On Saturday, after a rush of noise about Congressman Doug Lamborn being called a “knucklehead,” Lamborn called in to Jeff Crank’s morning radio show on KVOR and said I’d misquoted him. I wrote that he’d said that the Armed Service Readiness Subcommittee, which Hefley chaired, wasn’t as good as the one he heads, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Lamborn said that was why Hefley called him a “knucklehead” on Friday.
“If I had said that, you know, I would have been upset also. I did not say that at all. I think that was a misquote, and has caused some needless aggravation on the part of Mr. Hefley, and I’m sorry that that happened,” Lamborn said.
That’s not what earned him that title from Hefley, though. It was how Lamborn answered a question on Thursday about Hefley.
“I feel like I’ve gone beyond his legacy,” Lamborn said.
After the “knucklehead” story, Lamborn said that he’d been comparing his subcommittee to another one that Hefley had chaired, the Subcommittee on Parks, Forests and Public Lands. He said he never meant to imply that his was more important than any Armed Services subcommittee, just that his subcommittee was better than Hefley’s Parks subcommittee.
But either way, Hefley said, both of his subcommittees outstripped Lamborn’s.
“If it’s like what it was before, it has very little power,” Hefley said of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee.
The Parks Subcommittee, he said, created heaps of future chairmen and women, and was known for it. And, he said, it was one of the most important to Coloradoans, given the huge population of outdoor enthusiasts and park lovers.
That wasn’t Hefley’s only problem. Lamborn also took credit for movement on the National Veterans’ Cemetery to himself, and said his predecessor “was not able to do that at all.”
The entire Colorado delegation had worked on establishing the cemetery, Hefley said, and Lamborn had been building somewhat on what they had started.
“In the first place, all of us in our delegation worked hard on this veterans’ cemetery. They said, get it in the works, well, we got it in the works,” Hefley said.
And aside from all that, Hefley said Lamborn wasn’t doing himself any political favors by criticizing him. There are a lot of people around Colorado Springs and the Fifth Congressional District who still have enormous respect for the former congressman, and to come down on him like Lamborn did is a bad idea.
“Why pick a fight with me? He doesn’t need to do that, for his own personal well being,” Hefley said. “He ought to spend less time worrying about his legacy and more worrying about his re-election.”
Lamborn offered his mea culpa multiple times over Monday and Saturday, and said he reveres Hefley.
“I respect him, I respect his 20 years of service, and what I meant to say to start that little question and answer portion of it all was that I was building on the legacy of Joel Hefley. He did a lot of great things,” Lamborn said Saturday.
“And if I didn’t say things as artfully as I should have, I apologize. I didn’t mean to offend anybody.”