DENVER (AP) — U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado jumped into the packed Democratic presidential primary on Thursday, announcing a 2020 campaign that had been stalled while he was treated for prostate cancer.
Bennet, a former head of Denver Public Schools who has carved out a reputation as a policy-oriented moderate, made his announcement on CBS’ “CBS This Morning,” saying the country faces two “enormous challenges,” among others: “One is the lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government.”
“I think we need to do both of those things,” he said.
The son of a former ambassador to India and a Yale law school graduate who worked in the Clinton administration, Bennet worked for Republican billionaire Phil Anschutz when he moved to Colorado in the late 1990s. But when he re-entered public life, he did so as a Democrat, serving as chief of staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper went on to become Colorado governor and now is also competing for the Democratic presidential nomination .
The presence of two moderate Coloradans who started their political careers in Denver City Hall reflects how crowded the Democratic presidential field has become. Bennet’s understated style and distaste for the sound bites required in a political campaign have usually led to speculation that he’d seek a Cabinet position rather than try to become the next president. But he began moving to assemble a presidential bid late last year and planned an announcement in April. He had to pause after being diagnosed with prostate cancer this spring.
Bennet, 54, told Colorado journalist Mike Littwin that he’d resume the campaign if he was treated successfully but that he wanted to make a point by disclosing his medical condition.
“I don’t want to be hysterical, but if it was left in me undetected, it could kill me,” Bennet said. “It won’t because I have insurance and decent medical care. The idea that the richest country in the world hasn’t figured out how to have universal health care is beyond embarrassing. It’s devastating.”
Bennet has been a vocal opponent in the Democratic Party of the push for single-payer health care championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another 2020 presidential candidate . Instead, Bennet proposes letting consumers buy into Medicare through insurance exchanges, arguing that that will be a more efficient and realistic path to universal coverage. Likewise, Bennet has pushed back against arguments by some other presidential hopefuls that Democrats should respond to Republican tactics by expanding the size of the Supreme Court, saying the party needs to avoid the same scorched-earth tactics that, he says, its main rival employs.
Indeed, in a 4-minute launch video released Thursday morning, Bennet positioned himself as a truth teller willing to level with voters.
“I’m not going to pretend free college is the answer,” he said. “I’m not gonna say there’s a simple solution to a problem if I don’t believe there is one.”
Despite his professorial reputation, Bennet has shown an ability to be a tough campaigner. Appointed in 2009, Bennet won his first election in 2010 by pounding his Republican rival for opposing abortion rights and comparing homosexuality to alcoholism, eking out a narrow win in an otherwise disastrous year for Bennet’s party. Four years later, Bennet chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a position that put him in contact with a network of national donors who also can help fund a presidential campaign.
Bennet gained internet fame this year when he blasted Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for backing a bill to pay Coast Guard members during the partial government shutdown but not reopen the government. Bennet said Cruz once led a 16-day government shutdown in a failed bid to derail funding for the Affordable Care Act at a time when Colorado was experiencing catastrophic flooding, delaying relief efforts.
“When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded,” Bennet shouted. “People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were destroyed, forever.”
Bennet accused Cruz of crying “crocodile tears” this time around.
Cruz responded on the Senate floor by saying Bennet “spent a great deal of time yelling” and “attacking me personally.”
“I think we should discuss issues and substance and facts and not simply scream and yell at each other,” Cruz said.
One Moore Time: Roy Moore Does It Again
During a rambling, aggrieved speech in which he name-checked Robert Mueller, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and George Soros, Moore—who infamously lost the 2017 special election to Jones—painted himself as the victim of a global smear campaign who would nevertheless buck the overwhelming opposition to his candidacy and win in 2020.
Roy Moore announces he will run again for US Senate seat in Alabama: “Can I win? Yes, I can win. Not only can I, they know I can. That’s why there's such opposition” https://t.co/GmKtDI1I7a pic.twitter.com/4CjcRkCMS6— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 20, 2019
Claiming that he’d like to focus on “more personal contact” with voters this time around (yikes), Moore reiterated his claims of innocence in the face of multiple allegations that he’d preyed on young women during the 1970s.
Moore saved much of his venom for the establishment Republican Party, which he blamed for pushing President Trump to oppose his second Senate run. In late May, Trump publicly urged Moore not to run; he staunchly supported Moore’s candidacy in 2017, even after multiple women accused Moore of sexual assault and harassment.
Now that Moore has officially declared his intent to run again, all eyes will turn to former Attorney General and—more pertinently—former Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, who has been reportedly thinking about recapturing his old seat.
“Sessions, I don’t think, has ruled [running for his old seat] out,” Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby told the Washington Post, when asked about the possibility that Sessions may join the Republican primary. “I’ve talked to him about it. I think if he ran, he would be a formidable candidate, formidable.”
In addition to the allegations of sexual assault, Moore’s 2017 campaign was punctuated by rampant homophobia, bizarre philo-semitism, and at least one instance of a burnished firearm. He has since gone on to sue comedian Sacha Baron Cohen after Cohen mocked him during a taping of his Who is America? for Showtime.
Reporting By Splinter News
A “Schock For Congress?”: Aaron Schock Possibly Making New Run For Congress
Scandal-ridden former Republican representative, Aaron Schock, may be planning to run for Congress again.
A Statement of Organization was filed last week with the Federal Election Commission for the “Schock for Congress” campaign, LGBTQNation reported.
Schock, 37, is listed as the campaign treasurer upon the documents, even though the campaign reportedly has no funds.
The politician served as a US Representative from Illinois from 2009 to 2015. However he resigned after being accused of misusing campaign and public funds.
He was also the subject of a congressional ethics investigation and was indicted by a federal grand jury.
Federal prosecutors dropped charges earlier this year in exchange for paying $110,000 in restitution and taxes.
At the time, the Republican told CBS News that he hadn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to politics at some point in the future.
‘At 37-years-old, I don’t think I’ll ever say never,” said Schock. He added that he had “enjoyed being out of politics the last four years.’
Schock has proved a controversial figure among the LGBTI community. While in office, he campaigned against a number of issues including gays in the military, marriage equality, and LGBTI hate crimes.
However, although not openly gay, photographs have been widely circulated apparently showing Schock making out with a man in public while putting his hand down the man’s shorts.
(Reporting by Gay Star News)
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