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October 08, 2012 05:07 PM UTC

Settled: Obama Has Better Colorado Surrogates

  • by: Colorado Pols

The Obama campaign RV at Colorado College Saturday.

Although Mitt Romney’s surrogate bus tours have gotten more press for their swings through Colorado, sometimes with a relatively big name along for the ride but also headlined by such “B-list” Colorado politicos as GOP ex-gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and CD-2 also-ran Kevin Lundberg, last week another bus tour–make that a more modest-looking RV tour–started making its way around the state. But as KREX-TV in Grand Junction reported Friday, it’s all about the people inside:

Dozens of supporters greeted several major players in Colorado’s Democratic Party, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Sen. Mark Udall, Sen. Michael Bennet, Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia and Sen. Gail Schwartz…

“Here on the Western Slope, the president has understood our fight for land, water and people, and there’s been so much good that has been done here in Colorado. He understands the importance of making sure there’s jobs for everybody here in America, and he basically saved the United States of America from a second great depression,” said Salazar. “We’re coming back; we’re doing a lot better then we were two or three years ago, and that’s because the president’s policies are taking place.”

Sen. Mark Udall speaks to students at Colorado College Saturday.

On Saturday, the Obama RV tour was headlined by Sen. Mark Udall, with stops in Pueblo and Colorado College in Colorado Springs (see photos above), then on to the Denver area where former Gov. Roy Romer reportedly spoke. Today, fully eight stops are scheduled throughout the Denver metro area, featuring Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Rep. Diana DeGette, and former Mayor Wellington Webb among many others.

Both sitting U.S. Senators, the state’s governor, the mayor of the largest city and state capital, members of Congress, various attending state representatives and other candidates–if this sounds more like a political “A-list” than a tour headlined by “Both Ways Bob,” whose last political relevance was getting drilled in 2006 by Bill Ritter, that’s because it is.

We’ll eat our words, naturally, if JoDee Messina ever outsells The Black Eyed Peas.


44 thoughts on “Settled: Obama Has Better Colorado Surrogates

      1. If you bothered to learn something BEFORE you posted you might not look like a complete idiotic talking point vomiting troll.

        Just saying.  It was a campaign event, not an official Ken-as-Secretary event.

        You are really really really stupid.  

      2. But I think it’s bad form for any cabinet member to be actively campaigning. HUD’s Donovan has been doing it too.

        There’s an unwritten rule that the Secretary of State never engages in partisan campaigning. I think it should apply to all cabinet positions.  

            1. the ‘more restricted employees’ are listed here:


              For the most part only the Pres and VP are exempted from the Hatch Act.  Political appointees as well as civil service employees are bound by the Act, however campaigning is NOT a violation–campaigning on the public’s time and dime is a violation.

              A-BOT is just wrong–perhaps intentionally so, he does seem to lack integrity–or perhaps just because he is a fool, as he most certainly lacks sense.  

        1. i.e. if he is speaking to a group as the Sect of Interior in his function as such.  (Political appointee or not) and telling folks to vote Obama.  

          It is not a violation to appear with the president at campaign events as a campaign event.

          Here is what the Sect is allowed to do, according to the Hatch Act.

          For instance:

          May express opinions about candidates and issues. If the expression is political activity, however – i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group – then the expression is not permitted while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.

          I disagree it is bad form.  Its pretty typical.

          In any case, A-BOT is an idiot.  

        1. he’ll ask the same question again a week or so from now.

          Ken Salazar walked by an Obama block party the other day, and he didn’t avert his eyes immediately.  I’m very concerned. Is that a Hatch Act violation ?

    1. “I’m very sorry for outrageously mismanaging the BLM’s wild horse programs and I will be taking action at once to close the pipeline through which thousands of our nation’s wild horses are illegally streaming into Mexico for slaughter.”

      Or better yet, “I resign.”

      But applause lines are nice, too. I just prefer them coming from people who spend more time doing their jobs than delivering applause lines.

      1. …is because we stopped horse slaughtering here in the US.  The marketplace at work, I guess.

