"While it was not popular with some in my own party or with the Bush Administration at the time, I authored legislation to increase the troop-strength and division size of our Army because I recognize that we must have a larger and better equipped Army to meet our national security needs."
Mark Udall was a vocal opponent of the USA Patriot Act because he viewed the legislation as a threat to our civil liberties and freedom as American citizens.
However, he is a firm supporter of our troops and any effort to strengthen our national security (so long as it retains Constitutional integrity.) I realize that "Constitutional integrity" is up to debate between a given party's interpretation, yet I think it's important to consider Udall's backing legislation to expand Army division in both size and strength when evaluating his stance on national security.
Our national security is hinged upon the resources, training, and strength of our armed forces. Udall is committed to this end while "focusing specifically on our military preparedness, diplomatic efforts, the security of our borders, civil defense, and energy security."
National Security (www.markudall.com)
Side: National Security
Admitting mistakes is not a trait commonly associated with politicians. However, in his statement regarding education, Udall admits that his vote for No Child Left Behind was not one that he would give again.
Udall: In 2001, I voted for the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act because I felt it was an important bipartisan step toward the establishment of higher academic standards and accountability. Unfortunately, I believe it must be acknowledged that NCLB has fallen short of our expectations.
In an attempt to fix the damage caused by NCLB, Udall introduced the CLASS ACT which would provide more adequate funding and better instruction to meet both student and faculty requirements.
Udall to fix NCLB (markudall.house.gov)
Side: Mark Udall
The truth of the matter is, this is one race that actually deserves Coloradans' attention. Both candidates have significant track records to point to that clearly define their politics. If even one of them can avoid the ever popular 'run to the middle' as the election draws near, we may have a race that lives up the democratic ideals this country was founded on.
Side: No Middle-Men Please
The two Senate candidates for the state of Colorado met head to head this Saturday for their fifth debate in Grand Junction and put some more fuel on top of what is already amounting to be one of the more fiery campaigns for the Senate this year.
The debate was an exhibit of how aggressive the mudslinging between Mark Udall (D) and Bob Schaffer (R) has become and offers voters a glimpse of what more is to come before November.
While they traded jabs regarding known and lesser known controversies between the two of them (ie. Schaffer's trip to the Northern Mariana Islands funded by jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Udall's authorization of a bill that would have allowed American oil companies to drill near Cuba, which would offer a boost to the current Communist regime,) the debate highlighted each candidates positions on issues directly important to the voters of Colorado, namely energy, the economy, and the war in Iraq.
For his part, Udall came out with the strongest last word when each candidate was asked to state three things that he would have voted on differently than the incumbent, Wayne Allard (R), should they take the Senate seat.
While Schaffer claimed he couldn't think of anything in particular he would have done differently than Allard, Udall quickly responded that he would have voted against the war in Iraq; he would have voted for the Federal Renewable Electricity Standard; and he would have voted in support of middle class tax cuts rather than the Bush tax cuts for higher income brackets.
Fifth Debate (www.denverpost.com)
Side: Fifth Debate
One of Udall's most important issues (both ofr Colorado and on a personal level) is health care reform. This stagnant economy and negative job market has left many Coloradans without sufficient coverage, and many families without coverage at all.
Udall has a plan to reform Children's health care, a most important endeavor, and, even more often looked over, prenatal health care. His comprehensive plan would also put a larger portion of the federal budget towards health tax credits for the low-income and uninsured.
Udall for American health care (markudall.house.gov)
Side: Udall better health
Mark Udall is leading his Republican rival in the Colorado Senate race by an 8 percentage points according a recent poll released by Suffolk University.
Yet, the real issue is the fact that the same report shows that nearly 22% of the Colorado voters participating are still undecided. Environmental, economic, and worker's rights issues are still significant factors determining the independent vote. Expect to see these two candidates make stronger stands and attacks on these issues in future debates and press conferences.
Udall's Edge (www.gjsentinel.com)
Side: Udall's Edge
The latest poll released today (Thursday) by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. (Udall's campaign pollster) showed that Mark Udall (D) was ahead of his rival, Bob Schaffer, by 11 points.
The margin of error is +/- 3.6 points yet the results still are not easily accepted by the Schaffer campaign who has spent millions of dollars on campaign ads to pull votes away from Udall. Schaffer's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, has denied the validity of the numbers, stating, *""This race, in reality, it is deadlocked. And if they want to believe their fanciful numbers, I invite them to do so."
Nonetheless, the numbers cannot lie about voters' approval of Udall's position on energy (an elaborate plan aimed at researching and developing renewable and alternative sources,) which is a key talking point in this race.
Latest Polls (www.politickerco.com)
Side: Latest Polls
Udall on Immigration
In an MSNBC interview, Mark Udall states at about the 3:07 mark his general position on immigration.
“We need to reinforce our security on the borders, and then provide a temporary legal path for people who are here. Bring them out of the shadows. I think it's a common sense approach. John McCain supports it. We support it. Barack Obama supports it.“
Udall has a significant voting record behind this position. He has cosponsored or voted for the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007 (SAVE) (HR 4088), the Immigration Security and Efficiency Enhancement Act of 2003 (HR 1464), the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for FY 2008 (HR 2638), the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and illegal immigration Control Act of 2005 (HR 4437), and the Border Tunnel Protection Act of 2006 (HR 4830).
When Tom Brokaw asks about sending illegal immigrants back to Mexico, Udall answers, “It would really hurt [Colorado’s and New Mexico’s] economies and that’s why it’s unrealistic.”
Udall Supports Guns But Wants to Reduce Gun Violence
Columbine still evokes reactions from Colorado citizens. Where does Udall stand on guns?
“I believe the 2nd amendment protects an individual’s rights to own firearms,“ answers Udall in a question about where he stands on guns in the video below. However, he is against gun violence. He supports Project Exile, which the NRA supports. The program attempts to reduce gun violence. He states, “I do believe that fire arms should be taken out of the hands of children and criminals.” And he attacks Bob Schaffer for voting against a bill that he claims would have taken semi-automatic weapons away from children.
Udall: Low Interest Rates and Pell Grants Make College Affordable
In this video, Udall addresses how to cope with the rising costs of college education. “The way we make a difference at the federal level is lower interest rates for students and make more Pell Grants money available.” He attacks his opponent for voting against these methods.
How Udall Will Fund Alternative Energy
The environment has received more attention this year than in any before. Yet the economy may put a wrench in the plans of environmentalists. How would Udall fund new technology? Udall answers in the video below, “The way we pay for these new tax credits and investments in a whole new energy economy is first and foremost redirect all the tax breaks and subsidies that go to the oil companies today into theses new technologies.”
He attacks his opponent for being oil and gas executive. He frames the energy policy as an American bipartisan issue that could lead to a better environment, energy independence, and a growing economy. Eastern Colorado’s wind industry would particularly benefit from a new direction in energy policy.
Side: Mark Udall
Udall: Against Drilling
This attack ad funded by the NRSC, claims that Mark Udall is against offshore drilling, more domestic exploration, and expanding energy production. Without the dramatic imagery and sound, Udall would largely agree with this portrayal. He states on his campaign website,
“For Colorado's sake, I have fought efforts by the Bush Administration to open up some of our special lands (like the un-drilled portion of the Roan Plateau) to more development because not every place that can support oil drilling should be drilled in my view. There are places we ought to conserve for future generations.”
Further, he states, “we cannot drill our way to energy security.”
It's very simple. The Republican party got us to where we are today- disgraced abroad, displaced at home. The economy is in the tank, the environment is in peril, and federal support for education is a joke. I live in Colorado, and I am excited at the thought of having two senators with a little "d" by their name. And, from the amount of lawn signs in my area (Wash Park, Denver) I have many neighbors who feel the same.
Side: Mark Udall
Former Democratic Congressman and now Senate Candidate for state of Colorado Mark Udall, as Big Iron stated, was opposed to the Patriot Act however, a bill introduced into the House by Democratic Congressman from New York Gary Ackerman has 273 co-sponsors and Mr. Udall is one of them.
