Former Gov. Owens: Obama Colo. visit a distraction

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DENVER | Former Republican Gov. Bill Owens says President Barack Obama’s visit to fire-ravaged Colorado is a distraction.

Owens said Thursday that Obama’s planned Colorado Springs visit Friday diverts “time, equipment, energy and resources” from fighting wildfires.

The White House says Obama and his team are sensitive to ensuring visits to emergency response areas don’t impede the response. Obama plans to thank first responders and ask if they need additional resources.

Owens was governor in 2002 during another historic wildfire season. He says he declined an offer then for a visit then from President George W. Bush.

Current Gov. John Hickenlooper says Obama made clear he didn’t want his visit to be a distraction.

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach says he appreciates Obama’s visit — and plans to ask for cash.