Politics & Policy

Denver Post Publisher: ‘Probably Some Truth’ in Hickenlooper’s ‘Backwards Thinking’ Comment; ‘Really Not News’

Last week, a Battle ‘10 exclusive video of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s answer to a question about the establishment of the Matthew Shepard Foundation in Denver last December drew quite a bit of attention locally and nationally–here is the question-and-answer:

Eden Lane: For the Matthew Shepard Foundation to choose Denver to have as it’s home, I think that might surprise some people since they didn’t live in Colorado, he didn’t go to school in Colorado, there really wasn’t that strong a connection. What do you think is it about the environment here in Denver that allowed them to choose this as their home?

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper: I think a couple things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming. Colorado and Wyoming are very similar. We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico.

On 850KOA’s Jon Caldara show last night, Caldara chided the Denver Post for choosing to write an anti-endorsement of Tom Tancredo:

In a new ad, Tancredo criticizes John Hickenlooper for some “elitist” comments the Denver mayor made about rural Coloradans. That’s the same Tancredo who casually threw out the idea of bombing Mecca, the most holy Muslim religious site, as retribution for a terrorist attack.

The Tancredo who advocated a civics literacy test for voters, something that sounds disturbingly similar to the literacy tests used to disenfranchise black voters.

The Tancredo who called the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights group, “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.” And who can forget his calling Miami a “Third World country,” which prompted then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to call Tancredo a “nut”?

The erratic and extreme musings of Tancredo are suitable for the loony talk radio circuit that has devoted countless hours to his ideas. But we question whether they’re appropriate for someone who wants to be Colorado’s next governor.

The Post endorsed John Hickenlooper on October 1, one of their earliest endorsements issued.

Post publisher Dean Singleton phoned in to respond about the Tancredo editorial, and when asked why Tancredo’s old quotes were important but not Hickenlooper’s, Singleton replied (photo credit–Hickenlooper hanging out with the Post crew back in July):

But this happened more than a year ago, and the recording that’s been displayed was from an interview he gave more than a year ago. And, you know, there’s probably some truth to what he had to say–he probably said it the wrong way. If he were running for governor he probably wouldn’t have said it. But the bottom line is that Colorado’s very diverse, there are lots of people with lots of views, and this wasn’t something said on a campaign stump, it was something that happened a long time ago. It’s really not news. But hey, every voter has to take everything into account before they vote and if what he said worries a voter, then a voter should take that into account when he or she goes into the polls to vote.

Full audio here. Thanks to CompleteColorado.com for the excerpt.

Apparently for the Post, the personal foibles and character issues raised by Dan Maes’ own shortcomings from his past–all the way back to the 1980s–is fair game.

Tancredo’s comments from earlier this decade? Fair game.

All of this is true, and perfectly fair. There is no disagreement there.

But Hickenlooper’s comment from December 2009 is “really not news” because he wasn’t running for governor at the time?

If that’s the standard, then the question for the Post is what is an acceptable timeline for the application of a person’s conduct–both actions AND comments, and should that standard be applied consistently to all candidates?

Battle ‘10 contacted the Post for comment.

Post Political Editor Curtis Hubbard, who posted a link to the original Hickenlooper story last Friday morning on the Spot blog responded by saying that “we [the Post] were among the first to report the story online,” and followed that up with another story by Christopher N. Osher–including a link to the video–and an AP report later that afternoon.

Glenn Beck weighed in on Hickenlooper’s comments:

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