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A jazzed Barack Obama addressed 16,000 people at City Park in Denver Wednesday afternoon, the second of eight stops on his 48-hour “America Forward” tour.
The president owed a zealous demeanor to caffeine following the onset of the tour that he called a “marathon extravaganza fly-around.”
“We are pulling an all-nighter, no sleep,” Obama said. “Quite a bit of coffee.”
On the non-stop campaign tour, Obama will make one stop in his home state, Illinois, to cast his 2012 ballot. Though he playfully eluded revealing who he will vote for, the president says that the first lady, Michelle Obama, wasn’t so secretive.
“Michelle says she voted for me,” Obama told the crowd. “That’s what she said.”
A major aspect of Wednesday’s event, and the 48-hour tour, was to encourage early voting, which began in Colorado on Monday.
“We can vote early in Illinois just like you can vote early in Colorado,” Obama said. “And I’ve come to ask you for your vote, I’ve come to ask you to help me keep moving America forward.”
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan also suggested early voting to the 10,000 Coloradans that filled Red Rocks Amphitheater Tuesday night to see the Republican ticket duo.
“There’s early voting now,” Romney said. “Make sure that you get voted early, we want to get that done, we want to bank all those votes so that, on Election Day, you can go out and get people to the polls that wouldn’t otherwise get there.”
Obama stressed that, in such a tight race as in Colorado, early voting is vital. In 2008, 85 percent of votes in Denver County were cast early.
Multiple times, the president requested the state’s early votes go toward his second term.
“I believe in you, Colorado, and I’m asking you to keep believing in me,” Obama said.
Colorado is one of few states where the presidential election is a virtual toss-up. Since it is one of the most important states to the future presidency, Obama alluded to another campaign visit before the election.
“This may not be the last time you’ll see me.”
Wednesday was the third time that, Megan Lombardo, a 25-year-old CU-Denver medical student, had attended an Obama rally.
“I’m coming back because it’s just an exciting place to be,” Lombardo said. “I voted for Obama four years ago and I’m going to vote for him again.”
Lombardo has backed Obama since his plans for higher education have helped her pursue her dream of becoming a nurse and Obamacare allowed her to retain health insurance under her parents’ plan.
“Things have directly impacted me in this election,” Lombardo said. “I got back on my parents’ health care plan, Pell Grants helping me pay for school, really those reasons are why.”
The Obama rally featured Rep. Diana DeGette (D-1), Mayor Michael Hancock (D-Denver) and Gov. John Hickenlooper. Just a few days after stumping for Obama in the “Women Decide 2012” RV tour across Colorado, DeGette voiced once again the importance of reelecting Obama to women of America.
“Women still make 77 cents on every dollar that men make,” DeGette said. “We may like watching Mad Men on TV, but we certainly do not want to live in it.”
All three Colorado politicians stressed that the presidential election may very well end in Colorado, where every single vote will count.
“It may come down to the number of people here today,” Hancock said. “Let’s make sure not one vote goes uncast and not one vote goes uncounted.”
Hickenlooper addressed the case of Jessica Ridgeway, the 10-year-old Westminster girl who was found murdered last week.
“First, before I say a couple of words, I want to make sure we all recognize and thank our law enforcement professionals,” Hickenlooper said. “Today we captured the suspect in the Jessica Ridgeway murder.”
The crowd cheered loudly at this announcement, nearly echoing the welcome given to the president. Hickenlooper encouraged the crowd to cast their vote as election day swiftly approaches.
“If you haven’t voted yet there is no excuse, you’ve gotta vote,” Hickenlooper said. “Get out there and vote today, let’s get those numbers out.”
Contact CU Independent Opinion Editor Alison Noon at Alison.email@example.com.