COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Did you know that President Obama has been incommunicado with Colorado's governor for more than two weeks as the nation's worst wildfires rage across the state? Maybe he thought we were all "doing fine." After an embarrassing Beltway press briefing revelation about our out-of-touch White House, the administration finally decided to divert the campaigner in chief from his nationwide fundraising frenzy for a quick look-see at our devastated city on Friday. It's "leadership from behind" you can count on.
On Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that Obama hadn't talked to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 15 days. Holy smokes. The High Park fire, which has consumed nearly 90,000 acres and claimed nearly 257 homes west of Fort Collins, ignited on June 9 and is still active. During a campaign swing just last week, first lady Michelle Obama made a brief mention of the High Park fire before launching into her standard GOP-bashing stump speeches.
On June 23, the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs erupted. An estimated 19,000 acres and nearly 350 homes burned down to the ground on Tuesday. More than 32,000 have been displaced so far. My family was forced to abandon our home on Saturday, and our neighborhood remains in a mandatory evacuation zone. On June 27, Boulder's Flagstaff fire broke out and has so far blazed through 300 acres.
While he made no public statements prior to the announcement of his visit, an irritated Carney told reporters on Wednesday that Obama was being "updated regularly" on the wildfires in Colorado and across the West. He then rushed out a face-saving press release heralding the president's hasty phone call that afternoon to Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, in which he "expressed his concern about the extent of damage to homes in the Colorado Springs area, and informed both the governor and the mayor that he plans to travel to the area Friday to view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire."
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