Monday, June 30, 2008

Mark Udall: STILL the Candidate to Save the Planet from Destruction by Asteroids

Every once in awhile we work to write something explicitly nice about our least preferred candidate in the U.S. Senate race, Mark Udall. This is the most recent example.

On the national security front, it seems Democrat Senate candidate Mark Udall is still honing his reputation as a warrior against incoming asteroid invasion. As the Bad Astronomy blog points out, today is the 100th anniversary of a damaging asteroid blow to Earth. But who is the hero we can count on to save us from future disaster?
So I congratulate those who study these killers, and who look to our future....And I especially stand up and point to Congress — including my own Representative Mark Udallwhich has the foresight to mandate that NASA look into the dangers from the Near Earth Asteroid Apophis.
Mark Udall may indeed be the best-equipped candidate in this race to protect us from destruction by asteroids.

Question For The Candidates

Congressman Udall, your campaign commercial trumpets the importance of refocusing our mission on Afghanistan, "where al-Qaeda is based;" but, if al-Qaeda is "based" in Afghanistan, a. how would you explain the significance of the Pakistani airstrikes over the last several days, which seem to point to Pakistan as the new headquarters of al-Qaeda; b. the recently reported death of Abu Khalad in Mosul, Iraq--a man whose title was "senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq"? Mr. Schaffer, what is your view of the seeming contradiction in those facts?

And, for both candidates, since the U.S. handed over primary responsibility for Afghanistan to our NATO allies, along with handing over operational command of our troops, almost TWO years ago, would you advocate overriding NATO and reclaiming responsibility of Afghanistan? For that matter, do you agree with Barrack Obama's once-stated assessment that the U.S. military and intelligence should invade Pakistan--our ally--in pursuit of as-Qaeda leadership?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Rocky Takes Up The Defense Of Schaffer . . .

Since nobody else seems to want to.

And I'm glad the Rocky noticed, but the underlying issue is still troubling.

I wrote a while ago about the full-scale ad campaign being run at the evening news hour, attacking Bob Schaffer and his ties to oil companies. I concluded this:

Schaffer is being hammered right now about his ties to the oil industry; I'd like to see him hit back and hit back hard at the people who have made it impossible to maintain a household budget any more.

The Rocky writes this today:

Perhaps what Colorado really deserves is a Senate campaign that involves a serious discussion of energy issues rather than sleazy scapegoating. In pursuit of that goal, however, voters apparently won't get any help from the League of Conservation Voters.

To date, both of us have been rather disappointed.

Of course, the Schaffer campaign has not attempted to answer the attack ads, which has left the room entirely void of the serious debate the Rocky is hoping for. And now that speculation has gas approaching $6 in the near future, the absence of that debate is bordering on criminal.

On one level, we suppose, Atkinson's take on the Senate race amounts to conventional wisdom: Unrebutted negative ads take their toll on candidates. Yet in this case the ad is so crude and lurid, and the message so remarkable, that its possible success is a depressing commentary on swing voters in this state. [emphasis mine]

Actually, I disagree--as much as I would like to agree. Given the state of the recent polls in the Presidential race, I find it increasingly easy to believe that the entire country is a "depressing commentary on swing voters." But, more directly, the Rocky has it right: unrebutted negative ads take their toll.

If the ratio of LCV/Udall ads were about 1 to 1, then, given a tough year, one could expect a small margin for Udall; given that the ratio is currently about 10,000 to . . . um, let's see . . . ZERO, that the margin is ONLY 10 points is rather remarkable.

It's early, and I don't want anybody to get too worked up just yet. I just hope that our side doesn't recognize too late that this is a gunfight, and we should pull out something more than our pocket knives.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2nd Amendment Decision Means Mark Udall Doesn't Have to Vote against Gun Control

Yesterday's absolutely momentous U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of citizens' 2nd Amendment gun rights has a special resonance with this campaign.

Which side of the issue is Mark Udall on now? He refused to sign the brief signed by 300 other members of Congress that argued in favor of the 2nd Amendment right. He has used vague rhetoric to placate gun owners, but four times voted against bills that would have strengthened the rights of D.C. residents to defend themselves in their own homes. If Udall is happy about yesterday's Supreme Court decision, it's only because he hasn't had to go on the record in favor of D.C. residents' 2nd Amendment rights.

Few issues are so crystal clear as this one to show how Boulder liberal Mark Udall is out of step with most of Colorado. Udall ought to be judged not for his vague and insincere rhetoric, but for his record in support of gun control over self-defense.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

So Mark Udall Has a History of Questionable Campaign Activities...

We recently posted about the connection between Mark Udall's wife Maggie Fox and the third-party League of Conservation Voters, a group spending hundreds of thousands on attack ads against Bob Schaffer. Rocky Mountain Right follows up, pointing out that such potential coordination wouldn't be the first time for Udall:
One has to wonder the extent of shady impropriety that is occuring between Udall and these left-wing environmentalist groups this year given his past history. In 1998, The Sierra Club was caught "loaning" staff members to Mark Udall's congressional campaign even as Mark Udall's wife was regional representative for the organization.
Read the whole post for details.

Of course, it probably doesn't hurt to mention one more time that not only does Mark Udall have a history of "shady dealings," but so does the League of Conservation Voters - fined $180,000 for illegal activities in 2006.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mark Udall's Wife Closely Tied to Group Unloading Attack Ads at Bob Schaffer

Mark Udall has built a nine-point polling lead with the tremendous help of a heavy barrage of third-party attack ads. But after a closer look, one can't help but ask if the group's heavy smear strategy is being done as payback for Udall's wife Maggie Fox, or perhaps the result of some collusion with the Boulder liberal candidate.

