Entries in Denver (7)


Obama and Romney Clash in First Debate

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(DENVER) -- Mitt Romney came out swinging in the first presidential debate, challenging President Obama over his health care reforms, treatment of the economy, taxes and even funding for Sesame Street's Big Bird.

Romney jabbed the president, calling his approach "trickle-down government" and accusing him of spending his time in office concentrating on passing his health care plan at the expense of creating jobs.

"Under the president's policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They're just being crushed," Romney said.

[READ THE TRANSCRIPT from Wednesday night's presidential debate]

The debate in Denver was the first of three debates the two candidates will have between them over the next four weeks before Election Day. Their initial meeting was wonky in its discussion of policy details and failed to produce any real fireworks, with both candidates returning to well tread talking points.

Meeting each other face-to-face, Romney said he would cut expensive entitlement programs, including the Affordable Health Care Act, which Republicans have nicknamed derisively "Obamacare."

"I apologize, Mr. President. I use that term with all respect, by the way," Romney said.

With a quick smile, Obama said, "I like it." At another point in the debate, Obama again expressed his pleasure over the term, saying, "I have become fond of this term."

Romney also called out PBS, the public television station which receives government funding, for cuts, despite telling moderator Jim Lehrer, who works for PBS, "I like Big Bird. I like you, too."

The Big Bird comment erupted online, with internet users calling for a campaign to "save Big Bird," and even have the popular children's puppet run for president.

The debate was centered on domestic issues, focusing on the economy including healthcare, Medicare, taxes, deficits and job creation.

[WATCH some of the key moments from the candidates' first face-to-face showdown]

Obama accused Romney of trying "double down" on the failed economic policies of the Bush administration and said Romney's tax plan would incur trillions of dollars in debt.

"If you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion, and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for? And you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Gov. Romney's plan may work for you," said Obama.

"But I think math, common sense and our history shows that's not a recipe for job growth," he added.

"Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate," Romney responded.

Romney said Obama's plan to repeal tax cuts for small businesses and the wealthy would prevent new jobs from being created.

Obama quipped, "Under Gov. Romney's plan -- Donald Trump is a small businessman."

Romney said since the president took office gas prices have doubled, and costs of food and insurance have increased.

"Twenty-three million people out of work or stopped looking for work," Romney said of the dreary unemployment figures.

Obama struck back, calling Romney's plans to cut taxes and spending a "unbalanced approach? that means you are going to be gutting our investment in schools and education ... health care for seniors in nursing homes (and) for kids with disabilities."

The debate began with the two candidates shaking hands and Obama acknowledging that it was his 20th wedding anniversary.

"I'm sure this is the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me," joked Romney.

At the conclusion of the debate, the Obama and Romney families mingled on stage cheerfully.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says Debates About ‘Something Bigger’ Than Who Scores the Punches

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Emerging from days of debate prep, Mitt Romney Monday night arrived in Colorado and told a crowd of thousands that he’s “delighted” about the upcoming debates.

“Now you know that you’re going to get some visitors this week,” Romney said. “The president will be here. I’ll be here. We’re going to have a debate, and there’s a lot of interest surrounding the debate. And people want to know who’s going to win, who’s going to score the punches and who’s going to make the biggest difference in the arguments they make.

“And there’s going to be all the scoring of winning and losing, and you know, in my view, it’s not so much winning and losing or even the people themselves -- the president and myself -- it’s about something bigger than that,” Romney said.

The debates will be a chance for the two politicians to “describe the pathway forward,” laying out a choice for voters, he told the crowd, estimated by campaign staffers at nearly 6,000 people.

“The American people are going to have to make the choice as to what kind of America they want,” he said. “And so, I look forward to these debates. I’m delighted that we’re going to have three debates. It’ll be conversation with the American people that will span almost an entire month. We’ll get to describe our respective views, and I believe the people of Colorado will choose a better way forward for our country. We can’t afford four more years like the last four years.”

But Monday night, in what was one of the larger crowds of his campaign and his fourteenth in the swing state this year, Romney paid homage to the importance of Colorado’s votes.

“This is a great place to be, here at the foot of the Rocky Mountains,” he said. “I think this is going to be the home of the place that elects the next President of the United States.”

