I love it when any candidate (Democrat, Republican, or American Constitution Party) tells a reporter to prove him wrong and the reporter proceeds to prove him wrong. You'd think even talk-radio hosts would jump at such opportunities.
Back in May, and I apologize for getting to this so late, Scott McInnis threw down such a challenge during an appearance on the Jim Pfaff show on KLZ radio.
"My record is pro-life. When I was in Congress, I had zero rating by NARAL. And that's very easy for people to look at."
He's right, it is very easy to look at, and Pfaff himself should have gone and looked for it, but he didn't. So I did, like others have done, at least partially, in the past.
It turns out McInnis indeed got a zero NARAL rating for five of 12 years in Congress, but for seven years he did not, meaning he got a greater-than-zero rating (between 7% and 45%) more times than he got a zero rating.
Here are scores from NARAL Pro-Choice America's Congressional Record on Choice for McInnis when he served in Congress, and please email me if you want documentation: 1993, 25%; 1994, perfect record (Same as Pat Schroeder); 1995, 45%; 1996, 33%; 1997, 13%; 1998, 22%; 1999, 7%. Then he got a zero rating in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Even McInnis campaign strategist Mike Hesse told the Denver Post back in November that McInnis got a zero NARAL rating only near the end of his time in Congress. So Hesse was more clear than McInnis.
Pfaff is known to ask pointed questions to all his guests on the abortion issue, so I asked him if it occurred to him to check McInnis on his assertion that when he was "in Congress," he got "zero rating by NARAL."
"I believe that you see a pattern with him of moving forward on the issue and realizing he needed to come to better conclusions," Pfaff told me. "He was wrong on that issue for many years."
I pointed out to Pfaff that, regardless of McInnis' evolving position on abortion, he made a misleading statement on his radio show, and Pfaff is the host. I suggested to Pfaff that on his next talk-radio show, he set the record straight for his listeners, who might think McInnis got a zero rating by NARAL throughout his career in Congress, not just for five of 12 years.
"We'll have to see," he responded. "I mean, we'll talk to him about whatever is most important to talk about. As a conservative, I have a strong track record in the pro-life pro-family movement, I don't limit my viewpoints to those opinions. I believe in free market economics. I believe that we should protect life from conception to natural death, but I also believe we should protect life all the way in the middle by keeping government off our backs. I'm going to question candidates on a whole range of issues."
He added later: "I want to know why media critics aren't criticizing the media for not pointing out that Democrats shut out pro-lifers, shut out free-market-thinking blue dog Democrats. They get shut out. The media never point out that there's an assault on pro-life free market Democrats."
I told Pfaff I would not criticize the news media for this because I don't believe it's true, but I said I'd talk to him more about it sometime.
Excerpt of Interview with Scott McInnis, May 17, Jim Pfaff show, KLZ radio, 560-AM.
Jim Pfaff: What are very important are the discussions that have happened regarding your position on the life issue and your participation in an organization that's been called Republicans for Choice. Your name showed up on a letterhead in 1998 while you were in Congress. And you've obviously taken some steps to try to explain what all this meant. First of all, how did your name end up on that letter? Explain that first.
Scott McInnis: Let's start at the very beginning by saying I'm pro-life. I'll be a pro-life governor. And when I become governor I will do just exactly like Gov. Owens did and that is we will defund the funding that Ritter and Hickenlooper would keep in place in regards to Planned Parenthood. So there's no question about that. Second, in regards to my record, which is the beauty of what I have. Nobody else out there, they all say they are pro-life, but nobody has a record. My record is pro-life. When I was in Congress, I had zero rating by NARAL. And that's very easy for people to look at.