suzanne will fight for her constituents, not partisan politics.”

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McConnell: Gardner Is Likely To Be “Key Vote” That Gets Supreme Court Nominee “Across the Finish Line”

(“Very, very loyal” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner.

In an email to supporters this morning, U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky wrote that Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner will “likely be a key vote that gets [Trump’s Supreme Court] nominee across the finish line when she comes up for a vote.”

Then McConnell asked for a donation to help Gardner win his November race against Democrat John Hickenlooper, so that Republicans will maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

McConnell wrote:

“Cory Gardner made a huge announcement Monday night. Cory will be sticking with the Majority and supporting President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Cory will likely be a key vote that gets the nominee across the finish line when she comes up for a vote. But..the fight doesn’t stop once our nominee is on the Court. That’s just the beginning. Chuck Schumer has vowed that ‘nothing is off the table’ if they win the Majority in 2020. Court-packing, eliminating the filibuster, eliminating the Second Amendment, and any other radical idea Chuck dreams up will all be in play next year if we don’t defend our Majority. That’s why I’m asking you to support Cory Gardner today, and help us defend the Senate Majority this fall. There’s too much at stake….. Donate today to save the Republican Senate Majority!”

Gardner made it clear he will support a “qualified” Trump nominee for the Supreme Court.

“When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent,” wrote Gardner in a statement Monday. “I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.”

RELATED: Mitch McConnell Video Urges Republicans to “Step Up” for Cory Gardner

Democrats, who have criticized Gardner for his close ties to McConnell, blasted Gardner for refusing to even meet with Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court in 2016.

“I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision,” Gardner said at the time.

“We are deep in the heart of a political campaign, a divisive election, a divisive president, who has done nothing but overreached Congress time and time again,” Gardner added.

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Let Boebert Grow Up, Say Her Defenders. But Read the Report of Arresting Officer and See What You Think

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert continues to downplay the seriousness of her history of arrests, saying they resulted in minor fines and charges.

That’s true, but it’s the circumstances around her arrests that continue to cause Boebert trouble in her campaign. See billboard below.

For example, there’s the fact that she could have avoided two of her arrests if she’d just shown up in court, or possibly even sent a letter to the courthouse.

But she just ignored the requests of the justice system until it was forced to take mug shots of her that never needed to be taken.

Then there’s her behavior that got her one court date that she later ignored. At the Country Jam music festival in 2015, as first reported by Colorado Newsline, she yelled at police, claimed arresting officers would be hearing from her “friends” and Fox News, and tried to encourage juveniles to flee police custody at the scene, causing them to become “unruly,” and more, according to the police report.

Boebert says it’s a lot of hubbub over nothing.

And Boebert’s defenders add that she should be allowed to grow up and change.

“People are allowed to change and to grow up — whatever,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, who’s endorsed Boebert, told the Colorado Sun about the arrests.

You want to let people grow up and change. But at the time of her music festival arrest, Boebert was 28 years old. Why didn’t she know better? What happened to her five years ago?

But I’ll leave it to you to decide if Boebert’s behavior, as described by police below in 2015, should be dismissed as youthful exuberance for a 28-year-old woman–or as irrelevant because charges were dismissed.

Or does Boebert owe the public more of an explanation than she’s given?

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With a Supreme Court Seat Now Open, Will Gardner Argue for Delay, As He Did Four Years Ago?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Times Recorder is re-posting this piece, published on the four-year anniversary of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, in light of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

—-

Exactly four years ago today, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep at a Texas ranch.

About an hour after Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) told startled reporters that the “American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice” and “therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Five days later, on Feb. 18, 2016, Colorado’s Republican Senator, Cory Gardner, agreed with McConnell that the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice should be delayed until after the 2016 presidential election, which was later won by Trump.

Gardner told fellow conservative Dan Caplis, who was on KNUS radio at the time:

GARDNER: “Again, I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”

“We are deep in the heart of a political campaign, a divisive election, a divisive president, who has done nothing but overreached Congress time and time again,” he added.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s well-known health problems appear to be at bay for now, but the question arises of what Gardner would do this time around if Ginsburg’s or another seat became vacant.

Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking comment, but in interviews at the time, he pointed to Democrats who’d made similar arguments about delaying confirmation of a Justice.

If Gardner follows the same logic of his arguments in 2016, he’d again call for delay.

Back in 2016, Gardner went on to join McConnell and other Republicans in denying Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s choice to replace Scalia, even the opportunity for a hearing before the Senate.

In fact, Gardner refused to meet Garland at all.

On March 16, 2016, even before Obama finished introducing Garland to the country, Gardner issued a statement that “our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in the process as the next Supreme Court justice will influence the direction of this country for years to come.” In 2016, Gardner’s refusal to meet with Garland earned Gardner a personal rebuke from Obama.

“Sen. Gardner has not been doing his job as a senator,” Obama told The Gazette in a short interview after the Air Force Academy graduation. “He is perfectly free after having met with Judge Garland to conclude that ‘this is not somebody that I am going to vote for.'”

“If we start getting to the point where the Senate operates in such a partisan manner that even someone like Merrick Garland can’t get the courtesy of a hearing and a vote, then that’s going to start breaking down the system to the point where we can’t get any judges confirmed,” he said. “Our system of justice is going to break down, and that’s going to have consequences for all of us.”

After Obama left office, Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed for Supreme Court positions.

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Former CO GOP House Leader, Former Chair of CO Republican Party Back Biden

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call.

Former Colorado Republican Chair Ryan Call, along with former Republican House leader Cole Wist, are supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Last week, Ryan Call joined Republicans and Independents for Biden, organized by the Lincoln project, a group founded by anti-Trump Republicans.

Wist discussed his support for Biden on the Craig Silverman Show podcast Saturday, saying Trump is “not a conservative.”

Asked what his breaking point for Trump was, Wist talked about Charlottesville, where a protester was killed by neo-Nazis.

“Charlottesville was, I think, a turning point for a lot of folks, because what it suggested was that this president was more interested in stirring the pot and dividing the country, rather than trying to appeal to unity to bring the country together.”

“We needed to say loud and clear after Charlottesville that bigotry is not welcome in the Republican Party,” Wist told Silverman.

Wist, who was assistant GOP house minority leader from 2016 and 2018, voted for Trump in 2016, he said, because he hoped Trump would “rise to the occasion.”

“I think a lot of people are leaving the party because they don’t believe that the standard-bearer of party represents their values,” he said.

Former Republican State Rep. Cole Wist.

Wist said the risks of four more years of Trump are unacceptable to him, including the risk of more division, more racial tension, less fiscal discipline. He also cited Trump’s lack of respect for the Constitution, separation of powers, and congressional authority.

The risks of a Democratic president are less, he said, calling Biden a moderate.

“Most importantly to me, [Biden is] a person who’s a decent, fine man,” said Wist, who has “no desire to be a Democrat.”

Reached by phone today, Call, who served twice as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, declined comment.

Both Wist and Call spoke out against Republican efforts last year to recall Democratic lawmakers in Colorado.

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Boebert Still Embraces ‘Deep State’ Conspiracy that Gov’t Workers ‘Appear To Be Actively Undermining’ Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After once saying she hopes QAnon is “real,” Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert now says she doesn’t “follow QAnon,” but she goes on to say, in multiple interviews, that government workers, whom she refers to as the “deep state,” appear to be “actively undermining President Trump.

She also repeatedly expresses support for continued investigation into “thousands of pages” of reports about potential internal government attacks on the “chief executive.”

By distancing herself to some degree from QAnon and then immediately pointing to threats from the “deep state,” Boebert is embracing more “garden variety” conspiracy theories, according to Mark Fenster, a professor of law at the University of Florida and the author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture.

“I read [Boebert] as more or less disavowing QAnon in favor of the more garden variety theories that Trump says on Twitter and (previously) in rallies and that appear regularly in conservative and social media hand-waving at the means by which the deep state will finally be revealed,” said Fenster in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder. “It’s Q-like (and similar to plenty of previous breathless conspiracy theorizing) in the sense that there’s a hope, even a promise, that some complex mechanism will finally enable clarity.”

Fenster points out that QAnon is “sucking up all the oxygen in our understanding of right-wing conspiracy theories.”

“Trump was complaining about the ‘deep state’ since the beginning of his presidency, and his willingness to obfuscate and confuse matters in order to suggest that momentous events will imminently occur predated QAnon,” wrote Fenster.

Some of Boebert’s comments show support for Trump Attorney General William Barr’s ongoing investigation into alleged attacks on Trump from within the government, but Boebert’s campaign didn’t return a call to discuss the topic.

But she may be referencing a QAnon conspiracy theory that there’s a second Inspector General report, kept hidden by Trump enemies, that proves there’s a deep state conspiracy against Trump.

Asked about QAnon in an Aug. 12 Breitbart interview, Boebert said, “We have the IG and the AG — We have over 1,000 pages of investigative work of people who work in the government who appear to be actively undermining our chief executive. And I don’t think that it’s radical to want to get to the bottom of that.”

Before the release of last December’s Inspector General report QAnon supporters were expecting it to lead to mass arrests of democrats plotting against Trump and reveal that the Russia investigation was a hoax purported by the Obama administration.

The actual release of the report was a huge disappointment to Qanon as it debunked most of their conspiracy theories.

So, they took up another conspiracy theory that there was a second report that did prove all their theories, including that government employees at the FBI were actively working against Trump.

Listen to Boebert on Breitbart News Tonight Aug. 12: (Jump to 9:20 for her the QAnon question & answer.)

 

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Birtherism Is Back? If So, It Has Plenty of Precedent in CO

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

University of Colorado visiting scholar John Eastman landed in the national spotlight last week after speculating in a Newsweek op-ed that Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris might not be eligible to serve as vice president because her parents were possibly temporary visitors at the time of Harris’ birth.

Eastman, who’s attending a conference in Beaver Creek this weekend, later faced a national outcry denouncing him as a “birther,” in the mold of Trump himself who long promoted the falsehood that former president Barack Obama was ineligible to be president.

Colorado has seen birthers emerge repeatedly over the years, some apologizing some not, most recently in the form of Colorado Republican National Committee delegate Randy Corporon, whose views were profiled by profiled by CNN.

 

By far the most memorable of Colorado birther’s, aside from talk-radio host Peter Boyles, was U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), who was caught at an Elbert County fundraiser 2012 saying he didn’t know if Obama “was born in the United States of America,” but that “in his heart, he’s not an American.”

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Spokesman for CO Trump Bus Backs Wis Shooter: “Nice F@&k shot, Kyle”

(Yikes – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A “Team Trump Bus” is touring northern Colorado today, and on it is John “TIG” Tiegen, who tweeted his unvarnished support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the Wisconsin teen accused of shooting three people at Wisconsin protests yesterday.

Tiegen, who delivered Trump’s signatures Colorado’s Secretary of State’s office to qualify for the Colorado ballot in November, reposted an unverified accusation that Rittenhouse shot a registered sex offender and other looters.

“That’s why I say NICE F@&k shot Kyle!” tweeted Tiegen.

Two of the three victims from the protest, which occurred in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, have not been officially identified, but the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has named all three based on images and posts found on social media. Tiegen nonetheless reposted claims made by a far-right meme page called Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, which stated that all of the shooter’s victims were pedophiles and violent criminals. Authorities have charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who claims to be a militia member, with the homicides.

Tiegen didn’t return a message asking if he thinks others should follow Rittenhouse’s example and take to the streets and shoot people. He was also asked if he’d talked to Trump about these matters.

(more…)

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On His Official Facebook Page, Cory Gardner Always Wears a Mask; Elsewhere, Not So Often

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It appears that some Colorado Republicans are presenting themselves as mask wearers on public communications platforms, but being less diligent in the real world.

Take, for example, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who’s trying to appeal to moderate mask-lovers–and, and at the same time, fire up his mask-hating conservative base to help him defeat Democrat John Hickenlooper.

In response, he’s apparently decided to consistently don a mask in photos for public Facebook consumption but often go maskless on the campaign trail.

All photos on his official Facebook page since July 17, when Colorado’s statewide order to wear masks went into effect, show him wearing a mask, in indoor or outdoor settings, while photos snapped of the senator during the same period on the campaign trail tell a tale of inconsistent mask-wearing.

Gardner did not return a call seeking to know why.

(more…)

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Loopholes in Gardner Bill Allow Denial of Coverage to Those With Pre-Existing Conditions

(In other words, this “bill” is worthless — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is claiming that legislation he introduced this month “would guarantee Coloradans with pre-existing conditions have health insurance coverage protections.”

In fact, his bill does not provide such protections due to multiple loopholes that insurance companies would use to avoid covering people with pre-existing medical conditions, say experts and journalists who’ve reviewed Gardner’s legislation.

The loopholes that insurance companies would exploit are currently closed due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which protects people with pre-existing conditions.

But if the ACA were repealed, Gardner’s bill wouldn’t stop health insurance companies from again using common strategies for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions that they used before the law was passed, say experts and fact-checkers.

“Big picture, [Gardner’s] bill does include some protections, but when you open up loopholes for insurance companies to avoid covering people with pre-existing conditions, they will take advantage of them,” said Sabrina Corlette, who directs the Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

“Effectively, there is no protection at all,” said Corlette.

Corlette outlined four of the loopholes or issues involved in Gardner’s bill in a telephone call with the Colorado Times Recorder.

Denial Based on Health Status

“The biggest, and most glaring is that under this bill there is nothing to prevent an insurance company from just denying you a policy outright,” said Corlette.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, if you were applying for insurance, typically you’d be asked to fill out a health questionnaire, and you’d also have to check a box or say that you would allow the company to go back through your medical history. There’s nothing to prevent the company from doing that under this bill and then saying, ‘We’re not going to issue you a policy. Go somewhere else. If we don’t think you’re an insurable person, we won’t cover you.'”

Insurance Policies Designed for Healthy People

A second loophole in Gardner’s bill would allow insurance companies to design policies that don’t cover people with specific diseases or conditions, said Corlette.

“Prior to the passage of the ACA, insurance companies would design policies that would only work for healthy people,” explained Corlette. “They would do this, for example, by designing a policy that doesn’t cover drugs needed for specific diseases, like HIV/AIDS or hemophilia or cystic fibrosis.

“There’s nothing in the bill that restricts [insurance companies’] ability to design a benefit package that attracts only healthy people.”

Coverage, Yes, As Long As It’s Not Too Expensive

Third loophole: Gardner’s bill would allow insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions but not pay for their care if it got too expensive.

Before the ACA, if you had an expensive medical condition (systic fibrosis, organ transplant, hemophilia), you would hit annual or lifetime caps on your benets. So you’d be left paying with your own money.

“The ACA prohibited those [benefit caps], and this bill does not address that,” said Sabrina. “So, if a plan stated, ‘We’ll cover a full plate of benefits but after $100,000, you’re out of luck,’ it would be allowed. Well, if you have hemophilia, that means this policy isn’t going to do you much good. There are conditions that require a million dollars per year for treatment.”

Incentives to Cover the Healthy

The ACA, Corlette says, incentivized insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and Gardner’s bill does nothing to keep those incentives in place.

“The ACA included risk-management programs that essentially tried to change incentives for insurance companies to manage risk, instead of avoid it. Bottom line, it tried to shift rules of the game so that insurance companies could take people with heart disease or diabetes, for example, and manage their care in such a way as to be a financial win for them.”

“If the ACA is repealed those incentive programs go away, and so insurance companies to a large degree are going to revert to the days when they win by avoiding risk entirely.”

Gardner Hasn’t Addressed Criticism of His Bill

Gardner did not return a call asking if he sees any problematic loopholes in his proposed law.

The senator has insisted for years that he supports requirements that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions–even as he’s voted multiple times against the ACA, which protects people with pre-existing conditions.

His bill appears to be intended to be part of his response to his critics.

But while he may point to it as a symbol of his stance on the issue, it’s not convincing analysts or journalists that it will make a substantive difference for people with pre-existing conditions, if the ACA is repealed.

Denver’s NBC affiliate, 9News, quoted Larry Levitt, vice president of Kaiser Family Foundation, as saying Gardner’s bill “is missing certain words that requires insurance companies to take anyone.”

9News anchor Kyle Clark was more blunt, calling the bill “horse excrement.”

9News’ Marshall Zellinger reported that Gardner didn’t respond to his requests for an interview.

So it appears Gardner’s only comment on the bill is contained in a news release distributed Aug. 7 when the bill’s title, without any text, was released.

“My bill is simple – it guarantees coverage for people who have pre-existing medical conditions and ensures that people cannot be charged more because of a pre-existing condition,” said Gardner in a news release. “I will continue to fight for pre-existing condition protections as well as measures to lower health care costs, strengthen innovation, and expand access for all Coloradans, including those with pre-existing medical conditions.”

Over 2 million Coloradans have pre-existing conditions, according to one report.

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Arrest Warrants Issued for Boebert in Multiple Cases After She Didn’t Show Up for Court Hearings

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lauren Boebert’s mug shot taken upon her arrest in February, 2017

At about midnight four years ago, restauranteur Lauren Boebert, in her words, “turned too sharp,” and rolled her truck into a ditch near her home in Rifle, Colorado.

She faced a careless driving and unsafe vehicle charges, and a court date was set for three months later.

Not an uncommon slip-up on rural roads at night.

But Boebert, who’s now a Republican candidate for Congress, never showed up for her court hearing on October 5, 2016, according to records obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder from Colorado’s 9th Judicial District.

This led a Garfield County judge to issue a warrant for Boebert’s arrest for failing to appear in court.

Information about the 2016 warrant comes after Colorado Newsline reported last week that Boebert failed to appear for two separate hearings following her 2015 disorderly-conduct arrest at the Country Jam music festival near Grand Junction. A document search shows that the Mesa County court issued a warrant for her arrest in this case as well after she didn’t show up.

In the 2016 case involving the car accident, a letter was sent by the court to Boebert’s home address in Rifle and advised Boebert that a “warrant for your arrest” was issued for “failure to appear on 10/5/16,” in reference to the case.

“You may take care of this matter by contacting the court…and request a new court date,” the letter, dated Oct. 7, 2016, states. “If you wish to plead guilty, it may be possible for you to do so by mail. In addition to the warrant, a warrant fee has been assessed and a hold may have been placed against your driver’s license. Please contact the court as soon as possible to resolve this matter.”

