Obama to Hickenlooper: Yes We Can

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels and Michael Riley tag-team today’s report:

President Barack Obama encouraged Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to run for governor during a call Friday, but the mayor has told friends the family will spend the weekend weighing a decision.

Hickenlooper met Friday with key advisers.

Obama pledged his support during the two-minute call to Hickenlooper’s cellphone while the mayor was en route to the National Western Stock Show’s annual Boots & Business lunch.

“He is very grateful for the call, but it doesn’t change the decision,” Hickenlooper’s spokesman, Eric Brown, said. “He is going to take the time to do what is best for the family.”

Political junkies are working overtime trying to figure out what the mayor will do…

A poll conducted in September 2008 by Floyd Ciruli showed Hickenlooper with a 58 percent favorability rating statewide, one percentage point behind then U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. They got the highest marks of everyone in the poll.

The mayor’s favorability was 68 percent among Democrats, 57 percent among unaffiliated voters and 48 percent among Republicans.

“Hickenlooper is a master with the independent kind of voter, the weak partisan voter, and he’s exactly what you need even though it’s a tough year for Democrats,” Ciruli said.

As anyone who remembers Hickenlooper’s agonizing over the decision to (ultimately not) run for Governor in early 2006 knows, he’s not going to be hurried–at least not beyond what he understands is the limited amount of time available for someone to fill the vacuum left by Bill Ritter’s surprise exit. But the fact is, if anyone at this time four years ago would have realized what a paper tiger Bob Beauprez would turn out to be, we might be talking instead about who’s going to play the GOP’s Rollie Heath for Gov. Hickenlooper’s formality of a re-election. And here we are today, contemplating such a “reboot” of 2006 as a very real possibility. Seriously, pundits wonder why local Democrats are excited instead of dejected?

There’s no question in our minds that Hickenlooper will never get a better opportunity to advance politically than exists right now, and we think he knows that. That’s why we’re going to patiently wait out his deliberations with the family this weekend, fully expecting that in a very few days, Hickenlooper will announce his decision to do this thing.

73 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    When do you think this happened? I think it was Janet Rowland when Beauprez ’06 jumped the shark.

    BTW, thank you for not getting all butt hurt about Obama having an opinion. Oh my stars! Obama likes Hickenlooper so WE MUST HATE HIM. Beep-Sirota-Beep!

    Sorry, I’m just so sick of that shit. Nobody seems to understand yet just what a great service Ritter has done for us by stepping aside, and how badly the chances of a GOP comeback in Colorado were just diminished. This is a GREAT DAY to be a Democrat in our state, and with eight years of Governor Hickenlooper to look forward to the future looks very bright.

    • CrazyOkie says:

      I actually attended a class at DU that was hosted by Sirota and John Andrews – Sirota was very humble and well spoken.  Lately, I can’t even read his emails, DP Columns, much less listen to his voice on the radio.  In my opinion, he does not speak for CO Dems.  

  2. Ellie says:

    Democratic state Rep. Ed Vigil may have unwittingly given Republicans an attack line when he wrote something along those lines on his Facebook page Thursday.

    “What the Hick is going for governor,” Vigil, of Fort Garland, wrote Thursday. “Does he know there is a rural Colorado? Has he been past Colorado Springs?”

    Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/news

    • Ralphie says:

      But what percent does rural Colorado contribute to the statewide total?

      How much worse than straight party line would Hick have to do over here to lose the election?

      And how does Scott plan to carry Pueblo and Denver-Boulder?

      I think this is a great example of a McInnis fan whistling past the graveyard.

      And if that’s the best that’s out there for an attack campaign, McInnis is toast.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      First, I don’t agree with you. Hickenlooper is a former geologist and has a good understanding of the state and the West in general, and he’ll prove that to voters from Sterling to Cortez.

      But I think you’re getting ahead of yourself geographically:

      Primate city


      A primate city is the leading city in its country or region, disproportionately larger than any others in the urban hierarchy. A ‘primate city distribution’ has one very large city with many much smaller cities and towns, and no intermediate-sized urban centres, in contrast to the linear ‘rank-size distribution’. The ‘law of the primate city’ was first proposed by the geographer Mark Jefferson in 1939. He defines a primate city as being “at least twice as large as the next largest city and more than twice as significant.” A primate city is number one in its country in most aspects, like politics, economy, media, culture and universities.

      In Colorado, that’s known as the “Denver metro area.” I believe that Hickenlooper can win the metro area with a margin sufficiently convincing that McInnis can scumbag him in Mesa County all he likes and it doesn’t freaking matter. With all due respect to Ed Vigil, Fort Garland too. Not to mention that intelligent progressive voters in Pueblo and elsewhere around the state are not going to be swayed by this petty provincialist crap.

      Have a nice day, though!

    • WritterWrocks says:

      Have him choose Ag Commissioner Stulp as Lt. Gov and the rural problem is solved.  

  3. caroman says:

    I love everything, except Romanoff still (apparently) running for Senate.

    Salazar is a great Interior Secretary.

    Bennet is a great US Senator.

    Hickenlooper will be a great Governor.

    Ritter will be able to make budget decisions that are the right thing to do rather than just politically expedient (i.e., cut special interest tax exemptions).

    Maybe this gives Romanoff an excuse to grab this rope and get out of his pathetic Senate primary “challenge” and, instead, run for Denver Mayor.

  4. Froward69 says:

    Hickenlooper or Romanoff or whom ever polls the highest statewide against Mcinnis.

    the surface seems to be Hickenlooper the republicans are attacking in all directions just now… that is fun to watch.  

  5. davebarnes says:

    and not in Denver.

    All John has to do is pend more time in the non-metro-Denver area and he will start to pick up votes.

    • Froward69 says:

      or Durango…

      Steamboat wold do well also.

      Agreed Dave, all Hickenlooper has to do is be seen outside of metro Denver…

    • Jambalaya says:

      ..so long as he gets off his ass and announces!

      • BlueCat says:

        he can look forward to a nice return to the private sector when he’s finished being mayor because his political career beyond that will be over.  

        Since becoming mayor, he’s turned down the opportunity to run for Gov but really wanted to have the Senate seat handed to him.  Maybe he’s just not that into campaigning anymore.

        And I loved the Wadhams remarks.  He said he thought it was 50/50 that Hick would run. That was his gut instinct. So his gut is telling him he has no clue?  

    • libgirl says:

      Any reason to think that the extractive industries have close enough ties to Scott and Jane that they’d go in big against Hickenlooper? I am thinking of the money that was spent against 58, which did so much to weaken the re-elect case. If those interests were aligned in an independent expenditure effort against a Front Range duo of candidates, how much does that change the calculus?

      Hickenlooper has history and ties to the petroleum industry but not that recently, right?

      Just wondering…

  6. mtnhigh says:

    I respect you completely and the state would be lucky to have you.  But THINK about this.  We need you more than you need us!

    Weigh this completely.  Family time versus dealing with the children in the Colorado Legislature.  Having ZERO control of the budget while the JBC makes a mockery of your agenda items.  A state that is falling apart from years of Dem and GOP neglect and special interest pandering.  I’m sure you want to help, but these issues are so massive that you will get swallowed- ANYONE will.  Your reputation will dwindle as you try to deal with the problems decades of small-minded, petty legislators have saddled you with.

    Maybe staying in Denver and helping Denver is where you should be.  Maybe you should be out of politics kicking back with a well-earned pint of your finest.

    Just think about this please.  I would rather you and your family be happy than you sacrifice your family and quality of life to be the governor of our current pathetic state…  

      • mtnhigh says:

        I’m an Independent.  I changed voter registration from Dem to IND a few weeks ago out of total frustration with the status quo.

        I just don’t want to see Hickenlooper savaged by party hacks from both sides.  He is much too good of a person to deserve that.

        He has done his part.  Let him go back to the farm with dignity- like our founding fathers wanted.  

        He doesn’t need to become just another career politician.  There is no need to diminish his good works…

        The funny thing is I can’t identify a national, regional or local commentator who has the guts to put their names on the ballot to try to solve this mess.  Hannity?  Nope.  Olberman?  Nada.  Boyles? Rosen? That little bearded dork on Boyles TV show?  Any of the real low-level commentators on this line?  No chance…

        I bet the reason is that it is hard to make policy out of the red-meat commentators, bloviators and talking heads spew on a consistent basis.  It is different on the front lines of making legislation where compromising and understanding and RESPECTING the other point of view is much more tough than it seems.  Much different than sitting behind a laptop or in front of a microphone where making sense, taking all views into consideration, being conciliatory, etc. doesn’t make money.  We know that only bomb throwing makes money for commentators.  I mean, who would like to listen to a centrist realist on the radio?  What fun would that be?  

        Plus, why would they risk losing the substantial income they make vomiting partisan crap all the time?

        I don’t see YOUR name on any ballot.  You are a smart guy and I’m just a stupid squirrel trying to find a nut.  I’m only a never-will-be.  Stupid people like me shouldn’t be in government.  Smart people like you should be.  So why is your name not on the ballot???

        • DavidThi808 says:

          I give Arianna Huffington a lot of kudos for running in the California Gov race. She did put her name on the ballot.

          • mtnhigh says:

            Perhaps I should have asked if you have ever put your name on a ballot before slamming you for not doing so.

            So have you?  You are a commentator, yes?

            • DavidThi808 says:

              I was in elected at C.U. My mom & sister however have both run (and won) so I do know what it’s like.

              • mtnhigh says:

                I too was in college elected politics.  I also was an elected official in small town politics in Colorado after I was in state and national politics as a consultant hack.  It is a dirty business that the pursuit of viewers and ratings by the pundit class (in place of dialog and understanding) has made even more difficult.

                Hence my complete disdain for pundits (or consultants- like I was) who haven’t put their name on the ballot, would never DREAM of doing so, but think they have all the solutions.

                It is also why I’m so passionate about campaign finance and re-districting reform…

  7. ace41 says:

    But he needs to announce a decision on Monday.  I agree with the analysis that Ritter bowing out is a great boon for Dems’ prospects for the governor’s mansion.

    BUT…I have to admit to being frustrated with Hickenlooper’s ability to make big decisions like this.

    Look…of course you sit down with your family and weigh the consequences of a stressful run for higher office.  And I guess I can give the mayor the benefit of the doubt that he needs the weekend.

    But my concern is, this is not the first time Hickenlooper’s name has been floated for a statewide run…not the first time the Colorado political world has been on Hickenlooper watch as to a decision…and Ken Salazar and now President Obama have given the man ringing endorsements.  I would have thought these four or five days would be enough to say “yes absolutely” or “no this is not what I want to do.”

    Pols is right…he won’t get a better opportunity than right now.  It worries me he needs so much time…it also worries me that from what I understand…no one in Denver Dem circles has any sense of what his decision will be.

    A week is a lifetime in politics.  Hickenlooper needs to jump or step aside.  Soon.

    • BlueCat says:

      is certainly getting old.

        • mtnhigh says:

          It never had been Hickenlooper floating his name for higher office but others in Colorado politics?  Maybe he really doesn’t want to go further in politics? Maybe becoming a “career” politician doesn’t turn his crank?  

          Go home, Hick.  It is unfair for us to put our hopes on you to get us out of the mess we voted ourselves into over the last few decades…

          Go pour a tall one and drink it in.  You did your time and we all thank you!

          • Jambalaya says:

            Do you think anyone here is buying your big-hearted routine?

            • mtnhigh says:

              But be fair, he would go in to a disaster with unfairly high expectations and we all know the Gov has little power, especially budget-wise, in this State.  We all know that whoever is in power at the JBC can throw his budget proposals in the trash and start over with THEIR agenda.  

              He would be in a position to get crapped on by media types who do it for sport- regardless of reality.  He has a young family and maybe, like Ritter currently, he might like to spend time with them out of the bright lights?

              Sometimes politics isn’t the end-all, be-all.  Sometimes it’s okay to say “I did my part, I ran Denver.  I did pretty good.  Now it is time to go do something else.  It is time to make room for fresh blood…”

              Must EVERYTHING be so partisan?  Does politics REALLY need to be a blood sport?  Can’t I just show concern for a freaking human???

          • Libertad says:

            This weekend will be spent 1) calling all his backers and asking for their support … many will say they are already with McInnis. 2) trying to gauge the rage for/against him within the Party. 3) analyzing the state situation and whether he thinks he can tackle it. 4) Trying to get a handle on the task, $s needed and can he win. 5) Can the marriage take it, will the kid be OK.  6) Are there any past actions or behaviors that will trip him up. 7) Without Labor, who will load up and manage the $5-10 million 527. 8) how does he contrast himself with/against Ritter. 9) with the generic ballot so shitty for Dems can he run statewide as the goofy moderate from Denver 10) if he loses what then.  11) should he resign from Denver, what will they say if he does or doesn’t. 12) So many questions, enormous risks and rewards, such little time.

            Any winner worth their salt must take into account these issues.

          • BlueCat says:

            Hick has nothing to do with all this fuss that keeps getting kicked up.  Innocent victim of previous governor and senate appointment talk.  When, oh when, will we learn to leave the poor kid alone?  Well, if he turns down the governor’s race this time, he’ll be left alone all he wants.    

    • cologeek says:

      for anyone who may want to step in to the race.  The Governor did not do his party any favors by pulling out when he did, and without any advance notice.  The decision has to be made quickly on the sort of thing that most people would take a serious amount of time deciding and planning.

      If Ritter had made his announcement even six months ago, there would be a clear route for someone, maybe a contest between two qualified candidates.  But instead there is the current confused mess that has everyone wondering what everyone else will do with this unexpected and possibly unwanted (timing wise) opportunity.

      If Hickenlooper declines to run, who will get the job of running for the Governors office?  It could very easily turn into a fight between unready opponents who will be scrambling for support in the caucuses from the various base groups.  In that case the chances for missteps and misstatements abound.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        The leadership got together and came up with an ordering that no one is bitching about. They’re giving each person as they hit the top a couple of days to think it through. And we own the news right now.

        What’s not to like?

        • ace41 says:

          (And I mean that because I think you are a very insightful poster here…) I disagree.

          I think Dem leadership is smart enough to get out of each other’s way and not make any dumb mistakes in the immediate aftermath of Ritter’s announcement.  But from what I hear, Perlmutter is very interested and Romanoff is making some noise about moving to the Governor’s race.  They won’t wait much longer.

          And, while I think they are stepping to the side and not bringing the fight to the news, the total lack of consideration of the many women that could be on this list is a problem.

          I like Hickenlooper.  I really do.  But I have heard the guy say many times he doesn’t want to fund raise and he won’t run a negative ad. And whether folks want to admit it or not…this is going to be a long, expensive and negative campaign.  Because that is what McGinnis will bring.

          The lack of a decision from Hickenlooper just reinforces in my mind the thought that he doesn’t have the mindset for a big race like this.  I do hope I am wrong.  

          • harrydoby says:

            Hick said he needed the weekend.  That’s his way, and his word.  I’ll give him that.

            If he says no, then Perlmutter and Romanoff could very likely primary each other.

            But I think Hick will do it.  As for his disdain for fundraising, that’s actually more of “not gonna do it the sleazy old fashioned way”.  This isn’t the Senate race afterall, so $10 million isn’t the opening bid.  He did an amazing job raising the money for the convention last year.  He can get it done.

            I have every confidence the money will flow to Hick, but just not with the usual quid pro quo that lesser figures must promise.

            I’ll spare you the cross-posting, but I’ve already had this discussion on David’s  diary re: Bennet and Romanoff, in case you’re curious.

          • mtnhigh says:

             Hick IS the Dem candidate that lights the fire under the center and the left.  A large part of the population of Colorado (Denver and the burbs) feels the effects of his positive Denver leadership.  We can all close our eyes and see the commercial of him on the scooter going through Lizard Head, Colorado Monument, Pawnee Buttes and Coors Field.  This is his for the taking.  The whole thing- not just the democratic nomination.

            But Hick never struck me as a career politician.  

            So Hick, if you do it, do it with that lopsided grin of yours we all love.  Do it YOUR way!  You don’t have to run a negative campaign.  You just have to show that you are a realist citizen legislator who knows the hell out of rocks and beer!  Hello!  Two things us Coloradoans love!  

            McInnis can be the cranky, zany, tea-bagging career politician Republican.   But Hick, I put you in a meeting with the farmers on the eastern plains or the rich West Puebloians or the conservatives in the Springs and they may not vote for you, but they ALL will come away knowing your heart is in the right place and you got a technocrat brain behind that smile, and that you don’t live and breathe partisanship- you tolerate it.  You just want to get realistic stuff done…

            Don’t do this because you think you “have” to.  Really, I would COMPLETELY understand wanting to go do something else.  I mean, it really isn’t fair to you to put so much pressure on you to single-handedly save our ass from the mess we got ourselves in to.  We can get little andy or mutterperl to do it.  It fits into their career trajectory and nobody expects much from them except good, old fashioned democratic insider baseball.  Hell, maybe even having a Dem Statehouse and a GOP govs mansion might be the most productive and fiscally responsible government we can seat!  Do it for you.  Because you think you can help, but aren’t the godsend.  Because you are a fundamentally good person that is willing to go back to the farm, but people DO believe in you and you really appreciate that (and maybe are still a little stunned by it…).  Because it would be a seriously cool example to set for your children.  

            Just don’t do it because we think you are the last hope for a Dem win.  That isn’t your responsibility.  You only have one vote…

            • WritterWrocks says:

              I think the CDP has a great opportunity here.  We need more one-term leaders who will do the right thing, unencumbered by the re-election process and demands.  Ritter has a unique opportunity to step up and hit a grandslam this session; let’s put Hick in the batters box for the next four rounds, and then bring in another ringer [Salazar] in ’14.  The Dem bench is deep – they have a great farm team.  This keeps our leader focused on solving problems – and we frankly don’t run out of a bench for a generation.  Let’s think…and lead…counter-intuitively.  

      • Pam Bennett says:

        I cannot speak for any other politician on what they do for the “What If’s”.  By that I mean preparing for and ready to leap given the opportunity of an opening/vacancy or some other position.

         I suppose I always think about this because as an engineer I had to be ready for any problem or failure and be able to solve any (that was the expectation) thing that happened to my project, and help on other projects.

        In politics things happen fast, as we have seen with Ritter heading to exalted land of former governors, and if you are a politician you look at more than who will replace him.  You have to look up and down the list of directly ready to run, along with the cascading effects of that. And, where you might fit in. This is usually well covered in POLS with rumours and what if’s. But it is the person who sees the opportunity that has to do the leap.

        Right now the only person who could run with minimal side effects is Romanoff. He has the staff and the state-wide planning already in operation.  Hickenlooper would leave a huge crater in Denver politics, but little elsewhere. The what if Perlmutter goes for the Gov’s mansion creates a multi-jurisdictional change.  He would leave CD7 open, and there are very few people with a staff in place who could run right now. If Cary Kennedy runs then the treasurer race goes wild.  If Morgan Carroll runs then SD29 goes vacancy.

        But, for all the what ifs there should be people ready to make a decision almost instantaneously. Why take a 5 days to make a decision that should have been planned out years ago.  There is a reason politicians are called ambitious, we are Type A’s looking to advance ourselves and (the good ones) to be in position to help our constituents.  

        In my case I have had a lot of help with political “openings” since before Nov. 3 election. Cities, counties and whatever would like me to run/move not run. . . go somewhere else. . .  I am ready for many opportunities, both known possible and what to do if something else becomes available. Where do I fit in the current situation? I have been working on that too.

        • MADCO says:

          and I agree with most of this …so I guess I can be pot today and you can be the kettle.

          I say weird because somewhere else, you also gave the impression that there should be no order and organization. That in the Colorado way, we should have wild and woolly individualism where candidates do what ever they want, however they want, when it suits them. Pardner.

          But I agree Romanoff is very highly qualified to be governor. Clearly he knows the legislative process cold.  Perhaps slightly less obvious, but also true, he understands the real budgeting challenges in an informed and expert way. Perhaps in a w way that requires a fair amount of been-there done-that, got-the-t-shirt, wore-the-t-shirt-out.  He’s the only guy around who could do this with that kind of history.  (Not counting Wellington Webb or others of that ilk who are out of the scene.)

          • Ralphie says:

            What does Romanoff’s experience have to do with Wellington Webb’s experience?

            It seems that Webb is more comparable to Hickenlooper than to Romanoff.

            I’m not trying to make my own point here, just trying to understand your point.

            According to my limited understanding,

            Romanoff=legislative experience

            Webb= executive experience

            Is there something I don’t get here?

            • MADCO says:

              smart about CO budget challenges – and tho not the only one, one of the few who is in a position to run right now.

              I.e., still in the sh*t, active, wanting to hold office, etc

              I mean PeГ±a would be good, too, but he doesn’t appear to be in the politcal mix at least not as a wannabe elected.

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