Oct 232011
Authors: Andrew Carrera

President Barack Obama will visit Denver Tuesday for the second time in 30 days to raise funds for his reelection campaign and deliver an economy-oriented speech directed at youth, underscoring the critical role Colorado and its college-aged population will play in the 2012 race to the White House.

The president will meet with donors at the Pepsi Center on Oct. 25 then speak about the American Jobs Act –– a piece of legislation intended to create jobs through $447 billion in tax cuts and spending initiatives –– at CU-Denver as it pertains to college students on Oct. 26.

“Overall, what we understand based on the last couple of years in terms of the economy is that people are losing a sense of economic security that has been a crucial part of our nation.” said Emily Dulcan, press secretary for the president’s reelection campaign in the state. “Colorado is a great place for him to talk about the accomplishments of his administration and talk to folks who have benefited from those policies.”

The state offers a challenge to Democratic and Republican strategists hoping to capture its electoral votes during the presidential election in 2012. Colorado is known among campaign staffers as being a third Democratic, a third Republican, and a third independent, making it something of a toss up for both parties and subsequently the focus of national election strategists.

In the 2004 race to the White House, the state voted for Republican George W. Bush over Democrat John Kerry, 51.7 percent to 47 percent. In 2008, Coloradans favored Obama over John McCain, 53.5 percent to 44.9 percent.

“There’s every indication that this is one of a very small handful of critical states in the nation for the 2012 presidential election,” said Matt Inzeo, communication director for the Colorado Democratic Party.

Inzeo believes that the president will be well received among Coloradans, who he sees as tired of the in-fighting taking place among Republican presidential candidates currently battling for the party’s nomination to take on Obama.

“They’re fighting to see who can out-extreme the other guy,” he said. “ Coloradans are going to have a very clear contrast with a president who is focused on mainline, mainstream issues and concerns, first of those being jobs and the economy.”

But Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said that Obama won’t be seen by the state as a middle-of-the-road 2012 presidential choice so much as an unsuccessful leader.

Call said that Obama worsened the economy, which demonstrates that he shouldn’t be trusted –– particularly by college students –– to guide the nation with another presidential term.

“The folks that are hardest hurt by the president’s inability to grow the economy and create jobs are college students,” he said.

Dulcan disagreed.

“People understand that he walked into this situation and at the time nobody understood the gravity of how bad it was,” she said. “He has taken the steps necessary to put us back on a road to recovery.”

Obama’s national approval rating stands at 43 percent as of Oct. 23, 2011, according to Rasmussen Reports, a national political polling firm.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:50 pm

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