Barack Obama has used Denver as a friendly platform over the last few years. He built the Barackapolis in the Mile High City to accept his party’s nomination in 2008, and in 2009 signed the stimulus bill in Denver. He returns to Denver today to speak at a 4 pm ET event to build support for his new stimulus bill, in a political environment which the local ABC affiliate notes has changed significantly in two years — even if reporter/producer Deb Stanley can’t get 2009 history correct in her piece:
It’s a different Colorado for President Barack Obama.
In early 2009, Obama chose Denver as his backdrop to sign the sweeping $787 billion stimulus bill into law, an ambitious plan that had the backing of both parties.
When he visits Lincoln High School in Denver Tuesday, Obama will be pitching another economic stimulus — this time to a skeptical state with unemployment around 8.5 percent. Republicans and even some Democrats say the president faces an uphill battle next year.
It “had the backing of both parties”? Er … no. The 2009 stimulus bill was adamantly opposed by the Republican Party, and got exactly zero GOP votes in the House. It only received three Republican votes in the Senate, one of which belonged to Arlen Specter, who switched parties shortly thereafter. Republican budgets this year got more bipartisan support than the Porkulus disaster did in 2009.
Let’s hope that voters in Colorado have better memories than Stanley, and clearer perspectives on politics. And according to Politico, it seems that they do:
The president, who pitches his new jobs plan at a downtown Denver high school this afternoon on his way home from a three-day West Coast trip, faces a surprisingly tough fight in a state one Obama adviser recently labeled as “the bellwether of bellwethers.”
What is particularly worrisome for the Obama campaign is that Colorado in many ways is the most friendly of the high-stakes, fast-changing swing states — that also include Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin — that he’s banking on for 2012.
A lot has changed since Obama’s unexpected romp here, little of it the good from the perspective of the president’s supporters. Unemployment has spiked to 8.5 percent, and with it the tea party’s popularity; Latino support is ebbing amid frustration over Obama’s failure to pursue comprehensive immigration reform; and recession-stung independents have, for the moment, tossed Obama onto the “Made in Washington” heap.
“A repeat of 2008 is very unlikely… I’d say he’s looking at a high-wire act here,” warns former Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, who barnstormed Colorado in the waning days of 2008 with Obama and wife Michelle after hosting the Democratic convention here.
The current governor, Democrat John Hickenlooper, offers an equally sober assessment. “The president probably can win Colorado, but he’s got a lot of work to do,” he told POLITICO in a telephone interview. “He’s got to make sure that his message gets through, that it is consistent and it’s not drowned out by the distractions of talk radio.”
Ah, yes, the “distractions of talk radio” have always had bigger volume in the political square than Presidents. Talk radio is certainly influential, but hardly compares to the influence of mainstream media outlets, especially for this President, who has enjoyed nearly a free ride until very recently from national outlets. Or for that matter, local outlets who insist on reporting “facts” like the Republicans supported the first failed stimulus package.
Don’t expect too much out of this speech, of course, except more of the soak-the-rich class warfare arguments that Obama has delivered already this month. That may play well in Denver itself, but it’s not going to sound like the same post-partisan hope and change Obama promised to Coloradans in 2008.
Update: It would probably help Obama’s standing in Colorado if his campaign could figure out how to find the state on a map:
The press office issued credentials to those reporters and photojournalists who are covering the president’s trip this week to Washington state, California, and Colorado. The credential even provides a handy graphic highlighting (in white) which states the president will visit.
The only problem?
Wyoming is highlighted, not Colorado.
Well, it is hard to keep track of those 57 states, you know …