Politics & Policy

Bennet Continues to Run from Obama, D.C.

First up, from the Washington Post blog “The Fix”:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) declined to say Thursday morning whether he wants President Obama to return to the Centennial State to campaign for him in his neck-and-neck race against Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R).

“He’s been out there, and I’m grateful for his support. We’re looking at this day by day by day,” Bennet said of the President at a breakfast sponsored by Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank.

Obama headlined three fundraisers for Bennet in February and hosted a tele-town hall for the Senator ahead of his primary against former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) last month, but he has yet to make a general-election visit to Colorado, a swing state that went strongly for him in 2008.

BATTLE ‘10 reported last week on the lack of plans by President Obama to visit Colorado despite not only his primary appearances, but his history with the state–his nomination during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver and the choice to return for the signing of the stimulus bill in February 2009. The initial round of visits did not include Colorado, with the President instead choosing other battleground states for campaign visits.

Bennet continued to clarify his campaign statements on the national debt that said “we have nothing to show for” trillions in debt:

Bennet also said Thursday morning that he did not misspeak when he told an audience last month that the country has “nothing to show” for the $13 trillion in debt that it has amassed.

“I wouldn’t say I misspoke,” Bennet said. “The point that I was trying to make is that we may, in the end, with the last $760 billion of that $13 trillion, manage to stave off the Great Depression, and that’s of value. There’s no question about that. But from the point of view of America’s competitiveness — from the point of view of building an architecture for the 21st Century — we haven’t come close to doing that.”

At the same Thursday morning breakfast in Washington, according to the New York Times, Bennet sought to emphasize his detachment from D.C. culture and political gamesmanship:

A Democrat in his first term, Mr. Bennet sought repeatedly to cast himself as a newcomer to the city, an outsider and a critic of Washington politics — a reluctant participant in the partisan debates surrounding the country’s economic crisis.

“I’ve been here for 21 months. I’ve never run for office before. The first time my name has ever been on the ballot for anything was the primary election,” he said. “ Unlike a lot of people here, I spent my entire life outside of politics. … Washington is really long on people who have spent their entire careers running for political office.”

Recent ads by groups opposing Bennet have painstakingly tried to portray Bennet as an entrenched Washington insider, despite his relatively short tenure as the appointed replacement of now Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

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