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

Obama praises new Colorado senator, Michael Bennet

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/03/art.salazar.gi.jpg caption="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. S Callahan

    Congratulations Senator!

    January 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Troy C

    Hey Proud American. What's so hard to believe about McCain losing? He chose dimwit Palin as VP. I'm a Republican and chose Obama for his intelligence (multiple degrees), strength, energy and great ideas. What did McCain-Palin offer?

    January 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. Tyler Collins

    Race doesn't matter... it's the person. The person who has the balls to get in there and run will win. So what that there is more of one color in the senate. I worked for Barack for 2 years... if I wanted to campaign for a so called "shoe in" I wouldv'e gone Edwards... but my heart told me otherwise.

    January 3, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. oooh

    oooh and he gets to wear a cowboy hat too. I am not impressed.

    January 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. Griff

    When will CNN stop this Crap against Israel.... Toto's, Arabs or not. Stop allowing Muslims to Program these kids... I forget what I have to say; I get so upset with you CNN... You can switch Anchors... But the message; is still stuck in Space, the Internet has no access to..

    January 3, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. AZ

    This has to be Phil Gramm's long lost brother. Cause this guy is a split image of Gramm. Kind of scary.

    January 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Who was Mike Connell?


    January 3, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    I support Obama completely... If he says Bennett is a Good Man.... well, I will believe he is until he might prove to be otherwise. 🙂

    January 3, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Ry

    Ok, the cowboy hat doesn't exactly inspire me to respect the man.

    January 3, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Keith Bonney

    Michael Bennet is a man who's serious about education, he has done a good job stopping the bleeding here in Colorado, {lower test scores low graduation rate} convinced merit pay critics to get on bored and best of all he's a Washington outsider thus why most people were perplexed by his pick that old argument about experience.

    Well every day I run into Washington outsiders you know average people saying they can run the government better than well, Washington can so when the democrats start picking Washington outsiders I say good on them lets see if these people can succeed where Washington insiders have failed.

    January 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. FayTx

    TO Matthew –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******* only one African American and Reid and Peosi are trying to Block .... that. Bennett guy looks so much like Phil Gramm now that is scary...... I love America

    January 3, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. Griff

    Family will never make up for a Liar,,, Lie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Obama. Kenya!!! No test just another Idiot determined Obama will be...
    Lady????? Who are you??? Do you have little one's. Why waste them on this Idiot.... America is a rainbow....

    January 3, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. John Franks

    Don't know the man, but according to what Obama said, he sounds like some kind of trouble-maker, making confusions and disorderly processes. This is progress?

    January 3, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. Victor

    The only sad thing here is all the whining by other people posting. Give the guy a chance.

    January 3, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Jenn

    Interesting! How will this change the balance of power in the Senate???

    January 3, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. Anna Merkens

    Look at the picture shown on Bennet. He is inside a building, in front of the American flag with his hat on. This is not the American way, and I don't believe it is the way most Coloradans behave either.

    January 3, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  17. Susan

    I totally agree with "What". I do not understand why Caroline is vying for the job. Just because she is a Kennedy !!

    Then Hillary was right. She had the right to nomination.

    By the way, I totally fail to understand why there is a provision of nomination when we can have the election. Elect the senators not nominate them.

    January 3, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. Anna Merkens

    Look at the picture shown on Bennet. He is inside a building, in front of the American flag with his hat on. This is not the American way, and I don't believe it is the way most Coloradans behave either. What kind of representation will he give to the nation when he doesn't even respect common courtesies and behavior in front of our nation's flag?

    January 3, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  19. Rob

    Matthew, the days of counting and keeping track are over. A latino doesn't *need* to be dropped into the slot just because another has left it vacant. Contrary to your statement, I've not heard this argument for Obama's slot. In fact, the Obama camp even recommended a white woman – not an African American – to fill Obama's slot (that is of course until the Obama camp actually nominated that white woman to a post on Obama's team). With our country in the state that it's in, there's no time for quotas. Let's get the best people in position and in our service regardless of their race, gender, etc. We simply can't afford otherwise.

    January 3, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. Griff

    i WON AGAIN CNN.... America is too Multi Racial.... You will never elect a leader.... Your to Brain Dead.... I nearly died in Kenya....

    January 3, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. roger

    Funny in all salazar's press releases /official websites it is never mentioned that he is a Dem. It seems the party is only mentioned on CNN when it's a REP.

    January 3, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. J

    That picture is Salazar, not Bennet. As a former resident of
    Colorado when Salazar was elected promising to work with everyone and represent all of Colorado, I say good riddance.

    January 3, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. Pete

    Um...hey...GOPers commenting here with your reflexive comments about Mr. Bennett. You do realize that the picture you're making the jokes about is actually Sen. Ken Salazar.

    January 3, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Joe Green

    OK, I'll bite.


    He looks like a little boy.

    January 3, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  25. earle,florida

    Just who does this Obama think he is? His tenure as a US Senator was voting "present "40% of the time during his first two of six years. The next two years of his remaining four,were used to run for president (which any democratic nominee could have won) ,and now with his last two years, this do-nothing (yes we can, with alittle "Hope" sprinkled on for good measure) US Senator he's arguing at who get's his past position! Think about it folks, this guy is wet behind the ears, and from the most corrupt state in the United States is praising his(condescending others) contempories? Shameful,he's broken just about every promise to date ,and completly surrounded himself with the same administration he once subtly vilified! Come on people this guy is all fluff,with an ego so large you'll have to widen, and lenghten the doors for his head to get thru! Show me the money PE Obama ,from the meaningless books you wrote,without any substance ,that you yourself new were bogus! I don't like the arrogance that's starting to show,...just my humble opinion?

    January 3, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
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