Obama joins call-in to back his pick in Colorado primary
President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged people in Colorado to support his pick to run for U.S. Senate in their state, jumping into a close Democratic primary race in which the other candidate is backed by former President Bill Clinton.
Obama has put his weight behind current Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, who was appointed to take over the seat vacated by Ken Salazar, whom Obama selected to be secretary of the Interior at the beginning of his term.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air in a town with a lot of hot air,” Obama told a telephone conference call with Bennet and listeners, who quizzed the freshman Senator about the attack ads he has endured. Obama said this was par for the course in politics.
“I know there have been a lot of negative ads running against Michael in the last few weeks, which is sort of politics as usual. But when he came to Washington, he came to get things done and not just play the usual political games,” he told the call.
Despite Obama’s backing, Bennet has faced a tough primary race from his opponent, Andrew Romanoff, a former speaker of the Colorado House.
The race has drawn national attention and split supporters within the Democratic party. Obama flew to Colorado earlier this year to raise money for Bennet. Former President Bill Clinton broke with the White House and endorsed Romanoff.
Romanoff pulled ahead of Bennet, a former Denver public schools superintendent, in a recent poll and sold his home to help finance his campaign.
The Aug. 10 primary election will decide the Democratic candidate to run for the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 2 midterm congressional elections.
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (President Obama shakes hands with Colorado Senator Michael Bennet during a fundraiser for Bennet in Denver Feb 18, 2010.)