Ken Buck: Too extreme for Colorado?
How about, Ken Buck: Too embarrassing for Colorado.
We seem to have our own Joe Biden in the house, a guy who can't stop putting his foot in his mouth. In some ways it's refreshing to see a politician who's not slick enough to lie and obfuscate effectively.
On the other hand, his comments are frightening.
This morning, Buck backed out of an appearance he was supposed to make on the Today show with Democratic opponent Michael Bennet. The decision drew criticism and mockery from Bennet's campaign (not particularly known for their great humor), which tried to tie the cancellation to Buck's latest public gaffe and issued a fake transcript of what might have been said (for the entire release and fake transcript, scroll down to the bottom of the page).
Here's how Buck's week has gone:
On October 17, the Republican Senate candidate -- who has been labeled in commercials by the Michael Bennet campaign as "too extreme for Colorado" -- was chastised for comments he made comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. During a nationally televised debate on Meet the Press, Buck answered a question about whether he thought homosexuality was a choice by saying that he did: "Well, I guess you can choose who your partner is," he said, adding, "I think birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice."
Then, just three days later, Buck again stuck his foot in mouth by championing a GOP senator's view that global warming was a hoax.
"[Oklahoma Senator James] Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated," Buck told a Fort Collins crowd on Wednesday. He has since tried to explain and backtrack on that stance.
Oh, and speaking of shoes, Buck made a crack at GOP rival Jane Norton for wearing high heels back in July that got him in some trouble.
And his poor choice of words seems to date back awhile, as he's been criticized for telling a rape victim five years ago that she might be seen as having "buyer's remorse."
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Ken Buck: Too much of a Shmuck for Colorado.
Page down to read the Bennet campaign's release:
DENVER, CO -- Soon after Ken Buck called climate change a "hoax," Buck cancelled a 5:00a MT appearance on the TODAY Show citing a scheduling conflict. Yes, Ken Buck had a "scheduling conflict" at five in the morning. Michael Bennet was to appear on the show as well and is eager to reschedule.
Since the start of the general election campaign, Ken Buck has become elusive to media and supporters alike but in recent weeks Buck's campaign has gone almost completely silent, stripping his website of his public schedule and cancelling numerous events. Buck was even scheduled to appear alongside his mentor and role model Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, in Grand Junction yesterday but instead delivered his remarks over Skype from Denver.
"Ken Buck has learned that he is too extreme for Colorado and has decided it's better to fly under the radar than tell voters where he stands on the issues," said Bennet for Colorado spokesperson Trevor Kincaid.
Below is a transcript of what Ken Buck might have said if he stuck to previous statements for once.
Hypothetical TODAY Show Interview with Ken Buck
TODAY: We are joined by Republican Ken Buck who is challenging Sen. Michael Bennet for the chance to represent Colorado in the Senate. Ken Buck, welcome.
BUCK: Thanks for having me.
TODAY: Thanks for joining us. Just to start, why should folks watching vote for you?
BUCK: "Why should you vote for me? Because I do not wear high heels...I have cowboy boots, they have real bullshit on them." [Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Party, 7/17/10]
TODAY: Really? That's the only reason people should vote for you? Michael Bennet doesn't wear high heels either. A lot of women would react badly to that statement. What about your stances on other issues that are important to women? On abortion?
BUCK: "You know, obviously, we've got, to end abortions there has to be a law saying you can't have an abortion and there's got to be some sort of penalty for doing that." [Colorado Public Radio, 10/18/10] "And I will answer the next question. I don't believe in the exceptions of rape or incest." [Meeker, 8/2/10] "I believe Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided. As your U.S. Senator, I will sponsor a Constitutional Amendment to protect the life of the unborn. I will vote to confirm only those judicial nominees who respect the intent of America's founders as enshrined in our U.S. Constitution." [BuckforColorado.com]
TODAY: You might have lost the female vote on that answer, but there are other important populations in Colorado. You've taken some hardline stances on immigration and been called accused of racism. How do you respond to those allegations?
BUCK: "I vacation in Mexico, I eat Mexican food. I don't dislike Mexicans." [The Hill, 10/21/10]
TODAY: You also got into some trouble for your stance on whether being gay is a choice that you explained on Meet the Press. Could you clarify those views?
BUCK: "I think birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice." [Meet the Press, 9/17/10]
TODAY: Ok, well then, switching back to the topic of women. You also have gotten some attention for a 2005 rape case that you decided not to prosecute, even though there was a confession from the alleged rapist. Apparently you referred to it as a case of "buyer's remorse"?
BUCK: "One of the reasons was the fact that she had regretted this relationship that she had buyer's remorse as a result of the relationship that she had with this young man. That is, that is something that I think when, when someone decides to make a case public, the public has to understand why." [Meet the Press, 9/17/10]
TODAY: Those are pretty strong statements. By my count, you may well have offended women and Latinos. So let's talk about an issue that is very important to seniors. Social Security is a big topic in this election because the current system is not going to work forever. What is your plan? Do you think the government should be involved in Social Security?
BUCK: "I don't know whether it's constitutional or not; it is certainly a horrible policy."[Constitutionalist Today Forum, 3/9/10] "And we've gonna have to reshape the entitlement programs, and privatize or, or at least give free market incentives in those programs to be able to cut down on, on, on a large part of that budget deficit." [Aaron Harber, Episode 27]
TODAY: Are there any other constitutional issues that you feel really strongly about?
BUCK: "I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. It was not written into the constitution. While we have a constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not gonna have a religion that's sanctioned by the government, it doesn't mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion. I think the separation of church and state is much different than our founding fathers intended it to be and we would be much better off with a closer relationship between church and state." [CCU Senatorial Forum, 11/10/09]
TODAY: Another constitutional issue that some tea party candidates like yourself have raised - including Joe Miller in Alaska - is the 17th amendment. Are you in favor of repealing the 17th amendment, which allows for the popular election of U.S. Senators?
BUCK: "The short answer is yes. The longer answer is I think we need to educate the American public about the populist nature of the 17th Amendment and how it has taken us down the wrong path." [PPEC, 6/17/09]
TODAY: Switching gears now, what about your stance on education?
BUCK: "The Department of Education is something I think the Federal government shouldn't be involved in." [Greenhorn Valley, 3/3/10]
TODAY: And student loans?
BUCK: "There are other programs that are gonna have to take some time to get rid of like student loans." [Teller County Tea Party, 2/6/10]
TODAY: What about your plan to fix the economy and to create jobs?
BUCK: I mean...we could go to a gold standard but we're, we're gonna have some - again, that adjustment can't be made in one day. [PPEC, 6/17/09]
TODAY: Recently, you made headlines for your views on climate change, especially as it relates to Sen. James Inhofe. Are you one of the climate change deniers too?
BUCK: "Deniers? Okay, okay, I'm one of those folks." [Aaron Harber, 3/22/10] "Sen. Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated. The evidence just keeps supporting his view, and more and more people's view, of what's going on." [Fort Collins Coloradoan, 10/21/10]
TODAY: So if it's not man-made, what is causing the variations in climate?
BUCK: "I think it's primarily a result of the fluctuation in the energy that's produced by the sun." [Seng Center, 11/15/09]
TODAY: Well, thank you for joining us this morning. We appreciate you fitting us into your schedule.
For more Shmucks, check out our Shmuck of the Week archive.