Obama visits college campus for second time in a week

Offers fiery attack on his Republican opponents
The Colorado Statesman

President Barack Obama stopped in Colorado on Sept. 2 for the second time in a week, offering those gathered on a sunny afternoon at the University of Colorado at Boulder a more combative and fiery campaign speech.

The president took aim at the three-day Republican National Convention, which ended just days before on Aug. 30.

“Despite all the challenges that we face in this new century, what they offered over those three days was an agenda that was better suited for the last century,” Obama said to a crowd of about 13,000 enthusiastic, young student supporters congregating on Norlin Quad, who earlier during Obama’s remarks “booed” the Republican Party.

“It was a rerun,” the president continued of the Republicans’ political convention, during which former Gov. Mitt Romney received the party’s nomination for president. “It could have been on ‘Nick at Nite.’ We’ve seen it before. You might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV, with some rabbit ears.”

Obama’s campaign stop in Boulder followed a similar stump in Fort Collins at Colorado State University on Aug. 28. His remarks in Boulder included much of the same theme from the Fort Collins stop, such as defending his federal health care law that he has embraced as “Obamacare,” as well as supporting tax cuts for the middle class, expanding renewable energy resources, bringing soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and making college loans more affordable.

But much of Obama’s speech in Boulder included taking jabs at Re-publicans in an attempt to highlight ideological differences between his platform and that of his opponents.

“On issue after issue, Gov. Romney and Congressman [Paul] Ryan want to go backwards,” the president said. “But the story of America is about going forwards. Nobody understands that better than folks in the West, because this is a region that was settled by people who understand we’re not looking back, we’re going forward.”

Just as he did in Fort Collins, Obama encouraged students to vote, stating, “That’s why you’re so important, because you’re going to have to set an example for the person next to you in class.”

Before arriving at Norlin Quad, Obama stopped at Boulder’s famous brunch spot, The Buff, where he greeted patrons. During his remarks at CU, he spoke of the experience at The Buff joking, “I was over at The Buff before I came here and the food looked really good. People were having mimosas and Bloody Marys. And I was thinking to myself, ‘I could see folks, like, forgetting to vote. They’re having too much fun.’”

Local Democrats come out for Obama

Obama had the support of key Colorado Democrats at his campaign stop in Boulder on Sunday, including introductions from University of Colorado-Boulder Regent Joe Neguse, Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

The Obama campaign is following a similar strategy laid out by Bennet’s campaign in 2010 when he narrowly defeated GOP opponent Ken Buck at a time when a Republican wave was taking over the general election.

Bennet did not address any of those campaign strategy issues during his introduction, but he instead tried to paint a clear distinction between Obama and Romney, stating that a vote for the Republican ticket is a step backwards, while Obama is trying to lead the country forward.

“The choice could not be clearer,” said Bennet. “The consequences could not be bigger in this election.”

Neguse helped to encourage students to register to vote, stating, “We cannot let anyone sit this one out.”

Hickenlooper gave remarks similar to those he gave at Fort Collins on Sunday, aiming to energize the crowd before Obama took to the podium.

“It’s your future — shape it,” said a passionate Hickenlooper. “It’s your democracy — vote.”

GOP fights back

Republicans staged their own rally at CU on Sunday, attempting to defuse the messages of the Obama campaign.

Colorado Young Americans for Romney said the president has shared “failed and empty promises” with young Americans. They were bolstered by remarks from former U.S. senator and ex-CU President Hank Brown.

“Students recognize that they will have to live with the consequences,” Brown said of the upcoming election.

Aslin Scott, the co-chair of Colorado Young Americans for Romney, said students should feel disillusioned by the president’s administration.

“He is not supporting you,” Scott said to students. “He does not believe in the same America as you do.”

The Republican Party offered a similar statement, suggesting that Obama has failed young Americans.

“Four years after President Obama came to Colorado and promised hope and change to youth across America, all he has delivered is out of control spending, high unemployment and disappointment,” said Ellie Wallace, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “Students have more debt, lower job prospects and are being forced to move back in with mom and dad… Coloradans are putting their support behind Gov. Romney who spent a lifetime creating good paying jobs, helping start and build successful businesses and turning around failing ones.”

Peter@coloradostatesman.com