(more…)

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Gardner Proposal On Pre-Existing Conditions Looks Like a Political Maneuver, Say Experts

(If it walks like a duck… — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) says repeatedly that he wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing their health insurance, yet he’s voted repeatedly to eliminate or gut the federal requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Now Gardner has introduced a bill, the text of which has yet to be released, that would, according to a news release from the senator’s office, “guarantee Coloradans with pre-existing conditions have health insurance coverage protections.”

Experts say Gardner’s legislation appears to be motivated more by politics than substance, especially given that federal law, under Obamacare, as well as Colorado law already requires insurance companies to cover Coloradans with pre-existing conditions.

“Big picture, this seems to me like a late-in-the-day effort to protect the senator politically, given his support for repealing the pre-existing condition protections in the ACA in 2017 as well as public opinion about the Trump administration’s current efforts to undo pre-existing condition protections at the Supreme Court,” said Sabrina Corlette, a professor at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.

Other health experts agreed with Corlette.

“To me, this is just a political stunt because these protections already exist at the federal and state level,” says Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Outreach for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “This is pure politicking. If Gardner really wanted to help people with pre-existing conditions, he would protect the ACA, denounce the lawsuit against it, and make sure our Medicaid program is fully funded through the health crisis.”

If Gardner and other Republicans were to repeal the ACA (which they were unable to do in 2017 when they had the power to do so) and pass Gardner’s bill (which might narrowly protect people with pre-existing conditions), the “entire health care system would be thrown out of whack,” said Fox, predicting high premiums, millions of uninsured people, and the prevalence of so-called junk insurance, pushed by Trump and Gardner, that doesn’t cover what consumers expect from health insurance.

“If you have the protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but you don’t have some of the other protections, like essential health benefits, no annual and lifetime [coverage] limits, and preventive services, you could end up with insurance that, yes, you technically could buy, but it wouldn’t cover much of what you need without the ACA.”

Gardner has yet to address these concerns.

 

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‘Conservative Republican’ Richard Murray Campaigns to Keep CU Under GOP Control

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you live in Aurora or the surrounding suburbs, Republican Richard Murray wants you to give him a seat on the governing board of the University of Colorado to stop Democrats from controlling CU.

That’s what’s at stake in his campaign against Democrat Ilana Spiegel, he says.

If Spiegel beats Murray in November in their suburban Denver race, the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents will almost certainly shift to a Democratic majority.

“If we don’t win this race, Democrats will take control of the Board of Regents for the first time in 40 years,” says Murray on his campaign’s Facebook page. “I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.

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Boebert Makes “So-Called Candidates,” Like Gardner, Look Awful to Boyles

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

One funny side effect of congressional candidate Lauren Boebert’s rise to fame is that she makes other Republican Party candidates in Colorado look awful–at least in the eyes of conservative hardliners who must vote nonstop if Cory Gardner has a prayer to win in November.

Don’t take it from me. Hear it from the king of the bottom-feeding right-wingers himself: KNUS radio host Peter Boyles.

“This young woman brings the most excitement to the Republican party in the state of Colorado since I don’t know when,” said Boyles on air Monday.

But instead of turning this into a plus for the Republicans, Boyles contrasts Boebert with “so-called candidates” like…Cory Gardner!

“We’ve been through Bob Beauprez and Bruce Benson and the Coors brothers and, I mean, [Walker] Stapleton and this–Cory Gardner,” said Boyles. “You have infused more excitement, more speed, into the Republican party than any of those other so-called candidates.”

In other words, life would be great if only Gardner vanished, poof, and Colorado had Boebert all day every day, on every harvestable mail-in ballot in the state.

Boyles explained that no other worthless top Republican was in Denver last year, as Boebert was, carrying her gun and telling Beto O’Rourke “hell no” she wouldn’t give up her gun if his dangerous idea of a mandatory buyback of all assault weapons became law.

“I did that because I didn’t see anybody else doing it; I didn’t see anyone standing for freedom,” said Boebert on air, triggering Boyles.

“I didn’t see Cory Gardner standing there, or Mike Coffman, or Walker Stapleton, or any of the above–the establishment,” Boyles yelped.

“And you’re not a big woman–I’ll say tiny woman, but I don’t mean to offend anyone,” said Boyles, who says he’s “in love with” Boebert. “You’re not very tall.”

You may find that offensive but the Republicans who must go to the polls and vote for Gardner mostly don’t. It’s refreshing to them, harmless, and its message is clear.

Gardner, in Boyles own words, is a “weenie,” a weak, word-sloshing piece of political scrap, destined of course for a high-paying lobbying job with a reciprocal smile and a pat on the back, thank you very much.

