[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ory Gardner has mastered the art of not answering a question. But he ran into a reporter, in FOX 31’s Eli Stokols, who refused to take a dodge for an answer.
It was early Sunday morning on Stokols’ #COpolitics interview show, which became the strangest 22 minutes you’re likely to see on TV. Stokols asked the two questions — on Gardner’s co-sponsorship of federal personhood bill and on Gardner’s claims on his canceled health insurance policy — for which Gardner has no apparent answer. Stokols didn’t just ask them. He asked them over and over, vainly hoping for an answer.
And so the back-and-forth would go something like this:
Stokols asks a question. Gardner dodges. Stokols corners Gardner. Gardner feints. Stokols interrupts. Gardner interrupts back. Stokols quotes authorities. Gardner apparently doesn’t hear him. Stokols quotes facts. Gardner blames Udall. And on and on.
Clearly Gardner felt the need to give no other information other than his name, rank and serial number and, also, to say that his federal personhood bill is not a federal personhood bill.
We’ll do the personhood question, but you really have to watch the full show to appreciate it. Gardner, you’ll remember, was once a strong supporter of the state personhood inititative, but announced a change of heart as soon as he announced for Senate. He said the state personhood initiative had “unintended consequences,” even though the consequences actually were fully intended, but that’s another story.
In this story, Gardner has co-sponsored a House bill called the “Life at Conception Act,” which everyone, other than Gardner, agrees is a federal personhood bill. Gardner says it’s not. He says it’s …. well, he doesn’t say.
Let’s pick up the conversation. Stokols is the dogged one. Gardner is the shifty one. Gardner has just said for the first time, “There is no such thing as a federal personhood bill.”
Stokols: Cory, the people who wrote the bill, Congressman Hunter of California, Paul Broun of Georgia, they say — Personhood USA says – that that is what the Life at Conception Act is.
Gardner: When I announced for the Senate, that’s when the outcry started … What they’re doing, it’s all politics …
Stokols: The facts are …
Gardner: No, the facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill. There is no federal personhood bill. I think what you’re seeing, Eli, is an effort by Senator Udall to run away from his record on energy, to run away fro his failed record on the economy. Here is a man who has built his entire career …
Stokols, Gardner: Back and forth. Forth and back.
Stokols: The bill that your name is on defines personhood as starting at the moment of fertilization. Many think it has the potential to ban a number of forms of birth control. Factcheck.org says that you still support a federal bill that would prompt the same concerns over birth control as the state measure you reject on the same grounds.
Gardner: I do not support legislation that would ban birth control. That’s crazy. I do not support efforts that would ban birth control … This whole issue came up because Mark Udall can’t defend his record of failure in the United States Senate … The fact is, Mark Udall is running away from his record and trying to distract the voters with things that he would like people to believe that simply aren’t true.
Stokols: He’s not the only one who sees the Life of Conception Act as a personhood bill. The sponsors do. Personhood USA does … Does you saying that (it’s not a personhood bill) make it true?
Gardner: I’m not going to sit here and defend the senator’s record …
Stokols: You are sitting here telling me that a bill that everyone says is basically a personhood bill at the federal level, you’re telling me it’s not.”
Gardner, Stokols: Back and forth. Forth and back.
Gardner: There is no federal personhood bill.
[ Mike Littwin’s regular Tuesday column will appear Wednesday. It will cover Tuesday night’s Denver Post governor’s debate. ]