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The Big Snub: Did Udall Strategy Do More Campaign Harm Than Good?

Obama can't catch a break when it comes to Colorado Dems seeking his help. (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

by
Steve Caulk

Bio

July 16, 2014 - 12:06 am

Hello, Mr. President, it was nice seeing you in Colorado, perhaps for the last time this year.

Or not seeing you, as the case may be.

That was the attitude expressed by political observers when President Obama flew to Denver last week, ostensibly to help several Democratic candidates in the state, only to receive the campaigning cold shoulder from some of them.

They included Gov. John Hickenlooper, congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff, and, perhaps most ironically, Sen. Mark Udall – all of whom said they had previous commitments or scheduling conflicts that prevented them from joining Obama onstage during Obama’s speech about the economy.

At least Hickenlooper managed to squeeze in some 8-ball at the local pool hall with the president, where some photographers snapped a few shots of them together. But Udall’s name was most prominent among the “POTUS snubbers” because Obama’s schedule also included a Udall fundraising event, which Udall also determined he could not attend. Udall and his colleagues generated a mini-controversy in Denver with their unwillingness to appear in public with Obama and perhaps end up in a photo alongside him.

A member of the camp of Rep. Corey Gardner (R-Colo.), who is challenging Udall in this key U.S. Senate race, laughed at the Big Snub and noted that it could come back to bite Udall.

Later, Gardner’s camp released this interpretation: “Now that he (Udall) has been called out on being a rubber stamp for President Obama’s agenda he has decided to hide in Washington, D.C. instead of face voters back in his home state. Sen. Udall’s bizarre behavior these last few days will no doubt leave many Coloradans questioning his integrity, and rightly so.”

Political analyst Floyd Ciruli of Denver agreed, at least in terms of the perception that Udall was creating with this non-appearing act.

“Clearly, Corey Gardner is making the case that Udall is a puppet for the administration and is responsible for Obamacare and the immigration crisis and an incredible number of things that have happened just this year,” Ciruli said. “Democrats who are vulnerable are doing everything they can to show they are independent. And it substantially undermines that message when you’re in a photo standing next to him (Obama).”

The question is whether this strategy of disassociation is really so obvious, and how effective it might be in the long run. There also has to be the question of how tolerant and understanding the president might be. His press office did not respond immediately with an answer to that question. But Ciruli felt free to speculate:

“My prediction is we won’t see the president again in this election cycle in the state of Colorado,” he said.

Which might come as a relief to Udall and his gang. If Udall had second thoughts about his strategy, his press office was not offering any insight.

“It (strategy) may be too smart,” Ciruli said. “It has become so transparent, the act itself is subject to a host of criticism.”

He said the convenient disassociation, mixed with the pandering of a fundraising appearance, could actually cost Udall the very votes he was trying to preserve.

“It’s possible that trying to avoid the contact makes you look so political, that’s a worse image than it would be just standing next to the president,” he said. “It can to some extent anger some people.”

(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

Steve Caulk is a freelance journalist living in Westminster, Colo.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The sound-bite writes itself: "Senator Udall has always been ungrateful to the Colorado voters who elected him six years ago and now he's ungrateful to his President who is fund-raising for him."
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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I laugh at Udall's feeble campaign advertisements...... His opponent is "too extreme for Colorado." That's all the guy has. One would think that a "successful" Senator would run on his/her record. Not Udall, his record is not compatible with Colorado:

Wrong side on health care
Wrong side on climate
Wrong side on the IRS scandal
Wrong side on illegal aliens
Wrong side on fracking
Wrong side on the second amendment

Now I see why he isn't touting his "record." His campaign has a definite feel of desperation about it.... Which is good. Very good. I can't wait for him to be gone.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
wouldn't Mo and Stu be proud
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't some of the die hard Obama sycophants be the ones to be really angry with Udall for the snub? How dare he treat their President so badly? When Obama was being so generous and doing a fundraiser for Udall. I mean really. They get really angry about a lot less.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't it just be better to appear with him? One can deflect criticism by saying, whatever my differences with his policies, he is still the President and a fellow Democrat. If the President show up in the State I represent, even if he is of the other Party, I am going to respect the office and represent the people of my State.

Of course, weaselly politicians would never say something like that. Honor and dignity are foreign concepts to them.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The critical impact would be on Udall's base. Colorado is now a "purple" state. There are three strongholds of Democrat power in Colorado, each with a different basis. Denver is old line ethnic machine politics. Up till the 1970's it was Irish. It has been Black, Hispanic-Gay alliance, a short Leftist-Marxist period, and is now Black again working on becoming Detroit West. Pueblo used to be old line Union Democrats, until they destroyed the economy. Now it is La Raza separatist Hispanics quietly driving matters. There are large parts of Pueblo you don't want to go into if you are not Hispanic, you will not come out. Finally, there is the People's Republic of Boulder which is Udall's base. It is no exaggeration to say that, led by the University of Colorado, they are still in mourning for the Soviet Union. As an example, while opposing Reagan's SDI program vehemently and declaring themselves a "nuclear-free zone"; they deliberately became sister-cities with Dushanbe, Tajikistan which is where the Soviet SDI research program was based.

They are true believers in "Teh Won", sheltered from reality by the University. By dissing the Lightworker, he will convince some part of his base to not go to the polls.

Subotai Bahadur
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boulder might as well be another planet........ I hold my breath when I have to drive through.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like that dems running for office know how toxic B.O. is Makes the ads against them real easy. They vote for him but don't want to be seen with him, as long as he gives them from his stash
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Low info voters may vote for a Democrat and they may even vote for a Republican but they seldom vote for a known weasel.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Udall's Invisible Man schtick is possibly as effective as Obama declaring he wouldn't go to the Mexican border this week because "I don't do photo ops", just before doing a ... whadya call it now ... oh yeah, a photo op with the Governor shooting pool in a bar.

Now every single time Obama does a photo op, anywhere, for any reason, for at least the next 30 days, he will be called out on his "I don't do photo ops" line. Very effective!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Udall doesn't do photo ops, either. At least, not with the Prez....
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course if Senator Udall had any integrity he would have been there. That the man's money, stand with the man.

Of course if President 0bama had any integrity he would have backed out once the candidates backed out. Take my money, stand with me. Clearly, no surprise here, neither of them has any integrity. They will use us they way the use each other.

If liberal-progressive-socialist didn't have double standards they would have no standards at all.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Udall, "But... but... but.... ABORTION!"
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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