Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maureen Schaffer Doing Well After Surgery, Bob May Return Next Week

Good news about Maureen Schaffer's surgery. Definitely an answer to prayer. As the article reports:
[Bob] Schaffer could be back in Colorado as soon as late next week, depending on his wife's recovery, [Dick] Wadhams added.
Take your time, Bob. Look forward to having you back soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Hill Research Consultants Poll a Reason for Guarded Bob Schaffer Optimism

Recent polls in Colorado's U.S. Senate race have shown Boulder liberal Mark Udall with a small lead over Bob Schaffer. The latest Rasmussen Report had Udall gaining from the July survey to reach a 47-41 advantage. Suffolk University's poll of 450 likely voters gave Udall an 8-point lead, and the Mason-Dixon outlier (surveying 400 voters) said Schaffer was down by 10.

Then out of the blue comes this interesting poll:
The poll, conducted by Hill Research Consultants - Schaffer's regular pollster - among 553 likely Colorado voters Aug. 23 and 24, shows Udall leading Schaffer 41 percent to 38 percent. That's within the survey's +/- 4.2 percent margin of error.
Are there reasons to give more credence to this latest survey? Hill surveyed more likely voters than Suffolk or Mason-Dixon did, and he employs a different methodology. Hill has 18 years of experience polling in Colorado, and was the only pollster to call U.S. Senator Wayne Allard's re-election victory in 2002.

The conclusion of Hill's analysis is most intriguing:
Turnout is likely to be extremely crucial to the outcome of this race. Without a huge turnout that includes the participation of many who have never voted in Colorado, Udall appears doomed. He trails Schaffer among the voters who voted in 2004 or 2006, falling farther behind those who voted in both. Udall leads Schaffer only among voters who have been registered to vote for five years or less. Among voters we judge most-likely-to-vote by a multi-item scale of propensity to vote—including demographics, past participation, and expressed interest in this election—Schaffer leads Udall by 2 percentages points, a net shift of 5 points from the results of the total sample.
On the other hand, it's vital to note that Hill is working for the Bob Schaffer campaign, and cross-tabs are not available to provide an independent analysis of the voting sample. Therefore, this poll should be taken by Schaffer supporters with guarded optimism. Another reliable survey reflecting similar results would be even more encouraging. But then again, maybe Hill is poised to repeat his 2002 performance.

(Apologies that further analysis of recent polls hasn't appeared here. Our poll tracker expert El Presidente has been especially busy covering the Democratic National Convention for the Peoples Press Collective. Then he's off to the Republican National Convention to provide blog coverage. Hopefully he can add his insights when he returns from all the hoopla.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wanted: Your YouTube Video Question for Candidates Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer

Both Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer have agreed to take questions in a YouTube style debate. From the citizentube blog:
So, got a question for Schaffer and Udall? Watch our call-out video and submit your question by August 31st!

Here also is a link where you can watch the video and post your response. They're taking the top five questions. Doesn't look like too much competition thus far, so check it out. For my money, I like this question:

You have four days to match or top this.

Monday, August 25, 2008

If Mark Udall Has Changed His Mind on Drilling, Then What about ANWR?

Mark Udall's U-turn on domestic energy production now effectively has him on every side of the issue. What should we believe? While Udall plays TV ads claiming he supports domestic drilling, there's every reason to doubt his sincerity.

On Friday we asked why the anti-drilling group Environment America is spending so much time, money, and resources on Mark Udall's behalf. Perhaps because they know his claims about drilling aren't to be taken seriously. The evidence is out there.

After all, Mark Udall continues as a co-sponsor of HR 39, which makes the oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) completely off-limits to drilling. No, it doesn't say that all drilling in ANWR needs to be "responsible", which is easy to achieve with today's energy exploration technology. No, Udall's HR 39 prohibits exploration altogether.

When it comes to energy, pick which Mark Udall you want to believe, and then begin to wonder if there's a Mark Udall you can really trust.

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway today, Mark Udall might be debating with himself about whether to introduce a pro-drilling amendment to the party platform.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Environment America's Colorado Campaign Judges Mark Udall Insincere on Energy

PolitickerCO reports that a 501c4 named Environment America "is launching a ground organization" in Colorado to advocate the election of Mark Udall:
Environment America political director Ivan Frishberg, praising Markey and Udall’s record on green issues, said the organization aimed to go to bat for open seat and challenger candidates who would bring strong environmental resumes to Washington.
This raises a valid question about Mark Udall's recent U-turn in favor of offshore drilling to meet America's domestic energy production needs: Why would Environment America, a group religiously opposed to offshore drilling, spend valuable time, energy, and resources to support a candidate who says he now favors offshore drilling?

Environment America must be very confident in the insincerity of Mark Udall's latest position of political convenience. In other words, don't expect Udall to make any amendments to the party platform at the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

I think this ad by Freedom's Watch gets it most right about Skip, er, I mean, Mark Udall.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bob Schaffer Prefers Flat Tax to "Fair Tax"; Mark Udall Just Wants to Raise Your Taxes

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reporter Mike Saccone has fresh video of Bob Schaffer on the stump in Mesa County, explaining why the "Fair Tax" is preferable to our current tax system but not as feasible as reform that would bring a lower flat income tax.

What about Boulder liberal Mark Udall? He's just been busy this year voting to raise taxes on middle-class families in Colorado.

The contrast couldn't be clearer.

Our Prayers Go With Bob and Maureen Schaffer and the Entire Family

No one doubts the importance of family to Bob Schaffer. This statement was received a little while ago from the Schaffer campaign:
Maureen was diagnosed in early June with a benign tumor on her auditory nerve that will require very sensitive surgery to remove. A full and complete recovery is expected.

On the advice of our Fort Collins neurosurgeon, Dr. Donn Turner, who initially diagnosed the tumor, the surgery will be conducted by Dr. Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoeniz, Arizona. Dr. Spetzler is a nationally recognized expert on the removal of this particular type of tumor.