Romney spent several hours on Sunday and Monday morning doing debate preparation with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who has been tapped to play President Obama in mock debates. Portman, who flew to Denver with Romney earlier Monday, will be on hand for last minute debate prep Tuesday and Wednesday.

While Romney hits the books Tuesday, his wife Ann is scheduled to campaign on his behalf, holding a rally in Denver.

President Obama is in Henderson, Nev., attending his own so-called “debate camp,” and is scheduled to arrive in Denver on Wednesday.

During a stop at a local campaign office there, Obama joked that the prep was a “drag,” remarking of his staffers, “They’re making me do my homework.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's 2012 Strategy in Colorado Hinges on Hispanics

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(DENVER) -- In 2008, Barack Obama became only the second Democratic presidential candidate in 40 years to win Colorado, thanks in large part to strong support from the state’s Hispanic voters, who turned out in droves.

Sixty-one percent of Hispanics chose Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain, while just 50 percent of whites voted the same, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

But with Obama’s approval numbers down nationwide, his campaign team says Hispanic voters will be even more essential to winning the Rocky Mountain state in 2012 -- a point underscored by the president’s second visit there in less than a month and an elaborate effort to engage Hispanics more than a year before they can hit the polls.

Obama headlines a rally at the University of Denver on Wednesday, when he will stump for his jobs plan and steps meant to make college more accessible to younger Americans eager to build their careers.

But while Colorado’s unemployment rate stands at 8.3 percent, Obama’s pitch will be not only about the future but what he believes his economic policies have accomplished over the past three years, particularly for key constituencies like Hispanics.

Over the past few weeks as Obama has traveled the country to sell his jobs bill, the White House and Obama campaign have distributed fact sheets and talking points for Hispanic audiences, insisting the president’s economic policies have kept 1.9 million Latinos out of poverty, provided 150,000 additional Hispanic students with access to college, and made strides toward comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.

Obama’s army of campaign organizers have also taken that message door to door, in Colorado focusing outreach on Latino neighborhoods in North and West Denver, Greeley, Commerce City, the Sheridan corridor, and parts of Aurora and Fort Collins, aides say.  Volunteers are registering voters, enlisting new volunteers and holding listening sessions with members of the community.

Meanwhile, Democrats are broadcasting a defense of Obama in Spanish on radio and TV, blaming the nation’s economic doldrums on President Bush and claiming -- despite an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent -- that Obama deserves credit for turning things around.

“Congress Republicans didn’t lift a finger then,” says the Spanish-speaking narrator in a new Democratic National Committee TV ad airing in Denver in conjunction with Obama’s visit.  “And today they’re blocking the President’s job plan that will put Colorado to work.”

Campaign slogans aside, the jobs plan failed to win wide enough support to pass with either political party.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Stumps for Jobs in Denver

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(DENVER) -- President Obama brought his jobs pitch to Denver, Colo. Tuesday, where in a campaign-style speech he told Congress he wants his $447 billion jobs bill back. “It’s been two weeks since I sent it to Congress. And now I want it back. I want to sign this jobs bill so we can start putting people to work. I’ve got the pens all ready,” Obama said.  
“So my question to Congress is: What on Earth are we waiting for?” the president said at Abraham Lincoln High School.
Holding up the American Jobs Act -- “I know it’s kind of thick” -- Obama told the crowd in escalating campaign cadence to “pass this bill,” although the legislation has little chance of passing in its current form and Republicans have declared it dead on arrival.
In casual shirt sleeves Obama addressed the sweltering crowd of 2,000 supporters who had waited hours in the hot sun and 80-plus degree weather to see the president. At least eight people reportedly succumbed to the heat and were taken from the event.
Tuesday’s speech marked the end of the president’s three-day western swing, culminating a trip that included seven fundraisers and two presidential events where Obama promoted his jobs bill, which has become the cornerstone of his re-election bid.  
While the president carried Colorado by nine percentage points in 2008, his approval ratings have been falling and he has adopted a more aggressive tone on the campaign trail in recent days. Tuesday was the president’s first visit to the state in over a year and his first of the campaign season.
Despite netting millions in campaign cash over the past three days, the president continued to scold Republicans Tuesday for focusing too much on the next election and not enough on fixing the economy.
“I know some Republicans in Washington have said that some of this might have to wait for the next election; that maybe we should just stretch this out rather than work together right now. Some even said that even if they agree with the proposals in the American Jobs Act, they shouldn’t pass it because it would give me a win. Give me a win?  Give me a break!” Obama said, delivering the now-familiar line.
“That’s why folks are fed up with Washington. This isn’t about giving me a win. This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. This is about giving people who are hurting a win,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Wrap Up West Coast Trip Pitching Jobs Plan in Denver

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- President Obama wakes up in Los Angeles Tuesday morning and will spend the final day of his three-day western swing in Denver.

Obama will continue to promote his $447 billion jobs bill at Abraham Lincoln High School, where he will focus on investments to modernize the nation’s schools.

The president will claim, “The American Jobs Act proposes a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools -- investments that will create jobs while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs,” according to the White House.

While the president carried Colorado by 9 percentage points in 2008, his support in the swing state -- as in other swing states nationwide -- is waning.  Tuesday marks Obama’s first visit during the 2012 campaign season to the once-predictably red state; his last visit to Colorado was in February 2010.

Obama will return to the White House later Tuesday evening.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Again Schedules Event on Day of GOP Debate

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(DENVER) -- For the second time this year, Sarah Palin has scheduled an event on the same day as the first GOP presidential debate.

Instead of appearing with other presidential hopefuls in California on May 2, Palin is now set to speak at a fundraiser in Colorado on the same day.  As first reported by the Denver Post, Palin will headline the "Tribute to the Troops with Sarah Palin" at Colorado Christian University.

The speech falls on the day when candidates will participate in the first debate in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

This is not the first time that Palin, who continues to flirt with the idea of running in 2012, has scheduled a public engagement in Colorado on the day of this debate.  Last month, the former Alaska governor signed on to be the keynote speaker at a fundraising event for soldiers and veterans in Denver on May 2.  The day after the announcement, however, the event was cancelled due to an “onslaught of negative feedback.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


UFOs on the Ballot: Denver to Vote on Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DENVER) -- When Denver voters head to the polls Tuesday, they won't just have a chance to vote for a new senator or representatives. They'll have a chance to cast their ballots for E.T.

On the ballot this year is an initiative that would charge the city with creating a seven-person panel to study unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrial life.

Jeff Peckman, the Denver entrepreneur spearheading the campaign, said Denver's Initiative 300 would establish an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission responsible for collecting and sharing evidence that extraterrestrials are visiting Earth and for assessing the risks and benefits of making contact with those aliens.

"The reason it's important is that this needs to start somewhere. It's not starting anywhere, at the federal level or state level or any other level of government," Peckman said. "In this country we believe this could very well be a citizen's task."

The commission would be privately funded with grants and gifts, but would have the support of the mayor and the city of Denver, he said, adding that the panel's findings and progress would be posted on the city's website.

Though the panel won't need taxpayer's dollars, Peckman said it's still important that the public vote to approve it.

"The process of this ballot initiative engages the public in this discussion that they've been left out of," he said. "[And the commission] gives it a kind of official status."

Peckman was able to collect 10,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, but said he "can't even think about" whether it's going to pass. He said they've already been victorious in raising local awareness on the issue.

He's also been successful in raising local doubt, however.

In an "Editorial Shorttake" on the initiative, the Denver Post said "Should E.T. phone here, we say: Hang up." Other reports suggest that while the initiative has attracted interest, it's not necessarily the kind of interest needed to elevate E.T. to city hall.

Still, UFO researchers in other parts of the country are taking note.

Michael Luckman, author of Alien Rock: The Rock 'N' Roll Extraterrestrial Connection and director of the New York Center for Extraterrestrial Research, said he's been in touch with Peckman and hopes that, in the future, he'll be able to introduce a similar proposal in New York City.

"More than anything else this is a way of focusing worldwide attention, particularly in New York, which is the media capital of the world, on the issue of extraterrestrials and their visitation to Earth," he said, "[We're] moving in a direction of disclosure, meaning mass disclosure to the public on the part of the government."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio