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Why did the White House try to help Bennet?

Posted by Richard on June 4, 2010

Dick Morris has a theory about why the Obama administration offered Andrew Romanoff his choice of high-level jobs if he gave up his primary challenge against appointed Senator Michael Bennet. Morris thinks they did it to buy Bennet's vote for Obamacare.

It's purely speculation, but it does seem to make sense. As Morris noted, Bennet was "no great friend of the White House" and he "lacked a political base and was never a particularly strong candidate." In fact, one could make the case that a Senator Romanoff would be more to the liking of the administration than Bennet. So it's hard to come up with any other compelling reason why they'd go out of their way — to the point of doing something certainly unethical and possibly illegal — to protect Bennet.

Despite all kinds of pressure, Bennet remained uncommitted on Obamacare for many months. Given how unpopular the bill was in Colorado, he had good reason to vote against it. Unlike the other Democratic holdouts (Landrieu and Nelson come to mind), he never won any well-publicized special treatment or benefit for Colorado. Yet that fall, a few weeks after administration officials apparently tried to bribe Romanoff to drop out of the race, Bennet suddenly decided that passing Obamacare was utterly vital to the nation and his highest priority in life. 

I wonder if some reporter will have the stones to ask Bennet directly, "Senator, did you trade your vote for Obamacare in exchange for the administration's efforts to get Andrew Romanoff out of the race?" And after the inevitable, "Of course not," to follow up with pointed questions about the timing, about why Bennet had the sudden change of heart on the bill, and about which members of the administration he had communications with and when during that time period. 

I'm not holding my breath.

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