Politics & Policy

Campaigns React to First U.S. Senate Debate

Ken Buck

Republican Ken Buck

Michael Bennet

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet

BuckBennethandshake

Buck, left, shakes hands with Bennet following a spirited and often contentious debate.

Following Saturday’s Club 20 (Colorado’s Western Slope) debate, representatives from both U.S. Senate campaigns spoke briefly with BATTLE ‘10, reflecting on the first debate between Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Ken Buck.

Craig Hughes, Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign manager, offered his take:

“There was a clear contrast that was created between the two candidates. Michael made very clear, concise arguments especially a good discussion about energy independence, weaning ourselves off of foreign oil, and a plan to make ourselves energy independent in a way that creates jobs in Colorado, creates jobs here on the Western Slope and that’s a key point in this debate for both candidates–local issues that have a real impact on the Senate race.”

Owen Loftus, spokesman for Ken Buck, felt Bennet’s refusal to accept Buck’s challenge to take down a contentious negative ad gave Buck the upper hand:

“We have a clear winner in Ken Buck. When it came to the cross examination Ken was able to show that Michael Bennet is deceitful and dishonest to the people of Colorado, and that’s not what the people of Colorado deserve in a Senator. Michael Bennet said that the Denver Post, 9NEWS, CBS4 and Channel 7 were all wrong when they called him out for taking Ken’s comments out of context. That’s going to say a lot.

Both are smart guys and knew the issues. Ken Buck is running on ideas and values he wants to bring to DC, whereas Michael Bennet is trying to run away from DC even though he’s been part of the problem. He’s been a rubberstamp for Barack Obama.”

Hughes, the Bennet spokesman, closed with a small preview of the senator’s agenda as he returns to Washington, D.C. this week:

“The first course of business is small business, there is a package that Michael has been supporting to free up credit to small businesses so they can create jobs which is critical. There will also be a discussion over what’s called the ‘second stimulus plan’ from the Obama administration. Michael has come out against that saying, ‘We don’t need $50 billion in new spending right now and the funding for the projects he supports can come out of unused stimulus funds.’”

The nature of Bennet’s opposition to “Stimulus II” infrastructure spending following a Denver Post article characterizing the Senator’s refusal as rigid was called into question by Eli Stokols of Fox 31, arguing that the campaign itself has admitted Bennet’s position is a little more nuanced, allowing for some “wiggle room.”

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