Mile-High Headlines for Monday, November 10

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Bob Schaffer and Other GOP Horror Stories
“Rude.” That’s what Mark Udall, the man labeled over and over again as a “Boulder liberal” by Republican Bob Schaffer’s campaign for U.S. Senate, said of Schaffer’s debating style in late October. Perhaps Schaffer’s abrasiveness fueled Democrat Udall’s victory last week, writes Or maybe it was Schaffer’s trip to the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands with now-convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Or was it Schaffer’s son’s Facebook page, which made national headlines for some of its racist content? Mark Hillman, a Republican and former state Senate majority leader, isn’t on the bash-Schaffer bandwagon but opines via his blog that the party “deserved the thrashing we received”–more indication of a party in tatters. As The Associated Press (via the Rocky Mountain News) reports, in coming months key state GOP figures will fight for leadership, leading either to a creative rebuilding of the party or debilitating infighting. One guy under fire: Dick Wadhams, the spin doctor who ran Schaffer’s campaign while also serving as the party’s statewide chairman. Unnamed “influential” Republicans blame him for losses down the ballot last week. Salon, meanwhile, asks how the realignment is working out for the GOP.

How Barack Won Colorado
As PolitickerCO notes, the youth vote isn’t what propelled Barack Obama to victory in Colorado. Surprisingly, older voters are responsible–the ones pundits thought would hobble up in walkers and cast votes for John McCain. As a U.S. News & World Report blog notes, voters older than 50 were young at heart and salvaged Colorado for Obama, favoring him by 18 percentage points to provide “Obama’s entire 7 point margin of victory.” Meanwhile, across the nation 66 percent of voters aged 18-29 voted for Obama, but in Colorado that percentage was somewhere between 47-53, “perhaps due to the large military presence” here, according to the New York Post. Various outlets, including the Rocky Mountain News, have reported that the Internet was key in Obama’s campaigning. Obama also won suburbs in swing states, writes the Washington Post, helping to draft a victory “road map” for future Dems. Such a map might be useful to Representative-elect Betsy Markey, a Fourth Congressional District Democrat, who is already a potential GOP target in 2010, according to Fort Collins Now.

Penley’s Silence Spawns Speculation

Read the headlines about last week’s unexpected resignation of Colorado State University President Larry Penley and you’ll notice one thing missing: Penley. But ducking the press hasn’t stopped the headlines, most of them chipping around the story. As the Greeley Tribune writes, “there has been much speculation but little specifics given on the record.” After five years of leadership, Penley submitted a letter to CSU’s Board of Governors last week saying he was leaving to pursue other opportunities in higher education. The Colorado Independent writes off rumors that Penley might have been forced out, have job possibilities elsewhere, or could even be tapped for a position in President-elect Barack Obama’s administration. Whatever the reason, CSU’s student newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, was peeved that Penley will continue to draw pay even after leaving: $389,000, which is exactly one year of his salary.

Jobs in a Difficult Economy
Late last week, 20,000 Qwest Communications International union employees negotiated some job security, agreeing to a four-year contract, according to the Denver Business Journal. They seem to be among the lucky few, as the nation’s unemployment level hit 6.5 percent, its highest point in 14 years, according to The New York Times. You already know the causes: the mortgage, credit, and banking crises. Although the federal government has plunked down $700 billion to keep the economy from sinking further, there remains a sense that little can be done to prevent the “now-accelerating” problem of unemployment. Over the weekend, President-elect Barack Obama said the nation must “dig ourselves out of the hole that we’re in,” proposing spending measures he believes will help, such as extended unemployment benefits. Colorado is doing a bit better than the nation. Unemployment here is hovering at 5.2 percent, but the rate is still high, notes CBS4, adding that at least with the holidays approaching, temporary jobs will be available.

Another Child Lost to Violence
Last month, two-year-old Noah Crookham was shot to death in an apparent love triangle that turned violent. Now, another tragedy involving a two-year-old has surfaced. Elijah Archuleta was badly burned and died late last week. The boy’s mother, Isela Reyes-Talamentes, 23, and her boyfriend, John Vigil, 24, brought the child to the hospital with severe burns and are now charged with first-degree murder, according to several news organizations, including The Denver Post. James Archuleta, 24, sobbed in a Denver courtroom and at one point lunged at Vigil but was restrained by friends. Reyes-Talamentes cried as she looked at James Archuleta in the courtroom, according to the Rocky Mountain News. “I never really thought she would hurt her child like this,” Archuleta told reporters. The couple has joint custody of Elijah and his older sister, four-year-old Serenity.

CU Football Gears Up for Confrontation
The University of Colorado football team won on Saturday and now looks ahead to Oklahoma State’s Cowboys, who were “kicked into a collective foul mood” over the weekend, following a loss to Texas Tech, according to the Rocky Mountain News. As such, the number 11 Cowboys will be on the prowl for a win Saturday at Folsom Field. It’s the Buffs’ final regular-season game against a ranked team, according to the Rocky, which notes CU has won just one match-up against a ranked opponent this season: West Virginia. CU’s home win on Saturday against Iowa State keeps the team’s bowl hopes alive, according to the Longmont Times-Call.

The Billups Factor
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl is thrilled with point guard Chauncey Billups, who is in the mix shortly after returning to his home state as part of a trade deal that saw Allen Iverson head to Detroit. “He thinks like I think,” Karl said of Billups, according to The Denver Post. The Nuggets did so well on Sunday in their 100-90 victory against Memphis–a game in which Billups racked up 16 points and a generous 10 assists–that recently acquired raw reserve Cheikh Samb got some unexpected playing time.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.77, Gas Express, 1995 Youngfield St. (via