Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Greeley, CO after flying into Denver and renting a car to get to Debbie Lee’s birthplace and hometown. The park where we held the event was tucked away in the south side of town, but it had a gorgeous veteran’s memorial that paid tribute to the brave men and women who protected America before the current generation of heroes.
When we first arrived Marilyn Musgrave was not yet there, but some of her staff were, as well as a small crowd of supporters. We had barely gotten ourselves out of the car when her press secretary and another staff member showed up to let us know what press they expected to show up.
By show-time which was scheduled for 2:00 Congresswoman Musgrave was there and a whole host of other supporters from the area. We were talking with a few of them, especially about the debate Musgrave had the previous night with far left opponent Betsy Markey.
One of the most important issues for the people of Colorado, and especially this district north of Denver and just east of Loveland is agriculture and farming. At the debate it was clear to the people I talked to that Markey was sticking very closely to her talking points which were of course very generalized party-line positions. Musgrave on the other hand could talk at length about this issue because she has been a congresswoman for the state of Colorado for years and knows the issues that farmers have to deal with inside and out.
Another point they made to me was that during the debate a question was asked about what the candidate’s biggest mistakes were or their regrets and the people assembled had been very unimpressed with Markey’s response, which was to say she basically regretted telling people that she wanted to grow up to be a “nothing just like my mom.” They thought that was a bad move for Markey because it made her seem like she couldn’t think of anything substantive, so she rattled of something personal, and something very embarrassing at that. So… Markey successfully cast doubts on her character without contributing anything worthy to the discussion about her candidacy.
We introduced Congresswoman Musgrave to Melanie Morgan and Debbie Lee, they chatted for a little while we waited on some people from local papers to show up. After a while they did, even an Associated Press reporter came, so we decided it was about time to start the event.
Congresswoman Musgrave marched up to the front of the crowd and began by thanking everyone for coming and that she felt honored to receive our endorsement! I almost blurted my inner monologue that “We’re honored that you’re accepting it!”
Melanie Morgan took over next and railed on Betsey Markey, primarily about her position on the war in Iraq. Ms. Markey’s position has “evolved, over time” as the War in Iraq has become increasingly successful ever since the beginning of “The Surge” strategy. Markey’s website itself had previously read that the situation in Iraq was “chaotic” and that “no improvement” was reasonably plausible. This is why I think democrats shot themselves in the foot on The Surge – because they never even gave it a chance. Markey’s website also trashed President Bush saying he would not “resolve or seriously improve the situation.”
Well it did not take many months after the surge began for that improvement to become apparent and for democrats who opposed it to be plainly wrong. Markey who never even held an elected office before, but here she already has her first major policy failure.
Melanie talked about how Markey removed those first offensive comments about the war from her website but had still left the poor policy up, which is her position that Congress should de-fund our troops until there is only enough funding to expedite a full and hasty retreat of our forces.
Melanie also praised Congresswoman Musgrave for her continual support for our troops and for being a blue star mom herself and making the same sacrifice for our nation that hundreds of thousands of families all across the nation have done.
“She has a proven record, a track record of supporting our troops. She has not wavered, she is never going to waver, not now, and not ever! We thank you for your service and your sacrifice as a blue-star mom and for your in-law and your son’s service to our country, thank you.”
Congresswoman Musgrave has a son-in-law who served in Afghanistan and has a daughter and son-in-law currently serving in the U.S. Navy.
Next Debbie Lee came up and talked about our veterans and told her story about her own son Marc. She thanked Marilyn Musgrave for her support for the men and women in the armed services and thanked all the veterans in the crowd for what they have sacrificed for our freedoms.
“About three months ago my daughter in law shipped Marc’s uniforms to me,” she said, “and your first inclination when you’ve lost somebody and you go through their clothes is to smell, hoping that you can catch just a little piece of what their life was and your memories of them.” Debbie recalled.
“And I remember as I picked up that uniform and I held it, and I couldn’t smell Marc in it, and the tears started to flow as I remembered the loss and that sacrifice that young man had given. But I thought, it wasn’t the uniform that made him that heroes, it was who filled that uniform that made him a hero.”
Debbie Lee thanked all of the veterans present, all the heroes, anyone who had ever worn that uniform was a hero. And then Debbie told the crowd the story of what happened to Marc, how he stood up to the sniper fire that he and his fellow SEALS were taking that had them pinned on a rooftop in Ramadi.
Marc rose up amid the flying metal and provided covering fire so that the SEALS could get their buddy Ryan, who had been wounded, down off the roof in safety. But that was not when Marc made his great sacrifice, after they saved Ryan’s life, it turns out they received intelligence that they found a house where the insurgents who had ambushed them were hiding. So Marc and his fellow seals went out again to clear the house so that those insurgents couldn’t continue killing and taking advantage of the people of Ramadi. Walking up the stairs of that house Marc took a sniper shot through the window of the house and that was when Marc laid down his life. Despite the loss, Debbie Lee could not be more proud of her son, what he stood for and who he fought for.
Marilyn Musgrave herself took center stage next. She mentioned a clinic she had fought to get in Burlington and reflected a little about visiting the young military men and women at Walter Reed, but rather than talk about her campaign and her agenda, she decided to share a personal story about how she feels towards our vets. She told us about a group of Colorado soldiers who had come in to Washington DC, about to leave for a tour of duty in Iraq. Congresswoman Musgrave said, “I’m a mom you know, before I’m a congresswoman, and I wanted to give them a send-off like their moms would send them off.” Musgrave actually COOKED a whole mess of chicken enchiladas in a huge roaster pan in her CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE. “I don’t know what the whole Longworth building thought, but the food was just wafting through the air.”
And then we went over to the US capitol and I gave them a personal tour and that was just a gesture of my love and my respect.” Musgrave recalled. “They’re going off and their doing a job that many people would never do. And they’re volunteering to do it, they’re making the choice to do it.” She even took the troops to a private little-known chapel to pray for their safety before seeing them go off to war.
“I believe if there’s one thing a united states member of congress should do is always support our troops we should never do anything that ever demoralizes them we should never do anything to make them think that their mission is not worth it, that we don’t have confidence in them and that we will not offer our support. “