Recently unemployed governor and now-presidential candidate John Hickenlooper returned to Denver from his announcement on Good Morning America in New York City and met with the press on March 7 at the friendly spot from which he launched his political career so many years ago, the Wynkoop Brewing Company.
But this was a far cry from the ale-swilling, glad-handing Hickenlooper that Denver embraced in 2003, when he made the jump from running a pub to politics. During his swift, effective campaign to become Denver's mayor, he made fun of the "nonsense" of government, as well as his own wardrobe. Now the suit-and-tie-wearing candidate stood behind a podium in the Wynkoop's Mercantile Room, whose walls could certainly tell some stories, while two lines of local and national media shone their lights on him.
Hickenlooper seemed to acknowledge as much. “The very notion of me wearing a tie in this room is heresy,” he quipped. Asked if he was going to have a beer, he said, “No...I wish.”
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From there, Hickenlooper retold his life story — from unemployed geologist to Wynkoop co-founder to pub company owner, from the Mayor of LoDo to the Mayor of Denver to the Governor of Colorado. Then he outlined his policy platform, why he wants to run for president, and took questions.
"I'm running for President of the United States because I think we are in crisis, a crisis of division," he said.
In the past, beer always helped Hickenlooper bridge those divides; at his first gubernatorial inauguration in January 2011, for instance, he rode the Wynkoop's horse-drawn, beer-laden cart to the party. Without beer, the campaign trail will be a little more dusty and dry, but it will surely include more stops at the brewery.
But first, Hickenlooper will be at Civic Center Park today for a campaign rally before returning to Iowa this weekend. There will be music by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, as well as food trucks on hand. Just don't count on beer.