Colorado Senate candidate says Tea Partiers questioning Obama's citizenship 'dumbasses'

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U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck refers to members of the Tea Party who question the President’s citizenship as “dumbasses” in an audio recording obtained by 9NEWS and The Denver Post.

The Colorado Republican candidate’s voice was captured on a pocket tape recorder without his knowledge by a Colorado Democratic Party worker in a parking lot before a June event in Crowley County.

He had just come from an event in Pueblo where there was a reference to whether President Obama was an American citizen. The comment apparently comes without provocation from the Democratic Party worker, who has been following and videotaping Buck all over the state of Colorado for months.

“Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera,” Buck said to the worker while laughing. “God, what am I supposed to do?”

Asked about the comments on Sunday at a political rally in Adams County, Buck said he wishes he had used different language and that he had not lumped all Tea Party members into one statement, but that he remains frustrated that some people are focusing on birth certificates rather than the country’s $13 trillion debt and its $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

“The language is inappropriate,” he told 9NEWS and The Post. “After 16 months on the campaign trail, I was tired and frustrated that I can’t get that message through that we are going to go off a cliff if we don’t start dealing with this debt.

“It is not the Tea Party movement on the whole. The Tea Party movement gets it. It’s the Constitution, it’s the debt, it’s the other issues, but there are a couple people that are frankly frustrating for all candidates. I mean if you talked to other candidates and they’re being honest with you, they’ll say I know that. Now, they may not have used my choice words, but they have the same feelings.”

Buck, who rose to the top of recent polls against his Republican primary opponent Jane Norton, campaigns as a “grassroots candidate” and openly embraces the Tea Party support he’s received. For example, at the Independence Institute’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms party last weekend, he asked the crowd, “Anybody here in any Tea Parties? Is that a great deal or what?”

He went on to call the Tea Parties a “great thing that (President) Obama has given us.”

One of the leading members of the 9/12 and Tea Party movements in Colorado reaffirmed her support for Buck after hearing the news, although she says she wishes he had used better language in the process.

“He could have not called us a name,” said Lu Busse, who runs the 9/12 Project Colorado Coalition. “It would have been better to say, ‘Why do these people’ and he shouldn’t have used a bad name, but I don’t see it as he meant anything personal to me or to the other people in the Tea Party movement. It was just an unguarded moment and he was frustrated.”

Busse expressed sadness that issues like this were being covered in lieu of larger government-philosophy questions that she feels should be asked of all candidates. She did not believe he would lose support among Tea Party members who have endorsed his campaign.

“Occasionally a candidate’s going to slip up and do something, but these are not the type of issues we’re concerned about,” she said.

The audio taping of Buck happened on Friday, June 11, about an hour and a half after Buck finished up an event for a small group, including Tea Party activists, in Pueblo. The Democratic Party worker videotaped that session, including a question and answer session regarding the 14th Amendment which has been interpreted to give those individuals born in this country automatic citizenship. After Buck told the group he thought the Supreme Court needed to address the issue, one of those in attendance said, “It is really a (Supreme) Court question whether somebody born in the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. I mean President Obama is an example of that.”

Buck did not respond to that statement, taking another question from the audience instead.

When he encountered the Democratic Party worker in the parking lot outside the Heritage Center Pavilion in Crowley later that afternoon, their conversation went as follows.

“Buck: Hey Buddy
Democratic Worker: Is this going to be held inside?
Buck: You said you can’t talk when you’re on camera? What do you mean?
Democratic Worker: I just don’t answer your questions.
Buck: Ok
Democratic Worker: Is this going to be going on inside?
Buck: Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera? God, what am I supposed to do?”

The topic of Obama’s citizenship has remained top of mind for many Tea Party activists. When asked on YOUR SHOW last Thursday whether he would pursue a vote to require the President to provide a birth certificate and not a certificate of birth, both Buck and Norton said no.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.