Ken Buck in 2010 CO Senate Debates


On Civil Rights: Buck "mis-spoke" comparing homosexuality to alcoholism

Buck made national news after saying on Meet the Press that he believed same-sex attraction was a lifestyle choice and comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. He later stood by the statement even in the face of calls from gay activists, doctors and psychologists to retract them and even given the fact that the statements strongly supported assertions made by his detractors that his views are out of sync with the views of most Coloradans. [One voter wrote to Buck] calling for Buck to retract his comments. Buck's campaign sent this email:
Thank you for your response. Ken may have mis-spoke, but his desire is to serve the people of Colorado period. As the prosecuting attorney for Weld County, Ken was the only DA in the country to try a hate crime that involved a transgender individual and win. Too often comments are misunderstood and taken out of context, but the hope is that you will realize Ken's commitment to Colorado and its citizens.
Source: Colorado Independent coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 25, 2010

On Abortion: Opposes abortion rights, even in cases of rape and incest

Buck stuck to his hard-right position on abortion and gay marriage. However, Buck insisted that voters care more about unemployment and government spending. "We get caught on these social issues when the voters want to know about unemployment; they want to know about spending," Buck said when asked to elaborate on his opposition to abortion rights, even in cases of rape and incest.

Bennet and the Democrats have swiped at Buck for his social conservatism. Buck punched back at Democratic efforts to highlight those position instead of his promises to cut taxes & federal spending. But the abortion question didn't go away. At one point in the debate, and Bennet laid into Buck for opposing abortion rights. "Who's going to jail?" Bennet asked, referring to women seeking abortions.

Buck replied, "I don't think abortion's going to be criminalized anytime soon. You have tried once again to take this debate off-topic. Once again, I am going to focus my campaign on the issues Colorado voters care about."

Source: CBS-4-Denver coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 24, 2010

On Civil Rights: Birth influences homosexuality like it influences alcoholism

Ken Buck compared homosexuality to alcoholism Sunday in a nationally televised debate. [One analyst speculated], "The homosexuality question is going to produce most of the headlines out of the debate."

Asked by the host to elaborate on a statement he made in an earlier debate about gays in the military, Buck said he believes sexual orientation is a choice. Buck went on to say, "I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice."

Bennet jumped on Buck's remark. "I absolutely believe he's outside the mainstream of views on this," Bennet said.

After the debate, a Buck spokesman said Buck did not mean to imply with his alcoholism comparison that Buck believes homosexuality is a disease. Buck told The Denver Post after the debate that he "wasn't talking about being gay as a disease" but also said of his remark that "there's no doubt there will probably be a commercial on something like that" from Democrats.

Source: Greeley Tribune coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Civil Rights: Being gay is a choice, but birth has an influence

Q: On the issue of gays, in a debate last month you expressed your support for "don't ask, don't tell," and you alluded to lifestyle choices. Do you believe that being gay is a choice?

BUCK: I do.

Q: Based on what?

BUCK: Based on what?

Q: Yeah, why do you believe that?

BUCK: Well, I guess, you can choose who your partner is.

Q: You don't think it's something that's determined at birth?

BUCK: I think that birth has an influence over like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you, you have a choice.

Q: [to Bennet]: Does that put him outside the mainstream of views on this?

BENNET: I absolutely believe he's outside the mainstream of views on this.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Crime: 2006: Declined to prosecute "buyer's remorse" date-rape case

Q: As district attorney, you declined to prosecute a 2006 date rape case. You told the Greeley Tribune, "A jury could very well conclude that this was a case of buyer's remorse," after you looked at the circumstances of the case and decided not to prosecute. A lot of people thought that was an insensitive remark. The woman who was involved in this case has been critical of you, saying that your tone was one of attacking her.

BUCK: The rape was reviewed by a prosecutor with 30 years prosecutorial experience. He declined to prosecute. Two female chief deputies reviewed the case, talked to witnesses; they declined to prosecute. The Boulder County district attorney's office declined to prosecute and told me that the case couldn't be prosecuted.

Q: But do you regret the way you talked to her?

BUCK: I don't regret the way I talked to her. It is important that a prosecutor approach a victim with a certain amount of reality, and that's what I tried to do with this victim. I didn't blame her at all.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Government Reform: Not, repeat not, for repealing the 17th Amendment

Q: Some people accuse you of 'Buckpedaling.' A Denver Post op-ed says you told one crowd you favored repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows for the direct election of senators, then you later backpedaled. Is that charge fair?

BUCK: No.

Q: Explain why.

BUCK: I've been to over 800 events and I have talked about the 17th Amendment. Someone asked me a question. I said, 'The short answer is yes, but...' and then I gave an explanation of why I thought there were better answers to restoring the balance of power between the states and the federal government than the 17th Amendment. Senator Bennet has played a commercial over and over that misstates, misquotes, misleads on that issue. The next day, I called the person back and said, 'You know, I've thought about it, and I don't want to leave you with the impression that the answer is yes.' Fifteen times more, with the Democrat tracker camera in my face, I explained that I wasn't in favor of repealing the 17th Amendment.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Principles & Values: Tea Party is based on frustration, not racism

Q: You have tea party backing. The question is whether the tea party represents an extreme, insurgent political force, or whether it's a legitimate political movement.

