Obama Endorses Bennet

Talk about the mother of all endorsements. As The Denver Post reports:

President Barack Obama endorsed U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet today, throwing the force of the White House into a Democratic primary battle that officially is just over a day old.

“Families in Colorado and across America need (Bennet) in the United States Senate to help us revitalize our economy, improve our public schools and pass health-insurance reform,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

“Michael has had my full support from day one, and I look forward to working with him in the Senate for years to come.”

The direct endorsement of a president still enormously popular among progressive voters is perhaps the biggest hammer that national Democrats can bring to Bennet’s primary battle against former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, and they wasted no time in wielding it.

Some Democratic operatives in the state were unsure how strongly Obama would weigh in, if at all, given Romanoff’s popularity among the party’s rank and file. Romanoff began a three-city kickoff tour just yesterday.

But faced with a race that has the potential to trip up the party’s efforts to consolidate its gains in the Rocky Mountain West, national Democrats have quickly rallied behind Bennet, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Ken Salazar less than nine months ago.



137 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I support Bennet. I understand the politics of why they are doing this. But I wish Obama hadn’t jumped in.

  2. Jambalaya says:

    …about the best way to spend their precious dollars this campaign donation season?  It’s a recession, after all.

  3. silverandblue says:

    Kind of looks like dropping a nuke to kill a gnat.   If it does not kill Romanoff makes him stronger.

  4. Ralphie says:

    This is freakin’ politics.  It’s a contact sport.  If Andy Boy can’t handle this little snub, he shouldn’t have gotten in.

    On a similar note, Obama did a fundraiser the other day for Arlen Specter.  Tell me that guy would pass the Democratic snicker test.

    Andy is a great guy.  The Colorado Democratic party is rich with talent.  However, when one is running for national office, one has to expect to be evaluated on the basis of one’s potential contribution to a national political agenda.

    Looks like Romanoff didn’t make the cut.  That doesn’t mean he won’t be nominated, it simply means he didn’t do his homework and evaluate how his candidacy would be perceived.

    Good luck Andy.  I’m not going to take sides in this race.  However, as far as national politics is concerned, I think that your ego might be talking louder to you than your brain.

  5. CrankyOldLady says:

    … I worked hard to elect Obama. Really hard. Put regular life on hold hard. And I am a big Romanoff fan. (Though I do not think he would have behaved significantly differently from Bennet had he been appointed instead–Bennet has been behaving the way any appointed Dem with an impending election should behave in CO.)

    But puhlease!!! If you care about families, the economy, public schools and health insurance reform, our guy Andrew has a TRACK RECORD of delivering.

    I’m among those who think the Obama administration gave Bennet a leg up on the appointment, so maybe I’m jaded.

    I love my President but wish he had a better (articulated) reason to support the appointed one.

    Fab President notwithstanding, I’m for Andrew Romanoff.

  6. indipol says:

    Obama is taking a big, unnecessary risk here.  If AR pulls this off despite the endorsement, it makes Mr. President look unexpectedly weak with his supposed base.  Who is actually going to vote in a non-prez year Senate primary?  Not many more than the rank-and-file.  And so if AR wins, then does it reflect that Obama does not hold the hearts and minds of the rank-and-fine in a state he won handily?

    • roguestaffer says:

      I can’t say that I’m surprised – they cleared the primary for Kirsten Gillibrand in NY, and they’ve endorsed Specter in the Senate.

      It is a big risk, though. I guess we’ll see whether it pays off.

    • MtSherman says:

      I’m not sure how big a risk it is for Obama to endorse the sitting Senator.  He was not elected, but he does have a good chance of winning this as much as I would prefer it to be otherwise.

      As I see it the downside is primarily that if Romanoff wins then Obama will have a Senator who has no particular reason to love him.  This is not significant because most Senators hate a president regardless of party because they think they could do his job better.  The exceptions are ones like Bennett who owe their positions to the President.

  7. 420Jan says:

    I’ll admit it, I have not paid nearly as much attention to our State Legislators as I have the U.S. Legislators so I am not familiar with Romanoff. If he was popular as Colorado’s House Speaker why is he not so popular now?

    Bennet has not impressed me at all, especially on the health care issue so I was glad to hear he’ll have an opponent.  

  8. d davies denver says:

    Not too surprising – except the timing.  

    I’m actually in Bennet’s camp though I really like them both.  It say’s a lot about Andrew actually.  He drew the President out within hours.  Folks this one could go either way, the question is how much blood will be on the floor.

    I don’t worry about the candidates – but some good believers will become rabid over this race.

  9. walk_the_line says:

    Especially with the latest poll.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.co

    Election 2010: Colorado Senate Race

    2010 Colorado Senate: Norton 45%, Bennet 36%

  10. lanman2k says:

    I think it is interesting that the Bennet campaign is pulling out all the stops to get these endorsements so early. I think it shows they know Andrew is a real threat. It still doesn’t counter Andrew’s argument that he will be the grass-roots candidate.

    I also wonder if this will backfire. Andrew had the endorsement of 63 out of 64 county party chairs back in January. I am sure that number has changed somewhat, but I am guessing that the support is still high.

    Will the party activist say, “The President likes him, so I must like him.”

    Or will they say, “Mr. President, I respect your opinion, but I will choose my own Senator (and could you go back to getting health care reform passed?)”

    • Jambalaya says:

      oh man, you didn’t know?  Bennet’s been running for Senate for many months now.  Not everyone started yesterday!

    • paulrosenthal says:

      When Bennet starts lining up hundreds of caucus goers, campaign volunteers, and active Democratic primary voters, then I’ll be worried.  I love and admire the president, but he’s wrong on this one, and I agree it will continue to backfire on Bennet to show how DC is telling Democratic activists what to do.

      • wade norris says:

        that a President that won his office because he entered a primary when many were calling Hillary ‘inevitable’ would be a little more hesitant to try to stifle the primary process.

        But this also could have something to do with the current supreme court case that would allow corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns, thus the need for democrats that are rich or have rich ties, no matter their positions on policy.

        (see Colbert Report for more on this…  http://www.comedycentral.com/c… )

        • RedGreenRedGreen says:

          Since Obama isn’t trying to stifle the primary process, but simply weighing in with his endorsement, what you say is nonsense. Obama sought and received plenty of endorsements in his recent primary, there’s nothing stifling about it.

          • wade norris says:

            the DSCC has been telling any progressive challengers to ‘back off’

            the Sestak primary challenge is the other good example of this – with the DSCC, Governor Rendell, and the President all telling people

            “Specter’s our guy”

            Really?

            What else do you call it when Obama endorses a candidate the day after the official announcement of a primary challenger?

            Riddle me this – why does Obama like Specter or Gillibrand or Bennet over a primary challenger?

            makes no sense.

            • RedGreenRedGreen says:

              Romanoff is in the race, Obama’s endorsement of his opponent does nothing to stifle the race because it’s already under way.

              Establishment Democrats back the incumbent because it’s always easier to re-elect an incumbent. And because it exerts some leverage over someone who can actively back the president’s and the Senate majority’s agenda, which a challenger cannot meaningfully do. This isn’t rocket science, Wade.

            • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

              That is the only way they have a prayer of others like Snowe & Collins switching to the Dems. If switching means you lose a primary – no one will do it.

              • wade norris says:

                but, should we try to pull teeth with a moderate/centrist Dem or Repub. or just give them a primary challenger?

                I think that a primary gives a Senator the ‘wisdom’ to embrace the more populist positions.

                Meanwhile, Snowe doesn’t even support the  Baucus plan – with not even a hint of a public option or even weaker, a co-op.

                I say, use the primary to bring in the people who will be accountable to their constituents, instead of basing your support on what Republicans will think.

      • Jambalaya says:

        We are through the looking glass of the Democratic party.  People will say anything to get their guy or gal elected.  Up is down, left is right, and Obama is bad.  Let us pray on the subject of how great primaries are.

  11. Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

    Cary did it, shows leadership.  Not sure where we got this “I won’t endorse because it may anger some of my supporters”.  If your supporters are angry, then they need to grow up.  And if you are more concerned polling than leadership then you need to grow a pair.

