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January 04, 2009 11:29 PM UTC

More Bennet Reactions

  • by: Colorado Pols

Reporters around the country are figuring out that when Google asks “Did you mean: Michael Bennett,” the answer is no.

New York Times:

Mr. Bennet, flanked by his wife, Susan Daggett, and their three young daughters, said he would focus on health care, the economy and education, andhe promised to provide more policy details in the coming weeks. His positions on most prominent issues are relatively unknown.

“Innovative thinking, pragmatic problem solving and bringing people together have been the hallmarks of my career,” he said.

Mr. Ritter’s choice of Mr. Bennet, 44, came as a surprise when it was first reported on Friday, as several higher profile Colorado Democrats had been mentioned as possible candidates…

Washington Post:

Despite earning high marks in education circles, Bennet is not regarded as a political meteor, and Obama passed him over for the education secretary job last month. Bennet has also worked as managing director of Anschutz Investment in Denver, as a lawyer in the Clinton Justice Department and as Hickenlooper’s chief of staff.

Colorado political observers were shocked by the pick, noting that Bennet’s low statewide profile and untested fundraising skills could put a hard-won seat in jeopardy in two years, when Salazar’s term expires. Bennet intends to run for a full term in 2010 and has launched an election Web site.

“What the hell?” exclaimed the popular site “. . . By all accounts Bennet is a brilliant guy who also happens to be fabulously wealthy from his days working with super-rich dude Phil Anschutz, but being smart and rich doesn’t make this a wise choice.” [Pols emphasis – we’re popular!]

Denver Business Journal:

“Not only is Michael Bennet one of the brightest and most insightful individuals I have known, he also is one of the most effective,” Cannon “Cy” Harvey, president of the Anschutz Co., said late Friday in an e-mail to the Denver Business Journal.

“That is a rare combination,” Harvey added. “Results matter to Michael. He is thoughtful and weighs the pros and cons before he acts.”

…Bennet will serve in the Senate as a Democrat, and he was an adviser to Obama during the presidential campaign. Anschutz is a staunch supporter of Republican causes and made numerous donations to GOP candidates and campaign organizations recently.

Harvey said he was commenting on Bennet’s performance during his employment at the Anschutz Co. and afterward, and not on the possibility of his Senate appointment.

“His accomplishments as an attorney and businessman were in no small part due to his balance and common sense,” Harvey said.” “He is a good listener and has a great talent for bringing people together around common goals in order to reach a successful outcome for all of the interested parties; but he knows his own values and never strays from them.”

Denver Post:

Skeptics point out that no one knows what kind of campaigner Bennet will make. They worry that he’s little-known outside Denver or outside an elite group of national education reformers.

“This is a more Denver-centric pick than Diana DeGette even,” said one Democratic insider who asked not to be named in order to speak more frankly. “It’s a stunning choice, just totally stunning. I mean that in a negative way.”

Another key Democrat characterized it as potentially a major political blunder: “I don’t think Ritter has any idea what he’s just done,” said the insider, who also asked for anonymity.

Sources close to the selection process say that the force of Bennet’s personality and his wide experience – he served in Clinton’s Justice Department and made millions in business before giving it up to work for Mayor John Hickenlooper and then to redesign Denver’s failing urban schools – impressed Gov. Bill Ritter and key players who had input in the choice.

But Bennet’s close relationship with the incoming Obama transition team – a relationship forged as a top candidate to be secretary of education – also helped build a powerful constituency, one that sees Bennet as a critical ally for education reform in the Senate…

Latest AP (Wyatt):

The Bennet choice, when more seasoned Democratic politicians including two members of the U.S. House expressed interest in the job, shocked political observers across Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Newspaper on Saturday announced the selection with a banner headline calling him “Senator Surprise.”

But people who have worked with Bennet, a Democrat, who at 44 will become the Senate’s youngest member pending Salazar’s confirmation to the Cabinet, say he’s up for the challenge.

Educators joked that the halls of the U.S. Senate should be a breeze for Bennet after walking into the struggling 73,000-student Denver school system in 2005 with no education degree and managing to court teachers to a business-style turnaround.


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