Photos: Obama counters Romney's Red Rocks event with huge City Park rally
With election day less than two weeks away, Colorado is continuing to get a lot of love from both presidential campaigns, and for good reason: The state is divided. This fact was evidenced yesterday by a massive City Park rally for the president less than 24 hours after Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan packed Red Rocks.
Big photos below.
Amid the final countdown, the stump speeches delivered by the candidates in Colorado give a clear picture of how they think they can best court the swing state voters that will decide the race.
"This is the second stop on our 48-hour marathon, extravaganza, fly-around," Obama told a big crowd standing outside in the cold, cloudy weather yesterday afternoon. "We are pulling an all-nighter. No sleep. Quite a bit of coffee. We've just come from Iowa... After this, we are on our way to visit Nevada. We're going to go to Florida. We're gonna go to Virginia. We're gonna go to Ohio. And I am going to stop in Chicago to vote before this 48-hour day is done."
If there's one thing the candidates can agree on, it's that Colorado really is a crucial battleground that will play a major role in deciding the next president -- a refrain present in rallies by both sides. Early voting in the state began this week, and the campaigns are competing for headlines and positive attention here as election day approaches.
At Red Rocks on Tuesday, where Kid Rock and Rodney Atkins warmed up the crowd, a capacity crowd packed into the outdoor theater, and campaign officials say that there were over 26,000 requests for tickets, which meant that folks were turned away at the door once police declared the facility at capacity.
The Obama campaign appears to have drawn a comparable crowd, with the official count estimated at more than 16,000 inside City Park.
And awe at the crowd size -- coupled with compliments of Colorado's scenery -- have become standard talking points at these rallies.
The attention that the Red Rocks rally received this week was not lost on Obama's Colorado surrogates, who emphasized the large turnout at City Park before the president arrived.
Mayor Michael Hancock, in the kickoff speech for the rally, shouted, "Guess what? We didn't need Kid Rock or Rodney Atkins to bring out the crowd!" Governor John Hickenlooper later added, "Holy smokes, what a crowd! Wow, I can't tell you, you know I love Red Rocks more than just about anybody, but it could never hold all of you guys."
Speaking just miles from the site of the first presidential debate -- where the president's poor performance dealt a significant blow to his campaign, Obama yesterday emphasized Romney's flip-flops in the final debates, painting his opponent as one who just can't be trusted.
Continue for more from Obama's speech and photos from the rally.