When Ken Buck ran for Senate in Colorado in 2010, he was asked, directly on at least two occasions, why he was against allowing a raped woman to have an abortion.
But, as far as I know, no one has reported Mike Coffman's extended thoughts on the subject, beyond his statement that he's "against all abortions, except when it is necessary to protect the life of the mother."
So I tried to put the question to him at a public event Tuesday. I didn't get a chance to discuss the issue with Coffman, or even explain who I was and what I was doing, because he walked away so quickly, but here's what transpired.
Jason Salzman: Say, on this question of rape and incest, is it really something -- would you stop a person from having, who's been raped, an abortion? [Editor's note: Sorry for being so inarticulate.]
Mike Coffman: You know, we just don't -- I'm not focused on social issues.
(See the video here: Mike Coffman won't explain why he's opposed to abortion, even for rape and incest.)
I wasn't expecting such treatment from a candidate who promised the Denver Post to give "very specific" answers to all questions. Oh, and to do so "personally." But he walked away.
The aborted conversation took place Tuesday morning, prior to the final debate between Coffman, a Republican, and his Democratic opponent Joe Miklosi. They're running to represent Colorado's sixth congressional district, regarded as among the most hotly contested in the country. In the country! The entire nation!
As such, you'd think Coffman and Miklosi would have been pressed by national and local reporters on pretty much every issue out there, particularly on the issues that matter to a swing voting bloc like women.
But, somehow, the details of Coffman's thinking on abortion, why he's come to take such a hard-line stance, have fallen through the journalistic cracks.
Outside the auditorium, activists with Colorado Fair Share, Campaign for a Strong Colorado, Colorado Progressive Coalition Action, and ProgressNow Colorado, held signs in support of Miklosi, who's staked out a clear and detailed pro-choice position, in contrast to Coffman's anti-abortion stance.
"I'm fed up with Congressman Coffman because he just doesn't represent average people like me," said Wanda Ramey, an Aurora grandmother and former Republican. "Medicare and education are important to me, both of which he would cut dramatically -- just to pay for even more tax breaks for the richest one percent who don't even need them."