DENVER–They didn’t exactly steal the show, but Colorado lawmakers demonstrated their clout this week with featured speaking roles at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Gov. John Hickenlooper cemented his reputation as a rising star in the Democratic Party with a coveted Wednesday evening speaking slot, while Rep. Diana DeGette spoke Wednesday afternoon.
The podium was packed with Coloradans Tuesday as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Rep. Jared Polis, University of Colorado Boulder senior Ryan Case and Republican-turned-Democrat Maria Ciano of Westminster addressed the delegates.
Hickenlooper deviated from his usual soft-spoken playbook by taking a few jabs at Republicans, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I’m luckier than President Obama. After my inauguration, Colorado’s Republican legislators didn’t immediately start planning my defeat,” said Hickenlooper. “We worked together. Some even complimented me for releasing my tax returns in the campaign, 22 years of them.”
Meanwhile, DeGette launched another strike in the so-called “war on women,” announcing that “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to make women second-class citizens again.”
“Reproductive freedom means economic freedom. And that’s what this debate is about,” said DeGette. “In short, the Romney-Ryan ticket would reverse more than a century of hard-fought progress for women.”
The real star of the convention was President Bill Clinton, who had the crowd at the Time Warner Center Arena on its feet Wednesday as he formally nominated President Obama as the party’s presidential candidate.
Republicans have blasted Obama for his handling of the economy, pointing to 42 straight weeks of 8 percent or higher unemployment, but Clinton painted a rosy portrait of the president’s recovery plan, saying it had saved or created millions of jobs.
“President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did,” said Clinton. “No President -– not me or any of my predecessors–could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.”
President Obama is scheduled to accept the nomination in a speech Thursday, the final day of the convention.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ellie Wallace countered that, “Coloradans know they are not better off than when President Obama took office.”
“Rep. Diana DeGette and the Democrats in Charlotte are yet again doing everything they can to divert attention from the failed economic policies of President Obama, which have been particularly devastating to women,” said Wallace in a statement.
Hickenlooper reminded delegates of the party’s 2008 convention in Denver, where Obama received the party’s nomination on his way to being elected president.
“As another skinny Democrat with a funny last name, I was proud to host the convention in Denver that nominated President Obama four years ago,” said Hickenlooper. “I am proud to support his re-election and ask that you join me—well, we—in moving Colorado and America forward. We need to finish what we started.”