Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) had a bit of a slip-up when he attempted to reiterate his support for birth control access during a debate with his Democratic challenger, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. In fact, he completely forgot the words "birth control."
In March, Coffman's campaign said he no longer supported personhood measures, or giving fertilized eggs the same legal rights as people, after Romanoff had demanded that the congressman reject such a proposal. Medical experts say personhood measures could ban some commonly used forms of birth control.
But Coffman's flexible stance on reproductive health issues doesn't mean that he is able to conjure up his position when put on the spot.
When Coffman was asked about the differences he and Romanoff have on reproductive rights issues at a candidate debate Thursday, Coffman blanked.
"I, uh, I believe that, I'm pro-life. I'm proud of that," Coffman said. "I do not support personhood. But I support a women's access, to, to, certainly, this Hobby Lobby decision, to get uh..."
After audience members started murmuring, Coffman smacked his head and said, as the concept came to him, "birth control!"
The video of Coffman's stumble was uploaded by American Bridge, a Democratic-affiliated opposition research group.
Tyler Sandberg, Coffman’s campaign manager, told local reporter Eli Stokols after the debate that the congressman supports birth control access, although he also supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Colorado voters opposed personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010. As recently as 2012, Colorado Right to Life hailed Coffman as a representative supportive of personhood legislation.
The race between Coffman and Romanoff in Colorado's 6th District is considered one of the nation's most competitive.