"I am not your buddy": "Gunny" Bob called columnist, ex-legislator Andrews "supposedly a conservative" after arguing over Capitol security

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

After an on-air discussion and argument with Denver Post columnist and Republican former Colorado Senate president John Andrews about issues surrounding the shooting at the state Capitol, Newsradio 850 KOA's "Gunny" Bob Newman stated on his July 16 broadcast that it was "troubling" that Andrews "claims he's a Republican" and declared on his July 17 broadcast that it was "remarkable" that Andrews is "supposedly a conservative."

Following an interview and argument with Denver Post columnist and KNUS 710 AM host John Andrews, "Gunny" Bob Newman stated on his Newsradio 850 KOA broadcast on July 16 that "what is most troubling is that John Andrews claims he's a Republican." The two had been discussing issues surrounding the July 16 fatal shooting at the state Capitol and argued on the air about Andrews' support for removing metal detectors from the Capitol in 2002. Similarly, during his July 17 broadcast, Newman said he found it "remarkable" that Andrews -- the Republican former Colorado state Senate president -- "is apparently a Republican, supposedly a conservative."

Newman interviewed Andrews, who founded the free-market Independence Institute, following the shooting outside Gov. Bill Ritter's (D) office at the Capitol. He questioned Andrews about his support as a state senator for Senate Resolution 02-010, a 2002 measure calling for the removal of metal detectors that were installed at the Capitol following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. In response to Newman's criticism of his support for the move, Andrews stated that "one of the things that I value is open access of citizens in a free society to their government." After Newman responded, "I put life over that, believe it or not," Andrews told Newman that he "sound[ed] like a bleeding-heart liberal."

Andrews hosts Backbone Radio, is a Claremont Institute fellow, and served as a speechwriter for Republican President Richard Nixon, as well as an advisory appointee for Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush.

From the July 16 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:

NEWMAN: I want to welcome to the show John Andrews, co-sponsor of Senate Bill 02-010. John is a former state senator from right here in Colorado and past president of the Colorado state Senate, and now he's a Denver Post columnist. John, welcome to the program.

ANDREWS: Hi, Bob; glad to be with you today.

NEWMAN: John, thanks, thanks again for, very much, for joining us. John, I've got to take you to task right away, but you know I don't pull any punches and you know exactly what I want to talk about. And, I got to tell you, when you -- when you got involved with, with Senate Resolution 02-010, did you support it?

ANDREWS: You're talking about the --

NEWMAN: I'm talking about the --

ANDREWS: -- you're talking about the Senate, the Senate's endorsement of [former] Governor [Bill] Owens's decision to take down the security --

NEWMAN: That is exactly correct.

ANDREWS: -- posts in 2003 [sic]. I did, Bob.

NEWMAN: Why?

ANDREWS: Because I think that, as [Gov. Bill] Ritter said today, there is a balance to be struck between the open access to the halls of government that we would like Colorado citizens to have and the protections that you take in a sometimes violent society even before terrorism came. Of course, terrorism was the reason after 9-11, 2001, that, that the metal detectors were, were put up at two Capitol doors and the other doors were locked. By --

NEWMAN: John, wouldn't you agree --

ANDREWS: -- by 2000, by 2003 [sic], in the, in the judgment of then-Governor Bill Owens, the, the terrorist threat was evaluated not to be serious enough to warrant those precautions, and, and the legislature at the time agreed. I agreed with him that, that the, the balance needed to be tipped in favor of people's open access to the halls of government. Bob, I don't agree that it's an undefended building, because I think on the evidence of the governor's security detail being a perimeter there --

NEWMAN: I didn't say it was undefended. I said it was almost totally undefended. And John, it is not a balanced system, if I, if I may. It is not a balanced system when a gunman can walk into the governor's offices. That's imbalance, John. That's not balance.

ANDREWS: What was unbalanced was obviously the individual who, who we don't know --

NEWMAN: Oh, come on, John.

ANDREWS: -- we don't know if he wanted to do harm to the governor.

NEWMAN: Well, he wasn't there to sell cookies. He pulled a gun on this Colorado state patrolman.

[...]

NEWMAN: Would you have felt better as well if he had been killed outside rather than in front of the governor's office?

ANDREWS: Yeah, I would, other things being equal.

