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Obama in Denver: Colorado takes shape as key state for 2012

Obama pitched his jobs bill Tuesday to a largely Hispanic audience at a Denver high school. Colorado residents should expect to see lots more of the president in coming months.

By Staff Writer / September 27, 2011

President Barack Obama greets supporters at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Tuesday.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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Boulder, Colo.

When President Obama spoke in a Denver high school Tuesday, he pushed a familiar topic: why Congress needs to pass his jobs bill.

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It's hardly surprising that the president brought his jobs initiative to Colorado. Residents of the Centennial State should expect to see a lot more of the president in coming months, as his reelection campaign gets underway.

Once a solidly red state (from World War II through 2004, it voted for just two Democrats: Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton), Colorado went for Mr. Obama in '08. And Obama needs to win the state again next year, though his status in the Rocky Mountains is now far less certain.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and his predecessor Bill Ritter – both Democrats – have spoken recently about how difficult a repeat of 2008 will be for the president in this state. Not that a win is impossible, but that it will be a tough fight.

One Obama economic adviser, speaking to Politico, labeled Colorado the "bellwether of bellwethers," and at a recent Denver training event, Obama field director Jeremy Bird told volunteers that of the possible electoral configurations that give Obama a win in 2012, "none of those scenarios doesn't include Colorado."

In his remarks at Abraham Lincoln High School Tuesday, Obama wasn't necessarily reaching out to the independent voters he needs to carry the state. Rather, he tried to shore up his base, hitting familiar themes and speaking to a largely Hispanic audience on Denver's Southwest side.

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