BUCK: I think it's a legitimate political movement. Folks are frustrated that we are spending so much money in Washington, and they're every bit as frustrated with the Republicans as they are with the Democrats, because the Republicans are every bit as much to blame for the mess that we're in. That frustration has exhibited itself in a lot of energy. Folks are not going to try to send the same type of Republican to Washington that they've sent in the past.

Q: The NAACP released a report concluding, We found Tea Party ranks to be permeated with concerns about race and national identity." Your response?

BUCK: I've been to over 800 events in Colorado in the last 20 months. I have not seen that. And, and I find it offensive that folks would try to label the tea party in that way. It's just not true in Colorado.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Tax Reform: Extend Bush tax cuts & cut spending to pay for it

Q: Do you agree with Republican leaders who say that tax cuts do not have to be paid for?

BUCK: No, I don't. I think we've got to find spending cuts. And I don't know what you're talking about in terms of tax cuts.

Q: Extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the highest earners. The president says it would cost an extra $700 billion. If you want to cut that deficit, do you then have to pay for the tax cuts you want to extend?

BUCK: Well, first, where are the families going to pay for the money that they've got to send the federal government? That's the bigger question to me.

Q: You either believe in the balanced budget or you do not. If you extend tax cuts, you said just a moment ago they have to be paid for. Then how do you pay for it?

BUCK: We pay for it by cutting spending. When we leave money in the hands of taxpayers, they buy things; they pay taxes. It's not a one for one exchange. Every economist I've talked to has told me that it would be bad in a recession to try to increase taxes.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On War & Peace: No deadline for withdrawal from Afghanistan

Q: If President Obama and General Petraeus were to determine that they need a significant number of troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond the July 2011 deadline, is that a position that you'd be able to support?

BUCK: Well, I don't think we set artificial deadlines. I think that we set realistic goals, and, and try to accomplish those goals. I don't think we should be nation-building, I don't think we should be staying there over the long-term

Q: What if General Petraeus says, "You know what, it's July 2011, but if we're going to achieve our goals, we can't pull any troops out. May need more troops, may need to surge up again here." Well, you could support that because you don't believe in deadlines?

BUCK: No, I didn't say I could support that. I don't believe in deadlines, I don't believe in telling the enemy when we're going to withdraw. I need to know what he thinks the goals are. And if I agree with those goals, then evaluate at that point.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Budget & Economy: We spent $787B on stimulus with nothing to show for it

Buck said he would never have voted for the $787 billion federal stimulus spending bill. "We were promised that unemployment wouldn't rise above 8%," Buck said, noting it is much higher. He also mentioned Bennet's comments last summer that Congress had increased the national debt to $13 trillion "with nothing to show for it."

Bennet said the stimulus bill hasn't been more effective because the U.S. recession was even worse than initially believed.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On Environment: Protect rural water supplies like Arkansas River basin

On the Arkansas River basin: Both men said they wanted to protect rural water supplies but Bennet made a point of having supported the $5 million budget appropriation to begin work on the Arkansas Valley Conduit, a planned water pipeline from Lake Pueblo to 40 valley communities. Congress authorized the project in 1962 but had never appropriated money until this year.

Buck dismissed that to the crowd. "(Bennet) stood up and took credit for a conduit that others had worked on for 10 years," he said.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On Health Care: $500B savings in Medicare is heart of health care reform

Buck offered Bennet an olive branch of sorts, saying Bennet knew what it was like to be a target of distortions. "Republicans did it to you during the health care debate when they said you wanted to cut $500 billion out of Medicare," Buck offered. "It wa wrong of the Republicans then and it's wrong of you to do it now."

Bennet said he too wanted to change the new Democratic health legislation, but not its essentials. "I'm not going to repeal it because people with pre-existing conditions will again be denied health care coverage," he said.

Buck insisted he would repeal it--getting a cheer from supporters. Buck said the law was produced by a "corrupt" process, especially the special concessions granted Nebraska and Louisiana senators to win their votes. "And I don't believe in centralizing the authority in the American government over one-seventh of our economy," he said, calling it the "nationalization" of U.S. health care.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On Homeland Security: No eminent domain for 238,000-acre Trinidad training site

On Pinon Canyon: Both candidates said they were opposed to the Army using eminent domain to expand the 238,000-acre training site northeast of Trinidad and that the Army had failed to make a case for needing expansion.

Bennet went further, saying the Army understands expansion is not an option in the near future. "They understand they have to work the geography they have now," he said.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On Immigration: More Border Patrol; finish the fence

The immigration system in our country is broken. First, we have to secure the border to stop the flow of illegal immigration. It is essential to our security that we curb the number undocumented immigrants coming into our country. Second, we need to establish a program that will help make legal immigration a feasible option. This will allow legal immigrants to fill jobs that American labor cannot fill. Finally, we need to stand firm and say `no' to amnesty. Buck charged. "We don't need to send signals that if (illegal immigrants) can get here and stay in the shadows, we will excuse them in time."

Bennet replied, "You can call it amnesty if you want. I'm willing to call it (President) George Bush's policy in Texas as well as that of the Wall Street Journal for the past 10 years."

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On Social Security: Give younger workers option to invest in separate retirement

Bennet accused Buck of changing his positions on Social Security and other issues, depending on the audience. Buck denied it, calling that a deliberate distortion. "It's OK to change your mind," Bennet shot back. "But it's important to say the same thing in the red parts of the state as well as the blue parts."

Buck charged that Bennet's television ads were dishonest, taking snippets of Buck's comments to portray him as wanting to privatize Social Security. Buck said he supported redesigning Social Security so that younger workers in the future would have the option of investing in separate retirement accounts. No one paying into the system would lose benefits, he insisted. "I've never said we should privatize Social Security," he told Bennet, who made that accusation against Buck in television ads. "You in your commercials take little clips out of context," Buck answered to cheers from his ranks.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On War & Peace: Don't allow Iran to obtain nukes, even via military

As for Iran, Buck said it should not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. "And we should take appropriate action if necessary," he added, a reference to a possible military strike.

Buck challenged Bennet, saying he'd voted against imposing sanctions on companies doing business with Iran, a claim Bennet denied, but Buck insisted was accurate.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On War & Peace: Afghanistan war ok; nation-building not ok

While endorsing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Buck said it was a mistake to attempt to build a democratic nation there. He said U.S. policy should be limited to three goals--to prevent the country from becoming a haven for terrorists; to disrupt the illegal drugs coming out of Afghanistan; and to promote peace in the area by leaving a minimal force behind.

Bennet's view was even briefer, saying U.S. goals in Afghanistan should be to destroy al-Qaida groups on the Pakistan border and then to support the Pakistan military to make certain that country's nuclear weapons are secure from terrorists. Then U.S. troops should be brought home.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

On Corporations: Small business can turn economy around with lower tax burden

When asked, "What would you do in Congress to create jobs and turn the economy around," both men said the key would be small businesses. Buck said, "As a leader in Washington DC, I would do everything that I can to make sure that our small business people have a lower tax burden. That those small business people know that we aren't going to pass cap and trade, and cause their energy bills to go up. That we aren't going to let regulators legislate in administrative settings rather than to have the United State Congress legislating. That we are going to give our small businesses the kind of stability that they need." To which Bennet fired back by saying, "Two weeks ago, I voted to cut taxes on small businesses in this country by $12 billion. And that bill was opposed by my opponent in this race."
Source: KKTV coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

On Civil Rights: Don't-ask-don't-tell policy makes a lot of sense

An issue that illustrates the differences between Buck and Bennet is the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. When asked about repealing don't-ask-don't-tell, Sen. Bennet said he supported lifting the ban, saying opposition to homosexuality was a result of "outdated views of our society."

Buck said, "I do not support the repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell. I think it is a policy that makes a lot of sense." The don't-ask-don't-tell policy itself was instituted during the Clinton years and prohibits inquiries into the sexual orientation of military members. The current policy states that a person who makes their sexuality known is subject to discharge under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The Colorado Independent, in a story titled "Coloradans mostly agree with Bennet not Buck on don't-ask-don't-tell," reported that the majority of Coloradans supported lifting the ban. However, Buck's opinion appears to be more in line with the majority of generals and service-members.

Source: Greeley Gazette coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Sep 29, 2010

On Immigration: People with two misdemeanors disqualified for citizenship

One of the questions concerned the "Dream Act" which would grant citizenship to illegal aliens, in return for meeting certain requirements such as promising to serve two years in the military or completing two years of college with the intent to obtain a degree.

When asked for positions on the Dream Act, Sen. Bennet, who co-sponsored the bill, enthusiastically voiced his support while Buck stated he is opposed to the bill. Buck said we should not give people that have come to this country illegally the benefit of the Dream Act. Buck went on to criticize a portion of the bill that would allow an individual with two misdemeanors to still qualify for citizenship. "I consider two misdemeanor sex assaults, or two DUI's or other crimes to be serious, especially if they're committed by the time they are 18 or 19 years old." Buck said he does agree that he wants to give people the opportunity to become citizens, but that citizenship has to be earned.

Source: Greeley Gazette coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Sep 29, 2010

On Principles & Values: I will not swear allegiance to the Republican party

Both men emphasized their willingness to break from party orthodoxy. Bennet said that he'd be "open" to a compromise on "temporarily" extending the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Buck told the audience, "I will not swear allegiance to the Republican party in Washington, DC."
Source: ABC News coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Sep 12, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Colorado Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Colorado Senate Debates.
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Ken Buck on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
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Energy/Oil
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Govt. Reform
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010