Newsradio 850 KOA host "Gunny" Bob Newman stated on his February 8 broadcast that Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter was "going to sign [a] pro-union bill" and asked his listeners, "[I]f you fell for his claim that he was pro-business ... do you now feel like a fool?" But Ritter vetoed the bill the following day; Newman acknowledged Ritter's decision by calling it "a scandal."
On the February 8 broadcast of his Newsradio 850 KOA show, "Gunny" Bob Newman stated that Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter was "going to sign [a] pro-union bill" -- House Bill 1072. Newman then asked his listeners, "[D]o you now feel like a fool?" and "[d]o you feel stupid?" for not having heeded his warnings about Ritter's campaign-season "claim that he was pro-business." In fact, Ritter vetoed the bill on February 9, a fact that Newman acknowledged by calling Ritter's decision "a scandal" and claiming that Ritter "was forced ... to do" it.
As Colorado Media Matters has noted, HB 1072 proposed to revise the Colorado Labor Peace Act to strike provisions regarding procedures under which workers preparing to negotiate a union contract can obtain necessary authority to make the contract an all-union agreement. The bill passed the House on January 22, passed the Senate on February 5, and was awaiting Ritter's decision to veto or sign it at the time of Newman's broadcast on February 8.
In the February 9 message accompanying his veto, Ritter acknowledged that he had won the governorship with the support of business and noted that the failure of the bill's proponents and opponents to engage in "civil" dialogue convinced him that immediate enactment of the bill was not in the state's best interest:
I committed in my first State of the State speech just a few weeks ago, and I promised the people of Colorado over the last two years, that I would work tirelessly to bridge traditional divides, to bring together groups that often find themselves at odds: Republicans and Democrats, business and labor, developers and environmentalists. I vowed to listen to a wide range of views, to unite and to build consensus around a public policy agenda that speaks to the common good.
I am proud of the coalition that honored me with election to this office: rural and urban, mountain and valley, agricultural and industrial, wealthy and poor, Republican, Democrat and unaffiliated. It was a coalition of small businesses, big businesses and working families.
I recognize how deeply disappointed my friends in organized labor will be with this decision. I know that members of my own party in the legislature stood firm in the face of outrageous, unprecedented and shameful partisan rhetoric done only for political sport.
But I strongly believe that the way we do the people's business is as important as what we do. And I am obligated to judge legislation by its consequences, intended and unintended.
Over the last several days, I have listened intently to people I respect who worried deeply about the impact this change would have on our ability to attract new business to Colorado, to create new economic opportunity for all. I am persuaded by their argument that changing long-time Colorado law relating to business and labor negotiations in this manner, in the atmosphere with which it was debated, is not now in the best interests of our state.
From the beginning, this was a bitter, divisive and partisan battle. Opposite sides dug in, refusing to consider reasonable compromises. It demonstrated precisely why so many people have grown so cynical about American politics. The bill's proponents made no effort to open a dialogue with the opponents. At times, the opponents were neither respectful nor civil. It was over-heated politics at its worst.
How we govern is important to me as governor and to the people of Colorado. The spirit of cooperation and collaboration embodied in the passage of FasTracks, Referendum C and other initiatives offers a perfect example of how we as a state can join forces, forge coalitions and move Colorado forward together.
During his February 8 broadcast, Newman also claimed that Ritter "is just like a Hillary Clinton: painting himself to be one thing when in reality you know he's something else." Newman further asserted that "it would be dangerous for [Ritter] politically to come on this show because of how I am able to interview," and stated that Ritter "knows my skills there and does not want to face me."
From the February 8 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:
NEWMAN: I just want to know. Now, be honest. If you voted for Bill Ritter, if you fell for his claim that he was pro-business, and now you realize that, "Oh my God, he's going to sign the pro-union bill," which is anti-business to the extreme -- do you now feel like a fool? Do you feel stupid for not having listened to what I was telling you during the -- the campaign season? I warned you about him.
NEWMAN: I'm pretty disappointed with the state of Colorado not listening to what I was telling you about this guy. He is -- he is just like a Hillary Clinton: painting himself to be one thing when in reality you know he's something else.
NEWMAN: Bill Ritter does not have the courage to come on this show. We have asked him I don't know how many times. He will not come on The Gunny Bob Show. For obvious reasons. It would be -- it would be dangerous for him politically to come on this show because of how I am able to interview. And let's face it, an interview is an interrogation. And he -- he knows my skills there and does not want to face me, because he would lose, and lose very, very badly, and -- so I can't blame him. But at the same time, you know what? You ought -- you ought to have the guts to do it. 303-713-8585. When you -- when you are afraid of somebody in the media because of -- of his interview ability, it's -- it's reflective of a -- of a lack of character.
From the February 9 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:
NEWMAN: There is also a scandal having to do with Governor Bill Ritter. He was forced -- politically forced today -- to do something against his will. He was forced to veto bill 1072, the pro-union payback bill. Now the unions are mad. He's mad. The Democrats in the legislature are very, very upset because promises were made during the -- during the campaigns. And now they're not going to get their -- their way. The unions are not.