HH: One of the toughest guys in American politics, he likes to stand right there in the middle, and give and take, and give and take, is Bob Beauprez, Congressman from the 7th Congressional district, there for four years, soon to be Colorado’s next governor. Governor-elect, or soon to be, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
BB: It’s great to be with you face to face in studio. It’s a lot of fun…
HH: You know, you have the worst cell phone coverage. I’m so glad to see you, because you’re always up on some mountain somewhere talking to some sheepherder, or something. Congressman Beauprez, just…let’s get people set here, before we talk inside baseball and Colorado politics. Tell them about you. You’re a man of the West.
BB: I am. Native of Colorado. In fact, three generations on Dad’s side, five on Mom’s, agriculture all the way. Spent the first 42 years of my life with my folks on our dairy farm, and glad of it. Cows were good to us. Marketed them all over the world, really. Australia’s the only continent we didn’t get them on. After that, like a lot of farms up and down the front range, we were in the path of development. The family’s handed it to me, and said see if you can do something with this. And so, it’s now a 700 acre, 1,350 unit housing development, 18 hole golf course. Put my old hometown of Lafayette on the map. We’re very proud of it, too. Claudia and I bought into a community bank. That same year, we got out of the cattle business and started the development. Bought into a little community bank, and it was threatened with foreclosure. The regulators said get some more capital in here, get some new management in, or else. And they found me. Claudia and I had a great time with that. We took it from a bank that really was about to fail, less than $4 million in assets. It’s $450 million today, and a great way, Hugh, you can imagine being a community banker. Every shape, size, kind of mom and pop owner operated business shows up. You meet them at their kitchen table, the job site. You walk in their shoes. What training to eventually be a representative of the people, to see how maybe you can make a little bit of difference, enhance their opportunity when they’re willing to take a risk, that maybe that risk is rewarded with more success.
HH: Now the reason I asked you to do that is, this is the easiest call in America. You’ve got a farmer and a rancher and a banker who’s helped people build businesses in Colorado, which is a state that needs to continue to grow, and you’ve got a trial lawyer, who…Plea Bargain Bill. I don’t see how this is close, but I know they’re throwing the kitchen sink at you.
BB: They really are, and you know, I see the choice as much the same way. There’s nothing wrong with being a lawyer, nothing wrong with being a D.A. Examine the record, and see if he’s been a good one. But that’s his entire career. And this state is much more diverse than that. And when you ask people, as one of the pollsters just did, tell me what your…how you would rate economic development, high, very high? Probably three out of four people in the state say it’s at least high, or very high priority. Of course it is. Jobs, careers, sustaining our families, some predictability on how we’re going to live tomorrow, next year. Of course it is. Now as I tell folks, if you were going to get on a plane this afternoon, you’d want to know an experienced pilot’s in the cockpit. If the number one job in front of the state is economic development, job creation, career enhancement, sustainability, wouldn’t you want somebody that’s at least sat in the saddle?
HH: You’d also want someone who particularly is connected…this is a strange state. It’s like California. People do care a lot about their physical geography. They care a lot about conservation, in the T.R. sense of the word. I’m so glad to see Republicans talking conservation. It’s on the front page of your web page at www.bobbeauprez.com. Does the environment come into this? Because lawyers don’t save environment. Ranchers save environments.
BB: You got it. And I learned on the ground that especially if you’re dependent on the land, the water, the animals for your very livelihood, and that of the next generation as well, you learn conservation the old Teddy Roosevelt way. You learn how to take care of it. I think that’s common sense that’s second nature to me, and it does matter in Colorado. As we say often, this is a special place. We know that. That’s why we call it home.
HH: Gorgeous day to be here today. I drove back and forth to the Springs, and it was one of those Colorado days that makes me think I could live here. Now let me ask you, Congressman, as well. You were the party chairman, so you know politics. And you were the chairman when they did the 24 hour get out the vote thing, the 72 hour that brought you that landslide win in the district from hell. And so you’ve seen before, and I’ve asked everyone on today, compared to four years ago, how does this operation look to you in terms of energy and effectiveness?
BB: I think we’re coming together. We may, in truth, be coming together a little later than we did in 2002, but we’re coming together. As you can imagine in a statewide race, I’m in every corner of it. We’ve been in every county, talking to the county party faithful. I think, Hugh, we are coming together the way we need to. It’s not easy, but it is relatively straightforward. Here’s how I think we win on November 7th. If our base comes home, if the conservative, the center-right voters in Colorado come home and show up and vote, we win.
HH: Now you’ve had a lot of debates. It’s one of the unique things. Most of the Democrats are hiding. I’ll give Bill Ritter credit for walking into the lumber room and getting hit with a 2 X 4. It’s sort of a little bit like a bobo doll, but that’s good. I love that. Now do the media here, which is so overwhelmingly left, cover these the way they ought to be covered?
BB: They, in my opinion, they have not covered them in any great depth. They’ve put pictures in, and a couple of quotes from him, a couple of quotes from me, but not really capturing a tone of this guy won the debate, that guy didn’t. They usually get a supporter of me, a supporter of him, and I think try to convince readers it’s a draw. It’s not been a draw. I enjoy these debates. I think it has really drawn out the distinct differences, especially the life experience differences between Bill and I. He doesn’t really have a plan. He’s going to study everything. He’s going to appoint a task force after elected. He’s going to have a commission to review this and review that. He doesn’t know, because he’s never really been in the driver’s seat, and had to do it, had to make a decision, had to put together a strategy, hire a team, surround yourself with good people, and lead. It’s not him.
HH: I’m talking with Congressman Bob Beauprez, candidate for governor in Colorado, about the political environment, not just in the Rocky Mountain State, but across the United States. It transfers. It travels. It matters a great deal. Now you have in Colorado your own little Soros crowd. You’ve got a bunch of deep pocket lefties. Tim Gill is a gay rights activist. You’ve got some other people who are collectivist oriented. You’ve got terrible campaign finance laws, in that it’s not a playing field that’s level. These guys can dig real deep, and you can’t match them on that. Can you break through that noise? And it’s nasty. I’ve been watching the ads one night. It’s nasty.
BB: Yeah, and probably going to get nastier, and you’re right. It isn’t about the masses on the left that are throwing money at this. This is three or four people. It’s Gill and Stryker, Polis to a degree, but it’s that crowd.
HH: What does Stryker do? Is he also…
HH: She? Okay.
BB: She inherited a ton of money, and when Tim says I need a check, she apparently writes one.
HH: Has she got a particular issue? Is she an environmentalist?
BB: No. Just left of center. Just left of center.
BB: And billionaires. And so they’re trying to buy Colorado. Between them and the labor unions, Hugh, they’re trying to buy Colorado. You hit the nail on the head. We’ve got very restrictive campaign finance laws here. Candidates can’t possibly raise the kind of money that these people will dump into races, in these 527’s, that are uncontrolled, unregulated, unaccountable, and it makes it very, very difficult. What can we do? There is a group out there, calls themself Trailhead. They’ve been able to raise some money. It doesn’t appear to be near enough. They’ve done some stuff, I guess, on my behalf.
HH: You can’t coordinate with them.
BB: Can’t coordinate with them.
HH: Are they any good?
BB: Well, they’ve done some things on my behalf that you always wonder…here’s the problem with 527’s, whether they’re for you or against you. Sometimes, they set the message. You know, I get up and this week, we’re going to talk about immigration, or water, or taxes. And they come up with an ad about a different subject, and there you go.
HH: Because you can’t coordinate.
BB: You can’t…I mean, you can’t even be seen on the street with them.
BB: So no, you can’t coordinate, and it makes it very, very difficult. And it’s impossible, it seems, for us on the right, us conservatives, us Republicans, to raise the kind of money that these two or three billionaires will drop just in kind of walking around dough.
HH: Now Congressman Beauprez, you just came back from D.C. You’ve served four years, got a lot done. But you know the mess that was left behind in our laps, as Republicans, by your colleague, and now out of there, thank goodness, Mark Foley, and a media relentless in its decision to paint with a broad brush. You’re one of the most ethical guys, and everyone salutes you for that. Has that hurt? Has that shrugged off now?
