“Buyer’s Remorse” Hits the Airwaves

We told you this was coming.

That’s the new ad on the air in Colorado Senate race, to our knowledge the first TV spot to invoke the recent scandal involving GOP candidate Ken Buck’s refusal to prosecute a case of alleged date rape in 2005. Sponsored by Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, we’re awaiting information on the size of the buy–if it’s big, this ad is going to hurt.

But before this scandal even made it into a TV spot, which we knew from the moment it broke that it would, it was already harming Buck in polls–just from the press coverage. We can’t say exactly what the polls will look like after a week of “buyer’s remorse” in prime time, but Buck’s not going to like it.

UPDATE: WVWVAF’s release follows, described as a “high six-figure multi-media campaign.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund Unveils Major Media Campaign in Colorado

High Heels Featured Prominently in TV Ads Targeted to Colorado Women

Colorado-Today, Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF) begins a major advertising campaign designed to make sure Colorado candidates reflect women’ s concerns. ” The women of Colorado have incredibly high stakes and are facing important choices in 2010, and WVWVAF is committed to making sure candidates are listening to what voters really want,” said Page Gardner, president of WVWVAF.

WVWVAF’s high six-figure multi-media campaign is comprised of broadcast and cable, radio and online advertising. The broadcast and cable spot features Leslie Allen, a Boulder resident who calls Ken Buck to task for stating he should be elected because he “doesn’ t wear high heels,” questions his refusal to prosecute a rape by explaining the victim had a case of “buyer’ s remorse” and his opposition to a woman’ s right to choose even in the case of rape or incest. The spot begins airing Wednesday, October 20.

The advertising campaign began Thursday, Oct 14 with a radio spot highlighting Michael Bennett’s support of key women’s issues, including his votes to extend unemployment benefits, rein in abuse by credit card companies and support fair pay, as well as his pro-choice principles.

All three spots encourage Colorado women to make their voices heard by contacting Michael Bennett and Ken Buck and urging them to support policies that help, not hinder, Colorado women and families.

“The women of Colorado need to have their voices heard and respected and their concerns addressed — whether they wear high heels or cowboy boots. They are facing too many questions of critical importance to stay silent,” concluded Gardner.


Buck Rape Case Scandal Continues to Grow

The Denver newspaper published their interview today with the victim of an alleged rape committed in 2005, a crime that now-GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck dismissively refused to prosecute, telling newspapers at the time that that a jury might conclude it was a case of “buyer’s remorse.” Today’s story by reporter Allison Sherry is just the latest in a series of damaging revelations about this case, which began Monday with a story in the online Colorado Independent.

Today’s story accurately relays the view of this alleged rape victim, as reported by the Independent yesterday in their interview, that Buck immediately cast the circumstances of her case under a cloud of prejudicial suspicion–she believes that Buck focused unfairly on, in her words, “what I did wrong.”

“It sounds like he’s threatening me,” the alleged victim says of her recorded conversation with Buck.

Like we said yesterday, the alleged victim’s willingness to come forward and talk to the press destroys the Buck campaign’s “shoot the messenger” defense against this scandal–you can’t continue to impugn this story as the work of “liberal smear merchants” when this victim is telling her side of the story all by herself. What’s more, as the Independent reported in their interview but the Denver paper missed, the alleged perpetrator was recorded admitting to the crime. Lingering questions about the admissibility of that recording, and what affect that admission may or may not have had on Buck’s decision not to prosecute the case, remain unanswered.

In addition, Buck’s campaign told Sherry, and other media outlets this week, that his “buyer’s remorse” quote was merely intended to illustrate what a potential jury might conclude in the case, not his personal view of it. Unfortunately, the recording of that conversation totally undermines this defense (from yesterday’s Independent story):

“I’m telling you that’s what circumstances suggest to people, including myself, [Pols emphasis] who have looked at it. Although you never said the word ‘yes,’ the appearance is of consent.” Buck said.

Also of note, apparently the Buck campaign responded yesterday with a rape victim of their own, whose case Buck did choose to prosecute. Now, the circumstances of that case appear very different–it was a random assault, not a date rape, therefore a much clearer-cut case–and for reasons unknown, this person didn’t make it into the Denver newspaper’s report. Perhaps because the circumstances were so different? Perhaps because it was plainly a defensive move by Buck’s campaign to muddy this story? We can’t say for sure, but we’ll be watching for developments. We expect to see more of this defense, even if it’s apples-to-oranges compared to the case in question–not to mention that their prior “exploiting a rape victim” defense is rendered hypocritical.

None of this changes the fundamental point of why the original story is harmful to Buck; it’s not about whether he was or was not justified in not prosecuting the case, but about his statements to, and treatment of, the alleged victim.

Bottom line: the story can’t be contained at this point–it’s been covered from coast to coast, online, on local and cable news, and now in the state’s newspaper of record. We’ve heard that very potent TV spots on this scandal are imminent, and could start rolling before the weekend is out. We have also heard that internal daily tracking numbers are showing heavy damage to Buck from this, especially among women. This is reinforced by the shrill and defensive response to the story from conservative-leaning media–they know this is a potentially race-ending situation. Once the ads roll out, watch for that trajectory to steepen, both in terms of shrill responses and damage done.

We’ve maintained from the moment this scandal broke that we could be looking at the end of the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Colorado. Nothing has happened since Monday to change our minds.

Buck Loses Defensive Cover on “Buyer’s Remorse” Rape Scandal

UPDATE: Scot Kersgaard of the Independent responds directly to partisan attacks on his reporting.


So the campaign of GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck has chosen its response to the emerging scandal surrounding his refusal to prosecute an alleged case of rape in 2005–a case he refused even though the alleged perpetrator was recorded admitting to the crime. The expressed callousness toward the victim in the case, not to mention preconceived biases that may have affected his judgment, are the central themes in this story as now reported coast to coast.

Buck’s response? Naturally, shoot the messenger.

In [Buck spokesman Owen] Loftus’s opinion, ProgressNow, Waak and others are acting as if they’re compassionate, “but they’re really exploiting victims — and that’s the really unfortunate thing about this. Now, a victim might not want to report a case because they’re afraid their story could end up on the front page of the Denver Post.”

That’s a peculiar defense we must say, since it’s easily arguable that the way Buck treated this alleged victim is a far greater deterrent to a future rape victim reporting a case than a political group giving said victim a platform to tell what happened could ever be. And as the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard reports this morning, the latest in a devastating series, the victim being “exploited” by these “liberal smear merchants”…is talking to the press all by herself.

So much for shooting the messenger:

“I represented something he didn’t like,” said the victim, who didn’t wish to be identified, in an interview with the Colorado Independent Saturday. “I don’t know why. I was a full-time student, I worked full-time, I was doing tons of volunteer work.

“We all have these stereotypes, but we have to be able to look past them in order to deal with the individual. In a position like DA, you have to be able to do that, and he couldn’t do it,” she said.

Specifically, she is talking about his reference, in a private meeting, to an abortion she says she never had, as well as his references to her drinking on the night in question, and his repeated references to the fact she had invited the suspect into her home…

During the victim’s meeting with Buck, Buck referred to the fact that she had invited the suspect to her apartment, saying, “It would appear to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him.”

“So, you’re telling me that previous sexual relations is enough to provide consent; you’re telling me that because I called him and invited him up, that I invited him up for sex?” she asks.

“I’m telling you that’s what circumstances suggest to people, including myself, who have looked at it. Although you never said the word ‘yes,’ the appearance is of consent.” Buck said…

“He (the suspect) admitted he did it, and they gave him a pass, said, ‘Thanks for coming in,'” the victim says. [Pols emphasis]

“Buck told me that something morally wrong happened, but that it wasn’t legally wrong. I read him the statute (Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-402), which says it is sexual assault if the victim is physically helpless or intoxicated,” the victim said.

Make sure you read the entire feature-length report, with much more directly from the alleged victim, as well as comments from experts on sexual assault who dispute pretty much everything Buck asserted to her about the law. And the worst part of today’s story for Buck? The “liberal smear merchants” that he’s relying on to deflect from this growing disaster are nowhere to be found.

It’s looking more and more like an endgame, folks. We’ve seen it before.