Iowa Congressman Steve King came to Colorado this weekend and, in appearances on the ground and on the radio, rallied support for Arizona’s controversial immigration laws and reinforced an argument he made earlier in the week that President Obama is a racist. At a small gathering in Loveland on Saturday, he said Obama had placed race at the center of the debate over immigration as a way to invalidate Arizona’s new laws.
“I’m sorry it’s true. The President did bring race into this,” he said, referring in part to his opinion, articulated on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show last Monday, that Obama sees things through a racial lens and that the president advances the rights of black Americans at the expense of white Americans.
King suggested that Obama likewise saw Arizona’s SB 1070 as a matter of Latino Americans versus white Americans when, King argued, SB 1070 is aimed merely at enforcing present immigration laws that he said the federal government had failed to enforce. He said Obama had chosen to embrace arguments that suggested the law had legalized racial profiling and that, based on that assumption, had instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to find a way to invalidate the law.
King said he wanted to get the bottom of the administration’s targeting of SB1070.
“I did a FOIA [a Freedom of Information Act request],” he said. “I want not just the draft of [Holder’s complaint] but also the emails all around it, with the ACLU and SEIU and all those other left-wing organizations. I believe we’ll see that the justice department simply copied language from the ACLU…”
The discussion at the community center in Loveland, where roughly 50 elderly tea party-leaning voters gathered in the blazing sun, seemed designed to answer King critics in general but also to indirectly taunt Fourth District Congressional candidate Cory Gardner in particular. Indeed, King with his friend, former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, poked fun at Gardner on the Peter Boyles Denver talk radio show the day before.
Gardner canceled an event scheduled with King for Saturday after the national media seized on King’s comments on the Liddy show. King told media outlets that Gardner had “caved” at the first sign of media pressure and that Gardner wasn’t the kind of person King would want “guarding his back.” King told the crowd Saturday that the organizers of the Loveland event had salvaged a bungled situation. He said he was from a pork packing district in Iowa and that the organizers had made a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
On Boyles’ KHOW radio show Friday morning (listen here), King, Tancredo and Boyles took turns mocking Gardner and the Northern Colorado Tea Party for dis-inviting King to their weekend events.
“The tea party says this Congress, these Congressmen all have to get a spine, but the first sign anybody brings up their verbal guns, they didn’t just go down into a foxhole, they ran for the hills,” said King.
King said he heard Gardner canceled appearances with him only through the media, that Gardner called him 12 hours ater the news broke and never said he disagreed with anything King said.
The news around the exchange suggests Gardner knew little about King and his reputation for outspoken even incendiary conservative views.
A King staffer told the Colorado Independent that King was asked by other members of Congress to appear with Gardner, that staffers on the campaigns had “certainly been involved” in the planning, but that King and Gardner had never talked until after Gardner canceled the event in Hudson. The Fourth District race in Colorado is one of the major swing races in the country. Gardner is running against Democratic incumbent Betsy Markey, who defeated arch social conservative Marilyn Musgrave in 2008.
“I don’t get this Cory Gardner at all,” said talk show host Boyles on Friday. “[He] cancels [King] without even the courtesy of a phone call.”
“Pussies is the correct word I think we’re looking for here, and a bunch of punk-ass that think they’re going to run for [office] and make a difference,” Boyles said.
Boyles, King and Tancredo called the Gardner campaign on the air to ask Gardner if he wanted to come to the Loveland event.
“I’m sure Cory would love to show up and meet the guys,” Boyles said.
“I still hope that Cory Gardner wins the general election, but I’m telling you, I hope that when he wins this thing, I hope he shows more spine in Congress than he does in this particular case,” Tancredo said.
A general lack of spine among office holders was repeatedly lamented at the Loveland event Saturday.
“We need more lawmakers [like King]… who say what they mean and mean what they say” said the speaker introducing King.
“We need Constitutional lawmakers with a spine,” said King at the beginning of his remarks.
Hat tip to Bob Moore for Boyles radio quotes.
[Photos of King (L) and Tancredo (R) Colorado independent]