John Hickenlooper championing Obama: "Lincoln wasn't a great debater"
The Obama campaign is hauling surrogates all over the Denver metro area today as part of a bus tour to champion the president -- a week after he struggled at the University of Denver in the first debate against Mitt Romney. At one stop, Governor John Hickenlooper told supporters that they have a clear choice in this race.
Big photos below.
Plus, "Lincoln wasn't a great debater," he said.
"We just have to make sure we get him re-elected," Hickenlooper told the crowd of volunteers inside the campaign's 9th Avenue field office. "I will do everything I can to help you. I'll be out there beside you.... I never even ran for student council, so most of you guys know more about this political stuff than I do."
Hickenlooper continued, "I can't tell you how important it is. In 29 days, we are making history, right?... It's just like Lincoln. When Lincoln ran for re-election, it was...dead close, I mean really a struggle, really close, and he wasn't a great public speaker. I mean, Obama's a great speaker. Lincoln wasn't a great debater."
Sam Levin Governor John Hickenlooper getting off the "Colorado for Obama" bus.
The crowd of dozens of supporters and campaign volunteers laughed at the comment, prompting Hickenlooper to clarify: "I think he is a great debater, but the people, the grassroots rose up and re-elected Lincoln. And he has, without question, gone down as our greatest president in history -- one of our two or three greatest presidents. I think Obama is that good. It's been a long time since we had someone that we can actually...say this is gonna be one of the great presidents in history."
Asked to elaborate on the Lincoln analogy on his way out, Hickenlooper told us, "Evidently...in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, by most accounts, he had a hard time keeping up with Stephen Douglas, who was great. That's what I was referring to."
He added, "I go back and read that stuff. I thought...[Lincoln] was a great debater, but the word -- at least as I read the history books -- the word was, he wasn't the greatest debater."
The Lincoln-as-a-debater argument was very much a sidebar to the main points of the governor's speech -- that Obama is clearly the better choice than Mitt Romney and that he is a man Hickenlooper personally admires.
He started his speech, saying, "No president, with perhaps the exception of Abraham Lincoln, ever inherited a larger mess than President Obama when he came in.... Look at the recession we were in -- the potential for a Great Depression.
After listing off various initiatives of the president that have boosted the economy, he added, "Business is growing. Given the depth of that recession, it's a miracle."
But, he said, "I'm going to tell you the real reason that I hope all of you will put even more extra time over the next 29 days," and then talked about the Obama he knows personally.
Hickenlooper has spent an unusual amount of time with the president this summer, and not for good reasons. Obama visited earlier in the summer due to the state's devastating wildfires and then again after the Aurora theater shooting.
Continue for more of the governor's comments on Obama and his debate performance.