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Jane Norton has trouble with the S-word -- as in Ken Salazar

Senate candidate and former lieutenant governor Jane Norton is the latest GOP leader to blast Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's proposed energy reforms. The vitriol is pretty shrill -- she refers to "new, draconian reforms," as if the government was about to start beheading oil executives. Yet it's also oddly circumspect on one key point.

Much of Norton's press release is directed at challenging her rival, Senator Michael Bennett, to "stand up" to the Obama administration's "job-killing energy rules" and "obstructionist philosophy on oil and gas leasing." But nowhere in the tirade does she mention the name of the man responsible for the new policies.

The word "Salazar" is apparently not in Norton's vocabulary. The closest he comes to an appearance in her take on the situation is a reference to unnamed "Washington powerbrokers" who are apparently intent on denying jobs to hardworking Coloradans.

Sure, you could argue that Norton is too focused on taunting Bennett to bother with his predecessor. But it seems peculiar to lash out at the policy and not its chief proponent.

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Could this be a form of backhanded respect for the fellow who (to many Republicans' relief) decided yesterday not to run for governor? Attacking a political newcomer who was appointed to his Senate seat is one thing; taking on Ken Salazar is evidently something else.

Here's that press release:

NORTON CHALLENGES BENNET TO STAND UP AGAINST JOB-KILLING ENERGY RULES

(CENTENNIAL) -- A day after the Obama Administration unveiled new, draconian reforms to Federal onshore oil and gas leasing, Senate candidate Jane Norton questioned whether adding layers of red tape to responsible energy development was a prudent step in America's economic recovery.

"Natural gas development in Colorado provides tens-of-thousands of jobs while boosting our economy to the tune of billions of dollars," commented Norton. "We should expect our elected officials to know the vital role of responsible energy development in this state, and I would hope Senator Michael Bennet would voice concern when the Federal government adds unnecessary hurdles that will cost jobs and seriously harm hardworking Coloradans."

The new policies, which would further delay the development of Colorado's abundant reserves of clean-burning natural gas, would completely overhaul the current market-based system in which government land managers determine which areas are appropriate to lease. The Obama Administration's proposed changes would take development projects out of the hands of engineers and geologists and elevate the whims of bureaucrats over technical and economic merit.

"Less than a month ago, Senator Bennet sent a letter praising the Obama Administration's obstructionist philosophy on oil and gas leasing," continued Norton. "His sanction of the Obama Administration's job-killing policies is an affront to the thousands of men and women who support their families by discovering, producing, and delivering natural gas to our homes. Colorado deserves a Senator who's not afraid to stand up against President Obama and other Washington powerbrokers to defend the livelihoods of energy workers in this state."

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