LAKEWOOD –Colorado surrogates for the presidential campaigns are fighting the battle of the dueling gotcha-tapes.
On the Republican side, former Rep. Bob Beauprez, state GOP chair Ryan Call and small-business owner Jerry Natividad are blasting President Obama for a 1998 speech in which he declares that he believes in the redistribution of wealth.
On the Democratic side, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, state Democratic Party chair Rick Palacio and Sen. Mark Udall are castigating Mitt Romney for a remark during an August fundraiser in which he says he’ll never win the support of the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax.
The Romney comment was secretly videotaped and then leaked to Mother Jones magazine, which posted the tape online Monday, while the Obama speech audiotape was posted online Tuesday by the Drudge Report website.
The feuding comes as polls continue to show the presidential race in a virtual dead heat in Colorado, a key swing state. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Wednesday showed Romney up by 47 to 45 percent among those polled, while a Quinnipiac Poll issued the same day found Obama ahead 48 to 47 percent.
Nationally, a Gallup Poll released Thursday had good news for the Romney campaign: After trailing the president in early September by as many as 7 percentage points, the daily tracking poll showed the candidates tied at 47 percent apiece.
At a press conference Wednesday, Natividad, who owns American Facilities Services in Lakewood, said the president should support the kind of redistribution of wealth that happens when companies hire workers and pay them competitive wages.
“I’m very disturbed at the fact that back in 1998, a platform was established that said, ‘I believe in redistributing wealth,’ and then we fast forward and we talk about, ‘You didn’t build that,’” said Natividad told reporters at Romney Victory headquarters in Lakewood. “The simple fact is, Mr. President, I did build it.”
As an Illinois state senator, Obama said during a speech at Loyola University that, “I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”
The Republican response came after a flurry of events at which Democrats hammered Romney for telling an audience at a private fundraiser that Americans who don’t pay income taxes “will vote for the president no matter what.”
“It’s hard to believe that somebody who wants to be president of all of the people of this country would write off half of them,” said Palacio at a press conference Tuesday in Denver in a video by Fox31 television.
Added Udall, “You really know the character of an individual by what they say in private . . . I think Gov. Romney has failed that test.”
Beauprez acknowledged that Romney’s remark wasn’t “the most eloquent way to make the point, but the point really is, what kind of America do we want?”
“Do we want an America where increasingly people are forced to be more and more dependent on government to help take care of them and their family, or do we want an America where once again people can find good jobs, they can move up that economic ladder?” asked Beauprez.
Asked by reporters if Romney was trying to change the conversation, Call said, “The only person I think who really wants to change the conversation is Barack Obama and his campaign. He doesn’t want us talking about his record.”