NEWMAN: Very good.

ANDREWS: But I, but I haven't heard you acknowledge that there are any other things that, that need to be considered as to whether they are equal, and one of the, one of the things that I value is open access of citizens in a free society to their government.

NEWMAN: Yeah, you know what, I put over that -- I, I put life over that, believe it or not. You, you -- you clearly don't. I put life over it.

ANDREWS: You sound like a bleeding-heart liberal, Newman. I put life ahead too.

NEWMAN: Oh, now I'm "Newman."

ANDREWS: You can't, you can't set -- you cannot set an infinite value on every life and then begin to say --

NEWMAN: I put life over it, and now you're trying to sugarcoat it and trying to backtrack it to cover your ass.

ANDREWS: No sir, buddy.

NEWMAN: And I assure you, sir, I am not your buddy.

ANDREWS: I, I am -- I am suggesting that an infinite value on every life is, is a bleeding-heart liberal approach to things --

NEWMAN: Yeah, that's me. I'm a bleedin'-heart liberal. That is certainly --

ANDREWS: -- by which we end up taking all sorts of preventions and precautions and regulations which diminish our freedom and our overall quality of life and, and, and in Colorado seat of government, our state Capitol, that is a consideration that has to be weighed. I don't know what the decision is going to be in the next few days, but, but I think the, the second-guessing and the armchair quarterbacking that I hear you doing --

NEWMAN: And I hear you doing the same thing. You're doing the same thing. This is analysis. You see, if you say it, it's, it's analysis, but if I say it, it's second-guessing and armchair quarterbacking. Why is that, John?

ANDREWS: Well, because I'm trying to answer you in kind, my friend, in, in that, that you came on with, if I may say, guns blazing about what you call the, the stupidity, the indefensible irresponsibility and naiveté of state government in 2003, and I just want to suggest that maybe it's not quite that simple.

[...]

CALLER: I've been listening to you from day one.

NEWMAN: And, and, and frankly, I have the background. And that, that's why they had to conduct this background investigation on me and all this stuff, and blah, blah, blah.

CALLER: Yeah.

NEWMAN: You know, but -- and, and, so, so I do speak with some experience here. But what is most troubling is that John Andrews claims he's a Republican.

CALLER: Oh, no --

NEWMAN: And -- and, yeah. And --

[Caller laughs]

NEWMAN: -- and, and, and I, I hope, though -- let's, let's forget John Andrews. I hope that our governor and the legislature now realize the mistakes that were made in the past. OK, acknowledge them; fine. That was the wrong decision back then.

From the July 17 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Gunny Bob Show:

[begin audio clip]

NEWMAN: Tell me something, John: Is there, is there security at the White House? Isn't that the people's place? Yes it is. Is there security at the United States Congress? Isn't that -- can you walk into the White House or the U.S. Congress and just walk in carrying a, carrying a gun? No, you cannot, because you have security there because they are called high-value targets, and it's the same thing at the state level. And starting in October of 2001, I got, I got on this program and elsewhere around the world at security conventions and things like this -- you know, training governments and security operatives around the world that you've got to look at high-value targets and take the appropriate precautions, and then if you leave something wide open, somebody is going to find out that it's open and they're going to exploit the opportunity. That is what happened today, and I take great issue with you saying that that dead guy laying there is a comic book caricature.

ANDREWS: Well, I, I take great issue with your swaggering, militaristic --

NEWMAN: Ah, yes.

ANDREWS: -- tough guy, cop approach to this issue, Bob.

NEWMAN: Ah, yes. I, I don't want people killed, so I'm a swaggering, militaristic tough guy. I, I guess all the, all the Secret Service agents who protect, who protect the president and all the people who -- the security agencies that protect our Congress, that the people who are in favor of security there must be swaggering, militaristic tough guys.

[end audio clip]

NEWMAN: That's a little clip for you from last night's Gunny Bob Show on Newsradio 850 KOA. I was speaking with John Andrews, former state senator here in Colorado, also former president of the state Senate. Incredibly, I am told today that this man founded the Independence Institute, who my colleague Jon Caldara is now president of. Judging by his, his words and deeds of late, I find that remarkable that, that, that, that John Andrews is apparently a Republican, supposedly a conservative, and, and was actually involved with the Independence Institute at, at one time.

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