BB: When I…no, we’re not done with it. When I mentioned a bit ago, Hugh, that our base has to come home, that’s part of the problem. You know, some of them aren’t happy about this or that, or something else. We had the referendum C and D debate here, we had a very divisive Senate primary two years ago. You remember that one.
BB: We’ve had our battles in this state. I had a primary. I think we’re over that one, thankfully. But then you add to it, if people didn’t feel a little bit nauseous already, you add to it this Foley thing, and there’s a whole lot of folks that have got a knot in their belly, and hopefully we can get it untied.
HH: But you’ve got to get leadership…I mean, you’ve got a marriage amendment that’s got to pass, you’ve got a school amendment that’s got to pass, you’ve got all sorts of stuff that’s got to pass.
BB: This…we say it too often, that this might be a watershed election. But I think this one is right up there, Hugh. This is a watershed moment for Colorado. After what we’ve seen come out of the Democrat legislature in but two sessions, the Governor’s vetoed almost a hundred bills. We’ve got a supreme court that hangs in the balance. This is a watershed election if ever there was one, and that’s why I’m so committed to winning.
HH: And it matters for 2008 in such a big way. I’ll be right back. We’ll talk about that, and Plea Bargain Bill Ritter with Bob Beauprez, Congressman extraordinaire, next governor of Colorado.
HH: I was talking during the break, and the reason I’m very optimistic about Colorado, is that I’m a Cleveland Browns fan. And I’d rather be in Elway’s position at the end of the game where Bob is, behind but with the ball. And gosh, I’ve lived that nightmare, Bob Beauprez. You’re behind, but you’ve got the ball. I mean, you’ve got the issue.
BB: Got them right where we want them.
HH: And Elway has shown up at your events, so you’ve got Elway on your side as well.
BB: John told me, I think it was just a week ago, he said Bob, remember, the score only counts at the end of the fourth quarter.
HH: Well, let’s talk about having the ball. The ball is Bill Ritter’s record as a D.A. in Denver. He served a long time as the D.A. in Denver, and there’s a lot of stuff there. But mostly, I want to review for people, because it matters a lot, if Coloradons elect Bill Ritter, the national message is, it does not matter if you’re in this country as a guest, or as an illegal. We’ll treat you differently. Tell people what he did.
BB: Bill Ritter systematically plea bargained aliens in this country, many of them legal, but a great many of them illegal, that had been arrested for serious crimes, drug trafficking, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, weapons violations, burglery, assault, systematically, the whole kit and kaboodle of them, went and found an obscure crime to plea them down to, of farmland trespassing.
HH: Even though they were never near a farm.
BB: Not near a farm. Well, you can’t find one in the City of Denver.
HH: I know. Okay.
BB: Anybody who’s been to Denver knows that. Just a ridiculous charge, an unrelated charge. Why’d they go find it? Because all those other crimes they were accused of carried with them automatic deportation. You’re out of here. The charge of farmland trespassing does not require deportation. In addition to looking for something that was non-deportable, virtually all of them got a probationary sentence, a huge percentage of those got a deferred sentence, meaning if you don’t get arrested for a couple of years, we wipe the record clean. It’s absolutely absurd. And we have…we’ve picked that scab a little bit, and he doesn’t like it.
HH: Now these felons did not leave, and they also did not, in many cases, turn over new leaves.
BB: Well, surprise. Old habits are hard to break, so you run them through the turnstiles at the D.A.’s office in Denver, right back out on the street to do what? To commit serious crime again. Now I…you know, call me crazy. But I think if you’re the D.A., you have an obligation 1) to administer and apply the law that’s written, and 2) to preserve the public safety. And how in the world is it preserving the public safety? I can understand one or two that you’ve got a problem proving this or proving that. But when you find…and we have just scratched the surface, Hugh. This is by no means his entire record. We have found 152 separate cases of these serious crimes that were committed. Every single one of them, systematically, pled down to this ridiculous farmland trespassing charge, put back out on the street, many of them, surprise, repeat criminals again. And you know how crime is. It often escalates.
