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DENVER — Characterizing your opponent as “extreme” worked for Sen. Michael Bennet two years ago.

Now, it seems like every Colorado candidate is doing it — including both candidates running for Congress in the state’s 7th Congressional District.

Two ads funded by outside groups supporting Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter are already on the air; and both attack his Republican challenger Joe Coors as being “too extreme.”

Now, Coors is going on the air with his own ad returning that very attack.

Coors, who has self-funded much of his campaign and already run three TV ads, focuses on Perlmutter’s record as a state senator in his fourth,

Here’s the script from the new Coors ad:

“I’m Joe Coors. I approve this message.”

Announcer: Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s Washington buddies are smearing Joe Coors with false, negative ads.

Extreme? That’s Ed Perlmutter.

Ed Perlmutter voted against the law that protects victims of child abuse from having to face their abusers in court.

And Extreme Ed Perlmutter voted against Colorado’s law allowing the use of DNA evidence to convict sexual predators years later.

Extreme? That’s Ed Perlmutter.

Coors is highlighting two of Perlmutter’s votes as a state lawmaker not because they are of great consequence in an election that’s focused on pocketbook issues, but in a strategic effort to blunt the “extreme” attack being leveled against him and to get voters to take another look at a popular lawmaker’s long legislative record.

In 1996, Perlmutter voted against a bill from fellow Democrat Bob Martinez that would have allowed children to testify via closed-circuit television when testifying against their abusers.

In 2001, Perlmutter was only one of three senators to vote against a bill that removed the limitation period of 10 years for most sexual assault crimes. He said at the time he thought it was unconstitutional.

“These kinds of deceptive and desperate ads by Joe Coors are a disservice to voters and show the extreme lengths he will go to to insult the common sense and mainstream values of the hardworking people of this district,” said Perlmutter spokeswoman Leslie Oliver.

Responding quickly, Perlmutter’s campaign sought to explain both votes.

“In 1996 — 16 years ago — Perlmutter voted against SB 96-174, before closed circuit television had proven itself in the courtroom and because he felt the bill was unconstitutional because the Bill of Rights required anyone accused of a crime to face their accuser,” according to a campaign press release. “Now that closed circuit has proven itself in the court of law, Perlmutter believes it meets constitutional requirements.

“Perlmutter is a father of 3 daughters and has a proven record of being tough on crime and protecting victims of assault.  Ed voted against this bill in 2001, because he believes it was poorly written and unconstitutional because of its retroactive clause.  The co-sponsor of this bill, Rep. Cheri Jahn, now believes that the bill was unconstitutional and would oppose it as well.”

But Coors’ campaign spokeswoman, Michelle Yi, says that defense doesn’t hold up and points to audio recordings on the Coors campaign website of Perlmutter at a hearing being informed that the bill under consideration was constitutional.

“As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ed Perlmutter heard at a hearing on Feb. 7, 1996 that in 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States had ruled that closed-circuit television were indeed constitutional,” Yi told FOX31 Denver. “During Second Reading of the bill on Feb. 14, 1996, Perlmutter was also informed that the Office of Legislative Legal Services issued a memo that stated the Colorado Supreme Court had also ruled that “the defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause were not violated.”
 “The real insult is that Ed Perlmutter thought he knew more about the Constitution than the Supreme Court of the United States and the Colorado Supreme Court. Unfortunately for Ed Perlmutter, there is no statute of limitations on extreme votes.