Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Language arts? (update)

Posted by on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:25 AM

U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff has launched television advertisements in Spanish, the second Democratic candidate this cycle to reach out to Hispanics in their native tongue. Earlier this month, attorney general hopeful Stan Garnett announced his website would be translated into Spanish.

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Romanoff, the former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, is running against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, who was appointed to the seat last year.

Romanoff taught English at rural high schools in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and is fluent in Spanish.

"Coloradans deserve a senator who will speak for them," Romanoff said in a press release. "I'm proud to do so in two languages."

Romanoff is among the Democratic candidates who will be on hand at a Democratic party function today from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tre Luna Downtown Event Center, 123 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

Meantime, Romanoff spoke at a press conference at 2 p.m. today at his campaign headquarters. Here are his remarks:

John Adams once said, "Facts are stubborn things." He was right.

I realize that truth is often the first casualty of a political campaign. That's why it's so important for us to stick to the facts.

When we pointed out that Sen. Bennet had taken more than a million dollars from special-interest groups, he did not dispute that fact.

When we pointed out that he had become one of the biggest recipients of contributions from the banking industry and the oil industry, he did not dispute those facts.

On May 6, Sen. Bennet voted against an amendment that would have prevented banks from becoming too big to fail. That's a fact. On June 15, Sen. Bennet voted to preserve $35 billion in tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, instead of using the savings to reduce the deficit and invest in energy efficiency and energy conservation. That's a fact, too.

Sen. Bennet is welcome to defend those votes. What he is not welcome to do is to replace fact with fiction.

And that is precisely the path he has chosen. On Sunday, the Bennet campaign blasted out an email calling me disingenuous, deceptive and irresponsible. My opponent did not provide a shred of evidence to justify that attack - because there isn't any.

These tactics are nothing new. It's an old political game: If you're embarrassed by the votes you cast or the money you take, you attempt to distract the audience by attacking the messenger. That's the way Washington works: Ignore. Distract. Attack.

I will not respond in kind. I will continue to point out the differences between my positions and my opponent's. That's a matter of public record - and frankly, it's information voters demand and deserve.

What the voters also deserve is a senator who will not mislead the citizens he seeks to represent. That is what Sen. Bennet has done, with an advertisement he released yesterday.

His ad is misleading and defamatory, from start to finish. The only line he got right was the first one: "I'm Michael Bennet, and I approve this message."

The suggestion that I am taking money from special-interest groups is wholly false, and Sen. Bennet knows it. I made the decision to reject that money for the reason President Obama did: because I recognize - as he said, and as every American knows - "that special interests have come to dictate the agenda in Washington." Turning down special-interest money is the only way, in then-Senator Obama's words, to "break out of" that system and make sure that "ordinary people's voices are heard."

The voters of Colorado face a fundamental choice in this election. We get to decide whether to perpetuate a pay-to-play political culture that sells Senate seats to the highest bidder or to restore the role of people as the legitimate source of power in a democracy.

That's the choice here, and no amount of disinformation can obscure it. I've made my choice. The people of Colorado will soon make theirs.

And now, Sen. Bennet, it's time for you to make yours. Do you want to remain part of the problem, or do you want to become part of the solution?

I would like to offer one other proposal today. There is a bipartisan bill in Congress called the Fair Elections Now Act, or FENA. I support it. My opponent, to the best of my knowledge, has not taken a position.

FENA would create a voluntary system of public campaign financing. Instead of relying on special interests and federal lobbyists to pad their campaign coffers, Congressional candidates who raise small sums from a large number of individual donors and agree to limit their total spending would qualify for a modest amount of matching funds and discounts in the cost of broadcasting time.

FENA would open the doors of Congress to a wide range of citizens. It would also free at least some of our elected officials from this unholy money chase - and the conflicts of interest that come with it. I urge Congress to pass this legislation now.


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