TOWN HALL: Lamborn obstructs effort to inform (poll)

WAYNE LAUGESEN Updated: June 20, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: June 20, 2012

The public’s right to know is paramount, especially during an election. That’s why The Gazette invited primary candidates to the set of Gazette TV for live-streaming, unfiltered videos that are broadcast on the Internet for anyone to see.

So we are troubled that our own member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, has interfered with efforts to give the public more access to politicians who seek their votes.

The following message was left for Albert Sweet, who’s in a Republican primary against Lois Landgraf for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives. It reveals Lamborn asking a candidate to cancel his public appearance.

“Al, this is Congressman Doug Lamborn, and I have real problems with how The Gazette treated me in this online video chat yesterday, and I would like to urge you not to do it, because they were dishonest with me, and unfair, and I can give you the specifics. They did things to help my opponent that they did not tell me they were doing, and they were unfair to me. And I just think you shouldn’t do this. Please give me a call. Thank you. Bye.”

Sweet and Landgraf cancelled their appearances one hour before the show on Friday. Another GOP candidate said Lamborn’s wife, Jeanie Lamborn, left a message urging cancellation of an appearance. The candidate said Mrs. Lamborn explained that she planned to interfere with all The Gazette’s candidate interviews. It all began after Lamborn appeared on GazetteTV last Thursday.

“I had a bad experience and I’m still upset about it,” Lamborn said on Monday, explaining why he asked other candidates to cancel.

Who are you supporting in the Blaha vs. Lamborn primary? Vote in poll to the right. Must vote to see results.

The Gazette originally wanted a format in which Robert Blaha and Lamborn would appear side-by-side to for a moderated conversation, which seemed like the arrangement most valuable to the community. Lamborn declined. That led The Gazette to devise a format in which Lamborn would appear first, Blaha second. Lamborn asked to go second, so The Gazette changed the order of appearances. Blaha reluctantly agreed to the change, but asked to refute Lamborn with comments in a news article about the event. Lamborn did not like that arrangement, which is among the reasons he asked other candidates to boycott the show.

Lamborn’s other major complaint involves comments made by his predecessor, former Rep. Joel Hefley, who served the Fifth Congressional District for 20 years. During his Gazette TV appearance, Lamborn argued that he had “gone beyond” Hefley’s legacy. Contacted by a reporter after the show, Hefley called Lamborn a “knucklehead,” and questioned how Lamborn could be so stupid. Lamborn believes a Gazette reporter misled Hefley about his statements on the show, but Hefley later stood firm in his criticism of Lamborn.

Politics is a rough-and-tumble business. We suggest that Rep. Lamborn develop thicker skin and stop acting like a candidate for junior high student council. Sabotaging public access to candidates interferes with fair and open political process.

That's our view, so what's yours? Please begin or contribute to a Facebook discussion below this article, and vote in the poll to the upper right of here.

Friend editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen on Facebook, follow him on Twitter

Must-see-daily site: Complete Colorado

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