ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney rallied one of the largest audiences of his campaign on Saturday night, bringing a group of 17,000 supporters to their feet in an amphitheater outside Denver.
The audience at the Comfort Dental Amphitheater -- where singer Randy Owen had warmed up the crowd -- was nearly as big as the more than 18,000-person crowd that greeted Romney, running mate Rep. Paul Ryan and a host of high-profile campaign surrogates in Ohio on Friday night. It marked the second big Colorado event for the GOP ticket in recent weeks. Last month, Ryan and Ryan headlined a Red Rocks rally attended by 10,000 people.
Romney appeared teary-eyed as he took the stage with his wife, Ann, who was interrupted by the crowd at one point with cheers of, "We want Ann!"
"You got her! You got her!" Mitt Romney replied.
"I know something about Mitt -- he does not fail," Ann Romney said. She said that, as a husband, he had stood by her "in my darkest hour" and that, as a father, he had shown "exemplary courage and devotion."
Her husband, who was wearing a black windbreaker over a dress shirt and tie, took the podium and told the crowd that "at the Obama rallies, they're shouting, 'Four more years,' and we're shouting, 'Three more days.'"
"Change can't be measured in speeches; it is measured in achievements," he said, repeating his closing campaign argument for the fourth time in 12 hours. "And four years ago, candidate Obama promised to do so very much. But he has fallen so very short. He promised he would be a post-partisan president, but he has been most partisan -- dividing, attacking, blaming."
At the end of his remarks, Romney told a familiar tale about a Boy Scout troop leader from Monument, Colo., named William Tolbert. In 1986, Tolbert's troop gave the space shuttle Challenger crew an American flag to take along with them into space. The shuttle exploded less than two minutes from takeoff, but the flag was found intact in the wreckage.
Romney has frequently mentioned the flag in his stump speech, but on Saturday night, he finished his remarks by bringing the troop leader onstage for a surprise appearance.