Cory Gardner campaign downplays Steve King stop, event cancellation over race comments

Rep. Steve King appeared at a 9.12 Project event over the weekend -- but not at a planned fundraiser for Cory Gardner, who canceled after King played the race card in comments about Barack Obama. What's Gardner's campaign got to say about the accusations of political correctness and timidity that followed? As little as possible.

As the Denver Post notes in the piece linked above, King said Obama "favors the black person" and suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder sees "white people in America" as "cowards when it comes to race" during a recent radio interview.

Shortly thereafter, Gardner canceled King's appearance, as did the Northern Colorado Tea Party, which had invited the Iowa congressman to palaver at a separate bash.

That prompted King to tell Fox News Gardner had "simply caved in at the first sign of friction." And the Post quoted Nancy Rumsfelt, a 9.12 Project member who helped organize the event in Monument at which King spoke on Saturday, as saying that organizations like Media Matters, which broke the news about King's remarks, shouldn't be allowed "to intimidate us... We should allow the conversation to happen even if people don't agree with what we're saying."

Such shots don't do Gardner any good. But Chris Hansen, his campaign manager, declines to refute the implication that his guy allowed the liberal press to manipulate him. "The only public response we've had is that Cory didn't agree with the comments, so we canceled the event," Hansen says.

The underlying message: Gardner wants his opponents, as well as potential conservative supporters who don't like the idea of him kowtowing to progressives, to forget that he had any connection to the King controversy. And he hopes that laying low now will produce future amnesia about the subject.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts