Denver Post's bizarre Bill Owens "clarification"

It was a correction of a kind, albeit a notably nutty one that says more about the power of the person making the request than it does about the original item....

On Sunday, the Denver Post published a profile of Kelly Brough, the former chief of staff for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who's just been named the top dog at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce -- and by way of underscoring Brough's contention that she'll be bipartisan in her new position, reporters Andy Vuong and Christopher N. Osher wrote, "She said she also had celebratory drinks at the Denver ChopHouse with former Gov. Bill Owens and businessman David McReynolds, both Republicans." That brought a snippy response from Owens, who was apparently aghast at the thought that he might have actually toasted a Democrat. Hence, an item published today headlined "Owens Clarifies: He Lauded Rox, Not Chamber Chief," which quotes from an Owens e-mail in which he insists the only thing he was celebrating when he hoisted a beverage with Brough was a Colorado Rockies victory he'd just watched in person. The missive also emphasizes his concern about "Kelly's lack of business experience and close ties to Democratic elected officials and consultants."

Silly? In the extreme -- but also unsurprising. Owens doesn't seem interested in becoming a candidate for anything these days, which must be frustrating for Republicans; in spite of the wild rumors about extra-curricular marital activities that swirled around him a couple of years back, he would still be a formidable candidate. But neither does he want to give even the slightest amount of aid or comfort to the enemy -- not even Brough, who's trying to seem like everybody's pal these days. Of course, the Post could have relegated Owens' complaints to the letters-to-the-editor page. But publishing them in a separate article seems like a good call to me. By doing so, the paper brings more attention to an amusing bit of political posturing.

The Post reproduces Owens' entire letter in a blog by Vuong. Read the e-mail after the jump:

I read with interest your piece in yesterday's Post ("Denver Chamber Chief's Political Ties Face Scrutiny") in which you noted that Brough "said she also had celebratory drinks at the Denver Chop House with former Gov. Bill Owens and businessman David McReynolds, both Republicans."

While I respect and like Kelly Brough, I thought I would put the "celebratory drinks" in a bit of context.

On the evening of August 7 (the day apparently Kelly was appointed) David McReynolds and I attended the Rockies/Cubs game at Coors Field. After the game we were at the Chop House with Mike Quade, the Cubs third base coach and a good friend of David's.

While we were having drinks and talking baseball, Kelly and Maria Garcia Berry walked in whereby David (a true gentleman and long time Chamber board member) asked if they would like to have a drink.

We were certainly not celebrating anything that evening other than the Rockies victory that night over the hapless Cubs.

I respect Kelly Brough for the job she has done for my friend John Hickenlooper, and wish her will in her new position.

I am, however, concerned at Kelly's lack of business experience and close ties to Democratic elected officials and consultants - ties which may be challenged if she represents business, as business certainly expects to be represented.

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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