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Michael Bennet mum on Obama visit to Colorado

By Felicia Sonmez

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) declined to say Thursday morning whether he wants President Obama to return to the Centennial State to campaign for him in his neck-and-neck race against Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R).

"He's been out there, and I'm grateful for his support. We're looking at this day by day by day," Bennet said of the President at a breakfast sponsored by Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank.

Obama headlined three fundraisers for Bennet in February and hosted a tele-town hall for the Senator ahead of his primary against former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) last month, but he has yet to make a general-election visit to Colorado, a swing state that went strongly for him in 2008.

Bennet also said Thursday morning that he did not misspeak when he told an audience last month that the country has "nothing to show" for the $13 trillion in debt that it has amassed.

"I wouldn't say I misspoke," Bennet said. "The point that I was trying to make is that we may, in the end, with the last $760 billion of that $13 trillion, manage to stave off the Great Depression, and that's of value. There's no question about that. But from the point of view of America's competitiveness -- from the point of view of building an architecture for the 21st Century -- we haven't come close to doing that."

Bennet pushed back against a new TV ad hammering him for the remarks. The $550,000 ad buy is being run by the conservative outside group American Crossroads, which was founded by Bush White House senior adviser Karl Rove and former National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.

"It's amazing. If you look at the advertising that's been run against me, one by Karl Rove's 527, he treats that statement as an indictment, somehow, of what I'm trying to say, rather than an indictment of what those guys did, which is the point that I was trying to make," Bennet said.

Bennet's comments were the latest indication that he is trying to downplay his ties to Washington in his race against Buck. Bennet was appointed to the seat last year when Ken Salazar was named Secretary of the Interior. He has spent almost every day since then distancing himself from Washington -- a smart strategy given the discontent in the public for the nation's capitol and the politicians who worked there.

By Felicia Sonmez  | September 16, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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