If at first you don't succeed, try, try again? That's how the saying goes, and Congressman Coffman (R - Colo.) appears to have taken it to heart--with a few extra "tries."
When asked to elaborate on his apology for controversial comments he made at a fundraiser in Elbert County a couple of weeks ago, Coffman--clearly caught off guard by the unscheduled interview--seemed stuck on repeat.
Coffman told 9News reporter Kyle Clark "I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize," a total of five times, in answer to every question.
Former Denver Post columnist Mike Littwin commented on the exchange on Twitter:
On Twitter, Clark called the whole exchange the most "bizarre encounter" he's ever had with a politician, speculating during the interview that Coffman's being told to lie low.
The congressman has been doing just that since a fundraiser attendee caught him on camera sharing some startling thoughts about President Barack Obama, stating:
I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American.
In an op-ed piece on the Denver Post Wednesday evening titled "Obama Comment Was Boneheaded," Coffman completely backtracked on his controversial statements saying, "I have rejected the notion that he is anything other than American" since 2008:
More importantly, I was also wrong in another respect. I should never have questioned the president's devotion to our country. The president and I disagree on many issues — his approach to health care, jobs and energy independence, to name a few. But disagreeing on these issues was not license for me to question his devotion to our country.
I believe President Obama loves this country and wakes up every morning trying to do what is best for our nation, even if I disagree with his approach. To question the president's devotion to our country based on the fact that we disagree over policy issues was wrong of me and I am sorry.
Elected officials have always been held to a higher standard, as we should be.
As the 2012 election cycle ramps up, the media has reported some resurgence of the birther movement.
On Tuesday Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett started backing off of similar comments he'd made requesting that Hawaiian officials verify President Obama's birth certificate. At the same time, Maricopa (Ariz.) County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been facing some scrutiny--aside from the federal civil rights lawsuit he's facing--for using public money to send a deputy to Hawaii to investigate the president's birth documents.
Meanwhile in Colorado, Coffman's Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi will be using the congressman's statements to his advantage and has an appearance scheduled on "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" tonight to discuss the matter.
"It is a complete early Christmas gift from Mike Coffman to Joe Miklosi," political analyst Eric Sondermann told KDVR.
This article has been updated to include Rep. Mike Coffman's response in an op-ed published Wednesday at 5:52 p.m.