- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DENVER — Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s stance on hydraulic fracturing is coming under fire in the latest wave of ads in the razor-close Colorado Senate race.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released Wednesday the second video in its cheeky “Mark Udall Dynasty” series, blasting the Democrat for apparently telling a constituent that fracking “keeps us locked into the old system.”

“He said it ‘keeps us locked into the old system’ despite the fact that more than half of Colorado voters support fracking,” says the narrator in the NRSC video. “And then when confronted with this statement in a debate, he suddenly has amnesia.”

Republican Rep. Cory Gardner challenged Mr. Udall on the comment at the Club 20 debate last month in Grand Junction, but Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris noted that the audio recording of Mr. Udall’s conversation with a constituent includes several voices and is difficult to understand. The audio was posted online by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Every Colorado outlet has refused to use this because it’s completely indecipherable and a clear effort to take words out of context. That’s why only a rightwing blog would write it — and it was met with a collective yawn,” Mr. Harris said in a statement.

The Koch brothers-affiliated Freedom Partners Action Fund released a television ad Tuesday citing the same “keeps us locked into the old system” remark, and then showing footage of Mr. Udall pausing and putting up his hands after Mr. Gardner asks him about the comment.

“I don’t know who this constituent was, I’ve not seen this report,” Mr. Udall says at the debate.

Mr. Udall has called for a “best of the above” energy strategy that includes renewables like wind and solar, as well as “clean coal” and “clean-burning natural gas.” But he’s also being backed by environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate, which supports candidates who take a strong stance on combating climate change.

Mr. Udall has resisted being pinned down on fracking, saying it “can” and “must” be done safely but not elaborating on whether he thinks it’s actually being done safely in Colorado. The fracking issue has been a political hot potato for Colorado Democrats trying to embrace both the energy industry and the environmental movement.

“He’s long held up fracking as a form of energy development that can be done safely and responsibly, and boost Colorado’s energy economy,” Mr. Harris.

NRSC spokeswoman Brook Hougesen released a statement along with the video saying that Mr. Udall “stands with President Obama 99 percent of the time, even on energy and national security issues that the majority of Coloradans oppose.”

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