Clearly, the hypocrisy of Maggie Fox's profitable connections to Mega Fossil Fuel producer Progress Energy is magnified by other connections not yet examined by reporters covering the Schaffer-Udall campaign. An intrepid reader brought my attention to the fact that Fox recently served as president of the group America Votes - a "group that coordinated get-out-the-vote efforts among liberal groups in the 2006 election" (Bara Vaida, “All For One, One For All,” National Journal, March 10, 2007). Fox held the post until she stepped down last June (“Names In The News,” Commercial Appeal, June 4, 2007).

The America Votes "progressive" coalition includes a whole slew of the standard Left-wing groups, such as ACORN, Emily's List, People for the American Way, Colorado's own ProgressNow Action, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Wait, League of Conservation Voters (LCV) ... hmm, where have we heard that name before? That's right, the group throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Bob Schaffer for his alleged nefarious ties to "Big Oil." (Also the group that recorded $180,000 in campaign fines during the 2006 election.)

In fact, it seems LCV has a singular obsession with Bob Schaffer, whose name they have put on their "Dirty Dozen" list (with three other names - hey, math isn't their strong suit, leave them alone). Federal Election Commission reports indicate that LCV has spent nearly $637,000 attacking Schaffer and not a nickel attacking any of the three other candidates on their "Dirty [Not Quite Half-]Dozen" list.

If you live in Colorado, most likely you've seen the obnoxious ad played over and over on local television. And ProgressNow Action - also part of the America Votes coalition - has plastered the web pages of local major newspapers with a similar silly anti-Schaffer smear.

That leaves us with at least a couple relevant questions: What relationship does Maggie Fox - and by extension Mark Udall - still have to LCV or ProgressNow? To what extent might this relationship dictate the obsessive attack strategy against Bob Schaffer?

Yet, instead of the sound of journalists' steps hot on the trail of this story, methinks I hear crickets chirping....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If Orr's Earmark Came from Liberal Pat Leahy, the Attack on Bob Schaffer Fizzles

The Lefty blogosphere is all abuzz these days, trying to build another guilt by association case against Bob Schaffer. This time it has to do with William Orr, who lied to secure an earmarked federal grant:
Congress in 2000 awarded Orr the $3.6 million to research the fuel. The money, to come from the Environmental Protection Agency, was in the form of an earmark in an appropriations bill. Earmarks have become controversial in recent years because they are viewed as ways for politicians to slip in money for pet projects.

Schaffer, who served in Congress from 1997 to 2003, said he does not believe he met Orr before 2004.

"I did not advocate his earmark. In fact, I was unaware of his earmark," Schaffer said, adding he voted against the bill that contained the earmark.
Schaffer's enemies would have a real story and a big club to beat him with if he had had anything to do with securing the earmark, rather than merely serving a brief stint on a board connected to Orr's nonprofit ex post facto and stepping down when he learned the facts. But that doesn't make for as juicy a story.

In fact, sources tell me that word on the street is the earmark came from liberal Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont - one of the figures in Congress least connected to Bob Schaffer. While it may take an intrepid fact-checker to verify Leahy is indeed behind the earmark, it would make sense: If it were anyone even closely related to Schaffer, the Lefty attack machine would have already made hay out of it.

Communist Party Joins Mark Udall in Support of Anti-Secret Ballot Bill

Boulder liberal Mark Udall, Big Labor bosses, 20 percent of the American voting public, and now the Communist Party are all in agreement. What's the issue? Why, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - which deprives workers of a secret ballot in union elections.

What's the connection?
  • Mark Udall took $75,000 from union leaders to put his name as a co-sponsor on the Employee Free Choice Act, despite admitting to "serious reservations."

  • 8 out of 10 American voters, including 8 out of 10 Democrats, believe the EFCA's approach of robbing workers of the secret ballot is wrong. Opposition to this bill includes majorities "of every age, race, geographic group and both genders."

  • Today's big news? Communist Party USA has given its hearty endorsement to EFCA, saying the upcoming elections "must be about working people’s vision — our vision of a new direction for our country." A new direction that apparently includes no secret ballots for workers.
I guess this website's humorous theme isn't quite so far off base, after all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The First Bob Schaffer-Mark Udall Debate Announced: Send Your Questions to 9News

At last, a real live debate in the Colorado U.S. Senate race!:
The July 14th event, sponsored by the Southeast Business Partnership and hosted at the Wildlife Experience in Parker, will be the first time Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) and former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-Colorado) share the same stage answering the same questions during the 2008 election season....

9NEWS will moderate the event and give viewers from across Colorado the opportunity to submit the questions asked and the topics covered. Anyone interested in participating in the event can e-mail or text-message a question or comment to:
Have a favorite issue, but not sure of a good question to ask? Go here to find links to Mark Udall's stated position on a whole range of issues - from the war on terrorism to energy to education to healthcare to taxes to the 2nd Amendment, and more.

See you at the debate.

Mark Udall Wouldn't Join Online Debate Because of Me: The Rest of the Story

If you are one of the handful of people who have been following developments on this blog for months, you may remember that at one point we were working with liberal blogger David Thielen to co-sponsor an online debate between Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer.

In mid-February, David took the lead in sending out invitations to both camps, with my name attached to show that it was a bipartisan effort. On March 18, Bob Schaffer agreed to participate (see also here). Meanwhile, I was told that for weeks the Mark Udall team had dragged its feet and essentially said, "Maybe."

On several occasions I put up posts essentially asking "why in the world is Udall refusing to join a bipartisan online debate?" Well, at long last, here's the answer.