    In political circles we all know who supports who, why shouldn’t the public?  Especially a public that doesn’t know their Congressman from their City Council members.  I think it helps the public to pay attention.  

    Today was the first day many Coloradoans heard there was a Senate race.

    • redstateblues says:

      Obviously Cary Kennedy is not Barack Obama, but I don’t remember anybody freaking out at her reasonable, and downright classy endorsement of Romanoff. I’ve been critical of some of the safe Dem state reps, but Kennedy has as much to risk with a primary as any statewide Democrat does. Her endorsement was natural.

      The President endorsing Bennet is a big deal, but I don’t see how you can be critical of him endorsing the person he’s been around and knows. Obama knows that if he loses seats in the Senate in the mid-terms, it will be virtually impossible for him to get his agenda through the last two years of his term. Everybody is picking their horse right now, and the President is no exception.

  12. PolitianWatch says:

    I’m sorry but this guy is owned and operated by special interests.  

    I grow more and more worried that the Obama administration is also owned and operated.

  13. BobMoore says:

    I’ve got some input on my Coloradoan blog from 3 CSU political scientists I respect, Bob Duffy, Kyle Saunders and John Straayer. Pretty interesting stuff. Saunders thinks the Obama endorsement is a pretty big deal, but Duffy and Straayer aren’t so sure.

    The blog’s here: http://bit.ly/JrLeO

    I’ve also got a line out to Jennifer Duffy at Cook Political; I’ll update with her viewpoint if I get it.

    • BobMoore says:

      Just heard from her. The summary:

      “The endorsement probably will make a marginal difference in Bennet’s favor. While Obama is certainly still popular with progressives in Colorado, they are pretty disappointed with the Democratic-controlled Congress and the Senate specifically.”

      More thoughts from her at the blog link above.  

    • Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

      Romanoff has 2 weeks to raise some serious cash to prove he can STAY in the race financially, and the Obama endorsement today makes that immediate challenge much harder for him.  As many have said, it seems to me he failed to do the homework necessary to avoid being trapped by the news cycle and deadlines.

      That said, Romanoff could pull it off.  IF he can do a few hundred thou in the next two weeks, Bennet has every reason to be scared.  If he can’t, Romanoff’s fan base will have to start wondering whether their $25 and $50 checks can make a difference.  That’s why this early endorsement from Obama matters right now.  It sows enough doubt that it just might derail Romanoff before he builds up steam.

      This is the exact same narrative as Obama vs. Clinton, with the key exception that Obama can now throw weight in Bennet’s favor.  No one (except perhaps her husband) could do that for Hillary in 2007 so as to shut down Obama’s small money machine.

      Turns out, there are a few advantages to being Pres.  Will it cost Obama? Probably not.  If he can effectively exile Hillary Clinton at State, do you really think Romanoff will present much of a threat as a newly minted junior Senator in 2010?

    • indipol says:

      just like the rest of us, even the eggheads can’t handicap the effect this will have?  

  14. ClubTwitty says:

    on issues.  This whole “Coloradans should be able to elect their Sen.” and not get a “tap on the shoulder” when everyone knows AR would have liked the tap and we are entering an election where Coloradans will in fact get to elect their Sen. (regardless of who wins the primary) looks foolish and petty.  I’m not one to throw out the incumbent–who I agree has a mixed record to date–due to someone’s bruised ego.  Until Andrew spells out how he would represent my interests better than Bennet I’m supporting Michael.  

    But I don’t see this hurting Obama regardless of who ultimately gets the nod.  

  15. PolitianWatch says:

    The Democrats are afraid of this because they know that if Andrew Romanoff succeeds it means the public is fed up with incumbents.  I’m a lifelong Democrat and I am fed up with these idiots who keep voting in favor of big business. Let’s kick them out and get some new blood in Washington.

    Go Andrew! It sends the right message. That is shape up or we’ll ship you out. Our country can’t afford favoring corporations over our citizens any longer.  

    • Arvadonian says:

      the whole “politician” label fits Romanoff much more comfortably than it does Bennet.  Bennet has never ran for elective office…he was appointed.  

