A pair of national news outlets took a hard look at two Coloradans in the presidential hunt -- one declared; the other pondering -- over the weekend.
Atlantic staff writer Edward-Isaac Dovere served up a 2,400-word profile of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet -- one of the most extensive pieces on the Colorado Democrat since he signaled his interest in the 2020 race.
Covering Bennet's recent swing through Iowa, Dovere told the senator that an Iowa Democrat had referred to the usually-even-tempered Bennet as "pea soup. Good pea soup, hearty. But still pea soup, in a 2020 primary field that has sizzling fajitas and cake on the table."
Bennet replied with a smile and said: “There’s something to that."
The Atlantic profile paints Bennet, who has not yet announced his candidacy, as someone appealing to people "tired of the rage Olympics" -- and who is realistic about what Democrats can offer America.
"If you promise people that you are going to give everybody in America Medicare, that you are not going to have to raise taxes, that you’re not going to have to cut health care massively, that 180 million people, 80 percent of whom like their insurance, are going to be willing to give it up, 20 million …” Bennet told The Atlantic, ending the sentence early.
He added: “It is possible to write policy proposals that have no basis in reality, and you might as well call them candy. That’s what people want, as the song said, but I think that’s not where people are. I don’t think people believe that stuff. I think they want to see a serious approach to politics and a serious approach to policy.”
Over at Salon, Matthew Rozsa offered a question-and-answer-format interview (also 2,400 words, coincidentally) with Hickenlooper, who officially announced his presidential bid early Monday.
In the piece, the former Colorado governor and Denver mayor -- usually seen as a moderate in a field of more liberal candidates -- called attention to his "strong progressive values," and told Rozsa he identifies with young congressional firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, saying that he shares "the vast majority" of her perspectives.
"I’ve been talking about having some form of universal coverage for health care for almost 50 years," he said.
Hickenlooper told Salon that the Democratic Party in 2020 "has to provide real solutions to the things that have really torn the country apart. Obviously, Democrats are always going to be a party that’s defending people’s civil rights, standing up for those who’ve been left behind. But I also think that we have to be the party that recognizes when the American dream is being restricted to a decreasingly smaller percentage of the population. There are things the government can do to reverse that and I think the Democrats are the ones who can do it."
The Atlantic piece gets in a reference to the "awkwardness" of the Hickenlooper-Bennet presidential tag team -- given Bennet once been served as Denver Mayor Hickenlooper's chief of staff; given both men were under consideration for the 2009 Senate appointment that Bennet got -- and what the fact that they're both making the rounds of early caucus and primary states says about their relationship.
“I don’t view him as a rival; I view him as a different voice. And I think the more voices we have, the better off for the country,” Hickenlooper tells The Atlantic. “I’m not going to try to point out where I’m better than he is, or he’s not sufficient. Totally different backgrounds.”