This bill may come off as peaceful by many political officials when discussed in the media but just like the Iraq resolutions throughout the 90s and earlier this decade, this is a drumbeat for War with Iran. In 1998 the Clinton Administration had the Iraq Liberation Act passed, which made the key United States Foreign Policy to remove Saddam Hussein.
When tensions exude between Iran and the United States and war breaks out Mr. Mark Udall will be one of the instigators of this war.
Co-Sponsors to H.CON.RES 362 (www.govtrack.us)
Side: Mark Udall
Again, in the case of Mark Udall (D) and Bob Schaffer (R), we see a stark contrast in two candidates' ideas about best to address the predicament on Wall Street.
Schaffer (who is working hard to align himself with Sen. Wayne Allard) opposes government intervention and views any federal interference as "the biggest problem in general."
Schaffer's position with regard to tighter regulations agrees with Allard's claim that "Only the rarest of circumstances warrant the federal government or taxpayers simply absorbing the risk in the investing equation. … Rough times in the financial markets are not necessarily the result of bad government and Congress should resist the temptation of sweeping reactionary legislation, which generally has a poor track record of actually addressing underlying problems.”
On the other hand, Udall has endorsed the tighter federal regulations and will back any federal action to curb the decline in our economy.
He notes, "“We need a new approach that will re-establish some ground rules in the marketplace to protect Americans’ investments in the economy and restore their confidence in the financial markets.”
Regardless, both statements from Allard and Udall are dependent on the essential and all-hallowed factor of consumer confidence in the American market. For me personally, the most frustrating thing is that we have only time to tell which position (tighter regulation or no regulation) will prove to be best approach to our economic woes.
To Regulate or Not to Regulate (www.gjsentinel.com)
Side: To Regulate or Not to Regulate
In recent debate between the two Colorado Senate candidates, Bob Schaffer (R) defended himself against Udall's argument that he had at agreed with Newt Gingrich's proposal to cut Medicare funding and let the program "wither on the vine."
Udall threw the first punch (of course) saying, "It's Congressman Schaffer who's called Medicare 'socialist' and agreed with Newt Gingrich's idea that it can wither on the vine."
Knowing that having his name lumped in with any proposal to cut Medicare funds (much less one made by Gingrich) is way too risky to ignore, especially in our current political predicament, Schaffer shot back, ""The notion that I ever suggested it should go away is preposterous. You know that."
The issue is still on the burner, along with the bailout (the nation's current top political priority it seems) and Schaffer and Udall have two more debates scheduled this weekend for Colorado voters to tune into:
The debate briefly detailed here will be aired on KWGN Channel 2 tomorrow September 27th at 8pm.
The two candidates will again appear for a live debate Sunday morning on Meet the Press at 9am.
Udall and Schaffer Spar Twice (www.rockymountainnews.com)
Side: Udall and Schaffer Spar Twice
The "Meet the Press" debate between Mark Udall (D) and Bob Schaffer (R) hit the TV sets this past Sunday and the two Senate candidates for Colorado took the opportunity to attack each other on economic issues as it sits fresh but heavy on the voting publics' minds.
Udall criticized Schaffer's record in support of the policies and decisions that, he argued, have helped to bring about the current crisis.
Schaffer responded by pointing out that it was Udall who had voted against tighter regulations for financial institutions such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Udall stated, "This is the result of years and years of Republican leadership, or lack thereof, in Washington. Tax cuts for those who don't need it, tax cuts for the oil companies."
Schaffer then played Udall's experience against the Democrat: "Mark, I've been out of Congress for six years. You've been there for 10. Tell us what you've done."
The tension in the debate heightened as Udall accused Schaffer of supporting the Bush tax cuts and his support for the oil industry.
Schaffer denied the Democrat's remarks and again noted that Udall rejected the initial bills that would have tightened regulations in the financial markets.
