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The Upshot

Colorado: Home of the headline-grabbing candidates

The Upshot

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From plagiarism to high heels, Colorado politics has already delivered a steady stream of notable quotables this election season, and the hits don't appear likely to stop anytime soon.

Today's entry:  Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes has denounced an innocuous-seeming bike-sharing program in Denver known as B-Cycle as part of "a greater strategy to rein in cities by the United Nations," because it's sponsored in part by an international environmental group.

In part, it seems, the greater quotient of outrageous statements from Mountain State politicians seems to flow from the greater range of candidates putting in for office this cycle. Colorado has an open race for its governorship — and the Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet, who'd  been appointed to fill out the term of Ken Salazar, now the U.S. secretary of the interior, has drawn hard-fought primary challenges in both major parties.  So in an effort to stake claims on seats, some candidates have been coming out hard in their campaign speeches and actions — even when those gambits occasionally backfire.

Now, we're just days away from the Aug. 10 primary, meaning that at least some of these lively voices won't be commanding much in the way of press attention. So before they all disappear, we've put together a list of the most memorable election quotes, scandals and feuds that Colorado politics has graced us with this year:

"Andrew brings to this race both an extraordinary record of public service and an extraordinary capacity to lead. I believe that those assets, as well as his deep commitment to Colorado, give him the best chance to hold this seat in November." This quote seems tame enough, right? Well, consider who it came from. Former President Bill Clinton wrote this as part of his endorsement for Andrew Romanoff in the Senate race. But Romanoff's primary opponent — the incumbent, Bennet — had already lined up  support from the White House, Congress and the national party. Clinton defied them all with his endorsement, deepening  a Democratic Party rift.

"It's unacceptable, it's inexcusable, but it was also unintentional. I made a mistake, and should have been more vigilant in my review of research material Rolly submitted." Republican Scott McInnis, a former congressman who is now running for governor, made this comment last month in his apology for allegedly plagiarizing work submitted to a Colorado foundation. McInnis blamed his researcher, Rolly Fischer, in that case, but days later another report surfaced, accusing McInnis of plagiarizing a separate speech.

"Regardless of the outcome of the primary election on August 10, on August 11 the winner must agree to remove himself from consideration if polling on that date shows that he is losing the race for governor. If either or both choose to ignore this request ... I will announce on that day that I will seek the nomination of the American Constitution Party for Governor of Colorado." Former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo  issued this public threat to Republican gubernatorial candidates Maes and McInnis because Tancredo believed neither could win the general election against a Democrat. But he didn't even wait to see if they would follow through: Tancredo announced his candidacy just days after he issued the ultimatum.

"Why should you vote for me? Because I do not wear high heels." Footage of this remark from Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck — who added that he wears cowboy boots — surfaced in mid-July. Buck said his primary rival, Jane Norton, had attacked his manhood and he was simply responding to her baiting. (In previous ads, Norton said Buck should be "man enough" to attack her himself, not let special interest groups do his dirty work for him.)

"Will you tell those dumb----- at the tea party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on the camera?" Days after his "heels" statement, Buck again made headlines at home and across the country for talking down the "birther" elements of the tea party movement — activists who question President Obama's citizenship. What's especially unfortunate, from Buck's perspective, is that he is a tea-party-endorsed candidate. He later said his language was "inappropriate" and explained that he was frustrated by attention to "birther" issues instead of problems such as the national debt.

"I'm never home anyway." Romanoff made this comment after confirming that he had, in fact, sold his home in order to help finance his campaign. Romanoff said he took this drastic measure because he's confident he'll prevail against Bennet.

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