Coffman, Miklosi off to slow starts in 6th C.D. race

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DENVER — Despite changes to Colorado’s 6th Congressional District that have made the heretofore safe GOP seat something of a toss-up, Rep. Mike Coffman, the Republican incumbent, appeared to be a good bet to win a third term barring any major screw-ups.

Right on cue, Coffman had to go and question whether President Barack Obama is really an American “in his heart” — and a supporter at that event in Elbert County had to record the clip and put it on YouTube.

Coffman’s self-inflicted wound drew national attention; a week later, Coffman’s robotic, repeated, “I misspoke” apology only made things worse.

And now, two weeks later, his opponent is finally capitalizing.

With a web advertisement.

The web advertisement edits together several news clips of Coffman’s birther blunder — Miklosi can at least thank the folks at MSNBC for providing the TV time his campaign apparently can’t yet afford — and dings Coffman for apologizing in an Op-Ed piece in the Denver Post and then admitting to a conservative radio host that he only did so for political reasons.

“Mike Coffman has reached the absolute height of dishonesty and cynicism,” Miklosi said Thursday in a press release announcing the new web ad.

“Coffman will do and say anything to hide his extreme record from Coloradans and now he even admits that he says one thing to his far-right friends behind closed doors, and another in public.”

It’s fair to say that if Coffman hasn’t realized that, in this YouTube age, you can’t get away with saying one thing to a mainstream media outlet and another to a conservative ally, then he’s failed to learn what’s probably the most important political lesson in all of this.

After admitting in the Post that his statement was “boneheaded”, Coffman went on KOA — not exactly the Elbert County of radio stations — and responded to conservative host Dan Caplis, who asked Coffman if he was “speaking what was in your heart” and now “walking it back for political reasons”, by affirming that that was indeed the case.

“You know, to some extent that’s true,” Coffman told Caplis.

But Miklosi’s inability to put his message, and Coffman’s own words, on the air now, to truly capitalize on Coffman’s mistake by striking while the proverbial iron is still hot, highlights the main concern Democratic strategists have had about his campaign — that he’s not going to be able raise the money needed to compete against Coffman.

There are six months left in this race — a race for the metro suburbs that will have as much or more of an impact as any Colorado congressional battle this fall on whether President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney carries the state.

But, it’s hard to imagine Coffman handing Miklosi another gift like this.

And it’s hard, two weeks after Coffman’s comment first made news, to see how it’s significantly changed the complexion of this race.

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