Udall went on to express the widespread disapproval of the bailout among his voting base. Schaffer then maintained that the bailout was regrettably necessary and added that the financial assistance was "essentially a tax."
He added, "There's nothing to like about the notion that there is a $700 billion fix needed with respect to a collapse on Wall Street."
Meet the Press Debate (ap.google.com)
Side: Meet the Press Debate
TONIGHT OCTOBER 6th at 7pm 9NEWS and the University of Denver will broadcast the "Decision 2008: Senate Showdown" between Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer as they compete for Sen. Wayne Allard's (R) seat in the U.S. Senate.
The debate will be held at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts and will be aired tonight at 7pm on 9NEWS.
The debate is open to the public and you can also submit questions for the candidates (which may be used in the debate) to [email protected]
TONIGHT'S DEBATE (www.9news.com)
Side: TONIGHT'S DEBATE
When all the talk about Joe the Plumber started up, it brought to mind a similar incident where Bob Schaffer used an ordinary citizen for political gain, but unlike our pal Joe, the citizen Schaffer used was an unwilling participant. When Schaffer was a Representative for the House of Rep. from Fort Collins, he decided to make some hay out of naming Post Offices after ordinary citizens facing life's "extraordinary challenges". He pushed through a bill in congress naming the local post office after Barney Apodaca, who did not want that to happen, and asked for it to be taken back. You can read about it in the humorous book Bush-Whacked, Chronicles of Government Stupidity (available on amazon)- it's on page 67. Just another example of how out of touch the GOP really is with the common man.
Schaffer Didn't Ask (www.mnddc.org)
Side: Mark Udall
Udall talks about health care for the uninsured and the underinsured, but what about citizens in Colorado who are victims of Rocky Flats? Officially, according to the government and ISIS, the nuclear waste and mess from the Rocky Flats power plant has been cleaned up and the buildings removed. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth and Udall seems to have no idea!
Coloradans are upset about the lack of funding for health care for them and are still suffering from the radiation and toxins.
IS Udall ignoring them the way he is choosing to ignore funding for our troops coming home?
Side: Udall ignorant
Supporting the military is one thing that Bob Shaffer has a plan to do with great zeal. He has voted to support the military and war spending in Iraq, improve education opportunities and funding for US soldiers and support the military's presence in Colorado. He wants to increase the education credit for soldiers newly discharged and insure that all of the schooling opportunities promised will be afforded to returning troops.
Shaffer worked to spearhead an extra $15.1 million worth of federal funding for a new Mobilization and Training equipment site at Fort Carson, too.
Side: More military money
Udall is one the congressional endorsements that Obama has picked up. That means he will be one of those most liable to become disappointed at what Obama would actually do if elected president. Schaffer would not be my favorite choice but has some experience in the House of Representatives and showed signs of supporting term limits against the wishes of his own party.
Bob Schaffer (R)
In an interesting analysis of recent polls regarding the Colorado Senate race, the Hill Research Consultants showed a 41 to 38 Robert Shaffer (R) lead over his Democratic rival Mark Udall, which is nearly a 4 point margin error from the Rasmussen results and the Mason-Dixon outlier.
Yet, the Hill Research Consultant poll was conducted by known members of the Shaffer campaign and (according to the source) is intended to provide Shaffer supporters "with guarded optimism."
Nonetheless, each one of the polls points to a significant variable that is more prominent in this election than perhaps it's been since the '72 Presidential Election: the youth vote.
2008 has already panned out to be a historic election year by sheer number. Yet, in this particular Senate race, it will be interesting to see the turnout and/or influence of the "new" vote on the outcome. As it is, I'd argue that Shaffer holds more of a lead than the polls suggest in that he carries with his candidacy a consistent vote that bar-none will be at the booth when the time comes.
Udall's voter turnout seems to be up in the air, but not underestimated.