Bob will travel to Phoenix with Maureen on Tuesday, August 26 and the surgery will be done on Thursday, August 28. Bob will remain with Maureen during her recovery which is expected to be 7-14 days.

Our family appreciates the support and prayers of our many friends across Colorado, and we both look forward to returning to the campaign trail in September.
Our thoughts and prayers indeed go with the Schaffer family. We wish his wife Maureen a healthy and speedy recovery.

Prayers For The Schaffer Family

From the Schaffer campaign:

ENGLEWOOD – Bob and Maureen Schaffer released the following statement today:

Maureen was diagnosed in early June with a benign tumor on her auditory nerve that will require very sensitive surgery to remove. A full and complete recovery is expected.

On the advice of our Fort Collins neurosurgeon, Dr. Donn Turner, who initially diagnosed the tumor, the surgery will be conducted by Dr. Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoeniz, Arizona. Dr. Spetzler is a nationally recognized expert on the removal of this particular type of tumor.

Bob will travel to Phoenix with Maureen on Tuesday, August 26 and the surgery will be done on Thursday, August 28. Bob will remain with Maureen during her recovery which is expected to be 7-14 days.

Our family appreciates the support and prayers of our many friends across Colorado, and we both look forward to returning to the campaign trail in September.
The real reason Bob won't be headed to the RNC.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schaffer family at this time.

Is Mark Udall Trying to Airbrush the Facts on Wikipedia?

Update (8/23): In the interest of fairness and accuracy, it is important to note that the description of the action in the quoted selection as "eliminated" is incorrect. As clarified on Politicker CO, the actions of the Udall staffer were to dispute the neutrality of the Wikipedia passage that connected the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) ads with Udall's wife, Maggie Fox - not to delete the passages. This fact essentially nullifies the significance of this particular post, except to remind readers of the relevant LCV connection.

Over at The Colorado Index, a watcher has done some valuable firsthand research and found that Mark Udall's paid "online communications director" Michael Ditto is tampering with Wikipedia entries to airbrush certain relevant facts:
Unsurprisingly, he doesn't want Wikipedia readers to know about the close connection between Maggie Fox, Mark Udall's wife, and the League of Conservation Voters. He has eliminated references to that connection twice.

"I tagged this section as disputed because it's not relevant that LCV does business with an organization that used to be headed by Mark Udall's wife." [Quote from Ditto]

LCV never mentioned Bob Schaffer in the six years he was out of office, but in 2008 he comes up third on their dirty dozen list and LCV's connection with Mark Udall's wife isn't relevant? No one will buy that when they understand that a Mark Udall staffer wrote it while trying to hide his identity.
In fact, at least through June, the League of Conservation Voters overwhelmingly spent money to attack Bob Schaffer and barely scratched anyone else on their so-called "dirty dozen list." A watcher also could have mentioned that LCV incurred $180,000 in fines for campaign violations after the 2006 election.

That Mark Udall is paying a staffer in an attempt to hide this information from the public should be concerning, and worthy of at least a little MSM attention.

Freedom's Watch Comes Up with Most Creative Ad of the Campaign? Wait & See

It's hard to keep track of the third-party ads taking on Mark Udall for his untimely shortcomings, U-turns, and missed votes on energy policy. This one from Freedom's Watch, though, may take the cake:

I'll place it into nomination for most creative ad of the campaign. PolitickerCO and National Journal both seem impressed enough.

We've got more than 10 weeks to see if one of the campaigns or an outside group has a better entry.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DNC Could Be Mark Udall's Stage to Show He's Serious about Drilling for Energy

Regarding Mark Udall's apparent U-turn on energy policy, the Wall Street Journal has been on the case. Last week, Kimberly Strassel pointed out that Udall's newfound support of the so-called "Gang of 10" energy proposal shows Udall still isn't serious about real solutions:
Any guesses as to Mr. Udall's other action this week? That's right. He embraced the Gang of 10's "compromise." It wasn't a huge sacrifice, since the proposal mostly limits drilling to a few coastal states, while spending $84 billion in subsidies primarily for the sort of "green" energy Mr. Udall favors. Meantime, he's betting the "bipartisan" nature of that bill will provide him political protection against Mr. Schaffer's attacks, while heading off more aggressive GOP drilling proposals in Congress this September. [emphasis added]
Today the Journal's editors speculate on the possibility of bold action at the Democratic National Convention to dig the party out of its hole:
For example, the platform draft now says that "We know we can't drill our way to energy independence." Then there's the bit about ending "the tyranny of oil," which will require "far more than simply expanding our economic and political resources to keep oil flowing steadily" from overseas and elsewhere. There's also no mention of drilling offshore, much less in Alaska, and nothing about exploiting our vast domestic supplies of oil shale.

Fortunately, Democrats have time to fix these political oversights. If they are serious, surely Democrats will have someone rise on the convention floor next week and offer an amendment that endorses offshore drilling and pledges not to extend the Congressional ban on drilling that expires on September 30. Come to think of it, Democrats should offer this amendment in prime time. How better to steal the drilling issue from Republicans?
It's a terrific idea to test the Party's seriousness about applying a truly comprehensive energy solution that would benefit Colorado's middle-class families.

What better approach than having Mark Udall be the one to offer the amendment? Since the DNC is in Udall's backyard (relatively speaking - as close as Denver is to Boulder), and since Udall has professed a serious change of heart on the issue, why not? Maybe the amendment at least could come from the Colorado delegation, and Udall could publicly endorse it.

The Journal expounds:
Mr. Udall's lead in the polls has vanished. "We've got to produce our own oil and gas here in our country," he now says in a new TV spot. But a campaign ad isn't enough. Surely, Mr. Udall will now want to acknowledge his mistake of a year ago and fight to lift the oil-shale ban on the House floor next month. That is, unless his new pro-drilling rhetoric is merely campaign triangulation that he doesn't really believe.
If Mark Udall wants to take the energy issue off the table, and show he is truly serious about solutions rather than political posturing, he could join Bob Schaffer in endorsing a comprehensive energy policy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mark Udall Should Be Asked Whether He Agrees with Pickens Entirely, or Selectively

A watcher reports hearing Mark Udall say - and really, you don't have to listen long in this campaign to hear Boulder's liberal Congressman say it - "T. Boone [Pickens] has it right" - in reference to America's energy policy and the need to break our dependence on foreign oil.

