Democratic luminaries fire up base during visit

More than 75 raucous Mesa County Democrats greeted both of Colorado’s U.S. senators, a former senator and the state’s lieutenant governor Thursday night in Grand Junction.

Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Ken Salazar, now the secretary of the interior, and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia barnstormed across the state along Interstate 70 and were joined at day’s end by state Sen, Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, urging campaign volunteers to knock on doors and register voters for the general election.

“Who’s walked in the shoes of the people of Mesa County?” Salazar asked the crowd, citing President Barack Obama as the candidate who has more in common with western Colorado residents, having recently paid off his student loans and having watched his mother battle with an insurance company while dying from cancer.

His voice showing signs of hoarseness, Salazar also asked, “Who is it who is on your side?” before ticking off a host of issues including higher education, an all-of-the-above energy policy thoughtfully developed and health care, with Democrats shouting “Obama!” at each issue.

Udall dismissed critics of Obama’s performance Wednesday in his debate with Mitt Romney, saying in an interview that “pundits won’t decide this election.”

Obama was “inclusive, substantive, presidential and he was truthful,” Udall said to cheers from the crowd.

The main issues that set Obama apart are his support for the wind production tax credit, the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend college at in-state rates, and women’s health care, Udall said.

Bennet, who won his Senate seat in 2010 with a narrow margin, reminded voters that his victory amounted to one vote per precinct across the state.

“You can sleep on the 7th of November,” Bennet told the volunteers.

Schwartz warned against the budget plans of Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, saying that a 20 percent in federal spending across the board would hit hard.

“Rural Colorado would be at the bottom of the food chain,” Schwartz said.

Romney and Ryan, Garcia said, “want to go back across that bridge to the 21st Century that Bill Clinton built and then they want to blow it up so nobody can get back across.”

Actor Kal Penn is to appear today at 4 at Obama headquarters, 2425 U.S. Highway 6 and 50, to meet with volunteers.


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Bummer, I’m still avoiding crowds…

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