So Long, March

This is it. Never again will you see a Political Gravy…in March of 2007.

Colorado’s own Tom Tancredo is expected to formally announce his no-hope bid for the Presidency on Monday. As M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Rep. Tom Tancredo will use Iowa talk radio on Monday to announce his plans for the 2008 presidential race, and all indications are that he’s moving full-steam ahead on a longshot White House bid.

Tancredo’s “For A Secure America” exploratory committee surpassed the $1 million mark in fundraising last week, and he said that made it “certainly more likely” he would go forward with a full-fledged candidacy.

The official word is expected to come at 8 a.m. MST Monday, when Tancredo appears on the “Mickelson in the Morning” talk show on AM radio station 1040 WHO in DesMoines. Tancredo already is in Iowa in anticipation of that appearance…

… Even if he announces a run for the White House, Tancredo might leave the fate of his 6th Congressional District seat up in the air. He said last week he had not decided whether he would run for re-election to Congress if he does not win the presidential nomination.

“Ask me after Super Tuesday,” Tancredo joked, referring to Feb. 5, 2008, when dozens of states are expected to hold early presidential primaries or caucuses.

Maybe it was a little harsh to call Tancredo’s efforts a “no-hope bid.” But let’s put it this way: I’ll be Prime Minister of Timbuktu before Tancredo is President of the United States.


The Colorado state Senate yesterday approved a controversial resolution opposing the escalation of the war in Iraq. As April Washington of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

The Colorado Senate approved an anti-Iraq War resolution Thursday after nearly two hours of debate, in which Republicans denounced the measure as a slap in the face to U.S. troops.

The resolution, which now goes to the House, passed on a straight party-line vote, with 20 Democrats in favor and 14 Republicans opposed.

It urges Congress to oppose the escalation of the Iraq War and President Bush’s plan to send 21,000 more troops into the war zone.

Democrats argued that the legislature has an obligation to debate Bush’s war policy at a time the country clearly is divided over the issue. They also said Colorado is receiving fewer federal dollars because the war has cost the nation an estimated $500 billion.

“The war in Iraq has dragged on for five years,” said Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, co-sponsor of the measure. “Certainly, when we have Colorado lives on the line, it’s appropriate for us to weigh in on the issue.”

The resolution states it is not in the U.S. national interest to deepen its military involvement in Iraq.


The war of words among Republicans at the State Capitol seemed to cool down a little yesterday. As Karen Crummy of The Denver Post reports:

Although state Rep. Debbie Stafford of Aurora says she was the recipient of political advice from a fellow Republican colleague, and not threatened, Romanoff said the matter showed a gap in House ethics rules…

…Stafford’s intraparty squabble started when she felt pressured by lobbyists whose clients opposed a construction-defects bill backed by Democrats. After a recent bill she sponsored was heavily opposed by homebuilders, and subsequently killed, Stafford said she was “mad at the homebuilders because they are extremely punitive.” But, she said, she was trying to remain open on the construction-defects bill.

However, “heavy-handed lobbying” from the industry started to anger her. Additionally, she found herself supporting the bill.

“I will not be blackmailed,” she said. Then, House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, talked to her about adding Republican-backed amendments to the bill. He was followed by Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial. At that point, Stafford alleges Balmer told her: “If you run for another office, someone like (lobbyist) Steve Durham may use it against you.”

“It wasn’t a threat,” she said. “He was trying to give me advice that it would likely be used against me in an election.”

Balmer denies that he ever said anything like that. “It didn’t happen,” he said.

May said that even if Stafford’s version of what happened was accurate, politics is politics.

May told the Rocky Mountain News earlier this week that Stafford’s claims never happened, but now he says that it was just good old politickin’.