But as this video from the Senate Republicans points out, Democrats have been quoting Pickens out of context:

T. Boone Pickens has been calling for a comprehensive energy policy - wind, solar, biofuels, offshore drilling, ANWR, the whole caboodle, or as some have called it, the "kitchen sink" approach. One candidate in Colorado's U.S. Senate race has been on the same page: Bob Schaffer.

Mark Udall? As another well-known political Mark in Colorado points out, Udall has pulled one of the more drastic U-turns in recent campaign memory, leaving heads scratched:
As to the sincerity of Udall's conversion, only the commercial paid for by his senate campaign backs him up. All other evidence suggests that this is a poll-driven conversion of political convenience.

Udall's campaign website dwells on developing wind and solar power but says little about developing new sources of oil and gas. Instead, Udall falls back on old liberal canards: "we cannot drill our way to energy security" and "not every place that can support oil drilling should be drilled."
Memo to Mark Udall: If you're going to cite T. Boone Pickens, don't be selective. Or then again, maybe you really do agree with him now. It's hard to tell after that recent whiplash-inducing U-Turn. Reporters need to look at Pickens' complete position and ask Mark Udall the tough questions.

But, Is He Sincere?

I attended the candidate forum in Colorado Springs and reported on it on my blog, thecoloradoindex. I've been thinking of a comment that Mark Udall made on the way out the door:

"T. Boone has it right."

That unguarded comment suggests to me that Mark Udall is insincere about any commitment he seems to have made to support drilling. It tracks his old views, not his new, politically expedient views.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mark Udall Has a Low Threshold to Be Convinced a Tax-Funded Earmark is Needed

Taking a closer look at the Club for Growth's recent ad exposing Mark Udall's record on earmarks, 9News conducted a "Truth Test." What was the official response of the Udall campaign?:
The campaign's response to the commercial states, "Mark Udall has voted against eliminating earmarks where the proponent of the earmark makes a public and convincing case for keeping it." (E-mail to 9NEWS, Aug. 11, 2008)
Judging by the earmarks he's approved, Mark Udall has a pretty low threshold for what constitutes a convincing case for an earmark.

Hey, at least Mark Udall voted against 1 earmark out of 50 - better than 105 members of Congress. And he could plead the "everybody else is doing it" defense. Fewer than half the members of Congress voted against as many as two earmarks on the list. (And he did show up to vote for 49 earmarks, unlike the vote for an adjournment resolution he promised to make.) But that's simply the career politician culture Udall represents - and a big part of the reason that Congress has a 9 percent approval rating.

If he's searching for a reformer role model within his own party, Mark Udall could look to fellow Democrat Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee - who has a mirror image record to his own, voting against 49 of 50 earmarks. Cooper is much harder than Udall to convince that the people's money should be frittered away on pet projects.

Altogether, this report is further proof that Mark Udall is a newcomer to the anti-earmark club.

KBDI Debate Posted Online, Weekend Debate Followup

The debate taped Thursday at KBDI Channel 12 is now posted online in its entirety.

Quick thoughts:
Unlike the July 14 debate moderated by Adam Schrager for 9NEWS' "Your Show" or the July 28 debate hosted by Ron Zappolo for Fox 31's Colorado 2031, this debate suffered from an incoherent format, the baggage of two extra candidates (the windbag Bob Kinsey of the Green Party, and the brief but humorous Doug "Dayhorse" Campbell of the American Constitution Party), terse questioning from panelist Lynn Bartels of the Rocky that didn't blend well with Aaron Harber's more open questions, and way too much crosstalk from the candidates. SvU wasn't able to attend the Friday debate, which once again focused on oil, energy, and gas prices.

Neither Udall nor Schaffer did poorly, but due to the above factors, weren't able to score any points either. There were questions about health care, Udall's slip in the polls and his flip-flop on domestic oil drilling (along with Sen. Ken Salazar), and more exploration on the subject of energy from all the candidates.

You can watch the candidates discuss the topic of illegal immigration and immigration reform from video at the Colorado Springs forum.

Here are the shorthand notes from the KBDI debate that touched on a wide variety of topics:
Mark Udall—energy plan and energy independence introduced w/Salazar, wants Schaffer to join
Bob Kinsey—Green, unaffilliateds largest group, like to have another choice, upset with Democrat Party
Doug “Dayhorse” Campbell—American Constitution Party, people dissatisfied, government get out of the way of private enterprise

1st question—Bartels, discuss effect of Nader voters and differences between two parties
--Kinsey, Schaffer not a supporter of Milton Friedman, Udall has broad humanistic view, both support military/industrial complex makes us a pariah
--Udall, Russians waited for an excuse, diplomacy and sanctions, draw attention through UN, Russians are aggressors
--Bob, clearly aggressors, Russians create environment to exploit Georgians, Ukraine next, Udall ridiculed Ukraine work, divert loyalty back to Moscow
--Campbell, Georgia as ally to West, back them within constraints of Constitution, Iraq had no declaration of war

2nd question—Harbor, changed views on drilling, how to expand domestic oil production
--Udall, for “responsible drilling,” always been for drilling?, throw “kitchen sink,” Gang of 10 (5 each), wants Schaffer to join him, not opposed
--Schaffer, Congress low ratings, Udall as “Rip van Winkle” on the issue, Udall not for drilling, energy bill stands for nothing, against drilling everywhere, now Udall is “Big Oil Mark”
--Udall, always been for drilling, walks in lockstep with Bush, McCain/Obama oppose ANWR drilling
--Schaffer, “this is all baloney,” Denver Post writes about reversing opposition to drilling, Paris Hilton is more consistent on energy policy
--Kinsey, can’t talk about energy without talking about the environment, “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”