        I don’t understand the attitude Americans have about horses.  Europeans certainly appreciate the meat, as have most Americans before horses became pets or something.  

        Unless we wipe out all of the wild horses….which environmentally would probably be a positive thing…..horses will breed and overwhelm the grazing lands.  

        Better that we harvest them and utilize them than let evermore of them compete with ever less foods.

        Lewis and Clark’s men preferred dog to all the other animals that they shot and ate.  Just to throw that into the mix.  

        1. As most people not familiar with the full situation do.

          1. They’re wild/feral animals, not livestock. Capturing them, shoving them in trailers, and shipping them to slaughter is literally torture. They injure themselves and one another in transport.

          2. Non-invasive methods of population control exist and the funding is already appropriated to use them. The BLM has chosen, due to sheer mismanagement, not to inject the birth control drugs that they already have and have funding for.

          3. The overpopulation of wild horses is largely due to the reluctance of ranchers to allow natural predation to interfere with the ludicrously cheap grazing leases they get from the BLM. Natural predation could conceivably solve the entire problem, but predators might occasionally take a grazing calf, too, and cattlemen have successfully lobbied to maintain the extermination of natural predators on BLM land. This land is perfectly capable of supporting a huge number of grazing animals, and did so in the era of massive bison herds. However, those herds were subject to both human and non-human predation.

          4. The existence and protection of these herds supports numerous small businesses related to wild horse tourism, photography, and more. In dollar value, they’re much more valuable as a commodity to show eager tourists than as hamburgers.

          This is not a case of softy tree-huggers interfering with wildlife management. This is a case of the cattle lobby interfering with sensible, already funded, easily feasible wildlife management, and a case of laziness and organizational culture deficiencies. The BLM is known for having a culture that is extraordinarily slow to embrace new methods or technologies. They are fundamentally a lazy agency, and Salazar has done fuck-all to change the fact that they would rather knowingly break the law than get off their asses and apply the plan that they themselves proposed for the management of these herds.

          On emotional grounds, I wouldn’t mind seeing them treated as wildlife–including the issuance of limited hunting licenses–but that causes a bigger problem because domestic horses are indistinguishable to hunters from BLM horses, and this would indubitably lead to lost hunters shooting domestic animals. So, really the options for humane management are limited to predator reintroduction (blocked by the cattlemen’s lobby) or sterilization (already possible and funded, BLM refuses to get off their asses and do it).

          Slaughter isn’t a humane management option unless/until someone figures out a way to effectively transport panicked wild animals without it amounting to torture. Right now, the existing slaughter pipeline amounts to theft from the taxpayer, too. The buyer who is killing these horses is getting them for well under the market value of horsemeat, and much less than taxpayers have already spent to capture each horse. He is violating existing law in order to earn an enormous profit by torturing each captive horse he purchases from taxpayers at a 99%+ discount from their market value, after taxpayers have already spent well more than their market value to capture them. If you don’t have a problem with that, I think you need more help than I can give you.

          1. And I was right.

            The horses came with the Spaniards.  They aren’t native to the continent unless you go back to one or another of those ancient eras.

            Not to go point to point, or I would be guilty of what you did, but the buffalo did not graze in Nevada, say, to the best of my knowledge.  

            1. As someone with no dog in this fight, I’ll step in here to respectfully disagree. PGC knows her stuff and she’s just showing that in her response. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

              1. Good to know someone in here hasn’t succumbed to the two-minute debate response world in which explaining a position in detail constitutes an unforgivable crime.

              1. …which I believe to have the most mustangs, no?  And some in Utah?  

                Since neither cattle nor horses are indigenous, my “Modest Proposal” is to harvest both.  Or be rid of all of them.

                Let “Free Range” mean the range is free to be healthy.  

                1. A few places managed by BLM to keep them (Little Bookcliffs, East Douglas Herd Area…)

                  But otherwise the BLM removes them and looks the other way as they are sold to persons known to slaughter them (although such would be against the law).

                  The reason they are removed is because they conflict with other management goals, which usually is not native species. More often conflict with O&G drilling and cows…

                  1. You’re probably the one here who pays the most attention (myself included) to rangeland management issues, so it is validating to know that your perception aligns with mine.

