Truth Test: GOP's opening break against Hickenlooper

KUSA - Republicans are putting their money where their mouths are in Colorado's race for Governor, with the Republican Governor's Association launching TV ads in the state.

The GOP group went on the air this week with an ad that features footage of Governor Hickenlooper playing poolwith President Obama.

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The RGA uses this imagery to launch into an argument we've heard from Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez: John Hickenlooper may be a fun guy to have a beer (or in this case, shoot pool) with, but he's not a good governor.

CLAIM: "When it comes to making the tough decisions, Hickenlooper won't step up to the table."

VERDICT: Opinion

Republicans can point to examples, like Hickenlooper's recent statement that he's not going to take a position on the keystone pipeline because he doesn't want to "piss off" anybody in Washington, DC.

In response, the governor could certainly point to examples of tough decisions he's made. Those include pushing forcivil unions, implementing legal marijuana sales even though it's not what he wanted, and signing bills to help immigrants living here without legal status.

They may not be the decisions Republicans would make, but they are weighty.

CLAIM: "[Hickenlooper] dropped the ball on mass murderer Nathan Dunlap."

VERDICT: Debatable

Even if most political observers would agree with this characterization, it's still an opinion to say Hickenlooper "dropped the ball."

The governor could have carried out the execution or commuted the sentence.

Instead, Hickenlooper chose to issue a temporary reprieve, saying heno longer believes in the death penalty, but that he doesn't want to change the policy on his own.

It was a legitimate, legal choice available to the governor.

However, you can fairly say that Hickenlooper chose to essentially punt this decision to the next governor.

CLAIM: Hickenlooper "flip-flopped on gun rights."

VERDICT: Debatable

The governor stirred up anger on both sides of the gun debate when heapologized to sheriffs in the state for his handling of new gun control laws.

That was seen by many as waffling on the issue, but apologizing for something isn't the same as reversing your position.

The governor has given no indication that he wants to repeal the laws he signed.

CLAIM: Hickenlooper is "refusing to lead on immigration and critical tax relief."

VERDICT: Misleading

The ad implies Hickenlooper hasn't taken stands on these issues.

He has. They just aren't stands the Republican Governor's Association agrees with.

On immigration, the governor the aforementioned bills allowing some undocumented immigrants to get in-state college tuition and driver's licenses.

On tax reform, the governor backed Amendment 66 last year which would have raised taxes on higher incomes to pay for education, creating a progressive income tax in state law.

Instead of implying that he didn't do anything on these topics, it would be more honest for the ad makers to argue their opinion: that Hickenlooper's positions were wrong.

BOTTOM LINE: All these items mentioned from Hickenlooper's time in office are fair game.

Some of the spin the ad puts on that record is fair to argue, and some of it isn't.

(9NEWS researcher Jordan Sabolish contributed to this report)

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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