As the Colorado Senate Race Tightens, Federal Spending Is a Problem for Both Sides

October 21 2010, 12:00 PM

As the right-leaning Fox News accused Michael Bennet of allegedly "avoiding interviews" with the press "for much of the last year," a new poll showed the Democratic U.S. senator closing the gap in his race against Ken Buck for Senate. The latest Reuters-Ipsos poll has Bennet narrowing his lead to within three points of Republican Buck. Ipsos pollster Julia Clark tells Reuters that "Buck's support had remained essentially frozen since August, while Bennet had improved by five percentage points." And despite the criticisms being lobbed at Buck for his controversial remarks on Meet the Press, like other Democrats across the nation, Bennet is contending with an enthusiasm gap. While 72 percent of Republicans say they are certain to vote in the November 2 elections, just 55 percent of Democrats are sure they'll cast ballots.

Even Bennet seems to be lacking some vim when it comes to one of his party's biggest accomplishments: the sweeping health-care reform. While Bennet is proud of the achievement, The Denver Post writes that health-care reform has hardly been a "badge of honor" for Democrats like him.

Republicans, who say they want to slash federal spending, have lashed out at Democrats for the anticipated cost of the new health-care law and the economic stimulus. Yet, while the GOP's constant messaging on those issues may be alluring to voters, Republican candidates and party leaders aren't offering many details about how they would address the nation's $13.7 trillion debt, reports The New York Times, which points out that "the $1.1 trillion cost over the next 10 years of the Medicare prescription drug program, which the Republican-controlled Congress adopted in 2003, by itself would add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus, and the health-care law."

As for Buck, he continues to distance himself from his party's leadership, telling The Washington Post, "I think the Republican Party is every bit as much to blame for the mess we're in now as the Democrats," admitting the GOP has spent too much money. If Buck wins, he could be a part of the most conservative group of freshman senators in a generation.