Gardner: When Obama Was President, U.S. Businesses Were “Afraid”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a radio interview this morning, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) responded directly to former President Barack Obama’s point in a speech last week that the U.S. economy had turned around in 2015 and 2016, not during the Trump presidency.

“Look, when President Obama was in office, businesses were afraid to invest,” Gardner told KDMT radio host Jimmy Sengenberger. “They were afraid to bring back money from overseas. They were afraid to plan too far overhead because they new they were going to be regulated. They were going to be taxed. They were going to be discouraged from investing, because, remember, after all, they didn’t build [their businesses] according to Barack Obama.

“Under President Trump, what you’ve seen, and under this Administration, the Republican majority, we have actually relieved regulatory burdens from the backs of American businesses and families,” said Gardner on air. “We’ve lowered taxes. And as a result, you are starting to see this Obamasclerosis go away.”

Critics say Trump’s regulatory rollback threatens the environment and the economy, and his tax law will worsen inequality, drive up the debt, and throw 13 million people off the public health insurance rolls by 2025.

Just this week, for example, Trump proposed weakening Obama’s rules to limit emissions of methane, a potent climate-change gas.  The proposed rule would save oil and gas companies $485 million over the next seven years, but pollution-wise, it would be like adding 260,000 cars to the road during the same period. In July, Trump proposed allowing more pollution from cars.

While it’s true that businesses criticized Obama, they’ve increasingly expressed fear about Trump’s policies, not only about Trump’s tariffs but also about the impact of his unpredictable foreign policy stances, his environmental policies, and more.

This week, a diverse coalition of hundreds of businesses and trade association formed to fight Trump’s trade policies.

Elsewhere in the interview, Gardner expressed his “optimism” that Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the senate and decried the “theatrics, the antics, the harassment, the bullying that you’ve seen throughout this process.”

“We’re all proud of Justice Gorsuch,” Gardner told Sengenberger, referencing Trump’s first U.S. Supreme Court pick.

Gardner also said he believes Republicans will “expand their majority” in the U.S. Senate in the November election, adding that “Ted Cruz will win” in Texas.

Most pollsters agree that Cruz is still the favorite in Texas, but the race way closer that predicted and could be lost by Cruz. But polls do not support Gardner’s stance that the GOP will gain senate seats. Races across the country are too close to call and could swing to the Democrats.

Who Will Win in CO-6: Coffman or Crow?

Rep. Mike Coffman (left) and challenger Jason Crow

We’ve asked you, our wise readers, to weigh in on the outcome of the race for Governor, and we’ve asked for your opinions on the other top statewide races in 2018. Now it’s time to get Congressional.

As always, we want to know who you think will be the winner in November, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of various races are changing (or not) as Election Day nears.

Who will win the U.S. House race in CO-6? Will Republican Rep. Mike Coffman hold off another challenger, or will Democrat Jason Crow emerge victorious?

Who Will Win the Race in CO-6?
Mike Coffman
Jason Crow
View Result

Bennet, Hick Try To Slow Trump Drilling Frenzy

Sage Grouse of the Greater kind.

AP reports via CBS4 Denver:

Top Colorado Democrats on Tuesday accused the Trump administration of rushing to open public lands to oil and gas drilling without giving the public nearly enough time to comment.

In letters to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. John Hickenlooper also asked the government not to go ahead with plans for oil and gas drilling on habitat for the greater sage grouse, a bird that Western states and federal agencies are trying to protect…

A joint federal-state program called the Sage Grouse Initiative, launched under the Obama administration, is trying to save the bird without resorting to the strict restrictions of the Endangered Species Act.

It’s ironic that, in barreling ahead with drilling in areas inhabited by the greater sage grouse, the Trump administration could thwart a somewhat controversial effort to protect the species without invoking the Endangered Species Act–by reducing the population enough to trigger the Act unequivocally! In the long run, it would be better for energy producers to cooperate with the current plan, demonstrate its success, and avoid much more stringent long-term oversight.

Unfortunately for the sage grouse, Donald Trump’s regulatory free-for-all isn’t going to last forever. And given the choice between short-term profit and long-term sustainability, energy companies will do what they will always do given the opportunity, undoing the best-laid plans of their apologists on both sides of the aisle.

The real moral of the story? Elections matter.

Sorry, that’s the answer for a lot of things right now.

Who Will be Colorado’s Next Governor? (Round 4)

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton

We forgot to post our weekly poll on the Governor’s race on Monday, so here it is. Tell us who you THINK is going to win the race for Governor.

Remember, we’re looking for your best educated guess on the outcome of this race, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of the race are (or are not) changing as Election Day nears. For previous results, click Round 1Round 2, or Round 3.

Who gets to move into the Governor’s Mansion in January? Will it be Democrat Jared Polis or Republican Walker Stapleton?

Who Will Be the Next Governor of Colorado?
Jared Polis
Walker Stapleton
View Result

Local Media Shreds RGA’s Latest BS Ad

A new-ish ad running from the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) (above) attacks Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis for allegedly “not paying taxes” for a number of years, and stashing funds offshore in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Not paying one’s fair share of taxes is a common allegation made against wealthy political candidates on both sides, sometimes quite damagingly (see: Romney, Mitt).

But in Rep. Polis’ case, as the Denver Post’s editorial board did a surprisingly good job explaining yesterday, it’s a warmed-over hit job with no factual basis:

The television ad makes it sound like Polis has used clever accounting tricks, specifically off-shore accounts that shelter money from the IRS, to avoid paying federal income taxes.

The Denver Post’s reporters have never found evidence of such behavior in Polis’ lengthy financial disclosures required by Congress or in the tax documents he voluntarily disclosed when he ran for Congress in 2008. [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Post’s Jon Murray reported that in the four years spanning 2001 to 2005, Polis reported “a net loss of income.” Murray noted that in other years “Polis paid more than $18.4 million in income taxes on more than $120 million in adjusted gross income.”

As for the ad’s juicy claim that Polis stashed money in the Cayman Islands? The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning joins in the debunking:

As for any “offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes,” a Polis campaign spokeswoman pointed to reporting from 2008, when Polis acknowledged holdings in a company that also maintained a fund in the Cayman Islands for international investors, but said he never had any money in the Cayman fund.

During his run for Congress in 2008, Rep. Polis disclosed all of these financial details–documenting the growth of his personal fortune as well as the years in which he didn’t owe taxes due to investment losses. There was heavy scrutiny of those disclosures by Polis’ opponents in that race, and news reports that validated Polis’ version of all these uncontroversial events.

There’s been tremendous turnover in local media in the ten years between Polis’ run for Congress and his bid for governor, but the RGA made a big mistake in assuming nobody would remember that these details in Polis’ financial history had all been disclosed and questions resolved back in 2008. It’s another case of political operatives knowing an allegation is false, making it anyway, and counting on the new allegation getting more attention than the debunking. Call it “post-truth” politics, which have become the norm in the era of Cory Gardner and Donald Trump.

What we’re seeing here, much like the local media’s revolt against Walker Stapleton’s false ads in the primary or a similar case in 2016 where false and racist attacks against now-Sen. Rachel Zenzinger were audaciously recycled by Republicans–not to mention yesterday’s bizarre “black is white” botched attack on Democratic AG candidate Phil Weiser–is the knowing deception becoming too brazen for even the most complaisant voices to tolerate.

At long last, “post-truth” politics appears to be backfiring in Colorado. That’s a welcome development.

Wednesday Open Thread

“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

–Mark Twain

Bizarre #FAIL at Spin from Brauchler Supporters

We’ve already discussed Saturday’s Attorney General debate hosted by Club 20 in Grand Junction, in which Republican George Brauchler was absolutely dismantled by Democrat Phil Weiser (read our Debate Diary for more). Brauchler refused to answer several important questions, including a query about his prior remarks opposing Roe v. Wade that drew boos from the assembled crowd.

How can you be sure that the Club 20 debate was a disaster for Brauchler? Well, because Republicans are trying like hell to promote something that never happened in a weird attempt to smear Weiser. Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman expressed his confusion on Twitter:

Anybody who watched the debate would have “missed the part” about Weiser agreeing with Brauchler on his courtroom experience…because IT NEVER HAPPENED.

As we noted in our Debate Diary, Brauchler was trying to pull off a gotcha moment near the end of the discussion and seemed to think that he succeeded — though he clearly didn’t actually listen to what Weiser said in response to his question. Here’s a clip of that exchange, followed by a transcript:


BRAUCHLER: Two last questions on qualifications, my man. Fair to say you have never, ever set foot in a courtroom to do a trial in Colorado, or for any other matter other than for maybe a tour. Fair? True?

WEISER: I have argued several appeals here in Colorado…

BRAUCHLER: In Colorado courts?

WEISER: In the court here, in Colorado.

BRAUCHLER: In federal court?

WEISER: In the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals here in Colorado.

BRAUCHLER: You’ve done nothing in Colorado courts?

WEISER: It’s a court that I clerked on, and it’s a court that I’ve argued before…absolutely.

BRAUCHLER: And is it fair to say that you have never practiced Colorado law at any time?


BRAUCHLER: Okay, we’re done.

Yes, George, we’re done here.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 11)

Has it really been 17 years? It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



President Trump’s approval ratings are plummeting by just about every measure, as CNN reports:

President Donald Trump’s approval rating in the latest CNN poll stands at just 36%. That’s a 6-point drop from 42% last month…

…Eight high-quality polls have been completed over the two last weeks — and every single one of them has Trump’s approval falling.

In the latest average, Trump’s approval rating is about 38% in eight polls from ABC News/Washington Post, CNN, Gallup, IBD/TIPP, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Quinnipiac University, Selzer & Co. and Suffolk University.

If we just took an average of the last polls by these organizations completed August 27 or earlier, Trump’s approval rating stood at 41%.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Bob Woodward’s Fear,” his much-hyped book about the dysfunctional Trump administration, is available today. As Greg Sargent writes for the Washington Post, there are plenty of disturbing new revelations in the book beyond what was leaked last week.


► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is getting a lot of positive press for her decision to join other states in suing pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma over its deceptive marketing related to the highly-addictive painkiller Oxycontin. Coffman is finishing up her term in office this year, but her decision is becoming a serious political liability for Republican AG candidate George Brauchler. David Williams has more for Real Vail.

Speaking of Brauchler, the Arapahoe County District Attorney absolutely BOMBED in a weekend debate sponsored by Club 20. Brauchler’s non-answer on a question about Roe v. Wade led to boos from a conservative leaning audience.


► Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) says he will not support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which means he takes a similar view to many Americans. According to a CNN poll, Americans are not enthusiastic about Kavanaugh:



Get even more smarter after the jump…


Sen. Bennet Commits: NO on Brett Kavanaugh

UPDATE: From NARAL Pro Choice Colorado:

“On behalf of our 56,000 members statewide, NARAL thanks Senator Bennet for reflecting Colorado voters and values with a no vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Senator Bennet is absolutely correct – Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to our reproductive rights and represents a direct threat to gut and overturn Roe v. Wade. Judge Kavanaugh has made it clear through public statements and emails that he opposes Roe and the Constitutional right to choose abortion. This is a right that Coloradans have consistently voted to support for generations.

We’re calling on Senator Gardner to listen to his constituents, not play partisan politics, and vote no on Judge Kavanaugh as well. Colorado has been a pro-choice state for more than 50 years. We believe strongly in the right to choose and the right to keep politicians out of our personal, private medical decisions. Senator Gardner should know that voting for a Supreme Court Justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade is a slap in the face to our Colorado values.”


Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

A statement from Sen. Michael Bennet’s office a short while ago:

“After reviewing his writings, opinions, and testimony, I have concluded that Judge Kavanaugh will create a new Supreme Court majority that will threaten women’s reproductive rights, roll back essential environmental regulations, and favor large corporations over workers. In addition, his view that sitting presidents may be immune from criminal investigations and subpoenas is particularly troublesome at this moment. For these reasons, I will oppose his nomination.

“As I have said many times, I am deeply discouraged by the Senate’s descent into rank partisanship. Regrettably, the Majority’s accession to the administration’s refusal to disclose Judge Kavanaugh’s full record—including nearly 90% of the documents from his time in the Bush White House—represents a further abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to advise and consent. The hearing was a sham. The American people would be better served by a transparent, deliberate, and bipartisan confirmation process.”

It’s a welcome if expected development, but local Democrats are still watching to see what kind of fight Bennet puts up along with Senate Democrats to impede Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Whether or not that resistance is successful, there’s consensus that it needs to happen in order to demonstrate to voters the contrast ahead of midterm elections–not to mention a notation in history that this troubling lifetime appointment was in fact resisted.

If Bennet has any capital saved up from years as a bipartisan nice guy, now would be a good time to spend it.

