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Obama in Boulder: "They're counting on you not voting -- that's their entire strategy"

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America knows Barack.

That was part of the president's message last night in Boulder, where he told thousands of supporters, "Sometimes...it's hard to know who to trust. But here's the thing: After four years as president, you know me by now." In Colorado, that second part is especially true: This is his thirteenth political event in the state this year. And it's not his last.

A day before early voting closes in Colorado, Obama took the stage last night to an estimated crowd of 10,000 packed inside the Coors Event Center in Boulder, just after he got off the phone with officials in New York to discuss continuing cleanup necessitated by Hurricane Sandy.

"For the past few days, all of us have been focused on one of the worst storms of our lifetime. And we're awed and humbled by nature's destructive power. We mourn those who were lost," Obama said. "We pledge to help those whose lives have been turned upside down. I was just on a phone call with some of the local officials in New York...and they've got still a long way to go to deal with this incredible storm."

Obama emphasized the nonpartisan collaboration that comes with this kind of tragedy -- which gave him some positive news coverage this week after he spent time with and earned praise from Chris Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor.

"We've also been inspired these past few days, because when disaster strikes, we see America at its best," he said. "The petty differences that consume us in normal times --they all seem to melt away. We saw it here in Colorado with the fires this summer and then the terrible tragedy in Aurora. In moments like these, there are no Democrats or Republicans during a crisis. Just fellow Americans."

He added, "We're all in this together. We rise or fall as one nation, as one people."

Continue for more about Barack Obama's latest visit to Boulder. The destruction on the East Coast earlier in the week had forced his campaign to cancel a planned rally for Tuesday. His team still managed to churn out some Colorado headlines for Obama thanks to an appearance by former president Bill Clinton. And he'll back on Sunday for a rally in Aurora just three days before election day.

In his speech last night, the president quickly transitioned from Sandy talk into his more typical stump speech, citing a laundry list of accomplishments and economic progress since 2008 -- as well as noting his overseas record, which prompted a big response from the Boulder crowd.

"The war in Iraq is over," he said. "The war in Afghanistan is coming to an end. Al Qaeda has been decimated. Osama bin Laden is dead."

But, he said, repeatedly, "Our work's not yet done."

He was aware in 2008 that he would need more than a single term, he told the crowd following chants of, "Four more years!"

"We knew from the beginning that our work would take more than one year or even one term. We knew that," Obama said. "Because let's face it -- the middle class was getting hammered long before the financial crisis hit."

He said the new global economy has created many complicated obstacles that the country could not have predicted. "We can meet those challenges. We're Americans. We still have the world's best workers. We've got the world's best entrepreneurs. We've got the best scientists and researchers.... We've got the most innovative spirit.... There's not a country on earth that wouldn't gladly change places with the United States."

As he has on past Colorado visits, the president emphasized science and research numerous times in his 35-minute speech.

"We believe that when we support research and...medical breakthroughs or nanotechnology or entire new fields of study, new industries start here and they stay here and they hire here," he said.

Continue for more from Obama's speech and additional photos from the rally. Responding to big-government criticisms from Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent, Obama said, "We don't believe that government should poke its nose into everything we do. But we do believe this country is stronger and actually our markets work better when there are rules in place to protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution."

Later, he said, "We should recruit a hundred thousand math and scientist teachers so that high-tech...jobs aren't created in China, but are created right here in Colorado."

Obama also touted his support for alternative energy, which in Colorado has been the source of some controversy in the final weeks of the race due to the bankruptcy of Abound Solar, a manufacturing company that had government support. The president was forced to respond to questions about that company's failure in a 9News interview that got national attention last week.

"Today, there are thousands of workers building long-lasting batteries and solar technology and wind turbines all across the country -- jobs that weren't there four years ago," he said. "And not every technology we bet on will pan out. Not every business will thrive. But I promise you this: There is a brilliant future for manufacturing in America. There's a future for clean energy in America."

As he did last week, Obama painted Mitt Romney as an untrustworthy candidate and a flip-flopper.

"Governor Romney has been using all his formidable talents as a salesman to dress up the very same policies that failed our country so badly, the very same policies we've been cleaning up after these last four years, and he's offering them up as change," said Obama. "He's saying he's the candidate of change. But let me tell you, Colorado, we know what change looks like. We know what's gonna help the middle class. We know what's going to grow jobs...and what Governor Romney's offering sure ain't it."

Another prominent message of his speech was a simple one: vote.

Today is the final day that Coloradans can cast ballots during the early voting period -- and as of yesterday, a total of 1,305,885 had already done so. Of those, 493,457 are registered Republicans, 457,337 are Democrats and 341,920 are unaffiliated.

As some conservative pundits have suggested in Colorado, Romney could win if those who would support the president don't actually come out to the polls.

The crowd in Boulder.Obama told the crowd they can't let the extreme negativity this cycle or disillusionment with politics stop them from taking part.

"What they're now counting on is that the American people will be so worn down by all the squabbling, so tired of all the dysfunction, that you actually reward obstruction -- either by voting for folks who [are] claiming to bring about change or not voting at all," he said. "In other words, their bet is on cynicism. They're counting on you not voting -- that's their entire strategy. But Colorado, my bet is on you."

More from our Politics archive: "Craig Romney on potential voter fraud in the election: "It's news to me""

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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