U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Joe Coors, his opponent for Colorado’s 7th congressional district, met for their latest debate last week where both tackled some of their opponent’s allegations.
The Oct. 17 debate was moderated by Denver Post political reporter Lynn Bartels and 9NEWS political reporter Brandon Rittiman, and was broadcast on 9NEWS, and posted on the Post website.
Question one asked Coors about his investing of $40 million of family trust funds in 2002 into a bogus bond trading program that offered a 75 percent return a week.
“How do you reconcile that with touting your business skills on the campaign trail?” Bartels asked.
Coors replied that his family had a strong business record in Colorado stretching back to the 1860s. He brought up Perlmutter’s support of the stimulus bill that helped fund the failed government loan to solar company Solyndra. He said it was his assistance with the FBI that helped stop the con artists, “and got those folks behind bars.”
According documents filed in U.S. District Court, the firm Merrill Lynch caught the fraud and froze the account. Coors later filed a lawsuit against the firm, alleging that it should have caught on to the fraud sooner.
Question two was directed at Perlmutter, asking about a promise he made when running for Congress in 2006: That his then-wife would not lobby him or any member of the House of Representatives while he was in office.
Perlmutter’s ex-wife, Deana Perlmutter, was the head of the Denver office for lobbying firm Dutko Worldwide at the time of his election in 2006. Records show that she began lobbying other members of the House of Representatives in the first half of 2007.
“My wife never lobbied me, and she still hasn’t lobbied me, more than four years after we’ve been divorced,” Perlmutter said.
The two finalized their divorce in 2008. Perlmutter has since remarried.
Rittiman asked Coors about CoorsTek’s opening of a South Korean factory during his time as that country’s CEO, asking if American countries should be encouraged to keep jobs in America, even if that increases cost.
“No American jobs were lost, ever,” Coors said, insisting that the factory opening was more about opening Asian markets, than in lowering costs.
Perlmutter rebutted, saying CoorsTek’s own shareholder reports seem to indicate the move was motivated by lower wage costs.
Question four was aimed back at Perlmutter, asking why his previous measure of support from otherwise-Republican voters seems to have eroded lately.
“Well, Joe and I live in the same neighborhood, we have the same number of friends, many of them Republican, and they may be picking Joe over me,” Perlmutter said.
The fifth question of the debate asked both candidates about their stances on health-care reform. Perlmutter supported President Barack Obama’s reforms. Coors said he’d work to would repeal it, saying it will increase taxes on the middle class.
Perlmutter used the question to attack his opponent about his former support of a state anti-abortion ballot measure.
“I’m a pro-life person, but let’s get back to the more significant issues facing this country, like 23 million people out of work or underemployed,” Coors said, calling personhood a dead issue that he would not revive.
When questioned further by the moderators about whether he would sponsor, or sign legislation in congress that would restrict women’s reproductive rights, Coors said he would not.