ProgressNow hires Wadhams, Bennet to run for governor — must be April 1

It’s always a good idea to take the news on April 1 with a shaker of salt and a glance at the calendar.

On the morning of April Fool’s Day, 2009, for instance, readers learned that Google is unveiling a new 3-D browser — complete with red-blue glasses you can print at home. The venerable Guardian announced it would become the first newspaper in the world to publish entirely via Twitter, under the headline, “Experts say any story can be told in 140 characters.” And Obama Attorney General Eric Holder is dropping the prosecution of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens for failing to disclose $250,000 in gifts from an oil tycoon to renovate his chalet, after obtaining a conviction. (It turns out all the salt in the world doesn’t help with that last one — Holder’s not fooling.)

Not to be outdone, Colorado Pols breaks the news that appointed U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet plans to challenge fellow Democrat Bill Ritter for governor in 2010. “Anybody who would appoint an unknown Denver Schools Superintendent to be a U.S. Senator is clearly not fit to serve as Governor of this great state,” the political blog quotes Bennet as saying.

And if you swallow that, take a gander at ProgressNow Colorado’s press release welcoming famous multitasker Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams to the fold. “Wadhams vows to ‘help ProgressNow hold conservative hacks like myself accountable,’ ” crows the April 1 announcement from the liberal advocacy group.

Here’s the skinny behind Bennet’s surprising and outrageous move:

Senator Michael Bennet stunned politicos across Colorado today by saying that he would run for Governor in 2010 and not seek election to the U.S. Senate. Bennet was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter in January to fill the seat vacated by Ken Salazar, who left to become Secretary of the Interior.

In announcing his decision to run for Governor, Bennet cited his own controversial appointment.

“Anybody who would appoint an unknown Denver Schools Superintendent to be a U.S. Senator is clearly not fit to serve as Governor of this great state,” said Bennet. “I have enjoyed my time in the Senate, but with apologies to Groucho Marx, I cannot be a part of any legislative body that would have me as a member.”

Bennet got a head start on what should be a bruising primary by promising Democrats to do “what Ritter should have done in the first place.”

“If elected Governor, I will immediately appoint Andrew Romanoff to his rightful place in the U.S. Senate,” declared Bennet.

That promise appeared to pay immediate dividends for Bennet when Romanoff announced that he would no longer be considering a potential run for Governor. “I can think of no better person to serve as Colorado’s next Governor than Michael Bennet,” said Romanoff in a prepared statement. “Michael and I have similar views on a multitude of issues, including that neither of us believe he should have been appointed to the U.S. Senate.”

More information on Bennet’s campaign for Governor is available at www.AprilFools.com. …

And here’s ProgressNow Colorado’s stunning announcement:

ProgressNow Colorado Welcomes Dick Wadhams
Taking on yet another important position, Wadhams vows to “help ProgressNow hold conservative hacks like myself accountable”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, April 1st, 2009

Contact: Michael Huttner, Executive Director

DENVER: ProgressNow, Colorado’s largest progressive organization, today welcomed Colorado GOP chairman and former Schaffer for Senate campaign manager Dick Wadhams to his new position as Executive Image Consultant and Deputy Barista.

“Dick Wadhams has proven that he has the motivation to take on full-time job after full-time job,” said Michael Huttner, Founder of ProgressNow. “We need a hard nosed, foul-mouthed Republican who needs money and knows how to lose to help us develop our own messaging strategy. Wadhams’ resume was by far the best one we saw on Craigslist last week.”

Wadhams acknowledged that the many full-time positions he holds might make the coming months a formidable challenge, but expressed confidence that he can handle all of his jobs. “I’ve always worn many hats, usually black, but I work very hard and have managed not to lose a single election since 2008.” Wadhams said he particularly looked forward to making sure the coffee in the ProgressNow offices stays hot and fresh, and to adding “barnyard witticism” to ProgressNow’s press communications.

“Besides, I’ve got bills to pay,” Wadhams concluded, “and a guy like me needs to build bridges on both sides of the aisle. Who knows what will happen in 2010? I surer than hell don’t.”

Dick Wadhams became the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party in 2007 after presiding over the unexpected defeat of Sen. George Allen, whose reelection campaign collapsed in scandal over Allen’s use of racist epithets that Wadhams notably refused to acknowledge or apologize for, except in swear-word laden denials to reporters. Wadhams told reporters afterwards that he “really didn’t learn anything from it.” (Politics West, 3/29/08)

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Ernest Luning

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