January 3rd, 2009
09:33 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama praises new Colorado senator, Michael Bennet

Bennet replaces Salazar, above, Obama's choice for interior secretary.

Bennet replaces Salazar, above, Obama's choice for interior secretary.

(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama Saturday praised Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's choice of Michael Bennet as that state's next senator, saying Bennet reflects "the qualities of the ruggedly independent state."

Ritter officially announced his choice at a Denver press conference Saturday.

"Filling Ken Salazar's boots in the US Senate is a tall order. But in selecting Michael Bennet, Governor Ritter has made an excellent choice," Obama said in a statement released by his transition office.

"Michael Bennet perfectly reflects the qualities of the ruggedly independent state he has been chosen to serve. An innovator in the public and private sectors, he has shown himself willing to challenge old thinking and stale policies," Obama also said.

Bennet, the Denver Public Schools Superintendent, replaces Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama's choice to be interior secretary.

Ritter had narrowed down his choice to either Bennet or the popular Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, and made his final decision on New Years Day, according to reports.

In the news conference Saturday, Ritter said Bennet is "exactly who we need representing Colorado."

"Michael has this unique set of personal and professional experiences that make him the right choice for Colorado," Ritter said, according to CNN Denver affiliate KUSA.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Colorado
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Matthew

    It's sad that with Salazar getting this appointment and Martinez retiring, that a Hispanic was not appointed to this position. That's been the argument for filling Obama's empty seat with regards to an African American. There are plenty of qualified Hispanics that could have filled this seat – particularly in Colorado. As the largest minority group in the nation, it's particularly sad that there will only be one Hispanic (and a lame duck at that) in the Senate.

    January 3, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Proud American

    It's a new dawn in America, we will finally have real leadership in Washington. Thank God

    January 3, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. What?


    The people of Colorado are really perplexed by this selection.

    It's starting to look like our party is starting to make some serious mistakes and continues on the path of Old Washington Politics.

    First we have the Delaware Senate seat that is being kept warm so tht it can be given to Bidens son

    Then we have the whole Illinois Fiasco

    Top that off with the New York Senate Seat that is being GIVEN AWAY to a Kennedy simply because they have a Kennedy name.

    What the heck is going on with our party?

    January 3, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Proud American

    Is it just me or does this guy remind you of the Idiot Phil Gramm from Texas? You know "Americans are a bunch of whinners" John McCains economics advisor. I still can't believe John McCain lost the election. lolololololol

    January 3, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. I hope he has the back bone to...

    stand up to the teachers Union, they have been doing as much damage to our schools as the UAW to the auto industry

    January 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. SMR


    January 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Griff

    You read it again... Black CNN...

    January 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Rob Stumpf

    "Filling Ken Salazar's boots in the US Senate is a tall order. "+++

    Filling his boots. Obama is such a goofus. Or someone in his transition office is.

    "Michael Bennet perfectly reflects the qualities of the ruggedly independent state he has been chosen to serve."+++

    Now it sounds like an episode of "Bonanza".

    An innovator in the public and private sectors, he has shown himself willing to challenge old thinking and stale policies," Obama also said.+++

    As opposed to what? A person who embraces stale policies? Dumb.

    If Obama really wants to challenge old thinking and get rid of stale policies...let him get rid of Social Security. But he really only wants to "change" things he disagrees with, which makes him just like every other politician he's ever heard of.

    January 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    I fail to see how the party of the Welfare State and socialised medicine can honestly value anything that can be characterised as "ruggedly independent." The Democratic Party fosters dependence on government handouts at every opportunity and, by such means as perennially attempting to disarm the public and requiring us to participate in the Social Security Ponzi scheme, treats American citizens like irresponsible and not-too-bright children. Being truly "ruggedly independent" these days will get you characterised as one of those most suspicious of people, an anti-social loner who's probably planning to shoot up a school or a business.