                    1. and they are not native, but feral, so I understand the issue with there being too many and all that.

                      I just don’t think it is usually environmental reasons that BLM captures and removes them as much as it is in the interest of powerful constituencies–public land cow farmers and oil and gas barons.


                      Back in the day I fought BLM over the West Douglas Herd Area.  Even got a front page article in the Washington Post–they were getting in the way of oil and gas drilling south of Rangley (Texas Mnt. and Texas Flats area for those following along in your gazetteer).  

                      If it was to help native species–particularly those that need help–it would be one thing (IMO) but zeroing out a herd to facilitate oil wells is FUBAR.  

                    2. and how many more humane options exist to stop it than the BLM is currently utilizing.

                      I will say that I have nothing but praise for the organizations doing their best to put their money where their mouths are by promoting mustang adoption. For an expert horse(wo)man or someone working with an expert trainer, there’s nothing like an American Mustang for a riding partner. I trained one from one of the herds with documented Spanish blood (he was halter trained already, but I did the saddle part) and he’s a really lovely animal who hasn’t needed a vet since he was castrated.

                    3. He was a teaser stallion when I met him. All the excitement, with no reward. He’s now a very cheerful gelding and has acquired a nice older woman to dote on him.

                    4. He was a teaser stallion when I met him. All the excitement, with no reward. He’s now a very cheerful gelding and has acquired a nice older woman to dote on him.

                2. Charitably assuming that the graphic is just small and it’s not that you don’t know where Nevada is.

                  As you can see, a limited number of bison ranged in what is now Nevada near what are now the state’s north and west borders.

                  Humans are also not native to North America, and I’m told they’re pretty good eatin’.

          2. But I’d like to learn, if those of you who understand wildlife resource management would care to enlighten me.

            PCG, I understand the points you’re making re: horse trafficking and natural predation, but I find it difficult to align myself with your ethical stance. For instance, you suggest that horses are…

            wild/feral animals, not livestock. Capturing them, shoving them in trailers, and shipping them to slaughter is literally torture.

            Later on, you write:

            I wouldn’t mind seeing them treated as wildlife–including the issuance of limited hunting licenses


            the options for humane management are limited to predator reintroduction (blocked by the cattlemen’s lobby) or sterilization (already possible and funded, BLM refuses to get off their asses and do it)

            I guess I don’t understand why an animal born into the wild is deserving of gentler treatment than an animal born into captivity. Feedlots squeeze very large numbers of cattle/pigs/chickens into very small spaces – I’m sure that doing the same to humans, forcibly, would be considered torture.

            I have many friends who object to the latter practice (keeping animals in tortuous living conditions prior to slaughter), but I don’t know of anyone who draws a line between the ethical considerations due to farm animals and the ethical considerations due to wild animals. Do you? Why should a horse born in the wild be accorded more “rights,” if you will, than a horse born in captivity?

            As for the reintroduction of natural predators, it seems that wolves would be far less capable than hunters when asked to distinguish BLM horses from their wild brethren.

            Like I said, I don’t know enough to pick a fight on this subject. I’m just hoping to understand your way of thinking about what appears to be a pretty complex issue.

              1. an answer.  (Not thinking for a minute that I’m anywhere near as knowledgeable about this as PCG).

                Wild horses are just that — wild; notoriously so.  They’re not just what you see running in herds on television commercials; they can be nasty and brutish to one another, they’re nearly impossible to confine, and when confined they try desperately, in every sense of that word, to free themselves.

                Wild horses if confined to cattle-type herd trailers for a long trip to the slaughter house would do severe injury (kicking, biting, slashing, breaking legs, . . . as bad as you can imagine) to themselves and one another.  A journey of unimaginable suffering before being shot and slaughtered if any managed to survive to that point.  In addition to the suffering, injuries, and blood, these wildest of animals won’t take any nourishment or drink under such conditions, even if it were offered.

