Friday, March 28, 2008

"Thanks, Bob!"

Yesterday the national grassroots group US Term Limits sounded off on one of the key figures in Colorado's Senate campaign, touting the praises of Republican candidate Bob Schaffer for his support of charter schools and other successful education reforms:

Why is US Term Limits a big fan of Bob Schaffer? Because the former Congressman not only made a term limits pledge, but kept his word. A new story in Fort Collins Now explains the pressure Schaffer faced in making his decision:
The morning of Aug. 14, 2001, Bush was raising his national stature after a bitter election and looking ahead to his first four years as president. He stopped by Estes Park to clear brush with some children at the YMCA of the Rockies, and Colorado’s congressional delegation came along.

At one point, the van carrying Schaffer and congressional colleagues stopped and a young man asked Schaffer to get out. The president wanted to ride with him, the young man said.

Schaffer climbed into the armored car, noticing the machine-gun-carrying man in the rear, and sat across from the president.

“He said, ‘Bobby, I heard a bad rumor,’” Schaffer said, affecting a raspy, Bush-like twang. “‘I hear you’re gonna leave the Congress.’”

“Well, I hadn’t really come to that point yet,” Schaffer said. He had planned it, but the decision hadn’t been announced.

Bush said he knew about Schaffer’s term limits pledge.

“He said, ‘Well, you should break it, because the last thing I need is another open seat to worry about,’” Schaffer recalled.

He hesitated, and told Bush it wasn’t that simple.

“And he said, he actually used the words, ‘It’s your patriotic duty.’ Well, that’s about as flattering as it gets,” Schaffer said. “All I could think was, ‘My mom is an immigrant. And here is her son, sitting in the car with the president of the United States.’ All I could think of was that my grandfather would never believe this. Only in America can the grandson of a Ukrainian peasant be sitting in the car with the president of the United States, considering whether to run again for the U.S. House of Representatives, and I’m about to tell him no.”

And say no he did. He explained his promise to his constituents — 70 percent of whom had voted for a (eventually overturned) statewide measure to term-limit Colorado’s congressional delegation — and he talked about his kids.

As Bush waved out the window, Schaffer discussed his responsibility as a parent of five, and how his then-12-year-old son would remember if his dad didn’t keep his word.

“Then he turns to me, and he says, ‘You know what, Bobby? That's a pretty good answer,’” Schaffer recalled.
A pretty good answer, indeed. Schaffer's integrity and his commitment to his family are two of his strongest characteristics.

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