    January 3, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Hey, Matthew,

    Why don't you just take your thought to it's logical conclusion and propose legally mandated racial, ethnic, and gender quotas in Congress and the Cabinet? And maybe a legally mandated racial, ethnic, and gender rotation of the Presidency?

    Whatever happened to just picking the best-qualified candidate for the job, regardless of all that irrelevant stuff?

    January 3, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Ann

    the King has spoken...

    January 3, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. uzomah Franklin Lucas

    Obama was a God sent to United State and the whole entirely because he is not going to play the game on his own. Let me be specific here, If Michael whom Obama choosed for the senatorian sit is the right person then let him be. Personality don't matter in pst what matter's is what you have to display for your people, This is all i have to say for now.
    FRANKIN UZOMAH from Ahiazu Mbaise in Imo state Nigeria.

    January 3, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. tom

    godbless the new america run by thought and care for 2009 and i hope for decades to come lets all pray not another republican wins until they grow up.

    January 3, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Timohty

    @Proud American

    What are you talking about? Real leadership[? Where is it and who is it? You can't mean Obama because he isn't saying anything about the major situation with Israel right now. Oh, and don;t give me that junk about "He hasn't been sworn in yet" because that hasn't kept him from announcing economic policy. Why is he keeping quiet about that? Maybe the polls aren't in yet to tell him which way to lead. My gosh this appears so much like Clinton all over again, but it might as well be since Clinton's cabinet is back in place.

    And for the record, I didn't vote for either Obama or McCain. I voted for REAL change and voted for a 3rd party candidate. I also can't wait for the first idiot that tells me I wasted my vote...go ahead and prove your ignorance.

    See yaaaaaaaaaaa....

    January 3, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. All talk

    Did Obama praise Blagojevich as a great leader before, it is all talk?

    January 3, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. Gabriel from Denver

    I like this decision very much. Many of my colleagues in the non-profit sector have worked closely with Bennet and I've heard only good things. His track record is impeccable; definitely the man for the job.

    January 3, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. bibi

    people in Gaza are being slaughtered by american bombs and all CNN can talk about is how two-faced obama praises Bennett. I am disgusted at Obama . I am a muslim and had very high hopes. He is the same as Bush. Bush is the biggest muderer worst than Hitler.

    January 3, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. clifford

    It's a new dawn in America! The Washington elite are making the Obama's stay in a hotel reminiscent of the Chicago PROJECT'S!! I guess so they'll feel right at home! YA!! L.O.L.L.O.L.

    January 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. FayTx

    To-Proud American January 3rd, 2009 5:24 pm ET
    Is it just me or does this guy remind you of the Idiot Phil Gramm from Texas? Yes !!!!!!

    January 3, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. shelby

    Ye-Ha. He does look like Phil Gramm. Maybe it's just the western garb. Just what we need, another cowboy.

    January 3, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. libs be dopes

    To What.

    I believe they call it "payback in Chicago" (and Dem) politics.

    January 3, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Andres

    This appointment puzzles me...a school superintendent becoming a U.S. senator? Is it just me or is that a little far fetched? I think Joan Fitz-Gerald, the former President of the Colorado State Senate, would have been a much more logical choice, especially after she lost the 2nd Congressional District Democratic Primary to Jared Polis, former chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education. Fitz-Gerald has plenty of political experience, so why not appoint her to the Senate seat? Besides, it is very difficult in the current economic circumstances to find a good school superintendent. The school district I live in just found a superintendent that I don't even like after a year-long search. Oh, and in response to Matthew, there is still Sen. Bob Menendez from NJ in the Senate–and he is currently the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

    January 3, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Keith

    O.K. don't try to fool me. This is really Phil Gramn.

    January 3, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. KJ

    excuse me, but biden's seat isn't being given away to anyone. beau biden will have to run in 2010 and get elected.

    January 3, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Rick

    Old Washington politics happens again. Iowa doesnt need that it needs New People in office, its time to vote out all the old repubs and dems and get some new ideas in politics. Old time politics must go.

    January 3, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
1 2 3 4