Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mitchell Comment Sets Off Minor Tempest

A statement by Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, during debate Thursday on a bill adjusting the cap on damages available in medical malpractice cases appears to have set off a minor controversy among some observers of Colorado politics.

Mitchell, who was responding to statements in support of the measure by Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, at one point said to Senate president Peter Groff, D-Denver, "you all look the same to me."

Groff is African-American.

Mitchell said in a comment posted on ColoradoPols that he "made a quick jab at absurd humor and said, 'Well, they all look alike to me,' referring to Democratic leadership."

Groff has not, thus far, expressed any irritation, disappointment or other indication that he took offense to the exchange. Nor has any other Democrat at the statehouse expressed concern that Mitchell meant to offend Groff or make a racially insensitive statement.

The audio record of the debate indicates that Mitchell's meaning was innocuous.