President Obama in Colorado to View Fire Damage Today
Some will claim it is out of the goodness of his heart, others will say he is here to earn votes in a pivotal swing state, and some believe it is part of his duty. No matter how you feel about it, President Barack Obama will be in Colorado Springs for about three hours today to view damage caused by the Waldo Fire and thanks first responders.
Obama will arrive midday in Colorado Springs, where officials say more than 30,000 people have been evacuated in what is now the most destructive wildfire in state history. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the blaze that has encroached on the state’s second-largest city and threatened the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The White House says Obama is making the trip because he wants to get a firsthand look at the wildfire damage in order to see whether additional federal resources are necessary.
He declared “a major disaster” exists in the state early this morning and promised federal aid. That along with the ability to fly Air Force One anywhere in the country on short notice will help him win the hearts of many Colorado voters many believe. That is something hat Republican challenger Mitt Romney simply can’t compete with.
Obama has faced some criticism that his trip to Colorado could divert time and resources away from the efforts to fight the fires.
“While President Obama certainly has the right to come to Colorado whenever he chooses, I believe his visit tomorrow will be a distraction from what has to be our only priority, which is containing and then defeating these fires,” Bill Owens, the former Republican governor of Colorado, said.
But Colorado’s current Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said Colorado officials from both parties support the president’s visit.
“They said, ‘You’re right, this is not a political thing. This is what the president of the United States should be doing in a situation like this,’” Hickenlooper said.