      Romanoff—new blood?  Hardly.  He’s spent the better part of the last decade in elective office.  

      Were I Bennet’s campaign manager, I’d consider positioning him as the “outsider” candidate for Senate.  Yes, he’s the incumbent, but he’s also the only one in the race whose never ran for elected office.  He’s not a “politician”.  

      • PolitianWatch says:

        The reasons I say this is because

        1. He voted against the cram down,

        2. He did not come out in favor of the EFCA,

        3. He is not a strong supporter of the Public Option.

        Given these three critical pieces of information about Bennet, if you’re a progressive how can you support him?

        • Arvadonian says:

          with your assessment on two counts.

          1)  I’ve not seen a checklist for what constitutes a “progressive”.  Barney Frank, one of the most liberal members of congress, has not signed on to support repeal of DOMA.  Does that mean he is not sufficiently progressive?  Bernie Sanders, the only “socialist” in the Senate has supported positions of NRA on gun issues including opposing the Brady Bill.  Is he not sufficiently “progressive” to earn your seal of approval?

          2)  Romanoff is opposed to EFCA in its current form…which begs the question, who of the two has the more “progressive” position on EFCA…the one with no opinion or the one who is opposed? And—Bennet is a strong supporter of the public option.

          http://coloradopols.com/diary/

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

          • J-Rock says:

            Is to overstate his position.

            He supports the entire bill except for card-check.  He wants a secret ballot (a position some major union heads have recently endorsed).

            This is still a very pro-union position and is much more progressive than the non-committal stance that Bennet has taken and continues to take.

          • 420Jan says:

            like maybe the past month, that Michael Bennet said he supports a public option. He has always said he supports health care reform and avoided public option except to say once or twice he was opposed to a public option. I’ve been Twittering BennetForCO for several months regrading his anti public option.

            • sxp151 says:

              As far as I can tell, while he was no friend to progressives for a while, he’s always been good on health care. I’d really like to see some evidence of Bennet saying personally that he’s against the public option (as opposed to doubting that it will pass).  

            • Arvadonian says:

              once or twice, it should be pretty easy to produce evidence of it.  I merely googled “Bennet health reform public option” and quickly picked up the three links I’ve provided above.

              Please provide a link to any of these well documented utterances of Bennet’s that show his opposition to the public option you have referenced.    

              Perhaps you have been wasting your time “twittering” about his opposition to the public option since he is on record as supporting the public option.

              A bit too much 420 perhaps?

            • twas brillig says:

              The Bennet campaign put out a video a couple weeks ago with footage of the senator supporting the public option throughout the summer. The first clip was from July 11.

              This disinformation has been asked and answered time and again over the past few weeks thanks to witless shills who can’t keep up.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

              By the way, please cite the first time Andrew Romanoff supported the public option–for instance, his health care reform advocacy over the past nine months. I’d hate to think he’s taking a position solely because of primary politics. I guess that would mean that he’s previously been “anti-public option” if we use your standards?  

          • PolitianWatch says:

            Bennett opposed the cram-down legislation and I think he is too inexperienced to understand the economic impact of this on our country.  

            What has taken place in the last thirty years has gotten us to where we are today and most legislators are taking money and supporting special interests who will also suffer from the policies of our country.  That is if you take down the middleclass there is no one to buy your products or services anymore. I’m all for helping the middleclass and letting the banks fail.  They deserve it and the middleclass don’t.

            Still the facts remain. The inexperienced Bennett is living in the politics of the last thirty years and doesn’t understand that these policies are going to result in more failures of our economy.  One only needs to look at the history of the Great Depression to see that Obama is making the same mistakes that FDR did in the beginning.  But Obama doesn’t have four terms in office to turn this around and I think he may not even be reelected.  So these are my concerns regarding Bennett.  It truly doesn’t look to me like the Public Option will pass but instead of looking at it like a failed policy I look at it like hurry up Americans and reach your bottom so we can begin to turn this around.  

    • ClubTwitty says:

      and why are you watching it?

  16. MADCO says:

    and I’ll back off.

    But meanwhile, the hard reality in Colorado is that team Clinton didn’t really come over after June. It was like they thought their silence and smiles at the convention would be all the implied endorsement the President deserved.