Two weeks after Bob Schaffer's acceptance - on April Fool's Day, in fact - David informed me of the Mark Udall team's official response. Out of deference to David's wishes, I didn't mention the email or divulge its contents publicly - that is, until this weekend when David gave me the green light to explain why Udall refused to join the debate those many weeks ago: The Boulder Democrat didn't want yours truly as the moderator. The alleged reason? The use of the tag "Udall as a Liar" on this blog.

I was quite flattered by the singular reputation I seemed to have acquired from the Mark Udall campaign, but deferentially refused to make public hay out of the matter. Behind-the-scenes negotiations were still under way. The Mark Udall team refused to back down. David mentioned the possibility of a certain anonymous conservative blogger stepping up to fill my place, but that wasn't acceptable. Both sides held firm, and the online debate never materialized.

The Mark Udall camp apparently remains alone in its opinion. As David wrote to me in an email: "I do think you are a reasonable choice and I don't think you are any more partisian than I am - that's why I asked you to do this." I likewise respect David as someone with whom I frequently disagree, but someone who is essentially fair and honest. Unlike Mark Udall surrogates who repeat lies online that this blog is anything but the independent and amateur (though admittedly biased) venture that it is.

David comes from a liberal point of view and often takes strongly critical stances against Bob Schaffer. This blog comes from a conservative point of view and often takes strongly critical stances against Mark Udall. Bob Schaffer isn't afraid of David Thielen. So why is Mark Udall afraid of me? (In all honesty, I hesitate to take this as the high compliment it would seem to be. I'm not sure of any reputable local conservative blogger whom Udall would accept as a debate co-moderator.)

The only question remaining is, Why did David give the go-ahead to disclose all of this now? (These are my best guesses.) First of all, as originally planned, the debate likely would have taken place by now, but no longer seems to be a possibility. Second, it may have something to do with David's newfound low regard for his candidate, whom he now refers to as "Milquetoast Mark."

As for my handful of readers, now you know the rest of the story.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Udall 49, Schaffer 40 In Latest Poll

Rasmussen's latest poll is out--with Udall up 9 points over Schaffer, 49-40.

Rocky Mountain Right has an updated poll tracker.

Quick key points (I'll have more later)--the Secretary of State is now two months behind on updating voter registration numbers for Colorado. With both candidates at 84% of support from their respective parties, it is clear that the battle for independents will decide the race, and this is where Udall's support has grown dramatically. He now leads 51-30, up from 45-33 last month. Though he has still not gone above the rather significant 50% threshold (with undecideds still lurking out there, and most from the much needed independents), Udall's polling strength is clear. Political tailwinds and heavy liberal attack ad buys early on are definitely playing a role, as is the fact that the Democrats' Presidential nominee is known.

The effects of the Democratic National Convention won't be known until September, the debates are still in limbo, and with just under 5 months to go, polling data is still nothing to bet the farm on--just ask the formerly presumptive Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hollywood Liberal Women Rally to Fund Boulder Liberal Mark Udall's Campaign

From the Politico:
One hundred of Hollywood’s most politically savvy women, ranging in age from early 20s to 75 years old, have been quietly gathering over the past few months, planning the event. It should benefit at least seven challengers to GOP incumbents this November — all of them in Senate seats that might make a serious difference in swinging crucial votes over the next two years, no matter who sits in the White House.

There’s no real organization in place yet, not even a rudimentary website. Going by the formal-sounding name Voices for a Senate Majority, the group has already signed agreements with a half-dozen Democratic challengers — Maine’s Tom Allen, Alaska’s Mark Begich, Minnesota’s Al Franken, New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen and cousins Tom and Mark Udall from, respectively, New Mexico and Colorado — and is pledging a minimum of $100,000 to each of their campaigns.
Mark Udall Barbra StreisandHollywood liberals sending cash to the Boulder liberal ... It won't exactly be the first time. There was the sweet $1,000 contribution from Barbra Streisand to Mark Udall's Senate campaign. Well, after all, Senate candidates who get donations from Hollywood liberals can be some of "the luckiest people in the world."

As September's liberal Hollywood fundraiser for Mark Udall approaches, we're also reminded of his special Left-wing Daily Kos fundraiser.

Mark Udall is becoming known by the company he keeps.

Photoshop by El Presidente.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mark Udall's Hypocrisy on "Big Oil" Attacks Made Clear Through Wife's Investments

Today's Denver Post headline misses the point: "Udall's wife invested in renewables". From the story:
Maggie Fox last year purchased between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of PowerShares Exchange Traded Fund Wilderhill Clean Energy, according to a financial disclosure released Monday.

Fox also held between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of Progress Energy Inc., a Fortune 250 energy company pursuing renewable energy technologies. Most of the electricity it produces, however, still comes from oil, gas and coal. [emphasis added]
Dick Wadhams raised the point, but the Post story let it go:
Wadhams said it was "deep hypocrisy" that Udall "attacks Big Oil while the Udall family personally profited from Big Oil stocks."

One watchdog-group spokesman, however, said there isn't a clear conflict.
The primary issue here is not about conflict of interest, but about public hypocrisy.

Both Aspect Energy where Bob Schaffer worked and Progress Energy from which Mark Udall's wife profited both produce most of their energy from traditional fossil fuels. Both companies also invest in developing renewable energy sources (Bob Schaffer himself was active in promoting renewable energy development in his role with CHx Capital, part of Aspect Energy). What's the difference between the two companies, beyond public relations and political consciousness?

How about the relative size of the two companies? Aspect Energy brought in about $360 million in 2007. Progress Energy reported $9 billion-plus in 2007 operating revenues, about 25 times larger. If Aspect Energy is Big Oil, Progress Energy must be Gargantuan Oil.