                Hunting, when done correctly — and I recognize that the reality is that very often isn’t — allows for the promise of quick and humane kill.  (That is, of course again, in an idealized sense.)  The suffering prior to many hunter inflicted kills would be non-existent.

                As for natural predation — that’s a bit of a case of a tree falling in a forest with no one to hear it.  In this case, that’s just the way nature is — man hasn’t compounded or abetted any of the horse’s suffering.  In this final case too, there’s some argument that at least the victim horse had a “fighting chance.”  I’m not sure it’s more humane from the horse’s perspective — there is some evidence that prey animals do enter into a type of catatonic state at the hands of their killers.  On the other hand, a wolf kill seldom takes the many days, and potentially a weeks in some of the worst cases, that an injuring horse herd may face suffering and bleeding out and starving during transit to a slaughter house.

            1. But I would note that there are regulations for the humane transport of livestock, including domestic horses. These regulations are minimal, but at least somewhat reasonable and are slowly improving. Consumers also have the option of buying humanely raised and slaughtered livestock. There is no way to humanely shove a wild animal which, as Diog noted, is capable of extremely powerful, flesh-tearing, bone-breaking kicks, into a stock trailer and ship it, in a panicked state, 16+ hours over the border to Mexico. Once there, there is no way to slaughter it humanely, as it’s not exactly going to stand still for the procedure like domestic animals do. Horses (even domestic ones) often must be shot several times with a captive bolt gun before they actually lose consciousness, because these guns are designed to execute docile, short-necked cattle, not cantankerous, long-necked, much smarter, much stronger horses. In the US, at least, slaughterhouse workers were judged on their miss rate and might be fired if they rarely rendered a horse unconscious with the first bolt–in Mexico, I’m told by people who have observed the process that anything goes, up to and including beating the animals to death if necessary.

              There’s also the problem that slaughtering Mustangs is already illegal, so there’s no possible way to regulate their transport or the slaughter method. If it’s not allowed, it can’t be less allowed if you’re knowingly cruel. Any shipper willing to take BLM-branded Mustangs (knowing it’s illegal to do so) across the border to a Mexican slaughterhouse is probably not the nicest shipper on earth. I bought my mare from a kill buyer who is “one of the good ones,” supposedly, and his record still shows no less than five citations for willful cruelty to horses in his care, including kicking a blind horse in the face when it wouldn’t exit a trailer rapidly enough for his liking.

              A horse raised in captivity is not good eatin’ — in fact, it’s likely to be poisonous and carcinogenic eatin’. I do not think horse slaughter should be allowed in the US, because (unlike the EU) we do not have any effective tracking system for the numerous drugs known to be toxic to humans that are administered to tame horses. In the US, it is highly unlikely that any such “passport” program (what the EU uses to prohibit horses that have received certain drugs from being eaten) would ever be passed, because it would require too many invasions of equestrians’ privacy. The ranching and racing industries would raise hell.  

              However, transporting a domestic horse to slaughter may constitute treatment I don’t approve of, but it rarely rises to the level of torture. Domestic horses are accustomed to human handling and trailering. A horse in a panic is extremely dangerous to itself and anything around it. A horse yawning about what it thinks is yet another ride to a new barn or a show is not.

              Hunting and natural predation are not necessarily kind, but they have the possibility of being quick. I prefer to eat game meat over farmed meat, myself, because I know enough hunters to know that they care about dropping an animal with one shot whenever they can. I don’t think there’s anything cruel about an animal living its life happily with its herd and then one day being surprised by a nearly instant, nearly painless death. Natural predators are not as instant or painless as a well-aimed bullet, but they are quicker than a ride to a Mexican slaughterhouse. Evolution has also been kind to prey animals in equipping them with emergency endorphin release systems that can render them nearly unconscious and unable to suffer intensely once they have been attacked by a predator and flight or fight are no longer options. (This is sometimes referred to as the “third f,” the “freeze” reflex.)