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Colo County GOP Leader Feels Deep Connection To QAnon Conspiracy Movement

(The Colorado Q-reepshow goes on – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“I feel this, with every ounce of my being,” wrote Otero County, Colorado, Republican leader Stephanie Garbo on Facebook last month, in response to a post, retweeted by an account associated with QAnon, an online conspiracy movement tied to violent acts and flagged by the FBI as a potential domestic terror threat.

Garbo responded to a statement on Facebook expressing a deep allegiance to QAnon, which is built largely around the idea that government workers are out to undermine conservatives like Trump.

“I just keep reminding myself that no matter what, I was drawn to the movement because I sensed something was horribly wrong…and whatever happens, I will be equipped to love and guide those who were blind,” stated the Facebook post that Garbo responded to. (See below.)

Most of Otero County, in Southern Colorado, is represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), who was toppled in a primary this year by Lauren Boebert, of Rifle, who’s also praised QAnon.

In a May interview first reported by Right Wing Watch, Boebert said, “I hope that [Q] is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better and people are returning to conservative values.”

The congressional candidate later said she’s not a QAnon follower.

Four GOP congressional candidates in California have expressed support for QAnon, as has a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Oregon.

Trump has also repeatedly amplified QAnon content.

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Citing his “Concerned” Suburban Sisters, Trump Adviser Pence Says “Safety and Security” Is on Ballot

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an interview on Denver radio station KHOW, Trump campaign adviser John Pence put to rest any doubt that Trump is targeting suburban women with his hot rhetoric about riots and chaos in American cities.

Asked July 28 by KHOW morning host Ross Kaminsky if he thought the upcoming election will turn on economic issues or on suburban women’s concern for safety with the riots in the streets and the virus, Pence responded with:

“Well, Ross, I have three older, very opinionated sisters, two of which have four children each. I guess you would say they are suburban women.  They’re very concerned about this radical call of defunding the police. The president made that very clear, that he’s going to stand with our police,” Pence told Kaminsky. “He’s going to back the blue. And safety and security really is on the ballot this November. And that is an issue. I mean, what — you can’t pursue the American dream if you don’t feel safe going to work. I mean, that’s just — that’s fact. And defending our freedom starts with preserving law and order. And that’s why I’m sure you’ll hear strong words from our Attorney General about folks who destroy federal property, folks that commit arson and crimes will be held accountable to the full extent of the law. And President Trump is not going to back down on that to keep the American people safe.”

Pence, who is Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, went on to say he thinks Trump can win Colorado.

“I don’t like to talk about feelings,” Pence told Kaminsky. “I like to talk about numbers. And our Trump Victory field team has done an excellent job with the voter contact work I mentioned, with knocking doors. And when it comes to making the voter contacts, registering voters, we know that voters are 80% likely to go out and vote for a Republican candidate that very first time. So if we have registered hundreds of thousands of voters in this growing Republican Party between now and November–but really eight weeks away, as you know, with early voting and mail-in voting in this state — you know, we’re in a competitive position.

Pence talked to Kaminsky after campaigning with newly minted congressional candidate Lauren Boebert in Pueblo and Grand Junction.

He called Boebert a “really strong candidate” who could represent a “recipe for American greatness.”

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Film Review: Cardboard Cory Is about Booting Gardner. But It’s Also a Paean to Political Activism

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Cardboard Cory: the Documentary” tells the incredible story about the life and times of a cardboard cutout of Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and the political activists behind the cardboard.

There’s a perception out there of activists as lonely, angry people who you try to slide away from at parties. This film does a beautiful job of debunking that stereotype, showing that activism and activists are about community-building and fun.

But the 15-minute film is also an organizing tool.

And it’s the organizing-tool part that really excites the folks who are promoting the film and want more than anything to see Gardner exit the U.S. Senate.

“We’re fewer than 100 days out from the election. To win in 2020, we need to work together to save our future,” says Katie Farnan, of Indivisible Front Range Resistance (IFFR), which created the cutout along with other local indivisible groups. “The Cardboard Cory documentary inspires us to celebrate our movement’s leaders and past victories and then get to work on the election of our lifetimes.”

The documentary’s release “party” on Tuesday was actually less of a party and more of an action step, timed with Indivisible’s Unity Week of Action, which began Monday.

“After watching the film, viewers were given the tools to call voters directly as well as resources for doing more electoral work in the 97 days remaining in the 2020 election cycle,” stated a news release about the documentary that was headlined, “Viewers make commitment to motivate voters as part of a week of national electoral action.”

But please take a 15-minute break from political organizing and watch this film by Nick Rosen and paid for by the Payback Project, which is Indivisible’s national campaign focused on 11 vulnerable senators.

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Lindsey Graham Headlines Gardner Fundraiser Today

(Besties! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s “Special Guest” at a “Video Conference” fundraiser that costs $1,000 for political action committees and $500 for personal attendance.

