Last night, former White House press secretary Dana Perino pointed out that President Obama could have, and should have, ditched the fundraisers and gone to Colorado Tuesday.
Whatever disappointment he would have generated in his donors at the events, he would have generated a warm reaction from the public, both nationwide and in a key swing state suffering a hellacious forest fire of gargantuan scale. Some argue that a presidential visit in the middle of a disaster area is a bad idea that only ties up police resources, and it’s a fair point, but there are probably some ways to minimize the impact. Denver itself is not currently endangered by the blaze, and Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper has been flying overhead and monitoring fire-fighting sites. (I’m sure of all of these Obama defenders were also vehemently defending President Bush for not visiting Louisiana for seven days after Katrina hit back in 2005.)
So let’s assume that a presidential visit is a bad idea for logistical reasons. Obviously, either at one of his campaign events or in any other format, the president could mention ways to help Coloradans in a dire spot right now, something like the organizations and programs listed at HelpColoradoNow.org.
The wildfires began Saturday, June 23.
The word “Colorado” does not appear in any of the transcripts of the five campaign events Obama has done since the morning of June 25.
UPDATE: Over on Romney’s Facebook page, posted around noon:
Our prayers go out for all those in Colorado affected by wildfires and the brave men and women working to contain them. Please donate to the Red Cross relief effort http://mi.tt/LBn1mR
No word of Colorado on Obama’s Facebook page yet. However, there is a picture of Obama with his dog, Bo, posted around midday.