UPDATE #2: FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on the President's just-concluded speech:
“We have come farther and recovered faster than almost any advanced nation on Earth,” Obama said. “We know we’ve still got a long way to go.
“More jobs have been created in the first half of this year since 1999, but many families barely earn what they earned in the nineties. Too much improvement goes to the folks at the top, and not enough of it is making a difference in the lives of regular Americans.”
As he has since his State of the Union address in January, Obama positioned himself as a president of action who’s done waiting for a do-nothing Congress.
“These days, basic common sense ideas cannot get through Congress,” he said. “They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage. They’ve said no to equal pay so women can get paid the same as men. They’ve said no to unemployment insurance for working Americans. Congress just said no to fixing our broken immigration system.
“If Congress won’t act, I will.”
UPDATE: Watch President Barack Obama's Denver speech today in its entirety:
Photos via White House photographer Pete Souza
President Barack Obama opened his Denver trip Tuesday evening by dining with five Colorado residents who wrote the White House and shared their stories of trying to make it in today's economy.
Then he strolled Lower Downtown, shaking hands and eventually playing pool with Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The conversations over pizza at the Wazee Supper Club in LoDo are meant to reinforce the main thrust of a speech Obama is expected to deliver Wednesday in Cheesman Park — that Congress, in particular Republicans, aren't doing enough to "expand opportunities for the middle class," said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, in an interview.
Despite President Obama's warm reception in Lower Downtown Denver last night, the media remains focused on the question of whether local Democrats are "steering clear of the President" due to Obama's soft approval ratings going into his second midterm election. The AP reports that Sen. Mark Udall, in a last-minute change, is remaining in Washington today in order to vote on the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Udall was already going to miss Obama's speech this morning in Cheesman Park, but this latest announcement has led to yet another round of speculation that Udall is "afraid" of getting his picture taken with Obama.
This would seem to ignore the fact that cameras aren't allowed at the fundraiser, but don't let that get in the way of a good story.
We'll say this much: if these scheduling conflicts were intended to put distance between Obama and local Democrats, the strategy failed dismally–drawing more press speculation and Republican crowing to this event than would have existed had they simply appeared at Cheesman Park. But isn't it just possible that Udall and anybody else who can't make it really were already booked? Obama's Cheesman Park speech was only arranged last Monday according to all news reports, and it's not like the business of the U.S. Senate stops for a fundraiser. There's at least enough of a chance that the mundane explanation is right to reasonably consider the possibility.
But especially in an election year, nobody wants to read mundane explanations.