Website alters Tipton-camp quote after congressional opponent Pace jumps on it

Scott Tipton (Photo by Troy Hooper)
A right-leaning news site changed a controversial quote attributed to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton’s campaign manager two days after publishing it and only after Democratic challenger Sal Pace called it out.

The Colorado Observer on Saturday quoted Tipton’s campaign manager, Michael Fortney, saying: “With gas prices doubled, the national debt doubled, and unemployment has barely moved, we feel good.” [See the screen shot below.] Then today, hours after Pace demanded Tipton apologize for the remarks, the quote was heavily edited with meaty clarifications added.

The website now quotes Fortney saying: “Voters in the 3rd District are rejecting Obama’s policies that have led to gas prices doubling, the national debt doubled, and unemployment has barely moved. We feel good about our chances.”

An email sent to the Colorado Observer was not returned. No phone number is listed on its website.

Pace campaign spokesman Chad Obermiller said he can’t reach anyone at the Observer, either.

“It’s laughable how much the quote’s changed. It’s completely different,” he said in a phone interview, later adding: “I hope anyone covering a race of this profile would employ journalistic integrity.”

Pace, the former State House minority leader who is giving Tipton a run for his money in the 3rd Congressional District, criticized Fortney’s comment this morning in a message to the incumbent.

“Congressman Tipton owes the people of Colorado an apology,” he said. “I know far too many people who have lost their jobs and homes in this tough economy. Our struggles are real, and it’s appalling to imagine that your campaign might want even more people to suffer for political advantage.”

The tight race has seen Tipton reportedly raise $378,000 in the first quarter of this year with $813,000 cash on hand, surpassing Pace’s first-quarter haul of $280,000 and $520,000 in cash on hand.

In the previous quarter, it was Pace who out-raised Tipton.

Tipton has suffered some blunders along the way. There was a campaign violation, revelation that a “sham front group” gave him an award, an investigation and apology to a House ethics committee and accusations that he selectively informed Republicans and mining industry interests about a meeting over a San Juans wilderness proposal while excluding others.

Pace is scheduled to discuss this latest incident on MSNBC tonight at 6:30 p.m.

A screen-grab of The Colorado Observer before Tipton campaign manager Michael Fortney's quote was altered.

Troy Hooper covers environmental policy for the American Independent News Network. His work has been published in The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Huffington Post, San Francisco Weekly, Playboy, New York Post, People and dozens of other publications. Hooper has covered the Winter Olympics in Italy, an extreme ski camp in South America and gone behind the scenes with Hunter S. Thompson on election night in 2004. Born and raised in Boulder, Hooper has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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