Cynthia Coffman: The Courage Brauchler Wouldn’t Show

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

A story we’ve addressed a few times in this space saw a big update late last week, as outgoing Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced the state will indeed sue Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin opioid painkillers linked to a dramatic rise in overdoses and thousands of preventable deaths in the last two decades. As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports:

“Their corporate focus on making money took precedence over patients’ long-term health, and Colorado has been paying the price in loss of life and devastation of its communities as they struggle to address the ongoing opioid crisis,” Coffman said in a statement Thursday.

The Colorado lawsuit claims there have been approximately 3,000 prescription opioid-related deaths in the state since 1997.

Coffman’s lawsuit comes months after a list of counties, including Pueblo County, sued major drug manufacturers for the costs of opioid addiction in their communities.

As our readers know, the question of whether the state should join numerous other entities suing opioid manufacturers, including hard-hit Pueblo County, emerged as a point of contention in the race to succeed Coffman as Colorado’s attorney general. Democratic candidate Phil Weiser has said unequivocally that Colorado would sue with him as attorney general, while Brauchler demurred–and criticized his opponent for promising to take action:

Brauchler, the Aurora district attorney, faulted Weiser earlier this year for promising to sue drugmakers.

“Pueblo County can do whatever it wants, but I think it’s reckless for a politician to promise that, if elected, he will sue someone,” he said in response. [Pols emphasis]

A big problem with Brauchler’s refusal to commit to suing Purdue can be found in the list of donors to the Republican Attorney General’s Association, which is essentially bankrolling Brauchler’s campaign with over a million in spending so far on the race. Purdue Pharma in particular has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to RAGA in recent years, and this very strategically targeted support has been raised as an issue in other states with foot-dragging attorneys general on opioids.

After Coffman’s decision this week to file suit, Brauchler said it was a decision based on her office’s “careful” review of the facts, not a “reckless” promise, like Weiser’s.

Sorry, but Coffman’s decision to sue cuts Brauchler’s criticism of Weiser off at the proverbial knees. Given the way Coffman was treated, both by Republicans in her gubernatorial run and Brauchler in particular after he himself was squeezed out of the governor’s race Coffman would go on to lose, it’s possible that this was a deliberate snub of both Brauchler and RAGA by extension.

Either way it was the right thing to do, and it’s the Republican candidate for attorney general who was on the wrong side–of one of the most important issues the next AG will face. Would Brauchler be a credible prosecutor in a case against opioid manufacturers…or would it play out like his failed prosecution of the “Shirtless Sheriff?”

The one thing we can say with confidence is there is nothing here that makes George Brauchler look good.

9/11/2018 Open Thread

“Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.”

–D. H. Lawrence

Tipton And Other Republicans Return to Pueblo Racist’s Annual Fundraiser

(Gross — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Every year, Republican lawmakers gather at Tom Ready’s Steak Fry fundraiser. Ready is an unapologetic racist and anti-government conspiracy theorist whose annual backyard BBQ nevertheless continues to draw GOP candidates and elected officials of all levels, including Congressman Scott Tipton.

 Ready’s history of overt racism, homophobia and Islamophobia has been well-documented by the Colorado Times Recorder in the past. The post on the left is from a couple years ago.

Tom Ready racist NFL FB postHe continues to do so today, with posts like this one about NFL players. 


Confirmed attendees at this year’s event include Congressman Scott Tipton, State Sens. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) and Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), HD46 Jonathan Ambler, HD47 candidate Don Bendell, HD62 candidate Scott Honeycutt, Pueblo County Commissioner District 3 candidate Zach Swearingen, University of Colorado Regent Glen Gallegos, and Marla Spinuzzi Reichert, chair of the Pueblo County Republicans.



Debate Diary: Attorney General Candidates

Phil Weiser (left) and George Brauchler

The race for Attorney General is one of the more important jobs on the ballot in November, but it has generally been overlooked thanks to the Governor’s race and the meltdown in the White House. We’re here to rectify that…at least a little bit.

On Saturday the candidates for AG battled it out in a Club 20 debate. From the buzz we’ve heard, Democrat Phil Weiser performed significantly better than Republican George Brauchler. Let’s find out if the buzz is correct in a new “Debate Diary.”


*NOTE: When we do our “live” Debate Diaries, we normally list the most current update at the top of the page. But because we’re posting this entire Debate Diary at once, it makes more sense to write it out chronologically from the top-down. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time and/or the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.