Obama adds Denver speech Wednesday; Udall, Hickenlooper won’t attend
DENVER — President Barack Obama will travel to Denver on Tuesday and deliver remarks on the economy at Cheesman Park on Wednesday, the White House announced Monday.
The president also will attend a fundraiser Wednesday for Sen. Mark Udall’s re-election campaign.
The president’s speech at Cheesman Park is closed to the public, even though the setting is a public park.
Interestingly, Udall won’t be there either.
The vulnerable Democratic incumbent appears to have decided it’s better not to share a stage with the beleaguered president, whose approval rating has dipped below 40 percent, before a gallery of television cameras — providing footage for Republicans to use in attack ads this fall as they look to tie Udall to Obama.
Udall will be with Obama at the fundraiser in Denver’s Cranmer Park neighborhood, which is closed to all press.
His campaign is even raffling off a ticket to the event to donors who gave $5 by the June 30 fundraising deadline.
The question of how closely to align himself with the White House has been a difficult one for Udall to answer, dating back to January when he couldn’t clearly answer a question from CNN’s Dana Bash during a live interview immediately following the State of the Union address as to whether or not he’d want to the president to campaign for him in Colorado.
The latest two-step won’t protect Udall from barbs Republicans are already sending his way.
“News that President Obama will be speaking about the economy on Wednesday in Denver must have hit Sen. Udall hard,” said Alex Siciliano, the spokesman for GOP Congressman Cory Gardner, Udall’s opponent. “He is now going to have to answer for his votes for the failed healthcare bill, higher taxes, and increased government spending.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper, another Democrat facing reelection this fall, won’t be attending Obama’s speech either.
He’d already committed to speak to a group of veterans in Colorado Springs, according to his spokesman Eric Brown.
“Speculation about why the governor will miss the president’s events is being completely overblown,” Brown said Monday night at the end of a day Republicans spent reveling in the symbolism of Colorado’s top two Democratic candidates avoiding the president’s lone public appearance.
“They both have very full schedules and commitments are often made months in advance. Nonetheless, I expect the governor and president will have a chance to meet at some point during the president’s trip to Denver.
“There are always important issues about Colorado the governor looks forward to talking to the president about.”