Udall to skip president's speech in Denver

DENVER - Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) will not be maximizing time in front of the cameras with President Barack Obama when the commander-in-chief visits Denver this week.

When Air Force One touches down in Denver on Tuesday night, Sen. Mark Udall won't be on board nor will he be on the tarmac to greet the president.

Likewise, the Udall campaign told 9NEWS the senator will not attend an official speech the president plans to give Wednesday, which will be open to the Denver news media.

Instead, Udall will be on a flight from Washington DC that's scheduled to land in time for the senator to attend a closed-door fundraiser for his re-election campaign, headlined by the president.

"The public is not only barred from attending the president's speech in Denver, but now Sen. Udall has announced he will not appear with the president either," said Alex Siciliano, spokesman for congressman Cory Gardner, Udall's Republican challenger. "Sen. Udall's message to the president is clear: help me rake in campaign cash behind closed doors, keep the media from capturing photos of us together and avoid real Coloradans at all costs."

When asked about the appearance that Udall doesn't seem eager to be seen publicly with the president, the senator's campaign scoffed at the notion, saying the reasons for not appearing on stage at the president's speech are logistical.

Udall has votes to take on Tuesday in the Senate and will catch a morning flight to Denver on Wednesday.

"We're happy to have [President Obama,]" Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris told 9NEWS. "I think too much has been placed on the minutiae here."

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, another Democrat up for re-election this year, will also skip the president's appearances in Colorado. Eric Brown, the governor's press secretary, says the governor has already committed to a veterans' event in Colorado Springs.

"Speculation about why the governor will miss the president's events is being completely overblown," Brown said. "They both have very full schedules and commitments are often made months in advance. Nonetheless, I expect the governor and president will have a chance to meet at some point during the president's trip to Denver."

White House officials tell 9NEWS that the general media will not be allowed inside the fundraiser, but a pooled written report will be provided by a print reporter. There will be no video or still images provided by the White House pool.

A missed photo opportunity with the president is unlikely to sway an independent voter and is unlikely to be remembered by them this fall, but it does feed into the bigger narrative that Republicans are building about the midterm election being a referendum on the Obama presidency.

President Obama's approval rating has been tracking in the 40s since last year, a sentiment Republicans are hoping to use against Democrats to win control of the US Senate in this November's elections.

Republicans have been quick to point out that Udall was non-committal about appearing with the president in an interview earlier this year with CNN's Dana Bash, who asked the senator whether the president was a re-election liability in Colorado.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment