Salazar, Tipton camps tussle over ‘Let’s roll’ comment

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., wants an explanation from his Republican challenger about invoking the rallying cry aboard United Flight 93 to begin the Club 20 debate on Saturday.

Salazar, however, will be unable to confront Scott Tipton directly about it today. Salazar is to be on a flight to Washington, D.C., this morning after attending meetings in Pueblo on Monday, his spokeswoman said. That’s about the same time Tipton is to have an election forum to himself before the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

The 3rd Congressional District race is one of several races for which the chamber has invited candidates.

Tipton, a Cortez Republican running for a second time against Salazar, began his comments in the Saturday debate by noting that the date was 9/11, the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States, and said, “Let’s roll!” Those were the last words of Todd Beamer, a passenger aboard United 93, which crashed into Pennsylvania farmland when passengers fought to regain control of the doomed jet.

Tipton said immediately after the debate that he was caught up in the excitement of the moment as the two candidates faced off for the first time.

Salazar said after the debate that he hadn’t noticed it, but his campaign on Monday fired off a press release demanding he explain it.

“We’re mystified by the comment made by Scott Tipton, injecting politics on the day of remembrance,” Salazar campaign spokeswoman Tara Trujillo said. “This day is meant to be one that rises above partisanship and unites Americans no matter where they stand on the political spectrum.”

Salazar’s reaction shows his campaign to be in “full panic mode,” Tipton campaign spokesman Sean Walsh said, calling it “a lame attempt to distract voters from Salazar’s miserable performance as a legislator.”

Tipton actually will have two unfettered opportunities to speak with voters today.

In addition to the appearance at the chamber forum at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 2751 Crossroads Blvd., Tipton is scheduled to speak to the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association this afternoon.

Salazar also is passing on a debate with Tipton on Sept. 25 in Colorado Springs with Action 22, an organization patterned after Club 20, but representing the counties of southeast Colorado.

Salazar cited a previous commitment in opting out of the Action 22 debate, which also will feature three candidates for governor: John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver and a Democrat; Republican Dan Maes; and Tom Tancredo, a former Republican congressman and the gubernatorial candidate of the American Constitution Party. Club 20’s rules prevented Tancredo from participating in that organization’s debate on Saturday.


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