He listed a number of the law’s benefits — calling it “Obamacare” each time — and showed the kind of unabashed liberal pride in achieving universal health coverage that his base has longed for.
Obama again framed the election, which his aides acknowledged again only hours earlier will be very close, as a choice between progress he said that he has helped oversee and retrenchment in areas such as education and women’s reproductive rights.
“There’s nothing conservative about a government that allows a woman to make her own health-care decisions . . . he [Romney] says he’s the candidate of freedom. But freedom is about making decisions about your own health care and when you need it.”
“We are not going backwards, Denver, “ he continued, “we are moving forward.”
The event here began a two-day swing through Colorado, including to several regions that voted against Obama in 2008.
But his political weakness among working-class whites, here and in the handful of other swing states that will decide the election, underscores the importance of widening his lead over Romney among such key constituencies as women and Hispanics, whose growth has been rapid here.
To huge applause, Obama listed the impending anniversaries of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joining the Supreme Court, his two nominees so far.
Obama spoke in personal terms about his wife, Michelle, saying that it was important to him that her rights to equal pay and health care are protected. And he said that he wants his daughters, Malia and Sasha, to have the same opportunities as anyone’s sons.
“Thanks to you, we’ve made a difference in people’s lives,” Obama said, referring to people he has met in the past two years who have benefited from his health-care act.
But Obama faces political challenges in Colorado, despite the fact he has a lot going for him here politically.
The state is young (median age 35.5), nearly 20 percent Hispanic and is packed with Democratic newcomers who have transformed a historically Republican stronghold into a bona fide battleground. Those were among the factors that helped him win by a nine-point margin, 54 to 45 percent, in 2008.
But the Colorado where the president will campaign over the next two days poses new challenges. A Quinnipiac University/CBS/New York Times poll of three swing states released Wednesday shows Obama trailing Romney, 50 to 45 percent, among likely voters.
His advantage over the former Massachusetts governor with women (51 to 43 percent) is significantly smaller than in Virginia (54 to 40 percent) or Wisconsin (59 to 36 percent), the other two states covered in the poll. His deficit in Colorado among men (Romney has a 56 to 39 percent edge) is larger.