Buck, Norton trade accusations
The two Republicans running for the U.S. Senate nomination each said Monday the other isn’t who they claim to be.
Ken Buck is a different person on script than off the cuff, his Republican opponent, Jane Norton, said Monday in a news conference at the state capitol in Denver.
Norton, Buck said the same day, has turned fire on him to “address the shortcomings in her own campaign.”
Norton took to the microphone after tapes of Buck, in a conversation taped by a Democratic Party operative last month, could be heard referring to tea party activists as “dumbasses” because they were raising questions about President Obama’s birth certificate.
“The Ken Buck ‘on camera’ seems to be a very different person than the Ken Buck ‘caught on’ camera,” Norton said during her news conference.
Buck’s comments were made during an appearance in Crowley in June and were secretly recorded by a Democratic Party observer assigned to track Buck.
A series of off-script comments by Buck have made their way into the campaign, prompting Norton to say Buck was showing a pattern of disparaging people when he didn’t know when a microphone was on.
The leaks suggest Democrats would rather run against Norton than him, Buck said.
After inviting former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo to share a stage with him in early July, Buck was later taped saying, “I can’t believe that guy (Tancredo) opened his mouth.”
Last week, a videotape of Buck surfaced in which he told a conservative supporter that she should vote for him “because I do not wear high heels.”
Buck’s “childish insults about tea partiers once more raise the question: Exactly who is Ken Buck, and can we really trust him?” Norton said, questioning whether he has the temperament to be a U.S. senator.
Buck said he was frustrated that he couldn’t address other issues, such as the deficit, because of questions about President Obama’s birthplace.
Norton has her own problems, Buck said, among them her support for Referendum C, the voter-approved, five-year measure that removed revenue limits for state government.
Americans for Job Security, a 527 organization, on Monday unveiled a television ad campaign attacking Norton for her support of Referendum C.
Norton also has swapped positions on illegal immigration and term limits, according to Buck.
Norton, who has criticized illegal immigration as a candidate, was the Colorado head of the presidential bid of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McCain was a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, criticized as amnesty for illegal immigrants now in the United States.
“Jane has been all negative all the time for the past four months,” Buck added.
Not so, Norton campaign manager Josh Penry said.
“Jane has rolled out in-depth policy statements on every major issue under the sun,” Penry said. “Ken has been caught on tape cussing out or insulting most everyone under the sun. We’ll let the public decide exactly who is negative.”
Buck said he traces the fractious GOP primary to Democrats who have closely monitored both Republicans’ campaigns with operatives looking for embarrassing information.
“I think they have to try every dirty trick they can,” Buck said. “They have a serious problem running on their record.”
Buck and Norton are battling for a spot on the ballot against one of two Democrats, Sen. Michael Bennet or former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.