“If we win Colorado,” Obama told a crowd chanting “four more years” in Denver on Wednesday, “we’ll get those four more years.”
Over the past two days, Obama the candidate has emerged with a ferocity that many who watched him on the trail four years ago say recalls those days.
The cool presidential demeanor has been shed along with his suit coat out here on hot afternoons, and in its place has emerged an intensely competitive politician who seems to be beginning to take the possibility of defeat in November a bit personally.
The hallmarks of Candidate Obama are increasingly apparent.
There is his easy conversational engagement with his friendly audiences; the partisanship laced through his stump speeches that skewers, but without the same sting it seems to have when delivered in Washington; and the personal energy that many of his 2008 supporters worried had gotten lost somewhere along Pennsylvania Avenue since the last election.
To win here in a state very much up for grabs, Obama must maximize his appeal to Colorado’s growing Hispanic population, energize its liberals interested in such issues as alternative energy and women’s reproductive rights, and get first-time voters registered and to the polls on Election Day. It is no small task — hence, a pair of days in Colorado’s blistering heat to make his pitch, again and again.
His itinerary here — his ninth visit to the state since taking office — has told that story.
Obama opened with an event Wednesday on a college campus in Denver emphasizing women’s health — to an audience composed mostly of women — and the protections for it contained in his health-care law. On this trip, he has claimed “Obamacare,” a Republican epithet, as unabashedly his own to gleeful receptions from supporters.
Then he flew into red-tinted Grand Junction, where he delivered a tub-thumping message of economic populism to his Democratic audience, who had been warned by Obama volunteers in their introductions not to fear the “ostracism” that comes with working on the president’s behalf in a region that voted against him last time.
“If you believe that we’re on the right track,” Obama told the audience to applause, “if you think, like I do, that we’ve come too far to turn back now, then I’m going to need you, Colorado.”
On Thursday, Obama emphasized in a pair of events alternative energy tax credits, important here in wind-farm rich Colorado, where an estimated 5,000 jobs depend on the growing industry. The state has set a goal requiring that 30 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2020.