And Progress Energy, which provides utilities directly to Florida consumers, has recently sought a rate hike on the families and businesses who get electricity from its oil and gas production. Is Mark Udall's wife profiting off Big Oil exploitation of hard-working Americans?

Simply put, No, unless you buy into the populist demagoguery that Mark Udall and his pro-Democrat surrogates have been practicing. But the hypocrisy and duplicity of those complaining about Bob Schaffer's ties to "Big Oil" - and silent on Maggie Fox's ties to a bigger producer of fossil fuels - are now writ large over this campaign.

Mark Udall Only Telling Half the Story of His Position on the Roan Plateau

The Denver Post gave both Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall the same set of questions on energy policy, and recorded their answers. The results? Some points of agreement. It was slightly annoying to read Schaffer's answers in the third-person voice, but it was entirely predictable to see the lack of depth or detail in Udall's responses.

Besides, Mark Udall is trying to obfuscate his position on natural gas exploration on the Roan Plateau. The Post asks, "Do you support limits to drilling on the Roan Plateau beyond the BLM's current plan?" Udall replies:
Yes. I support Governor Ritter's Roan Plateau proposal and have introduced legislation that would codify his proposal into law.
But that's only half the story. Here's the rest. Yes, Udall introduced the legislation, but has worked behind the scenes in an effort to stall out the clock and put even more of the land off-limits - flushing potential new jobs, a viable energy source, economic growth, and higher education funding away to cater to out-of-state environmental special interests.

Maybe Mark Udall could be made to answer a follow-up question in a debate.

This Distortion Brought To You By The Same People Who Brought You $4 Gasoline

I've been a bit disturbed of late watching the evening news. The Udall campaigns and its surrogates have bought enormous amounts of airtime preparing the battlefield for the fall race.

One of the most ubiquitous campaigns is from the League of Conservation Voters called "Fingerprint Bob." The basic claim is that Bob Schaffer is in the pockets of the EVIL oil companies.

But a little look at the League reveals an interesting history. According to Open Secrets, the League of Conservation Voters has donated more to Mark Udall's campaign than any other candidate but one; and that is before you consider the actual independent expenditure involved in buying the ads. In addition, in 2004, LCV donated $1 million dollars around the country to 9 targeted races based on the candidate's hostility to drilling offshore and in ANWAR.

I'm sure somebody out there with better research skills than I can come up with even more useful information about the LCV.

But the point is this: Schaffer is being hammered right now about his ties to the oil industry; I'd like to see him hit back and hit back hard at the people who have made it impossible to maintain a household budget any more.

Look, Schaffer is never going to beat Udall if he fights on the battlefield of the environment. What he needs to do is minimize the impact of that issue and Ju-Jitsu it into a debate about energy and the price of fuel.

He might just be able to win that debate.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mark Udall Can't Even Get Populist Rhetoric on Gasoline Prices Straight

It's not just Taylor West. No matter who his spokesperson is, Mark Udall can demagogue the energy issue, but he has a problem doing it coherently. From yesterday's Aspen Times:
Udall called a news conference to tell voters high gasoline prices aren't going away and drivers need to be more fuel efficient. [emphasis added]
No surprise there. Despite all the populist rhetoric to the contrary, we know that Mark Udall and Nancy Pelosi - beholden to a radical environmentalist agenda - have no interest in lowering gas prices. They would rather dictate the way you live. And that doesn't even include Udall and the Democrats' love for the "windfall profits tax" on oil companies, which would only end up further raising the price at the pump.

All of which makes this statement in the same Aspen Times article perfectly hollow:
"While Mark Udall is working to lower gas prices, Bob Schaffer was taking close to $400,000 a year from the oil and gas industry he worked for. Now we know why gas prices are so high," said Udall's campaign spokeswoman, Tara Trujillo.
At a conference in which Mark Udall tells people to get used to higher gas prices, his spokesperson makes a deceptive statement that Udall is "working to lower gas prices."

Mark Udall will continue repeating nonsense like this on the presumption that enough Coloradans are idiots and will lap it all up. Yes, Tara, Bob Schaffer made a six-figure salary working to develop many different kinds of energy (including oil, including renewable sources), and that has raised the price of gasoline? Clearly, Udall is operating the typical Democrat strategy of promoting and feeding off rampant economic illiteracy.

Meanwhile, Mark Udall goes on advocating policies (e.g., blocking domestic energy exploration) that actually work to raise gasoline prices. To distract voters from this fact, expect his campaign to continue dishing out the incoherent populist nonsense.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rossputin's Report, Part 2: The Left's Innuendos Don't Stack Up to the Truth

Yesterday we highlighted the first of Rossputin's scheduled eight-part series going in-depth to investigate the allegations made concerning Bob Schaffer's 1999 trip to the Marianas Islands.

A well-known Lefty commenter here left a cryptic comment, saying we should look at Rocky Mountain News liberal columnist Jason Salzman's blog to demonstrate that we "protest too much about telling the truth." This is what was supposed to bowl us over:
In addition to ripping off Native Americans, Abramoff made big money defending the Marianas Islands’ exploitative immigration policies, which may even have resulted in forced abortions. Abramoff spearheaded a successful lobbying campaign to block immigration reform in the Marianas. Abramoff specifically targeted the House Resources Committee, which had jurisdiction over the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and on which Schaffer was a member. Only last month, after decades of oppositin [sic] from Abramoff and Congressmen like Schaffer, did Congress finally pass immigration reform for the Marianas.

As reported in The Post, Schaffer visited Marianas, courtesy of an organization with ties to Abramoff, and defended its immigration policies in Washington DC. Overall, Schaffer’s lobbying tactics aligned with Abramoff’s. [emphases added]
It makes a nicely packaged narrative, with a lot of innuendo and guilt by association, but its clever characterizations and omission of key facts adds up to missing the truth by a mile. When you read it carefully, what Salzman writes really doesn't say much at all, except that what Schaffer (and others) observed firsthand about CNMI doesn't match the rhetoric of Big Labor leaders.

