Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Barack Obama gives Michael Bennet a hand -- but the panhandler gets the last word

President Barack Obama came to Denver yesterday to raise funds for incumbent (by a year) Senator Michael Bennet -- but he probably lost him votes with a massive, rush-hour traffic jam that was messier than a Florida hanging-chads recount.

Obama landed at Buckley shortly before 3 p.m. and went straight to the Fillmore for a "Grassroots Rally." That snarled traffic along Colfax and in Capitol Hill and Uptown -- but the worst was yet to come, as he headed downtown for a bigger-ticket fundraiser at the Sheraton.

The hotel was only a dozen blocks away, but the tangles that resulted from barricades and blocked streets extended for miles. I was caught in a standstill at Speer and 13th Avenue for a good ten minutes, during which I heard the following exchange between a driver and a panhandler.

"What's happening here?

"The President's come to town."

"This is worse than watching Congress try to pass a health-care bill." The funny thing? That line came from the panhandler.

I gave him a buck.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun