GOP Goes Apoplectic, Cites Bogus “Poll”

Several Colorado Republican senators responded with apoplectic outrage at the sight of Sen. Ken Gordon and Rep. John Kefalas at a press conference this week denouncing the president’s plan for a surge in troops, during which Kefalas held up a photo of his son, who is being redeployed to Iraq.

The official Colorado Senate Republicans news site subsequently quoted several GOP lawmakers responding to Gordon’s comments, about the number of soldiers and civilians who have been killed in Iraq.

“Are we the ones blowing up vehicles with chlorine gas in them?” asked an “incredulous” Sen. Greg Brophy. “The only time we’ve ever lost a war is when we made our guys fight with one or two hands tied behind their backs. And opposing extra troops is doing the same thing.”

The story then heralded a new national “poll” by the Republican research firm Public Opinion Strategies shows that by a 53 percent-to-46 percent margin, respondents surveyed said “Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw troops from Iraq.”

Only problem is, that “poll” has already been thoroughly dissected and, no surprise, completely debunked.Media Matters for America summarized: the poll, whose findings have also appeared in the New York Post and Fox News, this week:

The New York Post and Fox News touted a poll that found that “57 percent of Americans supported ‘finishing the job in Iraq’ — keeping U.S. troops there until the Iraqis can provide security on their own.” But neither the Post nor Fox News noted that the company that conducted the poll considers itself a “Republican polling firm” and that poll questions apparently were, according to the head of a different Republican polling firm, “designed to register certain responses.”

Media Matters goes on to note that other recent nonpartisan polls have yielded far different results.

A CBS News poll conducted February 8-11 found 26  percent of respondents said the U.S. should “increase” troops; 17 percent said the U.S. should “keep the same number” of troops; 23 percent responded that the U.S. should “decrease the number” of troops in Iraq and 28 percent said they favored “remov[ing] all” U.S. troops from the country.

Additionally, Media Matters noted, a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey, conducted February 7-11, asked respondents to indicate whether “the U.S. should keep military troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized” or “bring its troops home as soon as possible.” The majority, 53 percent, responded that the “U.S. should bring its troops home as soon as possible.”

Arianna Huffington also weighed in this week on the faux poll, appearing on Fox News to note that every “credible” poll has shown Americans want to bring troops home. The most accurate poll of all, she noted, was conducted last fall, when voters “threw out” Republicans and replaced them with Democrats.

No mention on Colorado’s Senate Republican site of what, exactly the lawmakers think of their 17 GOP counterparts in Congress who last week voted with the majority to denounce Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. (Four other Republicans, including former Speaker Dennis Hastert, were excused and did not cast a vote.)

But here’s what a few of them had to say about the Democratic Sen. Gordon and his views.

Senate GOP chief Andy McElhany, of Colorado Springs: “[Gordon’s] comment is typical of the blame-America-first crowd. It’s not us that is doing all the killing over there.”

Assistant Minority Leader Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, added that “It’s disgusting to play politics with our troops. We should let American men and women over there know that we are behind them all the way.”

Freshman Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, a decorated Gulf War veteran who is carrying a resolution that expresses unqualified support for U.S. troops serving in the Iraq mission, said Gordon’s remarks only serve to undermine troop morale. “They hear, ‘You’re failing, and we don’t believe in what you’re doing enough to send you the support you need to accomplish your mission,'” Kopp said. “It’s hard to take them seriously when they say, ‘We support the troops who are there. We just don’t support the troops who are going there,'” he said.

Cara DeGette is a longtime Colorado journalist and a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential. E-mail her at cdegette@coloradoconfidential.com.

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