To get a better picture, read Rossputin's second installment. First, there "may have been forced abortions," Salzman slyly writes, repeating one case of secondhand testimony. But how about the testimony of a Christian missionary who visited the island and had her eyes opened?:
And regarding “forced abortions”, Mrs. Lafferty says “I was not able to find anyone who had an abortion, whether forced or not, and nobody I met knew anybody who had had an abortion.” Lafferty went out of her way to try to ensure honest answers from the workers: “We made it abundantly clear that if anyone was being hurt, raped, or enslaved, I would see to it that the perpetrator would go to jail, and the victim would be taken care of. If anybody needed help, I would help them.” Still, with this sort of “witness protection program” offer (my characterization, not Lafferty’s), and with a Chinese missionary as a translator, none of the allegations which made Lafferty’s blood boil seemed to have any substance.
The organization that paid for the trip?:
As far as who paid for the trip that Schaffer was part of, Lafferty put it directly: “We paid for the trip and as far as I know we were not reimbursed for anything by [Abramoff lobbying firm] Preston-Gates.”
Rossputin goes on to show that the Post's sinister claims that Schaffer "met with clients of Preston-Gates" amount to nothing. He could not have conducted a thorough independent investigation otherwise.

Rossputin also debunks the Post's use of a photo to make it look like Bob Schaffer and his wife merely took a pleasure trip to the Marianas - something Lefty bloggers have seized on repeatedly to promote their distorted picture of reality:
After those several days of nearly non-stop investigation and meetings, Schaffer was scheduled to fly home the next morning when someone asked him how he had enjoyed the island, to which Schaffer responded, according to the source just mentioned, “It’s a shame it’s so beautiful and I never got a chance to see it”. That person then contacted someone he knew at the airline and arranged to get Schaffer’s return flight moved from the following morning to the following evening so that Schaffer and his wife (who had accompanied him to investigate garment factories and interview workers) could have a few hours of relaxation before flying home. Schaffer, his wife, and the staffer who accompanied them on the trip, enjoyed a few hours of recreation without hosts and without being accompanied by representatives of the government or any industry, after Schaffer’s mission on the island had been completed.
Should we expect to see anyone recant and/or apologize for perpetuating a distorted picture of reality?

Keep reading Rossputin's important investigative series.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rossputin Begins to Dismantle Big Blue Lie Machine Slander of Bob Schaffer

A couple months ago we responded vigorously to the Denver Post's trumped up slander about former Rep. Bob Schaffer and a 1999 trip he made to the Marianas Islands. Starting today, Colorado blogger Rossputin takes the investigation even more in-depth with the first of an eight-part series, based on research and interviews, that dismantles the Big Blue Lie Machine's assertions piece by piece. An excerpt from today's edition:
According to the former [Schaffer] staffer, “We never worked with Jack Abramoff. As a matter of fact, I never met him until months after Bob retired – and I would have met him had he been involved with our office in any way since I was aware of all of Bob’s meetings. ”.

And according to Schaffer himself, “Remember, most people including me hadn’t heard of Jack Abramoff in those days. Preston Gates was just another lobbying firm.” In fact, after serving three terms in Congress, Schaffer honored his term-limit pledge and did not run for re-election in 2002, whereas the scandals surrounding Abramoff did not come to light until 2005. Schaffer added, “…my trip to the Marianas was paid for by the Traditional Values Coalition. Furthermore, I did not accept anybody else’s schedule as to where and when to go on the island during my investigation of the labor and ‘forced abortion’ claims.”

Indeed, if Preston Gates were close to Bob Schaffer, why did they never, as a firm or Abramoff as an individual, contribute to Schaffer’s campaigns or PAC, as they did for Mark Udall?
Read the whole thing, and bookmark Rossputin's site to follow the coming editions of this report.

Mark Udall's Cynical Sponsorship of Big Labor Bill Back in the Spotlight

An astute letter writer from Grand Junction reminds readers of Boulder liberal Mark Udall's cynical sponsorship of legislation that would deprive workers of secret ballots in union workplace elections:
Virtually every Democratic candidate this year, including Mark Udall and Barack Obama, are pushing for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which is a massive handout to organized labor. EFCA would eliminate the private-ballot vote when unionizing a workplace and put in place a system where workers could be intimidated and pressured into signing petitions for unionization.
On the same day, the Denver Post reports that state government has become unionized by the votes of a small minority of workers:
About 6,900 state workers from a pool of 22,500 who were eligible participated in the election, which gave them a choice between Colorado WINS or no union representation. Of those, 5,481 supported the union.

The results were based only on the number of votes cast, but even those who did not vote will now be represented by the union — regardless of whether they pay the voluntary union dues.
Last November we speculated that Gov. Bill Ritter's executive order that set the state employee unionization process in motion may have been done in part to take political heat off Mark Udall. Has the heat been turned back on?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NRSC, CBS4 Pan Mark Udall's Military Ad, "Wacky" Support for Department of Peace

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has followed our lead and debunked Boulder liberal Mark Udall's attempt to portray himself as strong on national defense:

Even the local CBS4 News affiliate noticed some of the Mark Udall ad's deception (click on video to play), and highlighted Udall's "wacky" co-sponsorship of the Department of Peace legislation.

The verdict is clear for honest, clear-thinking Coloradans: Mark Udall's attempted pro-military makeover simply doesn't jive with his "wacky" Boulder liberal record on national defense issues.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mark Udall Agrees to Some Debates, Still Unclear on the Lincoln-Douglas Concept

Give the Mark Udall campaign partial credit. The Democrat candidate has agreed to participate in a couple debates, reports the Rocky Mountain News.