Colorado Rep. Mark Udall is calling for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. According to a press release from the Udall office:

Colorado Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) released the following statement today calling on U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign:

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said that he played no role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.  However, yesterday in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the AG’s former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, said that Gonzales approved the dismissals and that he had at least five discussions with him about firing the federal prosecutors.  And documents released earlier by the Justice Department are consistent with Mr. Sampson’s version of events. 

“It is time for Mr. Gonzales to resign.  He can no longer be effective as the nation’s top law enforcement officer with this cloud over his head.  His lack of candor is very troubling, his credibility with Congress and the American people is shattered and his management of the Justice Department is in serious doubt.  The Justice Department needs strong, credible leadership that will carry out the department’s mission with the highest integrity and public confidence, especially at a time when we are engaged in a fight against terrorism. 

“While there is no evidence of criminal wrong-doing and every president is entitled to hire and fire U.S. Attorneys, the idea that the Bush administration would use the Justice Department as a partisan political tool rather than as an impartial enforcer of the law is repugnant and strikes at the very heart of justice.  Perhaps under new leadership, the administration can restore the American public’s faith in the department.”


And now, for more on this week’s White House scandal, we turn to The Washington Post:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sought more information yesterday about a presentation by a White House aide given to political appointees at the General Services Administration that discussed targeting 20 Democratic congressional candidates in the next election.

In a letter to White House political affairs director Karl Rove, the committee chairman, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), asked about the Jan. 26 videoconference by Rove deputy J. Scott Jennings, which was directed to the chief of the GSA and as many as 40 agency officials stationed around the country.

Jennings’s 28-page presentation included 2006 election results and listed the names of Democratic candidates considered beatable and Republican lawmakers thought to need help. At a hearing Wednesday about the GSA, Waxman said the presentation and follow-up remarks allegedly made by agency chief Lurita Alexis Doan may have violated the Hatch Act, a law that restricts federal agencies and employees from using their positions for political purposes.

In yesterday’s letter, Waxman asked Rove who prepared the presentation and whether Rove or Jennings consulted with anyone about whether it might be in violation of the Hatch Act. Waxman also asked whether Rove or any members of his staff have given the same or similar PowerPoint presentations to political appointees at other government agencies.

The PowerPoint presentation was a focus of Waxman’s hearing Wednesday into Doan’s 10-month tenure and into allegations that she has acted inappropriately. Doan denied the allegations at the hearing.

According to The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave was among those discussed as vulnerable in 2008:

The White House views Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan, as one of the Republican Party’s five most vulnerable House incumbents in 2008, according to documents released this week to a House committee.

The disclosure didn’t surprise Musgrave’s campaign spokesman or the head of the state Democratic Party…

… Musgrave was re-elected to a third term in November with just 46 percent of the vote, the lowest percentage of any winning House candidate in the country. She defeated Democrat Angie Paccione and Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness.

[Colorado Democratic Party Chair Pat] Waak said she has talked to five potential candidates interested in challenging Musgrave, including Paccione and Eidsness, who recently registered as a Democrat.

Other potential candidates, Waak said, include Bent County Commissioner Bill Long, state Sen. Brandon Shaffer of Longmont and Betsy Markey, a Fort Collins-based aide to Sen. Ken Salazar.


Several groups are upset again at the woefully inept Denver Election Commission. As Daniel Chacon of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

A plan to remove more than 117,000 Denver voters from active voter files because they didn’t cast ballots in November or January is coming under fire.

Four nonprofits are urging the Denver Election Commission not to “scrub” voter files because voters listed as “inactive” won’t receive a ballot in the mail for the May 1 municipal election.

The groups are calling on the City Council to pass an ordinance allowing the commission to use voter files that predate the troubled November election.

“Scrubbing the voter list based on a faulty election has the potential of disenfranchising thousands of voters who may wish to participate in upcoming elections, including the presidential election in 2008,” the groups said Thursday.

At a minimum, the groups said, the commission should mail an additional notice to voters who are in “inactive” status.

Perhaps April will be a better month for the Denver Election Commission. We’ll see you then…