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Tancredo Fires at Hickenlooper

Tancredo Fires at Hickenlooper


Tom Tancredo has launched an attack against Colorado gubernatorial opponent John Hickenlooper, calling him an out of touch elitist after a video interview surfaced in which he talks about "backwards thinking" people in rural parts of the Mid West.

But with his attack, Tancredo has also dragged the journalist conducting the interview into the spotlight. Eden Lane, a journalist for Denver's PBS affiliate, conducted the 2009 interview with Hickenlooper in which they discuss the reasons for the Matthew Shepard Foundation being headquartered in Denver.

"I think a couple of things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming," Hickenlooper says in the video posted Monday on The National Review Online. "Colorado and Wyoming are very similar. We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico."

Tancredo, a former Republican congressman running for governor as an American Constitution Party candidate, immediately responded to the video, issuing a press release saying Hickenlooper had smeared all of rural Chicago.

"To suggest that people in rural Colorado are 'backwards' because they don't share your left-wing values reinforces once again just how out of touch you are," Tancredo said. "Mr. Mayor, you owe the people of rural Colorado an apology."

And with his press release, he also mentioned Lane -- and made it a point to focus on the fact that she is transgender.

"It definitely had a snarky tone, the way it was pointed out," Lane told The Advocate. "The information that they used to describe me was written about me by somebody else as a way to show it as a positive. And it wasn't portrayed that way, the way it was quoted. So they were able to be snarky about me without actually having to say anything snarky."

Hickenlooper spokesman George Merritt responded, saying, "John was making the point that the kind of intolerance that led to Matthew Shepard's murder is not unique to a single community in Wyoming.

"It's something that can happen in any community. He wishes he had articulated that point better to make it clear that any community is susceptible to hatred, but he continues to feel strongly that the intolerance that killed Shepard is backwards and not acceptable."

Lane says she was a bit taken aback by Hickenlooper's quote during the interview, but says she thinks people probably heard the quote and immediately assumed the worst. She says Hickenlooper has a solid track record with regard to gay rights, and Tancredo's doesn't match up.

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