Despite predictions Rep. Cory Gardner would need a walker to get around the Senate if he beats Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, the 39-year-old Colorado Republican has not had double hip replacement surgery.
On Thursday, the Colorado Independent, a liberal-leaning website, published a story in which Gardner supposedly complained during a 2011 committee meeting about how hard it was to have his allegedly preexisting condition covered by insurance.
“I was just telling the staff, I’ve had two hip replacements myself,” Gardner was quoted as saying. “And when I went to buy long-term health insurance for myself, the insurers said, ‘Well, we’ll sell it to you but we’re going to exclude anything from your hips’ — which, you know, if someone has a preexisting condition and that’s excluded, then they’re going to end up either having to pay out of their own pocket for care related to that or go on to Medicaid, right?”
The trouble is, Gardner has never had his hips replaced. The quotes were from 57-year-old Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette.
The Independent — which has since removed the article and posted a correction — said the mistake was made because the speaker was misidentified in congressional transcripts.
The original piece painted Gardner as hypocritical because of his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
“The transcript of a 2011 congressional hearing shows the then 37-year-old U.S. representative expressing the kind of widely held frustrations about the health insurance system that led to the sweeping national reform Gardner now cites as one of the nation’s greatest problems,” the original story read.
This was the basis for reporting the story in the first place, the Independent wrote in its correction.
“The apparent revelation that Gardner had undergone the surgeries seemed well worth reporting,” the website reported, “the Congressman being a 39-year-old who has spoken about his health care repeatedly when expressing his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.”
The Independent said it tried to reach Gardner’s office for a comment before publishing the erroneous article, but was unsuccessful.
Gardner’s supporters had a field day with the mistake.
“Mark Udall’s liberal allies in Colorado have become so desperate that they are now claiming Cory Gardner had two hip replacements by the age of 37. Seriously,” wrote the Colorado GOP on its Tumblr page. “We knew Mark Udall’s campaign was desperate and flailing — but seriously Team Udall?”
Gardner’s campaign was a bit more understated, but no less direct: “To be clear, Cory still has both of his original hips.”
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