Swing State Colorado
by William Woody
Aug 16, 2012 | 3314 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
'COLORADO, I NEED YOU!' - President Barack Obama derided his opponent's economic strategy as "trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust" at an Aug. 8 rally in Grand Junction (Photo by William Woody)
'COLORADO, I NEED YOU!' - President Barack Obama derided his opponent's economic strategy as "trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust" at an Aug. 8 rally in Grand Junction (Photo by William Woody)
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'DO THESE POLICIES HELP CREATE JOBS?' - Mitt Romney's question to the crowd, regarding mounting concern at the federal level about fracking, at his July 22 stop in Grand Junction. (Photo by William Woody)
'DO THESE POLICIES HELP CREATE JOBS?' - Mitt Romney's question to the crowd, regarding mounting concern at the federal level about fracking, at his July 22 stop in Grand Junction. (Photo by William Woody)
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'FORWARD' - President Barack Obama reached out to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters on his Wednesday, Aug. 8 visit to Grand Junction. (Photo by William Woody)
'FORWARD' - President Barack Obama reached out to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters on his Wednesday, Aug. 8 visit to Grand Junction. (Photo by William Woody)
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'COLORADO BELIEVES' - A strong show of support for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his July 22 visit in Grand Junction. (Photo by William Woody)
'COLORADO BELIEVES' - A strong show of support for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his July 22 visit in Grand Junction. (Photo by William Woody)
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A (BLUE) RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT - Colorado, historically a Republican stronghold, is now one of eight battleground states where both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are stumping to garner the state's nine electoral votes. Obama carried Colorado in 2008 with just over 53 percent of the vote, nearly three points higher than that of President George W. Bush in 2004. Shown here is the dived of Colorado Counties that voted Democratic (blue) and Republican (red) in 2008. (Image by William Woody)
A (BLUE) RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT - Colorado, historically a Republican stronghold, is now one of eight battleground states where both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are stumping to garner the state's nine electoral votes. Obama carried Colorado in 2008 with just over 53 percent of the vote, nearly three points higher than that of President George W. Bush in 2004. Shown here is the dived of Colorado Counties that voted Democratic (blue) and Republican (red) in 2008. (Image by William Woody)
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WESTERN SLOPE — Like it or not, Colorado is a swing state, and in 12 weeks voters here will help decide the winner of the most polarizing American presidential election in a generation.

Colorado, historically a Republican hotbed, is now one of eight battlegrounds where both President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor and presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney frequently stump, seeking the state's nine electoral votes.

On the Western Slope, both GOP and Democratic supporters are becoming more energized as their parties' top candidates step up their appearances in an "every vote counts," campaign in the state's more rural areas.

Last week President Obama arrived to a sweltering gymnasium in Grand Junction to rally nearly 2,800 supporters.

"Colorado," he shouted, "I need you."

The President described Romney's economic strategy as nothing more than "trickle-down tax-cut fairy dust," and warned that taxes would rise on the nation's middle class, while federal spending for education, job training programs, science and research would easily be slashed under Romney.

Obama also addressed women's health care rights, including Planned Parenthood, and promised no tax hikes for households earning less than $250,000 a year.

For Montrose resident Ryan Hyle, Obama's Aug. 8 stop solidified his support for the President.

"One of the things that struck me the most is he was so passionate about the issues. You could tell he was passionate about it because he was speaking from experience. He wasn't giving lip service," Hyle said.

Hyle said Obama's plans to step up funding for education, infrastructure and healthcare is the best investment that could be made for future generations.

"It's important, especially in Republican- controlled areas, that he came out here, he cared about the people in a Republican stronghold, he cared about what we felt and he supports us," Hyle said.

The President carried Colorado in 2008 with just over 53 percent of the vote, nearly three points higher than George W. Bush in 2004. His success is credited to Denver’s hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and to changing voter demographics in the state's most heavily populated areas on the Front Range.

But with slow-growing job numbers and a stagnant economy, those votes from four years ago are now up for grabs.

Romney hasn't yet received the formal nomination, but that has done little to keep the GOP frontrunner from making two appearances on the Western Slope this year, and naming his vice-presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) this past weekend.

On July 20, Romney slammed Obama's fiscal policies, referring to him as "outsourcer in chief" for pumping millions into solar and wind companies that produce products overseas, while doing little to develop domestic sources of energy.

Addressing a crowd in Grand Junction, an energy rich area of the Western U.S., Romney too connected on a fundamental level with his supporters.

"The federal government is trying to insert itself into fracking. Do these policies help create jobs?" Romney asked.

"No," the crowd responded in a defying cheer.

Montrose resident and member of the Montrose Women's Republican Club Randi Cooley attended Romney's town-hall style meeting that day.

"I thought it was a great trip for him to make,” she said. “I think this side of the mountain is generally Republican. There are many of use who were enthusiastic about him – and more now with [Paul] Ryan."

During Romney’s speech, Cooley said, he connected with supporters in a genuine and sincere way. His "off-the-cuff," speaking style works well in growing support, she added.

"I think he is a man of integrity, honor, [a] good family man, good clean living American, good Christian man, and I just think he has all the attributes in a candidate. And he is a very handsome man, very sincere man, [who] does not give off an 'I'm better than you' attitude," Cooley said.

Cooley, who got to shake Romney's hand, said Romney and Ryan would have outperform Obama in tackling the nation's debt crises.

"I think it is most serious thing ever we have faced in this country," Cooley said.

On his July 20 visit to Grand Junction, Romney took questions from the audience about everything from military cuts to unions and job growth to the role played in the campaign by the mainstream media.

"Our President is comfortable with cutting our military,” said Romney, who, on the other hand, said he “would buy more aircraft, and I would add 100,000 active-duty soldiers."

Right now, presidential campaign dollars spent in Colorado are nearing $40 million, in an election season projected to spend $5.6-5.8 billion by Nov. 6.

This week, after Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, both campaigns have amplified attack ads in television markets in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Colorado.

Both parties are nearing convention time, with the Republicans hosting theirs in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 27-30 and the Democrats hosting theirs in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 3-6.



Information from The Center for Responsible Politics and the Federal Election Commission was cited in this report.

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