The event starts at 5 p.m. today via a Zoom link.

Graham is the latest Republican who’s raising money for Gardner recently.

Efforts learn more about the event from Gardner’s office were unsuccessful.

Last month, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell urged fellow Republicans to chip in to Gardner’s campaign and, “Help him fight off Schumer and the radical left.”

In a recent fundraising email, Gardner not only spotlighted his support from McConnell but also Donald Trump, Jr., U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, and Joni Ernst of Iowa—all of whom implored Gardner backers to donate to his campaign now or risk seeing the Democrats take over the U.S. Senate.

Graham, who’s become known as one of Trump’s staunches defenders, was once a harsh critic of Trump, just as Gardner once was.

Gardner once promised not to vote for Trump, and Graham once called Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.”

Now Gardner votes with Trump 89% of the time; Graham is with Trump on 87% of votes.

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Gardner Once Called Obamacare the “Worst Government Boondoggle” in U.S. History. Now What?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Monday is the three-year anniversary of perhaps the most famous thumb-down moment in American history.

That would be the day that the downward-pointing thumb of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain saved Obamacare from dying at the hands of his fellow Republicans.

One of those Republicans who was watching McCain’s thumb as it did a nose dive toward the floor of the Senate was Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner.

Gardner had been on the warpath to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since he first ran for Congress in 2010, and repealing Obamacare was also the centerpiece of his successful campaign to topple Democrat Mark Udall in 2014.

Gardner had to have known three years ago that McCain’s sinking thumb marked a pivotal moment in American history because Gardner hated Obamacare so much and had worked so hard to kill it. For Gardner, Obamacare isn’t just a little awful. It’s way awful.

When he was nominated to run for Senate, Gardner went so far as to call the Affordable Care Act the “biggest and worst government boondoggle this country has ever seen.”

I admit to being a harsh critic of our great country, but you don’t have to ask too many questions about American foreign and domestic policy to understand how bad Obamacare is if you think it’s the worst government boondoggle in American history.

Here’s how Gardner put it:

“As parents, we believe it’s our job to give our children a better starting point than the one we were given,” Gardner said. “But there’s a growing pessimism in Colorado that says that’s becoming more and more difficult to do. I met seniors, older folks, people my grandparents’ age, walking into the sunset of their life, wondering what happened to this nation. What happened to the hopeful, can-do country that won Cold Wars and World Wars. And I met people, hundreds of people, who for the very first time were feeling the very first effects of Obamacare, the biggest and worst government boondoggle this country has ever seen. People who lost their insurance. People who saw their insurance premiums increase. People who lost their doctor. People who were sold a bill of goods and left with the bill.”

So that’s where Gardner was coming from when McCain’s thumb was facing the Senate floor.

You can only imagine the intense emotions he must have been feeling at the moment. As a Senate GOP leader, he knew that the Republicans’ high-profile, seven-year effort to kill Obamacare, at least in Congress, was over.

Or was it? That’s the question Gardner had to answer at the time. Obamacare could still be killed quickly in the courts–or slowly through Trump’s executive actions.

At this critical juncture, Gardner decided not to join Democrats and try to fix the country’s health care law, a move that might have put him on better political footing today.

But he stopped calling it the worst of boondoggles as well. Now, Gardner doesn’t even mention Obamacare at all on his campaign website. He meekly calls for its repeal on his official Senate website.

And when a reporter asks him six times whether he supports a GOP lawsuit to kill the ACA, he won’t answer.

So what’s changed for Gardner since gravity and reason tugged on McCain’s thumb three years ago? There’s the pandemic. The economic collapse. The increased popularity of Obamacare. The face-planting of Trump.

But if the vote to kill Obamacare were held again today, you know Gardner’s thumb–or maybe both his thumbs–would be pointing up. And he’d be smiling.

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Boebert Apparently Broke the Law by Allowing a Juvenile to Carry a Gun at her Diner

(Sounds like exactly the kind of decision-making that Republicans need in Congress — promoted by Colorado Pols)

In apparent violation of state and federal law, Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert allowed an under-age server at her restaurant in Rifle to carry a gun.

Boebert, who toppled Congressman Scott Tipton in a Republican primary last month, told a juvenile server to pack heat at her diner, Shooters Grill, just like the adult wait staff do, according to a server currently featured on restaurant’s website.

“Well, because I’m seventeen, I actually can’t carry it everywhere,” said one of Boebert’s servers in a Barcroft TV interview, shot in 2015, referring to the gun on her hip. “I can carry at work because it’s Lauren’s private property. And she allows me to.”

Trouble is, it’s apparently not legal.