3rd question—Bartels, Udall missed vote July 29th, why did you miss work?
--Udall, I kept that promise, Schaffer wants to talk about the past, doing district work and fundraising
--Benemann, but constituents want you there to vote
--(Bartels to Schaffer—you missed 13% of votes)—Bob--all votes are important, meetings in the White House, Udall committed to being there for the adjournment resolution, Friday was just a confirmation of Wednesday’s resolution, challenges Udall to release schedule and details of fundraising

4th question—Harbor, on health care, address those without coverage
--Udall, enhance current situation, not for government or private only, tax credits, expand for children, invest in biotech
--Harbor, cost and how many of 49 million helped?
--Udall, must be affordable, not everyone helped, cost not insignificant (in billions), one reason for ending war in Iraq
--Schaffer, don’t support open-ended commitment to war in Iraq, universal access indeed possible, use market and government forces through competition, lower lawsuits, to drive costs down, provide poor a tax credit to purchase health care on open market, system too bureaucratic and monopolistic

5th question—solar panels?
--Schaffer, have windows
--Udall, from Amendment 37, has “solar system” on house
--Kinsey, solar panels on house he sold

6th question—runaway growth in Federal spending disappointing?
--Schaffer, everyone should be disappointed, balanced budget, feeding frenzy on earmarks
--Udall, earmark reform, line item veto reform, pay-as-you-go budgeting, irresponsible tax cuts and unfunded war

7th question—manufactured evidence in war on Iraq
--Udall, a lot of mistakes made, take eye of the ball on Afghanistan, no plan to win the peace, let’s move forward, responsibly and honorably exit Iraq, hold oversight hearings, investigate and bring violators to justice, Kinsey impeachment push is a fool’s errand
--Schaffer, the answer isn’t more Congressional hearings, if evidence is available criminal proceedings should be brought to bear
--Kinsey, evidence that Bush acted illegally, can’t declare war on terrorism (on a noun), dereliction of duty by not impeaching
--Campbell, definition of insanity is voting for same parties and expecting different results

8th question—Bartels on “gotcha” from Schaffer in first debate
--Udall, it was a gimmick, no place for it in debate
--Schaffer, not a gimmick, “I know it’s embarrassing Mark”

Closing statements
--Campbell, thanks for inviting minor parties, listen to advice from R and D not to vote for the big parties
--Kinsey, economics should incorporate environment
--Schaffer, differences distinct, how undecided voters vote, we need to explore and pursue every opportunity for new energy sources, Udall has no solid position and flip-flopped, crude oil vs. snake oil, Udall selling snake oil
--Udall, take Bush/Cheney/Schaffer road or another road of a comprehensive energy policy, take care of middle class, change politics as usual

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Schaffer Udall Illegal Immigration Forum

On Saturday Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall attended the Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs’ Immigration Debate--"Towards a Spirituality of Justice: A Day on Immigration" in the gym of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Colorado Springs. The following video recaps highlight the opening statements, Q&A, and closing remarks from the two main candidates, Schaffer and Udall.

While Bob Kinsey of the Green Party blamed Bush for 9/11 and decried what he called the "demonization" of illegal immigrants and Doug "Dayhorse" Campbell provided a few moments of levity on behalf of the American Constitution Party, Schaffer and Udall were the big draw, and only their responses (in their entirety) are included below. Each question is marked by an introductory title--"On Mexico" or "On Free Trade"--and due to the format, Udall repeatedly ended up talking after Schaffer, who was quick to point out Udall's mistatements and fabrications.

Introduction and Opening Statements:

Part 2--On Illegal Immigration and Border Security:

Part 3--On Free Trade and Mexico:

Closing Statements:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vince Carroll: Gas Prices Push Mark Udall to Reverse Position on Drilling

We here already have asked the question about Mark Udall's whiplash-inducing U-turn on domestic offshore drilling and energy policy. Rocky Mountain News editor Vince Carroll follows on the same theme, though with greater eloquence:
Two years ago, when a Rocky editorial called Udall shortsighted for voting against a bill to ease the ban on offshore drilling for natural gas (oil wasn't even on the table in order to eliminate fearmongering about spills), Udall wrote to say that we had "oversimplified the question."

Drilling "may be justified with the right safeguards," he maintained, but "that has not been properly established."

One would have thought that the vast experience of extracting natural gas in the western Gulf of Mexico had established that safeguards could be successfully imposed elsewhere, but the congressman was very picky at the time.

More to the point, perhaps, gasoline wasn't $4 a gallon.
The shifting winds of politics can do curious and strange things indeed, and none more curious nor stranger this year than Mark Udall finding the inspiration to support domestic oil exploration as Colorado voters have grown angry about high gas prices.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Ad Asks Mark Udall Why He Doesn't Want Your Workplace Vote to be Private

Seeing the question "Is Mark Udall Selling Out?" might make you think of his environmentalist friends asking why Udall is suddenly pandering away from his career-long opposition to offshore drilling.

In this case, it happens to be about Mark Udall's nearly-convinced appeal in favor of the so-called Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

The initial question is part of a broader ad campaign by a group called Coloradans for Employee Freedom that questions Mark Udall's support for EFCA and wonders aloud: "Shouldn't your vote still be private?"

As the Daily Blogster puts it:
One value (VOTING) is extremely sacred to Americans and all freedom loving people around the world but Udall wants to make an exception when it comes to one of his most sacred of institutions....labor unions.
Which - going out on a limb here - may have something to do with hundreds of thousands of dollars in Big Labor campaign contributions.

After all, Mark Udall co-sponsored EFCA despite admitting "serious reservations," and acknowledged to the Denver Post that the legislation "isn't perfect." That's a nice way to describe depriving millions of workers the right to a secret ballot in workplace elections. After lo these many months, Mark Udall still hasn't had to explain how he can be so out of step with Coloradans and Western values.

One More Word About Udall's Flip-flop Pander-Fest

Want to know how to expose a pander?

No, the answer isn't as simple as "show a Democrat talking."

But it's not that much more complicated.

Given that Mark Udall has now had a change of heart with regard to domestic energy production, maybe he can show some real leadership. And maybe a "professional" journalist can press him to do just that by asking one question:

Mr. Udall, will you now return to Washington to join Republicans in calling for a return of the Congress to the Capitol to pass an Energy Bill?

Get him on record saying "no" to that; get him on camera arguing that five weeks raising money in Colorado for his next job is more important than doing his current job. I want to see that b-roll.

I swear, if I were a Republican candidate right now, I would do nothing but go to the steps of the Capitol and talk about the arrogance and the radicalism of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. AND THEN USE TECHNOLOGY to get the message to your constituents. Barack Obama has raised cargo boats full of cash on the internet this year--surely one or two Republicans can manage to duplicate that feat.

I especially like how even the Denver Post notices motives:

The Democratic candidate for the Senate joins his party in trying to neutralize the GOP's strength on the issue.

You want to neutralize our strength? Develop some genuine strength of your own.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Schaffer, Udall Face Off At KBDI 12, 3rd Party Candidates Included

I liveblogged (in Word, no WiFi) today's KBDI Channel 12 debate between Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall that also featured appearances by Bob Kinsey of the Green Party, and Douglas "Dayhorse" Campbell of the American Constitution Party. Jim Benemann of CBS4 moderated, and Aaron Harber of The Aaron Harber Show and Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News provided the questions.

I'll have a bigger writeup later, but here is the information on where to see the closed set, recorded debate:
Colorado Decides, a joint production of KBDI Channel 12, CBS4 and RMN, will air on KBDI Channel 12 Friday Aug. 15 at 8pm. The debate will also be available online.

The pre-debate rally was loud and boisterous on both sides:

Mark Udall's Whiplash U-Turn, Distortions Undermine Credibility on Energy Issues

The day after we reported Boulder liberal Mark Udall's whiplash-inducing change of policy on offshore drilling - the Denver Post's Michael Riley followed up with a piece on the topic:
Battered on the energy issue for weeks, Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Mark Udall moved Wednesday to close the distance with his Republican opponent on the issue, calling for more domestic drilling and reversing his long-standing opposition to drilling off America's shores.

Both were sharp turnarounds for a man who has made the expansion of renewable energy a cornerstone of his career and who has consistently dinged the aggressive drilling policies of the Bush administration during this campaign.

But both Udall and his staff emphasized that the nation's energy crisis called for a sweeping rethinking of possible solutions — and that the country could no longer afford to keep much of anything off the table.
Perhaps the last paragraph should be reworded: "...[Mark Udall's looming election] crisis called for a sweeping rethinking of possible solutions." Let's just be honest - Udall has changed his mind because he was reading the polls.

Mark Udall still has much explaining to do to overcome years of opposition to expanded domestic energy exploration. In the Rocky Mountain News, the Democratic candidate tries to dig himself out of a hole:
"I've always said we have to have responsible drilling," Udall said during the news conference. "I'm not opposed to drilling. What I've been opposed to is the Bush-Cheney focus solely on oil. I've been opposed to (the) Bush-Cheney line that we can drill our way out of this challenge."
By "responsible drilling," Mark Udall must mean drilling off the shore of Cuba.

Udall then goes on to tell intentionally deceive about his opponent Bob Schaffer's position:
"My opposition to (Schaffer's) energy plan is based on the fact that it's a drill, drill, drill approach," Udall said. "We need a much broader approach, a much more comprehensive approach that understands that the future includes renewables, conservation, . . . these amazing fuel-efficient cars."
Does Mark Udall want us to believe he doesn't know what Schaffer's position on energy really is?
At public meetings Bob Schaffer has conducted across the state, Coloradans have made it clear they want to help lead America to a future of energy independence. It’s a positive and necessary goal Bob believes can be achieved by taking a long-range, comprehensive approach.

Helping Colorado advance a freedom-based energy strategy means broadening the incentives, research and investment in renewable energy science, production, conservation and improved development of American-based conventional energy resources. This will provide greater energy security as we reduce our dependence on energy needs from potentially hostile countries.

A leader in innovative energy solutions, Bob’s practical experience spans both public policy and real-world business. Colorado is blessed with abundant clean natural gas, oil and coal resources as well as being a robust producer of wind-generated electricity, solar power, crops and technologies used to create alternative fuels. Additional opportunities exist for geothermal, hydroelectric and nuclear production. Combined with world-leading research capabilities and an energy-savvy citizenry, Colorado can and should be a national leader in achieving energy independence.
Mark Udall is drastically changing his position on energy - the preeminent issue of the day - and distorting his opponent's position. Is this the guy independent Colorado voters want to represent them in the U.S. Senate?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Schaffer - Udall Debates Reminder

Three debates starting tomorrow--Thursday, August 14, with another each on Friday and Saturday. Check out our earlier post for details and RSVP information.

In a Sea of Troubles, Mark Udall Finds Good News in Jared Polis Primary Victory

Facing criticism about his fiscally irresponsible record, a broken promise, an unpopular energy record, a major flip-flop, and the painful prospect of more debates, Mark Udall had to be ready for some good news.

And he got it late last night. As reported from his hometown newspaper, the Boulder Daily Camera:
Internet entrepreneur Jared Polis, relying on a massive bankroll to fund his political ambitions, claimed victory Tuesday as the Democratic nominee in a hard-fought — and at times bitterly contested — race in the 2nd Congressional District.
Jared Polis ran to the Left in his political campaign and won, upholding the Mark Udall legacy. Polis is a virtual lock to win the general election. Too bad for Udall the state of Colorado as a whole isn't so much like his old Congressional District.

U-Turn Udall: From "Stand" To "Sand" On Domestic Drilling

U-turn Udall goes flippity-floppity once again, this time on offshore drilling.

Mark Udall Ad--“Stand”--5/14/08
Mark Udall: Standing on your own: that's just the Colorado way, and it's what America's got to do with our energy policy. Which is why I've led Republicans and Democrats to end our addiction to foreign oil, develop renewable fuels, and provide tax incentives to grow Colorado's new energy economy.

We need energy solutions--green jobs and a cleaner future--for Colorado.

I'm Mark Udall and I approve this message because we've got to get this right.

Well apparently Udall didn't get it right back in May. Domestic drilling now? Great! Back in May? Not so much. There appears to be more air in this ad than the ones powering those turbines:
Mark Udall Ad--“Line in the Sand”--8/12/08
Mark Udall: We got to draw a line in the sand, that starting today, right now, America’s going to work toward energy independence.

Through new technology and increased efficiency, and with all this wind, why depend so much on foreign oil? We got to produce our own oil and gas, here in our country. And keep it here to power America’s economy.

I’m Mark Udall, I approve this message because we have so much at stake, and together we can get this right.

Besides the rather annoyingly colloquial "we got" instead of "we have to" (paging my old English teachers--see, I was paying attention in class!), this rather large shift in policy outlook reveals a candidate who has read the tea leaves and is slowly losing his once sizable lead. With 67% of Americans supporting domestic petroleum production increases, it was quickly becoming obvious that Udall's special interest allies and environmental record was turning into a distinct liability.

Bob Schaffer's campaign manager Dick Wadhams summed up what that 10 year record of domestic drilling opposition looks like:
“Boulder Liberal Mark Udall has made a remarkable transformation from domestic drilling opponent to suddenly deciding it should be a part of our energy policy,” said Bob Schaffer for Senate campaign manager Dick Wadhams. “It is quite amazing how public pressure for more domestic drilling has forced Boulder Liberal Udall to make such a remarkable u-turn on domestic drilling.”

“Boulder Liberal Udall has voted against offshore drilling fifteen times, voted against drilling in Alaska four times, voted against exploration on Colorado’s Roan Plateau, blocked legislation for oil shale development, voted against expanding refinery capacity six times, and voted against clean coal technology six times,” Wadhams said.
Nothing like running from your record--and tossing in a little domestic oil production as part of "energy independence" that once precluded drilling from the "new energy economy."

Democrats may claim that we will not be able to "drill our way out" of high energy costs, but Udall is hoping to drill his way out of what would be an unexpected defeat in November.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grand Junction Sentinel: Mark Udall's Broken Promise Spells Trouble

Getting caught up on an important editorial I missed - this, from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel last Friday:
So [Mark] Udall took the easy route. Sure, he said, he would vote for keeping Congress in session. That’s a safe enough answer, and one that’s not likely to cost any votes at all. Voters who don’t follow candidates closely, and there are many of those, might even see that interview and conclude Udall supports offshore drilling. That’s the best of both worlds for the congressman.

But anyone who knows Udall’s record knows he takes the Nancy Pelosi line on offshore drilling: He’ll support it when you-know-what freezes over.
This is the funny part. For the past 10 days, the Lefties have been stamping their feet, pointing to a meaningless vote Mark Udall never promised to make, and saying, "Look, see? He did keep his promise to vote against adjournment!"

Never mind he promised to vote for the adjournment resolution - which succeeded by one vote - but missed the vote because he was late getting back to Washington, DC, from a fundraiser - raising funds from whom -- we don't know yet. Never mind that the recorded voice vote on the mere formality of a resolution was contrived by Democrat leaders for the sole purpose of giving Lefties a talking point and shielding Udall from a well-deserved critique.

But the Sentinel gets beyond the issue of the broken promise itself, which simply encapsulates Mark Udall's problematic history and out-of-touch plans on energy policy. Even if Udall had somehow kept his promise, his opposition to drilling until "you-know-what freezes over" and his narrow views of energy solutions remain. The missed vote simply serves to highlight Udall's record and his lack of interest in a comprehensive energy policy.

But the Sentinel's conclusion says something at least as troubling about Mark Udall:
We’d prefer to see candidates simply answer questions honestly. In this case the honest answer would have been to say he’d try to get back for the vote, but he could make no promises.
Though he'd still have his troublesome energy record to defend, Udall would have been better off not making promises he can't keep.

Monday, August 11, 2008

After Russian Invasion, DSCC Anti-Ukraine Ad Looks Even More Like a Mistake

Four months ago the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) - dedicated to getting Boulder liberal Mark Udall elected - ran a silly attack ad against Bob Schaffer for his international work in defense of the freedoms of former Soviet republic Ukraine. With this past week's invasion of former Soviet republic Georgia by Russia, the silliness takes on a new dimension.

As Rocky Mountain Right notes:
Mark Udall & Co. can mock Bob Schaffer all they want for maintaining good relations with American allies in the region, the Russian invasion of Georgia proves that this is more important than ever. Just like "Big Oil Bob," this is yet another Democratic smear against Schaffer that is about to backfire.
As we pointed out when the original DSCC ad came out, the attempt already started to backfire back in April. But now? Mark Udall and his surrogates won't want to be talking about this issue at all. The question is whether the media will pick up on it at all.

Upcoming Schaffer - Udall Debates

Let's see how many campaign promises Boulder liberal Mark Udall can make--and then break--this week.

If you've got the time, get your campaign cheers ready--there will be three debates between Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall coming up at the end of this week, August 14-16 (from a campaign email):
The first debate will be held at KBDI Public TV-12 Studios in Denver on Thursday, August 14th. The debate will not have a studio audience. However, we invite you to join us at a pre-debate rally. The excitement begins at 12:00pm. We will be waving signs and greeting Boulder Liberal Mark Udall as he arrives for the debate.

On Friday, August 15th, Bob and Boulder Liberal Mark Udall will meet again at North Metro Chamber of Commerce debate. It will be held at the Westin Westminster in Westminster from 7:00 – 9:00am. There will be a pre-debate rally. You are also invited to attend the debate. Tickets are available for $30 if you rsvp with the Schaffer campaign. Your ticket will grant access to the chamber’s breakfast as well as the debate.

