Coffman slams Ritter as ‘terrorist sympathizer’ over Piñon Canyon law

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman minced no words in a bizarre, Cheney-esque attack on Gov. Bill Ritter as a “terrorist sympathizer” for signing a new state law that stymies future expansion of the Army’s contentious Piñon Canyon training site proposal.

The accusation of Ritter’s treason can be found in full at Coffman’s congressional Web site:

“The Governor clearly has no concept about the training and readiness needs of our combat forces. By signing H.B. 1317, a bill that blocks the Army’s ability to expand training areas, the Governor has sent a very clear message that the men and women who serve our nation in uniform are not welcome here.

I think he would be more sympathetic if the U.S. Army were to declare itself a terrorist organization — since he is going out of his way to block the Army while at the same time laying out a welcome mat to house terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.”

Equally curious to Coffman’s over-the-top rant is the selective editing by the Denver Post and Associated Press who excised the Aurora Republican’s acrimonious charges from their stories.

Neither outlet printed the full statement nor apparently asked the congressman to expand on his invective over the new law that bars the state from selling or leasing land to the Army to expand the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site near La Junta. The plan is largely opposed by local ranchers and residents who filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop what they characterize as a land grab by the Army.

An email to Coffman’s office requesting clarification on the statement was not immediately returned.

UPDATE: Rep. Coffman’s Chief of Staff Jacque Ponder responded this morning by cutting and pasting the congressman’s Web statement in an email to The Colorado Independent. I’ll take that as the office stands by its comment.

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Wendy Norris

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