Facts Or Fiction: Is Ken Buck 'Too Extreme'?

Various Videos Of Ken Buck Used In Political Ad Paid For By Sen. Michael Bennet

Leading up to the November election, 7NEWS and TheDenverChannel.com will check the accuracy of political ads.

Do the ads contain facts or fiction?

7NEWS checked the "facts or fiction" of a political ad against Republican Senatorial candidate Ken Buck, paid for by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., entitled: "Too Extreme."

AD:

Bennet: "I'm Michael Bennet and I approve this message."

Buck speaking on video: "I'll be a voice that represents the people on Main Street."

Narrator: "Who is Ken Buck? And does he speak for Colorado? Buck wants to privatize Social Security. He even questioned whether Social Security should exist at all."

Buck: "I don't know whether it is constitutional or not. It is certainly a horrible policy."

FACT BUT MISLEADING: The use of Buck's own words makes what comes out of his mouth factual, but the way portions of his comments are used in the ad can be misleading without the proper context of the comment.

The clip of Buck is from the Constitutionalist Today Forum on March 9. When Buck said, "I don't know whether it is constitutional or not, it is certainly a horrible policy," he was answering this question: "Is it constitutional for the government to have a Social Security program where it directs the monies that we put into it?"

The following is more from Buck's response at the forum:

"I don't know whether it's constitutional or not, it is certainly a horrible policy, and what happened in the LBJ administration back in the '60s, when they took the money out of the trust fund to use to fund general fund programs, and what we ended up with was a system that will be bankrupt in 10-25 years from now. It is bad policy. I don't know that a federal government should be involved in a retirement plan. It should be a plan that certainly once people pay into it, they have the expectation of getting their retirement and their entitled to that," said Buck.

In an e-mail to 7NEWS, Buck spokesman Owen Loftus wrote: "Ken is not in favor of privatizing social security." However, at the forum, Buck did say this:

"The idea that the federal government should be running health care or retirement or any of those programs is fundamentally against what I believe, and that is that the private sector runs programs like that far better," said Buck.

AD:

Narrator: "On education?"

Buck: "We don't need a Department of Education."

FACT BUT MISLEADING: Again, Buck did say, "we don't need a Department of Education," but using just those few words, without the entire response, makes the use of that comment misleading.

Buck has said the Department of Education isn't needed because he believes school decisions should be made at the local level and not dictated in any way in Washington, D.C.

At the same March forum, just before Buck gave the answer regarding Social Security, he was asked: "Could you name for me two or three federal programs right now that exist and are unconstitutional in their current form?"

"The federal government is trying to solve every problem. The reality is that the power lies with you and me, in our local communities. We don't need a Department of Education in Washington, D.C., telling us in our local communities -- education decisions are best, best left to a parent and a child, a parent and a teacher, a school board to determine curriculum. A one-size-fits-all system coming out of Washington, D.C., is a disaster and it has been a disaster for years."

Just prior to that answer, Buck listed a number of other programs that he would cut.

"Can I name a few programs that I think could be cut right away that aren't constitutional? Yes, I can name several, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Amtrak," said Buck.

Buck also listed those organizations during an interview on the Jeff Crank radio show in Colorado Springs in May. Crank had asked where Buck would cut the size and scope of federal government. Buck then said the following:

"There are other agencies, like the Department of Education, that I think we can't go in on day one and just wholesale get out. We have student loans and other programs that people have built up a dependence on, and over time, I'm not talking about 30 years, but over time we have to wean the American public off of those and bring those back to the states where they legitimately belong. I think it is a complicated mess. We've been doing this for 60 years and it's going to take us some time to get out of the spending mess that we're in," said Buck.

AD:

Narrator: "And Buck wants to end student loans for middle class kids."

Buck: "I don't think our Founding Fathers ever intended the federal government have student loans."

FACT BUT MISLEADING: For the way his comments are used.

FICTION: The narration that Buck wants to end student loans is a false statement.

The video of Buck making that statement is from the Greenhorn Valley Town Hall meeting on March 3. The Bennet campaign provided 7NEWS a 14 second clip from that town hall meeting. In those 14 seconds, Buck said the following:

“The federal government has grown beyond where it was ever intended to grow, so we have a dependence now on programs like student loans. I don’t think our founding fathers ever intended the federal government have student loans," said Buck.

Buck has never said he wants to end student loans, but he has made comments on how Congress has handled student loans. In March, Congress passed legislation making some changes to the nationwide health care law. In that legislation, Congress ended to practice of banks offering student loans with federal money. Students can continue to receive loans from banks, but without assurance from the federal government. In an e-mail to 7NEWS, Buck's spokesman, Loftus wrote, "Ken believes that student loans should be guaranteed by the federal government, but he doesn't believe that the federal government should push out private lenders. Buck is in support of students loans."

As noted above, in the interview on the Jeff Crank radio show, Buck referred to student loans when talking about how to cut spending at the federal level.

"We have student loans and other programs that people have built up a dependence on, and over time, I'm not talking about 30 years, but over time, we have to wean the American public off of those and bring those back to the states where they legitimately belong," said Buck.

AD:

Narrator: "Ken Buck wants to ban common forms of birth control. And his view on abortion?"

Buck: "I am pro-life and I'll answer the next question, I don't believe in the exceptions of rape or incest."

FACT: This is Buck's stance on abortion. He has said that the only exception is when the life of the mother is at risk. During an interview with Craig Silverman on KHOW radio, Buck reinforced his position on abortion.

"If you believe that life begins at conception, which I do, then the exception of rape or incest, you're taking a life as a result of the crime of the father, and even though I recognize that it's a terrible misery that that life was conceived under, it is still taking a life in my view, and it's wrong," said Buck.

AD:

Narrator: "Ken Buck asked the right question…."

Buck: "I'm an extremist. I'm an extremist?"

MISLEADING: The ad uses Buck's comment as a statement, as though he is stating he is an extremist. Buck is asking the question, "I'm an extremist?" in a sarcastic way while answering a question at the Estes Park 2010 Candidate Roundup on July 6. Buck's campaign couldn't provide the exact wording of the question or answer, and Bennet's campaign provided 7NEWS only 11 seconds of video from that answer.

"Today, his campaign manager says that I'm an extremist. That I'm an extremist? I'm sorry, I'm not there in Washington, D.C., with $100 trillion in unfunded liability or a $13 trillion national debt," said Buck.

AD:

Narrator: "Ken Buck, he shouldn't be speaking for Colorado."

OPINION: This is simply a statement of opinion.