Colorado law bans juveniles from possessing a handgun, and exceptions do not allow gun-carrying as part of a job serving “Ballistic Chicken” and “Smoking Gun” brisket, as featured on the menu. A similar federal law has an exception for a minor carrying a gun “in the course of employment,” but it’s tough to conclude the exception would reasonably apply in this case.

Under Colorado law, if any person knows a juvenile is carrying a gun illegally, as in Boebert’s case, and “fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent such violation,” they commit the crime of “permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.”

It’s not known if Boebert provided her under-age waitress with the handgun, and she didn’t return a call for comment on this article.

But whether Boebert gave her server the gun or not, she’d face a class 4 felony–either for “unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile” or for “permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.”

Gun-safety proponents were dismayed that Boebert would allow a minor to carry a gun in her diner, and it shows she’s unfit for Congress, they said.

“This is not how responsible gun owners behave and not who we want to represent us in Congress,” said Robin Halloran, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group backing gun-safety laws, and a resident of the congressional district Boebert wants to represent. “This is exactly why we are working so hard from today until November to elect gun sense candidates like Diane Mitsch Bush.”

Reached by phone, Tom Mauser, whose son died in the 1999 Columbine school shooting, called it “shameful” for Boebert to allow a minor to carry guns in her restaurant.

“There is something clearly wrong if a minor is allowed to carry a gun in a restaurant,” Mauser told the Colorado Times Recorder. “And how shameful that their boss is running for Congress.”

RELATED: How a Colorado Congressional Candidate Wowed CO Talk Radio

Boebert’s hard-line stance on guns, including her policy of arming waitresses at her restaurant, has drawn wide media coverage, particularly among right-wing outlets both locally and nationally.

Boebert’s appearances on conservative media platforms have been credited, in part, for her victory over Tipton.

She advocates far-right stances on a range of issues beyond guns, including mask-wearing (strictly optional), climate change (a narrative that allows the government to make money), abortion (Ban it.), Obamacare (Repeal it.), immigration (against immigrant farm labor), QAnon (hopes it’s real but later said she’s not a follower), and Black Lives Matter (BLM protesters in Rifle were “paid and bussed in.”)

Trump allegedly said of Boebert, “You know, with her winning, I think it’s safe to say we just won Colorado.”

Tipton, Boebert’s vanquished Republican primary opponent, was a hard-right Republican and co-chair of the Colorado Trump campaign, but he didn’t criticize Boebert during the campaign.

During the primary campaign, in a KHOW radio appearance (here at 12:30), Republican Dick Wadhams asked Tipton about Boebert, who now faces Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush.

“I have always invoked Reagan’s eleventh commandment, that it isn’t useful to attack other Republicans, simply because the philosophical differences that we are going to have with our Democrat counterparts certainly ought to outweigh that,” Tipton replied. “We try to be able to stay focused on the work that we are doing.”

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After Voting to Save the ACA, McCain Advised Listening to Governors, like Hick

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Three years ago this month, after the downward-pointing thumb of John McCain put an end to the last of three Republican attempts to kill Obamacare, the Arizona senator issued a statement with ideas on how America could move forward to improve its health care system.

Among McCain’s suggestions: “heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors.”

One of those was Colorado’s John Hickenlooper, who’d been working with Republican and Democratic governors from states that had implemented the Affordable Care Act, dramatically reducing the number of people without health insurance in their states and protecting those with pre-existing conditions.

Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, were probably the most prominent governors urging senators not to pass legislation that would upend health insurance coverage in their states and set back their successful efforts to reduce the ranks of the uninsured. Doug Ducey, a Republican, from McCain’s state of Arizona, was another governor who was speaking out at the time, seeking compromise.

And among the senators whom Hickenlooper and Kasich were hoping would hear their message: Colorado’s Cory Gardner.

(more…)

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How Boebert Wowed Colorado Talk Radio Hosts

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

In the months before her upset victory over fellow Republican Scott Tipton, Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert developed a loud-mouthed fan base among a key group of Colorado conservatives: talk radio hosts.

Boebert was a regular guest on Colorado’s largest talk radio station, KNUS 710-AM, as well as competing stations, giving updates on her campaign and the saga about her restaurant, Shooters Grill, which she refused to close despite orders to do so to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The dozen or so radio interviews confirm the portrait Boebert creates of herself on social media, as an aggressive, media-savvy politician, who delivers zingers more effectively than the zinger-delivery experts on the radio.

“Did you ever think that in your lifetime you would be labeled defiant simply because you want to run your business in a responsible manner?” Boebert was asked on KFKA’s Mornings with Gail May 19.

“No. You know, flattening the curve turned into communism very quickly,” Boebert replied, referring to government health orders, like the one resulting in the temporary shutdown of her restaurant, where the wait staff openly carry guns, even including her servers who are under 18 years old.

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