On Saturday, August 16th, Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs will host the final debate of the week. The debate will focus on immigration. It will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Colorado Springs from 4:00 – 5:00pm. There will be a pre-debate rally. The debate is also open to the public. Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis.

You can rsvp and receive additional information for these exciting events by calling 720-377-1600 or emailing
SvU will have coverage of the debates (photos/video) and liveblogging where possible, and will certainly cover post-debate analysis and wrapup.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bob Schaffer Campaign Exposes Duplicity in Mark Udall's Energy Policy

The Bob Schaffer campaign has contrasted Boulder liberal Mark Udall's energy policy rhetoric with his energy policy record - including a remarkable 15 Congressional votes against offshore drilling, 8 of them within the past 2 years. Ouch! Further proof of we already knew, namely that Udall is out of touch on energy policy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Freedoms Watch--"Headlines"

While the opposition is trying to avoid Rep. Mark Udall's vote failure by pouring its attention on Bob Schaffer's son, others are more concerned about the candidates themselves rather than contrived "gotcha" stories about potentially wayward offspring:

Let Schaffer deal with his son's ill-thought, sophomoric sense of "humor," one that is assuredly not shared by Schaffer the father, or his supporters. Faux outrage and projection through extrapolation--the son is racist or has racist tendencies, which were therefore fostered or not discouraged at home, and therefore reflect that the GOP is racist . . . etc. demonstrates more about confirming the liberals' tendencies to stereotype conservatives and Republicans, and says less about this actual situation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

EarMark Udall--Pro-Pork Votes

The ad:

From Club for Growth:
Washington -- Today, Club for Growth.Net began running a television ad on broadcast television and cable systems throughout Colorado. The $400,000 ad buy will run for two weeks.

Entitled "Waste," the ad details all the wasteful pork projects Rep. Mark Udall has voted for and urges taxpayers in Colorado to call Rep. Udall and tell him to stop sending their tax dollars on such outlandish projects. These projects include a ballet theatre in New York City (RC #668), a park in San Francisco (RC #839), and a lobster institute in Maine (RC #735). In fact, out of 50 separate amendments to remove pork projects from the FY 2008 appropriations bills, Mark Udall voted against 49 of them. In other words, Rep. Udall voted in favor of wasteful earmark spending 98 percent of the time.

"Mark Udall needs to change his wasteful spending policies," said Club for Growth.Net President Pat Toomey. "If Mark Udall wants to spend his own money on a ballet theatre in New York and a lobster institute in Maine, that's his prerogative, but Colorado taxpayers shouldn't be expected to foot the bill. This ad seeks to educate people in Colorado about how Rep. Udall is voting. We encourage them to call Mark Udall and tell him to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on pork projects."
Boulder Liberal Udall. Can't Keep His Promises Udall. EarMark Udall.

Or as we like to say here at SvU: Mark Udall-The Only Place He Wants To Drill Is Your Wallet.


Just another broken promise, as SvU has tracked Udall's "no earmarks" pledge.

Mark Udall Could Do the Decent Thing and Urge His Surrogates to Stop the Hypocrisy

The recent online discussions about pictures Bob Schaffer's son posted on his Facebook page reflect a desperate effort by the Left to find anything to talk about besides their own candidate Mark Udall's failed energy policies and failure to keep his promise.

Rocky Mountain Right has highlighted the hypocrisy of those on the Left who have sought to make hay out of this story.

As 9News reported
, Bob Schaffer dealt with the matter swiftly, responsibly, and appropriately.

Attempts by the Big Blue Lie Machine to make hay out of the story have not only reflected hypocrisy and attempted distraction, but some of them have been truly vile. If the Lefty blogs and new media insist on continuing their folly, Mark Udall has a chance to distinguish himself with decency by stepping forward and demanding that his surrogates stop.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bob Schaffer Shares His Views in Interview with Granby Newspaper

Before visiting the mountain town of Granby for campaign events, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer sat down for an interview with local Sky-Hi Daily News report Tonya Bina. In addition to the leading concerns of energy, natural resources, and local forestry concerns, Schaffer answers questions about foreign policy, health care, and education.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Udall's Day Off--The Feature

And that voice vote? Looks like Steny Hoyer did a little damage control favor for Rep. Udall.

Broken promises.

Blogging The 2nd Debate--Recap, **Update--Video Posted

**Update--Fox 31 has posted the entire debate online, scroll for the link . . .

In case you miss it, here is a steam of consciousness recap of the 2nd debate.

First segment--

What are the issues for Colorado voters?

Udall--Gas prices, energy independence, avoid war, create new jobs, release oil from strategic petroleum reserve, crack down on oil speculators, oil companies drill on current leases, drill responsibly, alternative energy "new energy economy"

Schaffer--without a doubt energy, energy costs to education, problem of oil price a function of bad decisions by Congress, partisanship has created need to send money overseas due to lack of opportunity to drill here, Congress' low approval rating attributed to these deficiencies, comprehensive energy plan includes "doing it all" including renewable energy tax credits

Udall--it's all Schaffer's fault, can't have oil executives in government

Schaffer--company was not primarily an oil company, cadmium telluride--next step in solar energy, companies receiving tax credits can push technology to create jobs and credible alternatives to traditional energy sources

Udall--we need to work together

Schaffer--vote no on an adjournment resolution?


Second segment--

War on Iraq?

Schaffer--we can agree that surge in Iraq is working, reconciliation between Sunni and Shiites, Iraqi security forces policing their own and taking the lead, still a lot of uncertainty, but progress has been made

Udall--troops performed with great valor, take care of them when they come home, "honorable, responsible exit," been 2 times to Iraq, accuses Schaffer of meeting with Kurds to cut a deal, take attention back to Afghanistan and where Osama Bin Laden is

Schaffer--didn't cut deal with Kurds, not in favor of open-ended engagement in Iraq, draw down based on real goals and not a timetable, Iraq as a bulwark against Iranian aggression

Udall--back to Afghanistan, rebuild the military, wanted a more specific declaration of war to avoid fiscal and human costs

Schaffer--Udall's resolution was partially correct, but too much even for fellow Democrats

Udall--must go back to central front of war on terror, accuses Schaffer of not supporting veterans

Schaffer--veterans know Schaffer's support, small minority in DC still believe we would be better off if we hadn't gone to Iraq, Bin Laden not "full definition of terrorism"

Third segment--

527 ads? Not good, not healthy?

