On Wednesday we talked about the candid camera video of NY-21 Democratic congressional candidate Tedra Cobb. She was caught on film admitting that she wants to pass an “assault weapons” ban and other gun control measures, but she was advised by representatives of Moms Demand Action to not say it aloud because she couldn’t be elected if she did. This led to a couple of local newspapers, including the Glens Falls Post-Star, trying to get both Cobb and incumbent Congresswoman Elise Stefanik to take a pledge not to lie to the public, to the press, on social media or anywhere else. But as you’ll see below, a closer examination of the video released earlier this week shows that Cobb’s promises probably aren’t worth much because she’s already considered doing precisely what she’s accused of.
First, we can look at Cobb’s “official” response, as detailed by the Adirondack Daily News. They burn through a lot of ink talking about how the local press supposedly had trouble getting Stefanik to take their “no lying pledge” (which she actually responded to in the affirmative through her spokesperson as soon as she was asked, but the editor apparently didn’t want to accept the word of a surrogate). Then they get down to the question of Cobb and her apparent uneasiness with the truth. (Emphasis added)
The Glens Falls newspaper had asked the candidates in New York’s 21st Congressional District not to lie in any way: to the media, to voters, in advertisements or on social media. The Post-Star announced the pledge in an editorial July 1, five days after Tedra Cobb won the June 26 Democratic Party primary and Stefanik’s campaign publicly ramped up…
Cobb accepted the pledge in a letter to the editor she submitted to the Post-Star July 5 and reiterated the support in a phone interview with the paper July 6…
“My opponent says one thing in private, & another in public,” Stefanik tweeted Thursday. “Just days after pledging to be honest with voters, my opponent was caught on camera saying that she must lie to voters in order to get elected.”
Cobb, in a statement to the Watertown Daily Times, said she’s not trying to pass an assault weapons ban because it would be impossible with the current Congress and president, so instead she’s focusing on gun-control measures more people agree on.
So Cobb is on record saying she’ll be telling the truth, eh? And she’s “not trying to pass an assault weapons ban.” Does that mean that if she doesn’t support a weapons ban during the campaign she won’t vote for one if it comes up once she reaches Washington? That’s obviously the implication. But as I said at the top, there’s another nugget in that YouTube video which puts the lie to that claim.
All of the focus earlier this week was on her comment about Moms Demand which comes at the 1:45 mark. I’m guilty of sending everyone to that section of the video myself. But if we rewind a bit, you’ll hear two of the unnamed “Teens for Tedra” talking to her about how it would be nice if she could hide her intentions during the campaign and then go vote for a ban anyway once elected. I’ve set up the video to start at that part of the conversation, which begins at around the one minute mark. We’ll include the brief transcript after the video.
Teen 1: It’s such a difficult issue to do. Especially in your case because you can’t, you know, say much about it.
Teen 2: The nice thing is that when she’s there she can vote with her heart.
Teen 2: That’s nice. But it means getting there. Especially in this district, it’s so… it’s just tough.
At that point, Cobb launches into the part of the conversation everyone was talking about earlier this week regarding her work with Moms Demand Action.
So two of the teenagers are talking about how Cobb has to keep her feelings on gun bans in the closet and one of them says that the “nice thing” is that when she gets to Washington she can, “vote with her heart.” Does Cobb chastise the youths, reminding them of the need for candidates to be honest and cast their votes the way they indicated during the campaign? Perish the thought. She simply says, “Right.”
Which Tedra Cobb should the voters of New York believe? The one who sends official statements to the press or the one chatting with her teenage supporters when she thinks nobody is listening? Keep in mind that one of the two teenagers quoted above reminded everyone to keep a lid on things, saying, “This is a closed group here. Nobody share this.”
I’m not sure how you keep a campaign going after these sorts of revelations. Granted, the idea of politicians lying on the campaign trail is pretty much as old as politics itself, but they’re supposed to at least do a better job of trying to trick us than this.