Tancredo Uses Maes's Words Against Him, Argues For Two-Way Debates

09/29/2010 07:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Republican Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes is likely kicking himself this week for remarks he made in early September, when outlooks for his campaign looked a bit brighter.

On the September 9 Caplis and Silverman show, Maes argued that American Constitution Party Candidate Tom Tancredo should not be allowed to participate in debates unless he's polling at least 20% (listen below).

There needs to be a benchmark for candidates. If everyone's going to be invited ... let's just have the whole gang in. Somewhere you have to set the bar and say who comes and who doesn't. The bar was always set on me at 20 percent ... to get invited to an event. That's my arbitrary number. If you're polling at 20 percent come on board, if you're not then you don't come.

Now the tables have turned, and it's the Maes campaign that's struggling to keep its head above water. A Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research poll released on Tuesday showed Tancredo receiving 34% of the vote to Maes's 15%. Both candidates trailed Democrat John Hickenlooper, who was supported by 44% of respondents.

On Wednesday, the Tancredo campaign was quick to use Maes's words against him.
"Dan Maes made said he'd end his sideshow if he dropped below 20 percent," spokeswoman Bay Buchanan said.

When pressed by Caplis on the 9th over whether he would voluntarily sit out of debates should polls show him dipping below 20%, Maes dug himself a deeper hole.

Here's what's different about me and career politicians," Maes continued. "When I set a rule, I live by it, and I don't change the goal post when it doesn't suit me well."

However, Maes spokesman Nate Strauch told the Denver Post on Wednesday that the candidate had no intention of skipping the debates.

"It was a hypothetical discussion, Strauch said. "That was just an arbitrary number that he threw out."