Schaffer last month proposed a series of debates modeled after the 1858 debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, who were campaigning for a state Senate seat in Illinois. Those debates involved one candidate speaking and the other offering rebuttal, with little if any input from moderators or an audience.

Udall objected to such a format.

"What we're looking at is debates where both of the candidates have to answer questions, not just give canned speeches," [spokeswoman Taylor] West said. [emphasis added]
Assertions, rebuttals, improvisation ... anyone who has participated in high school debate knows that the Lincoln-Douglas style has very little to do with "canned speeches." Just because the participants don't take questions from a moderator doesn't mean that there is no interactive give-and-take. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Either Taylor West is terribly ignorant or dissembling to protect Mark Udall from having to participate in the unscripted Lincoln-Douglas debate format.

So we'll keep the counter on the sidebar running for a while longer, at least until somebody in the Mark Udall campaign figures out what the Lincoln-Douglas debate style is, or can tell us why their candidate is afraid of an unscripted format.

Marx Udall: A Bit Over the Top But Finds Clever Way to Make Accurate Points

It looks like someone not on the Left has finally gotten around to putting together an effective humor site in Colorado's U.S. Senate race: Take a look at Marx Udall. Someone skilled both in satire and graphic arts has created the site, which also has a prominent link to this blog.

The theme of the blog is a little over the top. No one can seriously claim that Boulder liberal Mark Udall is as far Left as Karl Marx. But the site accurately and cleverly highlights prominent examples - including many covered here - that depict why Udall has earned the Boulder liberal moniker.

At Schaffer v Udall, we may be brighter and more industrious, but we have nothing on Marx Udall in terms of cleverness and pointed wit.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mark Udall's Support of Middle Class Tax Hike: Out of Step with Coloradans

One of the key contrasts in the important Colorado U.S. Senate race is the issue of tax reform. Bob Schaffer has a consistent record as the taxpayer's friend, while Mark Udall has a consistent record as an old school tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.

You can almost hear the groans of protest from some Democrats: Mark Udall? He's just against all those tax cuts for the rich? He wouldn't vote to increase taxes on the middle class, especially not as Colorado families face the crunch of rising energy prices? Right?

Wrong. Fellow Democratic Congressman have called out Mark Udall and the Party's liberal leadership for just that:
Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) and Don Cazayoux (D-La.), who both won election earlier this year in districts held for years by the GOP, explained their votes against the Democratic budget as stands against tax increases on middle-class voters.

“I can’t support a budget, from either party, that raises taxes on the middle class,” Foster said in a statement posted on his website. “I campaigned on a platform of middle-class tax relief, and I was elected to Washington to bring about change. When asked to choose between my party and the people I represent, I will choose the families of the 14th district every single time.”

Cazayoux struck a very similar tone.

“I voted against [the budget] because it allows tax cuts to expire in 2010, raising taxes on most American taxpayers,” he said in a statement given to The Hill. “I promised the people of the 6th district of Louisiana to vote with my party when they are right, and vote against them when they are wrong. My vote today was the right vote for my constituents.”
On a narrowly decided question, Mark Udall's vote in the House of Representatives helped to lay the groundwork for bringing back the marriage penalty and other tax hikes on hard-working, middle-class Colorado families.

Mark Udall is just representing liberal Boulder in Congress. But he is out of step with most of Colorado.

Lynn Bartels to Airbrush "Boulder Liberal" from Mark Udall "on a case-by-case basis"

Liberal Rocky Mountain News media critic Jason Salzman adds a clarification:
In my last post, I provided Rocky Mountain News reporter Lynn Bartels explanation of why she deleted “Boulder liberal” from a quotation from Dick Wadhams, spokesman for Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer.

I should have made it clear that Bartels will not routinely delete “Boulder liberal” from Wadhams’ quotations in which he refers to Democratic Senate candidate Mark Udall of Eldorado Springs as “Boulder liberal Mark Udall.”

She will evaluate Wadhams quotes on a case-by-case basis.
Applying the rule arbitrarily rather than uniformly does not make the situation any better. Readers of the Rocky Mountain News deserve to know what criteria will be used to airbrush the accurate phrase "Boulder liberal" from quoted descriptions of Mark Udall in Lynn Bartels' news stories.

And Colorado voters deserve to know why the phrase "Boulder liberal" suddenly seems to frighten Mark Udall so much.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Colorado Still Watching and Waiting for Mark Udall to Join Unscripted Debate

Add another Colorado voice to those calling for Mark Udall to stop hiding from Bob Schaffer's debate challenge:
I would like Congressman Udall to accept this request. It would be good for Colorado to see the exchange of ideas this way and the struggle that takes place to help people REALLY know where they stand. I fear he will not accept though--a real debate with the tough questions seems to scare Democrats these days.
Mark Udall, Colorado is watching and waiting and wondering ... Are you ready to debate?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mark Udall's "Expert Advice": Same that Counseled Defense Cuts, Dept. of Peace?

Even as evidence mounts of a growing U.S. victory in Iraq, Mark Udall is trapped in the past. And Denver Post reporter Michael Riley is right there with Udall:
Votes against the 2002 Iraq war resolution — relatively rare as they were — have been political gold for those who cast them, and Democratic Senate candidate Mark Udall plans to take that currency to the bank.

Udall used the release Thursday of a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report on the White House case for war to take a few swipes at his Republican opponent and telling voters that he had been right to oppose the war.

