As 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman reports, the non-troversy over President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Colorado this week goes on–at least in the minds of Republicans, desperate to extract larger meaning from, well, any silly little thing they can:
When Air Force One touches down in Denver on Tuesday night, Sen. Mark Udall won't be on board nor will he be on the tarmac to greet the president.
Likewise, the Udall campaign told 9NEWS the senator will not attend an official speech the president plans to give Wednesday, which will be open to the Denver news media.
Instead, Udall will be on a flight from Washington DC that's scheduled to land in time for the senator to attend a closed-door fundraiser for his re-election campaign, headlined by the president.
"The public is not only barred from attending the president's speech in Denver, but now Sen. Udall has announced he will not appear with the president either," said Alex Siciliano, spokesman for congressman Cory Gardner, Udall's Republican challenger. "Sen. Udall's message to the president is clear: help me rake in campaign cash behind closed doors, keep the media from capturing photos of us together and avoid real Coloradans at all costs."
To some extent, Sen. Mark Udall earned the extra bit of scrutiny over relations with President Obama when he bungled the response to questions about whether Obama would be a good choice to campaign with in January. That said, the speculation about whether Udall would fundraise with Obama was always silly in our view, because even with approval ratings for President Obama a little underwater, he's still quite valuable to Democrats for motivating the party's base. Obama's "toxicity" is, more than anyone in either the GOP or the media wants to admit today, a myth of hyped partisan predisposition–and outside a conservative core that will never vote for Democrats anyway, its existence should not be presumed. The last time it was, in 2012, the mythmakers were proven wrong.
And in the case of Obama's visit to Colorado this week, there's actually a simple and entirely reasonable explanation for why Udall won't be on hand until later in the day on Wednesday:
Udall has votes to take on Tuesday in the Senate and will catch a morning flight to Denver on Wednesday. [Pols emphasis]
"We're happy to have [President Obama,]" Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris told 9NEWS. "I think too much has been placed on the minutiae here."
Think about this, folks: if Udall had flown home early to appear with President Obama in Cheesman Park Wednesday, Cory Gardner's surrogates would have a field day with Udall "skipping votes to campaign." But with Sen. Udall staying in Washington to cast his votes Tuesday, which most constituents would agree is the better decision, he's "avoiding President Obama!" If you're starting to think that no matter what Udall does, Republicans will find a way to claim it portends disaster, you may be closest to the truth.
We realize that won't even slow our local talk radio hosts down, but somebody needed to say it.