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Michael Bennet was on media's senate-pick radar all along

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The December 4 blog "Denver Dailies Didn't See Possible John Salazar Cabinet Post Coming" now seems charmingly dated. The piece was prompted by word that Representative John Salazar, not his higher-profile brother, Senator Ken Salazar, was likely to be named to Barack Obama's cabinet -- a prospect few political prognosticators saw as a possibility. Turns out it wasn't, though: Obama wound up naming Ken as his Interior Secretary, leaving John in the House.

More recently, Colorado governor Bill Ritter designated Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet to take over Ken's senate seat -- another move characterized as out of left field. In truth, the media wasn't as clueless about Bennet's prospects as recent coverage has suggested.

Bennet's name was listed among possible Salazar successor's in a Denver Post article published way back on December 16, around the same time as mentions in a subscription-only update from The Hotline, a feature of the National Journal, and a "War Room" item at Salon.com. And the Rocky Mountain News was hardly out of the loop. A December 23 article features the line, "Don't overlook a dark-horse candidate like Michael Bennet, the Denver school superintendent who came so close to being President-elect Barack Obama's education secretary."

Granted, Bennet was seldom characterized as the most likely person to receive Ritter's nod. But most press types saw him as a runner in the race he eventually won. -- Michael Roberts

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