Colorado GOP Senate nominee Cory Gardner has been confronted before by journalists when he has tried to deny that a federal bill he sponsors is in effect a personhood bill, which could significantly limit abortion access.
But at a debate Wednesday night, moderator Kyle Clark of KUSA in Denver put Gardner’s dodges in perhaps the starkest terms yet, adding fuel to the fire Sen. Mark Udall has been trying throughout his campaign to fan with women voters.
“You continue to deny that the federal Life at Conception Act, which you sponsor, is a personhood bill to end abortion and we are not going to debate that here tonight because it’s a fact,” Clark said. “Your co-sponsors say so, your opponents say so, and independent fact-checkers say so.”
“So let’s instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgment more broadly,” Clark continued. “It would seem that a charitable interpretation would be that you have a difficult time admitting when you’re wrong and a less charitable interpretation is that you’re not telling us the truth. Which is it?”
“I think again I do not support the personhood amendment,” Gardner said, apparently referring to a state amendment that he had renounced at the start of his Senate campaign. “The bill that you’re referring to is simply a statement that I support life. But let me just repeat the words of Sen. Udall –“
“But why does no one else think that? That’s what we’re getting at,” Clark said, continuing to press Gardner on the issue.
“What I’m asking you about here is what appears to be the willing suspension of the facts,” Clark said. “People who agree with you on the issue of life think you’re wrong about how you’re describing the bill. Everybody seems to have a cohesive idea of what this is with the exception of you, and I’m just wondering: What should voters glean from that fact?”
“There are people who agree with my opinion on life. There are people who don’t,” Gardner said. “I support life, I’ve voted for exceptions, but the fact is that the bill that you are talking about is simply a statement that I support life.”
The exchange, clipped by Udall’s campaign, is below.