    And Senator Bennet made it clear from the start he would support the President and he has.  

    This is why I hate the parties. All the whining and baloney.

  17. Stagarite says:

    …on how long it takes Sen. Kewpie Doll to go all wobbly and fink out President Obama?

  18. Arvadonian says:

    waaaaay back in February.

    http://coloradopols.com/showCo

    Bennet was an indirect Obama pick (he was 1st Runner-Up for Secty. of Education) and Obama is sticking by him.

  19. dwyer says:

    If the Democrats were as effective in fighting the Republicans as they are fighting each other, Rush Limbaugh would be relief DJ in a gay bar in East St. Louis….

    And, if the Republicans were as effective in fighting the terrorists as they are in defeating the Democratis, we would be safer and richer as a nation…

  20. heartbreaker says:

    Within a week of all the Romanoff chatter, Obama sent out an e-mail supporting Bennet.

    I think the question here is what does OFA/DNC do in the next few months. If they pull the trigger at Romanoff, I’m not sure whose blood will be on the floor – Obama supporters seem more likely to be Romanoff supporters than Bennet.

    If not, I think Obama will have to cut an ad or hit the trail for Bennet for it to have enough influence. But, this definitely freezes up a lot of DC, big money.

  21. oldbenkenobi says:

    …with the Ritter appointment, the Udall endorsement, the bludgeoning Obama endorsements, the Eastern money, the blind love for Bennet as an incumbent even though he’s never won an election, Bennet is going to have an air of illegitimacy.  If Romanoff is squashed at this stage it will look like the fix has been in and Colorado voters bypassed.

    It seems as if a broad protective screen has been built around Bennet.  Why are they so afraid? voters will start to ask.

    As much as anyone, Bennet supporters should want the voters to choose him, not have him chosen for them.  Bennet needs to confront his weaknesses — and there are many — or he will lose.  If not in this general election then in the next.

    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

      So true. What will Obama’s endorsement be worth in 2016? Will it harm Bennet at that point or hurt him? Maybe Bob Moore can check in with the pundits on that one …

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      Every politician who has a good chance of winning an election has unfair advantages. They have to because the other person has their own unfair advantages. As Sean Connery said in The Untouchables “he brings a knife, you bring a gun.”

      Romanoff has an unfair advantage in that he is owed a ton of favors for the work he could do for others because he was Speaker. But no one is upset that he is calling those chits in.

  22. Barron X says:

    .

    who should get that Senate seat.

    Don’t think of it as Colorado’s seat to bestow; it isn’t.

    Long live the corporation.  All hail the corporation.

    .

  23. Druid says:

    This will effect the race but does not decide it.  The real question is will Obama actually come out and campaign for Bennet?  If he does, Romanoff is at a severe disadvantage.  If not, the endorsement will be quickly forgotten as other issues and events arise and take center stage.

    Bennet still has to run a good campaign against someone who has a lot more experience than he does.

    I will say right now that I am a Romanoff supporter.  Full disclosure.  I am a big supporter of the President.  His endorsement does not effect my choice.  Nor will it determine the choice of most primary voters.  Unless of course, Obama actually gets out here to campaign.  That would be a tough nut for Romanoff to crack, if not an impossible one.  But is that likely?

    No.

  24. Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

    and hyere is why:

    Sen Michael Bennet is a Yale law graduatr with powerful connections in the East. Many from this segment of society do not bother caring for the less fortunate.Sen.Bennet differs. I find that his personality values every human and his demeanor shows respect for all human beings regardless of ethnic background, creed, economic class, or gender.

    He cares about people. He fights for people.He doesn’t have to expose himself to public life to make a living, yet he he chooses to do so out of compassion..

    My impression doesn’t end there. It takes fire in the belly to take on issues funded by large corporate interests. When he decides what he believes is right, he certainly displays toughness and determination which we need in Washington. No one agrees 100% with any candidate’s decisions. Nevertheless, I want a Senator that has the President ‘s ear, and knows how to play hardball because the opposition party doesn’t play softball.

    • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

       It takes fire in the belly to take on issues funded by large corporate interests. When he decides what he believes is right, he certainly displays toughness and determination

      And that happened when?

      Andrew Romanoff is from a Jewish family and his mother is a Social Worker, and we know they have a history of caring about people, so the fact that he has all the characteristics you cite in Bennett are less important because he doesn’t come from money?

      • Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

        Cap Caplan is a lovely woman.

        The Speaker has shown strenghts. His late entry has mae it impossible for me to chnge my support. I”m a person of my word.I was a very early (week one)backer of the President’s campaign.  

        If the Speaker had been endorsed by the President, or talked to Rahm Emanuel on a daily basis, then his supporters would be crowing about it. The Speaker was very slow to endorse the Presidnt, and will probably attack the President in an effort to show a difference between him and Sen Bennet.

        I’m beginning to think that blogging doesn’t

        have  much impact until elections near.  

    • parsingreality says:

      I’ve not read Bennett’s, but I doubt if he could top it.

  25. FoCo-a-GoGo says:

    but I am still not convinced that he has been or can be completely effective as Senator.  I am willing to give him the benefit of the next few months to prove that he is worthy of my vote.  For now, I am glad that Romanoff jumped in, as I think that his challenge (if nothing else) will make Bennet more attuned to important Progressive and (in general) Colorado issues.  We know that Romanoff has shown an ability to govern effectively over the course of the last decade or so with these issues in mind and I am confident that he would continue to do so as Senator.  As the race stands now… despite the President’s endorsement… I still believe that Romanoff is our best choice for senator.    

    • redstateblues says:

      I didn’t want to like Bennet. I was calling for a primary six months ago, back when the first impression I got of Michael Bennet was his crappy cramdown vote. I was calling for a Romanoff primary–anybody at all would have been fine for me then–mostly because I didn’t really like Bennet, and I bought in to a lot of the same things that folks are still buying into now.

      Bennet had to win me over. This wasn’t some decision I came to overnight, and if Andrew Romanoff announced in January or February, I would probably be jumping on the Romanoff express too. Unfortunately for Andrew, Bennet has impressed me. He waited, and in the end it may cost him more than just a US Senate seat.

  26. Ron-Westminster says:

    I worked about 16 months on Obama’s campaign.  After Bennet’s appointment I was surprised as anyone but never the less have supported him at several area rallies and have volunteered at a couple of his town halls. HOWEVER, I had said right along that Romanoff should have gotten the appointment to fill Salazar’s seat and that if Romanoff were to decide to run he would enjoy my full support.

    With regard to Obama’s endorsement, on the one hand I respect his opinion on the matter but I feel it inappropriate for a sitting President, ANY sitting president to interject themselves into a state primary.  This is a process that should be entirely up to the people and the Democratic party in Colorado and unfettered by outside interference particularly from the President.

    I’ll predict right now that Andrew Romanoff will win the Democratic party’s nomination and go on to become the next junior Senator from the state of Colorado.  I’m as certain of this as I was that Barack Obama would become the Democratic party’s Presidential candidate and that he would go on to win a decisive victory regardless of what the polls and the pundits say.

  27. gpr3 says:

    Thur Sept 10 the OrganizingForAmerica email promoting  the “health insur reform” speech had a notable  PS in it. There the President praised Michael Bennet’s performance for the 8 months since the party hierarchy tippy top picked him to take then Senator Salazar’s seat.  I figured in January  that the Pres was a player in picking Bennet. I think the activity since confirms that.

    So this President’s endorsment is in fact a week old.

    Sadly it will likely lose him more respect in the Co Dem base.

    Let’s stay  focused on campaigning for Romanoff to be our next junior Senator. He ia far and away the better qualified legislator for the job. We can partly see  his legislative resume  at http://www.votesmart.org

    Use the search tool there for-  Romanoff voting record.

    You will see a 4-5 year history in our state house that confirms he is historically a progressive legislator.

    Compare that to his primary opponent’s record in Colorado! Give me a break- “who do, who do ya think you’re foolin” thanks Paul Simon. This will be another learning experience and, after the primary, the Co Dems will be stronger for it!

     

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