"Mark Udall used his independent judgment and sought out expert advice to see through the Bush administration's manipulated intelligence and come to his own conclusions," said Udall spokeswoman Tara Trujillo. She said Republican Bob Schaffer "simply rubber-stamped the Bush administration's rush to war."
So whose "expert advice" did Udall seek? Seeing as how this is such an important foundation to the Boulder liberal Congressman's argument that he has great judgment, perhaps Riley or Trujillo could share who these figures were.

Perhaps it was the same "expert advice" that counseled Mark Udall to co-sponsor a bill to create the Department of Peace.

Or perhaps it was the same "expert advice" that counseled Mark Udall to cast these votes in Congress:
* Udall voted against authorizing nearly $289 billion in Fiscal Year 2000 defense funding -- including funds for six F-22 fighters -- twice (RCV#424, 9/15/99; RCV#241, 6/7/00)
* Udall voted to cut $3 billion in Fiscal Year 2001 defense spending (RCV#194, 5/18/00)
* In 2003, Udall voted against $87 billion in supplemental funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan including funds for body armor, armored humvees, and health care for National Guard members and reservists (RCV#601, 10/31/03; CQ Weekly, 11/8/03)
* Udall voted against a bill intended to expedite the delivery of armor to troops on the ground in 2004 (RCV#234, 6/14/04)
* Udall voted against $453.5 billion in defense spending in 2005 (RCV#669, 12/19/05)
* In 2005, Mark Udall voted against $50 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (RCV#669, 12/19/05)
* And last year, Udall voted against protecting funding for homeless and disabled veterans from cuts, against increasing military housing funding by $275 million, against lowering college loan rates for graduates serving in the military or National Guard, and to prevent senior military officers from working at major defense contractors for a year after retiring. (RCV#714, 7/24/07; RCV#71, 1/31/07; RCV#421, 5/24/07)
There's too much countervailing evidence on this issue for intelligent readers to assume that Mark Udall sought anonymous "expert advice" and displayed good judgment. Especially when his "stuck in the past" focus ignores the real issue of how (or how not) to build on recent American success in Iraq.

Satire Highlights Pro-Udall Media Bias, Mark Udall in Boulder Liberal Denial

Earlier this week we took advantage of Rocky Mountain News reporter Lynn Bartels' airbrush of "Boulder liberal" from a quote about Mark Udall to remind readers why the "Boulder liberal" tag indeed accurately describes Udall. We closed with this admonition:
Lynn Bartels' explanation for omitting both "Boulder" and "liberal" from Wadhams' quote to describe Democratic candidate Mark Udall has ignored some pertinent facts. The editorializing should be left to others.
The case since has been made more thoroughly - and tongue-in-cheek to boot - by "Andrew Ripemoff" on Face The State:
Ah yes, the old "I didn’t have the space to explain to readers" excuse. Fortunately, she somehow found the space on May 30th, defending Udall in the Rocky: "Republicans have inaccurately pegged Udall as a Boulder liberal, although he’s never lived within the city limits."

To be fair to Ms. Bartels, all of this is technically true. Just like it’s true that Udall lives in Boulder County, and has a Boulder mailing address. He’s also been officially recognized as "Mark Udall, D-Boulder" by the Office of the Clerk of the 107th Congress of the United States House of Representatives.

The important thing is that hopefully other journalists will jump on this trend of censoring quotes from political types. For example, when someone like former President Bill Clinton says, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," a clever reporter could delete words, turning it in to: "I did have sexual relations with that woman." Then, when questioned about selective editing, the reporter could simply state that she didn’t have enough space to "explain to readers" the situation.

But Bartels didn't stop there. She took the extra step of explaining to readers in a May 26th Rocky report that Mark Udall is really a favorite son of Eldorado Springs.

So we’ll play along. Sure. Mark Udall is NOT a liberal, and has never lived anywhere close to Boulder. In fact, he’s never even HEARD of Boulder. Truth be known, he’s a far right-wing conservative from Craig who routinely drives over deer with his SUV on his way to pick up royalty checks from the gas rigs he owns.
Sometimes, nothing makes a point quite so effectively as satire. Clearly, the reporter referenced here isn't the only one in the tank for Udall.

But rather than dwelling on the obvious issue of liberal media bias, a bigger question still lingers: Why is Mark Udall running away from who he is?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lincoln-Douglas Debates? Barack Obama--Sure! Mark Udall--Not So Much

From a story in USA Today that highlights the discussion between the two major presidential candidates about proposed debate formats:
[Barack] Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said Wednesday that while the town-hall idea is appealing, the campaign would recommend a less-structured, lengthier exchange more in line with the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates. [emphasis added]
Such a revelation brings some added irony on this blog.

Just yesterday Mark Udall finally endorsed Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, tomorrow makes four full weeks since Udall's opponent Bob Schaffer challenged him to a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates. Sunday will be three full weeks since the editors of the Rocky Mountain News urged Mark Udall to accept the offer for at least one such debate.

And still, Mark Udall is hiding from any unscripted debate in which voters could get a true glimpse of both candidates.

Liberal Barack Obama loves the Lincoln-Douglas style debates. Boulder liberal Mark Udall, who just cast his lot with Obama, is running away from them.

Mark Udall Backs Barack Obama, Disparager of "Bitter" Rural Coloradans

So Boulder liberal Mark Udall finally decided to cast his superdelegate lot, and he threw his support behind Barack Obama, the elitist candidate who has disparaged rural, blue-collar Americans.

(H/T Rocky Mountain Right)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Journalists In The Tank For Udall

Need any more evidence? Stroll on over to Face the State's report--where a Udall victory appears to be a foregone conclusion to at least one reporter 5 months from election day.

