He hit a birther note and then said with considerable sincerity in his voice that President Obama “in his heart, he’s not an American.”
The Congressman, who represents Arapahoe County, which went for Obama in 2008 as did his newly constructed district, rapidly apologized.
“9NEWS Political Analyst Floyd Ciruli, a pollster, says Coffman’s comment is a blow to his moderate image.
‘Radical statements about the president, where his heart is, whether he’s an American, are going to be tremendously controversial,’ Ciruli said.
Coffman’s 6th Congressional District has been redrawn to include fewer Republicans, a point Coffman acknowledged at the May 12 fundraiser.
‘It is going to be a very challenging race,’ Coffman is heard saying. ‘I really need your help.’
Ciruli says Coffman’s line may have gone over well in “red” Elbert County, but he’ll need to do well with moderate voters in ‘purple” Arapahoe County.
‘That may have gotten a hand out there but in the Denver metro area, those are very extreme comments,’ Ciruli said. ‘I think they will probably give the Democrats a little fodder for some ads.’”The state’s liberal news critics were upset by the reference Coffman has a moderate image. The argument for that statement is as follows:
- By recent Colorado congressional standards, he’s no Lamborn, Musgrave or Tancredo (who he replaced).
- He has won statewide office for jobs that are largely administrative: State Treasurer and Secretary of the State; hence, showing statewide appeal and avoiding ideological controversy.
- He won his 2008 primary as the slightly less conservative candidate against former Senator Bill Armstrong’s son Wil and very conservative State Senator Ted Harvey.
- He did not run as a Tea Party candidate in 2010 when the movement took over the Colorado Republican Party and still has significant influence, testified by the Santorum win in the February 7 Republican presidential caucus.
- He has advanced military spending reductions in spite of having been an active duty officer and highly pro military.
However, these latest comments were a mistake he quickly acknowledged and tried to get out from under. Expect to see bumper stickers along the lines of the Bennet vs. Buck fight, which Bennet won by 0.5 percent in the new 6th CD – Too Extreme for Colorado.
See 9NEWS: Rep. Mike Coffman: Obama in his heart “not an American”
Denver Post’s The Spot: Coffman says Obama “not an American”
Ciruli blog: Miklosi vs. Coffman: The closest seat in the country
Ciruli blog: Money in congressional races – only one factor
Denver Post: Hubbard: Mike Coffman’s political un-exceptionalism