By Gene Davis, THE DENVER DAILY NEWS
A conservative group featuring “Joe the Plumber” stopped in Lakewood yesterday to rally a base fed up with “big government” in anticipation of the November election.
While most of the speakers at Americans for Prosperity’s “November is Coming” bus tour spoke broadly about limited government and upholding the Constitution, a press release issued about the event blasted Democrat Congress members Ed Perlmutter and Betsy Markey for supporting “out-of-control” policies like the stimulus package and health care reform.
But Perlmutter’s campaign said “Joe the Plumber,” aka Joe Wurzelbacher, and Ryan Frazier, Perlmutter’s Republican opponent in the general election, need to flush away their agenda that has clogged America’s economy.
During the press conference at Colorado Christian University, 8787 W. Alameda in Lakewood, Americans for Prosperity rally organizers asked Coloradans to sign a petition urging Perlmutter and Markey to oppose “big government programs or any other freedom-killing policies.” The petition is part of Americans for Prosperity’s pre-election push against Democrats in select contested races.
“Coloradans need to know about Perlmutter’s and Markey’s support for failed economic stimulus plans and a hostile government takeover of our health care system,” said a statement from Jeff Crank, Colorado director for Americans for Prosperity. “Now it’s time for their constituents to get their say and make a difference by letting Perlmutter and Markey know they have had enough of these out-of-control policies.”
But Perlmutter spokeswoman Leslie Oliver said “Joe the Plumber,” Frazier and Buck Bailey, Perlmutter’s Libertarian opponent in the general election, are trying to force the “rank smelling policy” of tax cuts for the rich at the expense of “hard working middle-class families.”
“Ed will continue fighting for policies that create good paying American jobs Ń not policies that allow for outsourcing our jobs overseas and rewarding the wealthiest one percent,” said Perlmutter spokeswoman Leslie Oliver. “Joe the Plumber, Ryan Frazier and Buck Bailey need to take these failed policies of the past and give them a good flush.”
Americans for Prosperity is trying to fire up activists to go to door to door and make phone calls to inform other people about where Perlmutter and Markey “stand on the issues.” They are specifically looking to link the lawmakers to the $814 billion stimulus package and health care reform that have divided public opinion.
The keynote speaker at yesterday’s event was Wurzelbacher, who urged listeners to become educated on issues and hold lawmakers Ń Republicans and Democrats Ń accountable.
“If you want to blame a politician you might as well blame a fox for eating the chickens in a chicken coop,” he said. “That’s what a fox does. Why don’t you blame the guy who forgot to lock the chicken coop.”
Americans for Prosperity has recently received criticism from Democrats for allegedly violating its status as a tax-exempt organization by airing ads that “constitute political campaign intervention,” a violation of federal law. Tax-exempt groups are not allowed to run ads for or against a particular candidate, though they can educate voters or conduct get-out-the-vote drives if they are conducted in a nonpartisan manner, according to The New York Times.
Lawyers for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a complaint last week with the Internal Revenue Service. Americans for Prosperity said the First Amendment protects their TV ads, according to The New York Times. A press release promoting yesterday’s event did not mention the Republican candidates facing Markey and Perlmutter.