Superdelegate Mark Udall Finally Decides on Obama, Still Avoiding Debate Challenge

The heat is finally off Mark Udall as a superdelegate. Based on a report from Politicker's Jeremy Pelzer, Udall has fallen in line by giving his endorsement to the now-inevitable candidacy of Barack Obama.

Just yesterday we wondered when Mark Udall might make the obvious choice. We're glad to see he didn't waste too much time on this important decision.

Now that the pressure to make a superdelegate endorsement is off Mark Udall's back, maybe he can focus on Bob Schaffer's request to have unscripted, Lincoln-Douglas-style debates. Nearly four weeks has gone by since the request was issued, and Udall has continued to hide from the challenge.

The Udall Watch superdelegate timer has disappeared, but the running clock that highlights Mark Udall's debate avoidance remains.

"Boulder Liberal" Airbrush Only Reminds Why Tag Accurately Describes Mark Udall

When liberal columnist Jason Salzman covers for Rocky Mountain News reporter Lynn Bartels' editorial decision to airbrush Dick Wadhams' "Boulder liberal" description from a quote to describe Mark Udall, it's our job to re-introduce a few relevant facts.

Though Mark Udall has never lived within the Boulder city limits, his official residence for years was listed as "Mark Udall (D-Boulder)", without protest. Within the last year, Udall has publicly referred to Boulder as his "touchstone."

This blog also did a months-long tally of references of Mark Udall's position on the political spectrum by Left-of-center bloggers and traditional press. "Liberal" is not only the most commonly used tag to describe Udall but also the most mainstream designation, with variations of "reliably Left wing" coming in second. Hence the name: "The Mark Udall is not a Moderate Scoreboard."

Finally, Mark Udall's spokesperson also has admitted the "Boulder liberal" tag will not hurt the candidate. We can only guess Udall may have changed his mind, that having Coloradans reminded he is a "Boulder liberal" is not helping the campaign at all.

Lynn Bartels' explanation for omitting both "Boulder" and "liberal" from Wadhams' quote to describe Democratic candidate Mark Udall has ignored some pertinent facts. The editorializing should be left to others.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Superdelegate Mark Udall Taking His Time to Make the Obvious Choice

Superdelegate Mark Udall has not exactly been a profile in courageous leadership. Even as the rest of the world has figured out that Barack Obama will be the Democrats' Presidential nominee, Udall and some of his fellow Colorado Congressional Democrats are stuck on the fence:
Sen. Ken Salazar on Monday met with three other Democratic senators who are uncommitted superdelegates, but he insisted afterward that he hadn't made up his mind whether to back Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He and three other Colorado superdelegates — Congressmen John Salazar and Mark Udall and Gov. Bill Ritter — have yet to publicly back either candidate. Pressure on the uncommitted delegates is mounting as Democratic Party leaders are eager to begin trying to unify the Clinton and Obama camps.
So what's Mark Udall's reason for holding out on Barack Obama?
Rep. Udall's office could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the Udall Watch timer counts down.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mark Udall Attempts to Run (or Hide?) from Weak Record on National Defense

Boulder liberal Rep. Mark Udall's new ad "Worth" tries to portray the candidate as tough on national defense (H/T Best Destiny). Seriously?

As we reminded readers when Mark Udall made his first show trip to Afghanistan in January, here are the facts about Udall's voting record on national defense:
* Udall voted against authorizing nearly $289 billion in Fiscal Year 2000 defense funding -- including funds for six F-22 fighters -- twice (RCV#424, 9/15/99; RCV#241, 6/7/00)
* Udall voted to cut $3 billion in Fiscal Year 2001 defense spending (RCV#194, 5/18/00)
* In 2003, Udall voted against $87 billion in supplemental funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan including funds for body armor, armored humvees, and health care for National Guard members and reservists (RCV#601, 10/31/03; CQ Weekly, 11/8/03)
* Udall voted against a bill intended to expedite the delivery of armor to troops on the ground in 2004 (RCV#234, 6/14/04)
* Udall voted against $453.5 billion in defense spending in 2005 (RCV#669, 12/19/05)
* In 2005, Mark Udall voted against $50 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (RCV#669, 12/19/05)
* And last year, Udall voted against protecting funding for homeless and disabled veterans from cuts, against increasing military housing funding by $275 million, against lowering college loan rates for graduates serving in the military or National Guard, and to prevent senior military officers from working at major defense contractors for a year after retiring. (RCV#714, 7/24/07; RCV#71, 1/31/07; RCV#421, 5/24/07)
Boulder liberal Mark Udall is trying to run to the middle on national security and military issues (note the ad's complete silence on Udall's support of cutting and running from Iraq at all costs), but the facts show he has nowhere to run - or hide.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Video: Bob Schaffer Accepts GOP Nomination for U.S. Senate

Compliments of El Presidente at Slapstick Politics, here is the full video of Bob Schaffer's acceptance speech at the Colorado State Republican Convention on May 31, 2008, at the Broomfield Events Center, in two parts:

The conclusion of the speech: "We will fight as hard as we know to reach beyond the Republican Party, but to reach those unaffiliated voters, even Democrats, who believe even today that lower taxes are better than higher taxes, less regulation is better than high regulation, freedom is better than bondage, liberty is better than bureaucracy, winning on the battlefield is better than losing. If you believe like me, let's go and fight and win, and let's win Colorado...."

As one convention attendee told a Denver Post reporter:
But it was the economy that was weighing on the mind of Kelly Brady, whose 8-month-old daughter Reagan was named after the former Republican president. After chatting briefly with Schaffer following his speech, Brady said she had confidence that Schaffer's promise to work to cut spending would help him win.

"Spending has been out of control, and we need someone to fix it," Brady said.
Bob Schaffer clearly is the best bet in the Colorado election to fix out-of-control Washington spending.