Polls Voting Dynamics (schaffervudall.blogspot.com)
Side: Polls Voting Dynamics
Robert Shaffer is most definitely a conservative leader with his eye on education reform. His parents both worked in the educational system, and Shaffer himself has five children. He supports more federal funding for school related programs, raised teacher pay (H.R. 1995, RC Vote # 320, 7/20/99) and supports federal giving for children "trapped" in unsafe school environments (H.R. 1, RC Vote #135).
Also struck by No Child Left Behind, Colorado is hurting for reform to help bring actual progression into classrooms and leave behind falsified numbers. Shaffer believes that the state should not have to shell out extra cash that it doesn't have for better schooling but that it is the duty of the federal government to provide the funds to insure that Colorado's children get a more than satisfactory education.
Isn't that wonderful?
Bob Shaffer school platforms (www.bobschafferforsenate.com)
Side: Bob Shaffer for schools
Bob Shaffer is fed up with the extra spending Colorado taxpayers do to keep the Washington Bureaucracy happy. He insists that people step forward and become better educated to know about the issues on Washington and dictate where their money goes. In order to help his state get a better foothold in government, Shaffer will balance the budget, force Washington to become more accountable for their spending, press biennial budgeting to prevent waste temptation or out-of-pocket expenses for Americans, and stop automatic pay raises for Congress.
What is Udall doing? He wants to cut funding in the wrong places by voting to cut funding for the war. Shaffer supports our troops and will work with the government to support them. Udall doesn't seem to have the military's interests at heart. How is Udall going to change the conflict? By cutting funding from our military where our troops still need it.
Shaffer budget (video.google.com)
Side: Shaffer supports troops
Congressman Udall has had John Kerry's endorsement since January. This should be unwanted by more Democrats in light of several of Kerry's past election performances, his Skull and Bones membership, and some level of confidence that Jeff Beatty can unseat him this year. Udall voted against beginning to withdraw our troops from Iraq in 90 days.
Bob Schaffer (R)
First of all, John Kerry is generally a respected member of the Democratic Party and his endorsement is not necessarily poison.
As for Kerry's susceptibility in Massachussettes, the predominant information I can find (via Google: "john kerry vs jeff beatty") is sourced from Mr. Beatty's organization or from conservative websites/blogs. Even the "main-stream media" articles that I find are just quotes from Mr. Beatty. I couldn't find any suggestion from non-Beatty sources that suggest Democrats are all that unhappy with John Kerry. I suggest this is a red-herring argument from a conservative who is not interested in Colorado's future.
Google Search on the Kerry v Beatty race (www.google.com)
Side: No Middle-Men Please
Schaffer’s Interpretation of the Second Amendment
In this video, Bob Schaffer clearly states his position and interpretation on guns.
“The Second Amendment is about the power and importance of individuals.... The Second Amendment is about national security. It is about individual security. It is about the ability of individuals to protect themselves and communities.”
He claims to be the only candidate supporting the Second Amendment. This, however, is false. Mark Udall unequivocally states that he supports the amendment in this video.
Schaffer on Renewable Energy
Schaffer wants 1000s of private developers, not utilities, to receive renewable tax credits. How will renewable energy be paid for? He suggests, “The more people, the more entities, the more corporate taxpayers that we can get into [the renewable energy industry], the more revenue they will create for the federal government.”
To bolster his commitment to renewable energy, Schaffer states, “In the private sector I have worked for an energy company that has been a producer of wind energy and has been a developer of wind projects. “ However, the company that he worked for was Aspect Energy, LLC. Natural gas represents a major investment of the company’s energy portfolio. The company’s website states, “One major clean energy resource is natural gas, and approximately 80% of Aspect’s current hydrocarbon production is natural gas.” The company does an extensive amount of drilling.
Schaffer Protecting Workers and/or Employers
I support protecting and preserving your right to a secret, private ballot when it comes to you casting votes on whether you want to join a labor union or have one organize your worksite. He attacks Udall for voting against a secret ballot. The bill that Schaffer refers to is the Employee Free Choice Act. Under current law, the majority of union members must vote to decide whether the union will go to the bargaining table with employers. Schaffer frames the new bill as a problem because it infringes on the democratic process within unions and subjugates the say of individuals to the votes of union leaders. However, the candidate does not mention the headaches this bill would cause employers. An expedited voting process would mean that union leaders would make more demands on employers. Schaffer’s stance on the bill could be as much if not more of a statement of his support of business over labor.
Schaffer’s Plan for Economic Growth: Cut Taxes
Schaffer supports extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. It is unclear whether he would make them permanent. In the name of supporting the middle class, he calls for an end to the Alternative Minimum Tax. The end of the tax would especially help those in the upper class. The U.S. has the second highest business-income tax rate in the world; he would cut taxes on corporations. How much is not clear.
On the Issues (www.bobschafferforsenate.com)
Republican Colorado Senate Candidate Robert Schaffer is the most recent public official signing to repeal the Death Tax. The more research on candidates who are currently in or running for a seat in either Congress or Senate, the more you see that nearly everyone is opposed to the death tax.
So why the Death Tax is is still being implemented and has not been overturned yet? Very simple: election year. Once the election is over the issue of the death tax, which is one of the most unfair and completely unneeded taxes, will be overlooked and be continued to happen to citizens across the United States.
The Death Tax will not be repealed because the Government needs the tax. They continue to borrow the money to spend like a “drunken sailor” and when that does not work, they have to tax the average American like there is no tomorrow.
Let’s hope that Mr. Schaffer will continue to uphold is promise to help repeal the Death Tax.
Photographs of Mr. Schaffer signing the pledge (www.bobschafferforsenate.com)
Side: Bob Schaffer
“Big Oil” Bob Schaffer website is a publication to show Mr. Schaffer’s stance on oil and how he is allegedly involved with big oil. Some interesting facts on this publication show that Mr. Schaffer’s oil company has been directly involved in the recent deprecating lands:
"Our public lands are being destroyed because oil executive like Bob Schaffer support record profits over responsible drilling," noted Michael Goodman of Rifle, Colorado, who has been hunting elk since he was 18.
Fact: Schaffer's oil company has an acquisition arm in Colorado's oil industry including 28 producing gas wells in the Piceance Basin of Colorado reported on June 20, 2006. (Aspect Energy website)”
Side: Bob Schaffer
Schaffer’s Immigration Rewards and Risks
Schaffer wants to “enhance reward and risk” associated with immigration. He would reward immigrants who comply with laws with temporary work. He is not clear on how immigrants could earn the higher reward of citizenship. As for risk, Schaffer, like his Democratic opponent, takes a tough stand on securing the borders. He advocates physical barriers, technological surveillance, and more policing along the border and ports.
On the Issues (www.bobschafferforsenate.com)
The Colorado Senate race is among six which Republican Senator John Ensign characterized as being within the margin of error according to polls for the National Republican Senatorial Committee which is led by the Nevada Senator. The implication is clearly that in a year where Republicans are troubled by the burden of an unpopular outgoing administration, so many "pick 'em" races is "so far, so good" for the Republicans.
Side: Bob Schaffer
Wendy Doromal, a human rights activist, has accused Bob Schaffer (R) of delaying key workers' rights reforms particularly in relation to the "conditions faced by workers in the U.S. Northern Mariana Islands" (according to the Rocky Mountain News.)
She cites as evidence the Republican congressman's dealings with the notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who helped stall the reforms under contract with the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Shaffer traveled to the Mariana Islands in 1999 at Abramoff's expense to inspect the working conditions at the factories there. Essentially, while Schaffer did make note of the harsh and inhumane conditions at a specific garment factory, Doromal and her cohorts claim he failed to address a muriad of other atrocities they uncovered, including "forced abortions, prostitution or other abuses" according to the report.
Allan Stayman, a staffmember of the Senate who sides with Doromal, begs the question, ""Will Schaffer admit that he was wrong about conditions in Saipan? Will Schaffer admit he was wrong to block reforms? Will he apologize to the thousands of people who suffered because of the delay he helped bring about?"
Workers Rights Issue (www.rockymountainnews.com)
Side: Workers Rights Issue
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