Obama pleads with Colo. Dems to stick with Bennet

DENVER — President Barack Obama pleaded with Colorado Democrats on Tuesday to stick with U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in a primary challenge, calling the appointed senator “the person that I want alongside me.”

Bennet faces a primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff, a former state lawmaker who has blasted Bennet as being too cozy with corporate interests.

Obama, in a conference call with state Democrats who have yet to return mail-in ballots, disputed the criticism from Romanoff, saying Bennet “stood up again and again” to big corporations and was “one of the key people I needed” in the Senate to shepherd through a financial regulation recently signed into law.

“We’ve accomplished an incredible amount over the last 18 months, but we’ve got a lot more work to do, and Michael’s the person that I was alongside me when we do it,” said Obama.

The president also took exception to criticisms about Bennet’s time with a Denver investment firm, the Anschutz Co., a job where Bennet made millions in part by restructuring movie theater companies. After leaving Anschutz, Bennet took a job with Denver’s mayor, then was appointed superintendent of Denver public schools in 2005.

“He could’ve lived a comfortable life. Instead, he’s devoted himself in every assignment he’s undertaken to make a positive difference,” Obama said.

The call was not the first time that the president has publicly supported Bennet. Obama traveled to Denver this year to headline a Bennet fundraiser.

Bennet urged calm in a primary contest that has gotten increasingly testy. Bennet holds a sizable fundraising advantage over Romanoff, who sold his own house last month to stay in the race, but a recent Denver Post/KUSA-TV poll showed Romanoff narrowing on the senator.


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