              I’d like to see everyone eat less meat–not no meat, just less meat–and for that meat to be humanely produced. I buy pastured chicken and grass-fed beef. Even my raw-fed dog gets wild game and grass-fed beef tripe, whenever possible. I think all animals deserve the dignity of a relatively pleasant life in which they can enjoy the things enjoyed by their species–cattle graze, chickens forage, pigs root, and all of them socialize–and a quick, painless death. That’s a larger, thornier, more time-consuming issue that requires cultural change, not just new legislation.

              The wild horse issue isn’t really complicated at all. It’s pretty simple: There’s no humane way to slaughter them, not even one as humane as factory farming, which is pretty damn inhumane. It’s also illegal to slaughter them. It’s humane and legal to manage them with birth control, sales to private owners, and predation. It’s even already funded and the public, by and large, supports humane management of wild horses. The only opposition is from cattlemen and the oil/gas industry, or from wildlife advocates who simply don’t trust the BLM to control herd populations by any means whatsoever, given their track record. The latter would likely stand down if the BLM actually implemented birth control and predator reintroduction. That leaves ranchers and oil/gas, and therein lies the problem: The issue is morally simple and practically simple, but two large, moneyed interests are opposed to the consensus reached by basically everyone else.

              1. I’ll need some time to think about everything you’ve written.

                One immediate thought jumps to mind: Like you, PCG, my sister prefers meat from wild (and ultimately hunted) animals to meat from farm animals – in fact, she won’t eat the latter. That was the model I tried to follow before moving to China; here, it’s impossible to verify the living and dying conditions of any meat before consuming it, so I mostly stick to (excellent) fish and seafood.

                  1. I’ve been teaching in Guangzhou since late August. When people ask why, I generally tell them that I’m 23 years old and that the job market in the States isn’t so great for people my age (our age, iirc).

                    That’s not really it though. I came here because I didn’t know much about China and I wanted to see something different. I had an excellent job coaching debate at George Washington High School in Denver, and I miss my students immensely. At some point, though, I realized that I needed to seize the opportunity to travel the world. I lived in Peru previously and loved it – so why not China?

                    It’s been a rewarding adventure so far.

                    (I grew up in Littleton and registered on Pols while I was interning for Joe Rice – thus the handle).

                    1. How the heck? Not by much, but still… I was getting used to being the spring chicken here, with the exception, of course, of Skyler.

                      I have a friend who taught in China who is also around our age! He’s back in the states now, but you could still look him up and chat China and teaching with him, if you wanted to — if you want me to shoot you a Facebook link for him, email me 🙂

                      Great decision, IMO. I wish I’d traveled more before settling down as much as I have. I love the horses and cats and dog and being a homeowner, but it all combines to ensure that I won’t be able to travel in such a carefree way for a very long time.

  1. go, they really ought to talk to everyone they can.

    I was in Walden for groceries in late-October 2008 after a morning of elk hunting, and decided to stop and have an early lunch at the hotel on Main Street.  I sat munching on my reuben when up rolled the Colorado for Obama bus, trailed by three or four cars.   Out climbed the whole traveling 2008 Colorado D entourage, (Salazar, et al) about a half dozen of whom I recognized.   I was rather surprised and pleased to see this many Democratic dignitaries venturing out into ruralest Colorado; seemed like a rather brave thing.

    The whole group, maybe thirty souls, filed into the empty reserved restaurant meeting room for twenty minutes of speeches and cheering.  Then, twenty minutes later, they all marched back out, climbed into their bus and cars, and headed down the road towards Steamboat.

    I never saw any one of the participants ever shake hands, greet, or say even a single word to the twenty or so hunters, ranchers or townspeople seated around me at the tables on the restaurant side.  Even after I went up and asked one of the obviously low level young aides for a couple of their “Sportsman for Obama” bumper stickers (so I could stick them on my ultra-Republican hunting buddy’s pickup) — I was handed one of the several hundred stickers that had been set out on a table.  I said, “Could I have another?” and as I was handed a second, all that was said to me was, “we need to all support environmental conservation.”

    The whole seemingly pointless experience was surreal.  I should have used my cell phone to make a video.  GOTV?  After the group had left, another hunter at a nearby table made some remark about “pussy Democrats”; I laughed and said to his group, “You sure got that right!”

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