Given the close race for U.S. Senate, you’d think Republican Ken Buck would play it safe when it comes to major appearances with Democrat Michael Bennet. Instead, the Weld County district attorney is drawing scores of headlines for defending his remark that a jury would have considered an alleged date-rape case in Greeley “buyer’s remorse” and for calling homosexuality a choice. Buck made the comments, which Democrats immediately seized upon, on Meet the Press yesterday morning (partial clip below).

Using the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy as his springboard, host David Gregory asked Buck if he thinks sexual orientation is determined at birth. Buck replied, “I, I, I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you, you have a choice.” (Read the transcript here). Buck also defended extending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, saying three times that they would pay for themselves by “growing government,” before correcting himself by saying, “I’m sorry, growing the economy.”

After the show, Buck told The Denver Post, “I’ve got that boot in my mouth again,” admitting he was nervous about his first appearance on national television and was unsure if he’d made mistakes. “I don’t know—you guys will make that determination,” he told Politico, downplaying the relevancy of some topics. “The social issues that come before the Senate are fairly narrow, and if someone asks me a question on Meet the Press, I’m going to answer the question.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign and One Colorado, both advocating on behalf of GLBT communities, have issued a joint statement asking Buck to “correct” his remark about homosexuality. “In the past six weeks, a number of teenagers have taken their own lives after being the victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment,” the organizations write. “When public figures like Mr. Buck make statements like he did today, kids struggling with their identities question their self-worth, and other kids justify bullying.”