Udall--don't like them, ask Bob about them, denounces 527s, its part of the game

Schaffer--why people are fed up with duplicity, McCain-Feingold on bipartisan basis, limits ability of people to speak in a campaign, laws passed to protect politicians to protect themselves from criticism, I'm running because I'm critical of government, I voted against it, Udall voted for it

Udall--broad bipartisan coalition wanted to take money out of politics

Schaffer--people want to have their say

Zappolo--you were ahead 10 points, but it is tied, why?

Udall--it's going to be a close race, need to listen to Coloradans, tax breaks not beneficial to Americans

Zappolo--it is difficult to run as a Republican?

Schaffer--Bush is not on the ballot, polls have closed in recent weeks due to energy and the inability of Congress to pass any meaningful reform, Udall has voted to close options, mine has been to open all avenues

Udall--oil companies like higher energy prices

Final segment--

Udall--elections about choices, if you like Bush/Cheney, bad health care, more of the same, vote Schaffer--if you want an honorable exit, health care, change, vote for Udall

Schaffer--people want fresh leadership in DC, Udall has been in Congress without much success, bipartisanship bickering, I'll bring energy prices down, I won't constrain options and will bring a different voice to Washington


Fox has posted the entire debate online

Sunday, August 3, 2008

2nd Schaffer-Udall Debate On Fox 31

Don't forget, the second debate In its entirety--August 3, 10 pm.

Schaffer's challenge to Udall on voting against the resolution to adjourn, well chronicled on this blog, is around the midway point of the show (with commercials).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mark Udall Almost Looks Convinced He's Overcome "Serious" EFCA Reservations

After co-sponsoring Big Labor's Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in the House and raking in thousands in campaign cash, Mark Udall almost looks convinced that he has overcome his "serious reservations" about depriving workers of the secret ballot (H/T Labor Pains blog):

Mark Udall almost looks convinced.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Udall's Day Off

From the NRSC--a trailer for "Udall's Day Off":

Face the State's political cartoonist riffs on Udall--Udall? Udall?

Splitting Hairs on Mark Udall's Failure to Vote against the Adjournment Resolution

Is Mark Udall off the hook for his failure to keep a key promise to vote to keep Congress working on domestic energy supply solutions for Colorado? A notorious commenter on this site brought my attention to a ColoradoPols diary that he says answers the question affirmatively:
Only problem is, it appears that the vote everybody's got their panties in a bunch about was preliminary, and the final vote to adjourn just happened a few minutes ago.

Udall was present for today's vote to adjourn--and voted "no" with the Republicans. Despite this, the motion passed 213-197.
But Tuesday's vote that Mark Udall missed was a vote on the key resolution which set up the parameters and dates of Congress's August recess. A vote that passed 213-212 because Udall was late getting back from campaign fundraising to cast. It's also specifically the resolution vote that Udall promised to vote No on:

Bob Schaffer asked: "Are you willing to vote No on an adjournment resolution until an energy bill passes?" After some hemming and hawing, Mark Udall agreed to the challenge.

If the Lefties want to split hairs to try to get Mark Udall off the hook for his promise, we can split hairs right back. Attempts by the Big Blue Lie Machine to rewrite history to protect their "Do Nothing, Delay, Drill Your Wallet" candidate will not escape scrutiny.

Mark Udall misses the vote he promised to make, a vote he could have made a difference on, the importance of which was universally undisputed. Now the Lefty apologists for Udall's economically-unfriendly policies point to a symbolic vote on which Udall couldn't effect any change as a way to excuse his absence and his broken promise.

Is Mark Udall going to follow the lead of the well-known statement made by one of his party's infamous leaders, and start to explain: "I failed to vote for adjournment before I voted against it"? Absurdity imitating absurdity.

Then again, if he really cared about stopping the adjournment, Mark Udall could have joined other members of Congress who protested the failure to work on increasing America's energy supply.

On Mark Udall's Crucial Missed Vote: Just One Minute Late? Fundraising with Whom?

Blogger Civil Sense over at The Colorado Index has some keen insight into Mark Udall's disastrous missed vote in Congress on Tuesday:
Apparently, Mark Udall missed the vote by one minute as he traveled from the airport, and the House leadership would not delay it any longer for Udall to arrive at the Capitol. Congressman Udall would have voted yes on the issue and plans to issue a statement for the Congressional Record noting this....

We at this blog are tough on Democrats, but we also try to be fair. As the Denver Post story confirms the Udall staffer's telephone call to a friend, Mark Udall deserves the benefit of the doubt in this situation. Nancy Pelosi likely did throw Udall under the proverbial bus. It is unlikely that lefty bloggers would cut a Republican candidate similar slack for inadvertently breaking a promise.

However, I agree with Ben DeGrow that even though it was not Mark Udall's fault that he missed the vote, his alliance with the Delay, Don't Drill, Do-Nothing Democrat energy agenda will continue to harm the people of Colorado.
My commentary that Civil Sense is referencing can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Bob Schaffer campaign has issued a challenge to Mark Udall:
The Bob Schaffer for Senate campaign today called on Boulder Congressman Mark Udall to reveal details of fundraising events in Colorado this past Tuesday that resulted in Udall missing two days of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“By his campaign’s own admission, Boulder Liberal Udall chose to attend campaign fundraising events in Colorado rather than to show up for the work in Washington that he was elected to do as a Boulder congressman,” said Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams. “Colorado voters deserve to know the identity of these campaign donors who Boulder Liberal Udall considers more important than showing up and voting in Congress.”
It's a good question: From whom was Mark Udall raising funds that cost him apparently one crucial minute to follow through on an important promise to represent Colorado's domestic energy needs? We'll be waiting with bated breath for a response.