HH: Oh, we don’t even know what they’ve done, either. Those are the only ones you’ve caught.
BB: …of ones you’ve caught.
HH: Have you talked to some victims?
BB: We have talked with some victims, and tragic stories. And I talked to a gentleman yesterday, and we’re just starting to scratch the surface on this one, but his…this tells you why people are frustrated. His daughter was celebrating with some friends after a final exam. And because they were responsible kids, they got a taxi to take them home. The taxi’s T-boned by an illegal who had been drinking. The illegal takes off running, and the police, thankfully, caught him. He had been arrested previously for a DUI, dumped right back out on the street. This guy’s daughter is a half a million dollars into trying to rehabilitate herself, if she ever can. They had told them, when they took her into surgery, to be prepared for the worst, that she may never come out. Now you know what the illegal got? This is after being arrested previously for a DUI. He got a night in the detox cell, and dumped right back out on the street. No charges. Now that’s just insanity, in the city…
HH: On Bill Ritter’s watch?
BB: Actually, now this is more recent, but it’s Bill Ritter’s set up that Mitch Morrissey…
HH: I’m glad…I admire you did not stick him with that, because Amy Klobuchar is running around doing that in Minnesota, and confusing records.
HH: So I’m glad you did that.
BB: But this is why people are so frustrated with this problem of illegal immigration, is that it’s touched everybody, and why in the world don’t you begin by enforcing the law? Why…this is one of the positions I’ve taken. Why do we even allow plea bargains, and especially allow bail, for people that are here illegally, and then commit a serious crime?
HH: Now Bob Beauprez, had he backed down from in-state tuition benefits and scholarships for people in the country illegally?
BB: No. Not only that, Hugh, he’s added to, as you just indicated, on his wish list, in-state tuition for people that are here illegally, even though we now have, as of last Summer, a law that says you can’t do that. No taxpayer funded benefits beyond what the federal law requires. In addition to that, he has recently claimed, I guess going back to the old depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, that line, he has claimed that Denver wasn’t a sanctuary city. You ask anybody around the country to name three sanctuary cities, and Denver’s going to be one of the ones they name. Everybody knows that.
HH: Yeah, it’s a referendum on that, with national significant. If he wins, if you lose, the immigration reform movement is over. If you win, it gets teeth. Two other issues before we run out of time. He says he’s pro-life, but he’s not, Bob Beauprez. I don’t understand. Does he fool people on that?
BB: No. We had a debate in front of Legatus, which is a Catholic Men’s group…
HH: I know it well.
BB: Started by Tom Monaghan. And he freely admitted that he has problems with his life position. He thinks there needs to be exceptions for abortion. In addition to that, he says he would fully fund Planned Parenthood, he would have signed the morning after legislation that Bill Owens vetoed here, stem cell research. You know, those are problematic for those of us that have taken those votes…
HH: Well, you’ve got strong bishops in Colorado Springs and Denver as well…
HH: And they write on the life issue. They don’t endorse candidates, but they take it very, very seriously.
BB: And they have been very proactive in that, and reminding Catholics of their obligation.
HH: One more issue. If you’re elected governor, will you finish the 25? Because I can’t imagine letting a lawyer finish that. That’s the most messed up road project. I was on it today.
BB: You have tried to traverse I-25?
HH: I did.
BB: We’ve got a few other highways in this state that need some attention. We’ve been playing catch up, and a sustainable funding source for our transportation system in Colorado…you know, I don’t need on the job training. I was the vice chairman of the Highway Subcommittee in D.C., when we rewrote the Highway Bill. Been there, done that, brought a billion extra dollars to Colorado in this reauthorization bill. I look forward to that opportunity.
HH: Congressman Bob Beauprez, a pleasure. We’ll check back in with you before the vote. You’re working hard, and like I say, it’s good to be Elway with the ball, unless you’re the Cleveland Browns. I appreciate your coming in, Congressman. We’ll talk to you again soon.
BB: Always good to be with you, Hugh.
End of interview.