It's the final countdown to Election Day and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, is looking toward the finish line. At a campaign stop at an Obama field office in Lakewood last night, the Second Lady pushed the reelection of the Obama-Biden team as the right choice for women, veterans, students and more. She also reminded the volunteers that the end is in sight -- which, she said, she's a bit relieved about it.
Speaking directly to campaign volunteers in the heart of Jefferson County, a key battleground within this important swing state, Biden praised the president's recovery agenda, saying, "They're specific and realistic plans that will help us rebuild our economy and...if you want to know more about it -- but you know what, I'm sure this crowd knows everything."
The comment prompted laughs from the audience. "Otherwise you wouldn't be here," she said.
Biden continued, "You know how he's going to create new jobs and train the best work force in the world and boost American-made energy and reduce our deficit and use some of the money from those wars to do some nation-building here at home.
"But 'forward' doesn't just happen on its own," she said. "You know, we have nine days left. I'm sure all of you are just as happy as I am...counting down, you know, every day you wake up and say how many more days!"
Despite the fatigue, she asked the crowd's members that they step it up and help Obama and Biden win Colorado.
"You have early vote here and it's going well," said Biden, a teacher by profession. "And this election is so crucial. It is so crucial, if you could just get out there. And I know you're tired. I know what it's like. I've been out there every single day that I'm not in that classroom, working to get reelected. So if you could just make a few more phone calls, knock on a few more doors, drive a few people to go vote, that's what's going to take us forward. It's not just me. It's not just Joe. It's not just Michelle. It's not just Barack. It's all of you. You are the ones who are going to take us to victory on November 6th."
The Second Lady's campaign stop last night -- and she has more events in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins today -- comes two weeks after the vice president rallied in Greeley for his first stop in Colorado this campaign season.
Obama, as is clear from the nearly weekly traffic jams he causes throughout the state, has held many rallies in Colorado over the last several months. His most recent event in City Park was his twelfth political event in the state this year.
The national spotlight was once again on Denver earlier this month for the first presidential debates -- and the state also got attention when freshly picked vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held one of his first big rallies in Colorado. Some have noted that Ryan has spent a lot more time in the media than Joe Biden -- but his wife, at least, will be getting some Colorado headlines on the campaign trail this week.
As for Ryan, he had rallies scheduled tomorrow in Greeley, Castle Rock and Cañon City, but they've been canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to make landfall along the East Coast later today. Obama called off an event tomorrow for the same reason; he's tentatively scheduled to return to Colorado for a Boulder event on Thursday.
Continue for more from Biden's speech and more photos and comments from supporters. At last night's event, announced just a few hours earlier, a crowd of volunteers packed inside the Obama Lakewood office on Colfax. Biden, who was introduced by her daughter, Ashley, emphasized the importance of health-care reform and women's rights.
"I'm involved in this election as a woman who cares about the direction of our country," she said. "I've seen that Barack and Joe stand up for our rights and freedoms everyday.... Now, insurance companies can no longer charge women [more] than they charge men. And they can no longer charge a co-pay for basic preventive care, like contraception, mammograms, pre-natal screening.... The president and the vice president know how important it is that women make their own decisions about their own bodies and their own health care."
She added, "So many women of my generation have fought so hard.... So that's important that we don't go back. We have to educate the young women [on] the importance of this election, so that our daughters and our granddaughters don't have to go back and fight those battles that we fought so many decades ago."
She also noted that Mitt Romney could select very conservative justices to the Supreme Court that could work to overturn Roe v. Wade -- a comment that prompted groans from the crowd. "We would live with those consequences for decades to come. So we've come so far, but we really have to keep moving forward, not just on women's issues, but on all issues for all Americans."
Also in attendance was Representative Ed Perlmutter, who is facing a close race against challenger Joe Coors. He told the crowd that the presidential race, and his own run for reelection, are both going to be very tight. "Every singe vote counts... We are so fortunate to have the Bidens here to spend some time in Colorado, to check out what's going on, and to make sure that we are doing what we need to do. And I can assure you ladies, we are."
He told the volunteers, "You are so important. This race is so close. It is so close. And Jefferson County is key to winning Colorado, and Colorado is key to the president and vice president winning the United States."
The message of access to basic health care is especially important to supporter and campaign volunteer Alicia Watson, 41, who came out to see Biden and has been campaigning for the president for months. She often has her two young children by her side when she canvasses, she said.
"My kids are the reason I'm out there knocking on doors," said Watson, who lives in Lakewood, explaining that private health insurance has rejected her daughter because of a pre-existing condition. "I'm out there for these guys." Continue for more photos. Continue for more photos. More from our Politics archive: "Immigration advocate, legal citizen gets Scott Gessler's non-citizen letter"
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.