Andrew Romanoff aide fires back at Michael Bennet on eve of Super Saturday

Our interview earlier this morning with Michael Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid in advance of 21 county assemblies slated for tomorrow drew a rapid response from Dean Toda, his counterpart for Andrew Romanoff, who's also seeking the Democratic senatorial nomination.

Unlike Kincaid, who thinks tomorrow's gatherings are equal in importance to other parts of the overall caucus system, Toda sees the get-togethers as key for Bennet.

"If Colorado Democrats just don't like Michael Bennet, he's not going to get elected," he says. "On the other hand, I think there have been 33 assemblies held so far, and they've clearly demonstrated Colorado Democrats' preference for Andrew. And I expect that trend to continue on Super Saturday."

Another assertion Toda disputes involves Kincaid's comments about the number of small donors supporting Bennet. He believes many of these folks ponied up during what he calls "a bait-and-switch operation on the public option."

Today explains his theory:

"Earlier this year, after the Senate passed its version of health-care-reform legislation, which didn't include the public option, Bennet launched a petition campaign. He circulated this letter among his fellow senators calling for a reintroduction of the public option when the bill came back to the Senate during the reconciliation process. Bennet got something like 48 senators to sign that letter. [This page lists 24 signees, plus 23 others who released statements or spoke positively about the concept on video.] The understanding was that during reconciliation, an amendment would be offered for an up-and-down, majority-rule vote.

"It took only one senator to introduce the amendment," he continues, "and Bernie Sanders of Vermont was going to offer it. But I think somebody, probably in the White House, got to Sanders, and he announced that he wasn't going to be the person to offer the amendment.

"So you would think it would behoove the senator who's been circulating the petition to stand up and do something to support it, and that person was Michael Bennet. But he didn't do it, even though he'd been hailed as a 'health-care hero' on a lot of the liberal blogs -- and I'm sure he received a substantial number of those small donations during that period of time, from people around the country who bought that line and were hoodwinked, really, when Bennet decided not to stand up."

Be that as it may, Bennet made more gains than Romanoff did in a just-released Rasmussen Reports survey. Toda's take:

"The Romanoff campaign was happy when we were doing well in the Rasmussen poll, and we said so, so I'm not going to discount it," he allows. "But it is only one poll, and the real test comes tomorrow, when Democratic voters are being asked who they support at the county assemblies."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts