DENVER (CBS4) – President Barack Obama landed in Denver Tuesday evening and will be staying the night in Colorado. He will then attend two events on Wednesday, starting with a talk about the economy and other topics at Denver’s Cheesman Park.
While it’s a public park, people need to have to have a ticket to get into the event. Up to 500 people are expected, but noticeably absent will be three Colorado Democrats in tight election battles, including Sen. Mark Udall.
The president’s approval ratings are tied for a record low, raising speculation Udall doesn’t want to be seen with Obama. His campaign quashed the rumors, saying the event was just too last-minute.
It’s not as though Udall and Obama haven’t spent time together – they went golfing last year. But it’s no secret either that Udall has at times tried to distance himself from Obama. In an interview on CNN in January Udall was asked if the president will campaign for him where he didn’t give a yes or no answer.
“We’ll see what the president’s schedule is, we’ll see what my schedule is,” Udall responded.
Six months later the president is campaigning for Udall, but Udall won’t be there for part of his visit. His campaign says the fact he isn’t attending the president’s speech in Denver Wednesday isn’t intentional, but logistical.
“I don’t buy it,” Republican analyst Dick Wadhams said.
Wadhams also says he doesn’t understand it.
“Senator Udall has been loyal supporter and foot soldier for Obama and his policies,” he said. “He cannot escape it. So why has he guaranteed three or four days of bad press by hiding from the president of United States?”
It’s not just Udall who won’t be at the event. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s spokesman says he also has a conflict. And Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff’s campaign says he wasn’t invited.
“The reality is, nobody is ducking the president,” Democratic analyst Penfield Tate said.
Tate said Republicans would have criticized Udall if he was on the stage or not. He says the president is always more of an asset than a liability.
“Even at his low point, George W. Bush was still draw for Republican candidates who wanted to be able to say, ‘The president of the United States is coming here to help me campaign,’ “ Tate said.
Udall’s campaign says his plane will be landing at Denver International Airport as the president’s speech begins on Wednesday and he will be late to his own fundraiser with Obama.
Hickenlooper will be at a veterans event in Colorado Springs.
The president’s address will focus on the economy and cover topics including the minimum wage and college tuition.