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Tom Tancredo missing 2 gubernatorial forums, but organizers say they didn't exclude him

Tom Tancredo won't be at today's Colorado Election 2010 Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at the University of Denver -- he had a scheduling conflict from the start. Nor will he be at a second forum, Putting Kids First, on Thursday. But the organizers of this second event say Tancredo backed out.

Today's forum, sponsored by the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and 36 other community advocacy organizations, and hosted by Aaron Harber, is open to the public; it starts at noon at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center, 2344 East Iliff Avenue. But technically, it's not a debate. Both Dan Maes and John Hickenlooper will each have an hour to talk and take questions. (For more information, call 303-871-6200.)

The Putting Kids First event will now feature Hickenlooper and Maes from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday and be aired on 9News; it's co-sponsored by the Children's Hospital, the Colorado Children's Campaign, Mile High Mamas and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children.

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"We are thrilled that Mayor Hickenlooper and Mr. Maes will be joining us but are very disappointed that Congressman Tancredo declined our invitation," Children's Hospital CEO Jim Shmerling said in a statement released yesterday. "The Children's Hospital, along with our partner organizations, has worked hard to create an event that deals with issues like health care, a topic on every voter's mind, and having a complete panel of candidates is important to a well-rounded conversation."

Tell that to Club 20, which did not invite Tancredo to participate in this past Saturday's debate.

Tancredo had initially confirmed that he would participate in Putting Kids First, but canceled this weekend because it conflicted with a Greeley fundraiser. According to campaign manager Cliff Dodge, Tancredo could not make today's DU event because of another compaign conflict.

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