Since May, after Represntative Mike Coffman made his controversial birther statements and then tried dodging them, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow beat him like a filthy rug. She returned to this theme last night in a video on view below, but upped the stakes by linking him to Republican veep choice Paul Ryan in a group dubbed "Dodge Challengers."
The segment begins with Maddow standing beside a giant video book entitled A Child's Treasury to Politicians Refusing to Answer Very Simple Questions -- and Coffman is the star of chapter one for the way he responded to repeated questions from 9News' Kyle Clark with extraordinarily minor variations on the phrase, "I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize."
People of every political stripe can agree that this wasn't Coffman's finest moment. Yet Maddow subsequently features other recent examples of politicians following in his footsteps -- responding to a direct, if uncomfortable, question by yammering the same talking point again and again until the reporter attempting to grill him surrenders in exasperation.
The capper, predictably, is Ryan, who during a sit-down with a journalist in Pittsburgh skirted queries about his sponsorship of legislation that used the words "forcible rape" -- a phrase not far afield from the "legitimate rape" reference uttered by current GOP pariah Todd Akin. Over and over, he claimed "rape is rape" without saying why he'd previously added a qualifier and what exactly he meant by it.
Through much of this report, Maddow speaks in front of a "Dodge Challengers" graphic that pictures Coffman in a tight pack with Ryan, seen in a shot that makes him look as menacing as possible. The visual mirrors what Joe Miklosi, Coffman's challenger in the sixth Congressional district, has been doing for the past couple of days -- connected his rival to extremist viewpoints. Whether it'll work come November is anyone's guess, but you can bet the Maddow bit will serve as a template for future efforts in this direction.
Here's the Maddow excerpt featuring Coffman and Ryan.
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