Senator Michael Bennet's Obama Push

February 19 2010, 10:42 AM

President Barack Obama's third trip to Colorado since his inauguration managed to excite just about everybody in the state on Thursday. Obama passed through the Mile High City to help Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, who is up for election this November but is trailing in polls to Republican favorite Jane Norton. About 2,700 supporters packed into the Fillmore Auditorium---at $25 to $250 a pop---to hear the president sing Bennet's praises, according to The Denver Post (the paper also has a transcript of Obama's remarks). A later dinner at the Sheraton ran $1,000 per plate, and attendees heard Obama tease Bennet (bottom left), who was appointed to the Senate by Governor Bill Ritter when Ken Salazar moved to the Interior, for being a "rookie" who "hasn't perfected the seven-second sound bite. He's never even made a TV ad," Obama noted (via Politico). The two events brought in an estimated $675,000 for Bennet. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is challenging Bennet, spent his day in the conservative territory of El Paso County, reports the Colorado Springs Gazette, finishing with a $50-per-person fundraiser at a chain restaurant. Outside the Fillmore, "Rally 'Round Romanoff!" supporters expressed their displeasure with Obama endorsing Bennet before he's even survived the primary, and they weren't alone. Medical-marijuana advocates and public-option health-care boosters also picketed outside the speech, writes Westword. Obama's next stop is Nevada, another Western state that backed him in 2008, where he will appear with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and try to smooth over some recent gaffes he made about Las Vegas (via The Wall Street Journal). Meanwhile, the Grand Junction Sentinel reports that Colorado's other senator, Mark Udall, looks to be following Bennet's lead with an announcement that he favors public-option health insurance for areas lacking services.