- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2014

LITTLETON, Colo. — Luckily for Colorado Democrats, it’s too late for a recount of the 2012 presidential race here, since Republican challenger Mitt Romney is proving vastly more popular on the campaign trail than President Obama.

Democratic candidates in tough races have been practically allergic to Mr. Obama, who won Colorado by 51 percent to 46 percent two years ago, even as Republicans warmly welcomed Mr. Romney at a rally Monday at a high school.

Appearing with Mr. Romney were Colorado Republicans in some of the nation’s tightest races: former Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez, who is running for governor; Rep. Cory Gardner, who is running for Senate, and Rep. Mike Coffman, who is facing a tough re-election battle in a redrawn district.

The crowd of several hundred people in the packed gym cheered loudly when Mr. Romney asked, “How many of you voted for me?”

“I appreciate that support. And, you know, I’m somewhat biased but I think you made the right choice,” Mr. Romney quipped.

The increasingly outspoken Mr. Romney launched a broad attack on Mr. Obama’s record, castigating his handling of the Islamic State militants, relations with Russia and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“At the beginning of his administration, he went around the world and a lot of us have said what he did was apologize for America,” Mr. Romney said. “I think it’s now time for him to apologize to America.”

He linked Mr. Obama to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper by saying both avoided tough decisions. At one point, Mr. Beauprez referred to the president and the governor as the “Obama-looper regime.”

Contrast Mr. Romney’s reception with that of Mr. Obama, who received the cold shoulder from Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and congressional candidate Andrew Romanoff during an early July campaign stop in Denver.

None of the party’s top candidates appeared with Mr. Obama at a speech in Cheesman Park, although Mr. Udall later attended a private, no-press fundraiser with the president. Only Mr. Hickenlooper allowed himself to be videotaped with the president as they played a game of pool, which quickly became fodder for an attack ad.

John Hickenlooper is a fun guy to shoot pool with,” says the narrator in an ad from the Republican Governors Association. “But when it comes to making the tough decisions, Hickenlooper won’t step up to the table.”

Mr. Obama’s approval rating has plunged in Colorado since he was re-elected in 2012. A Quinnipiac University Poll released Sept. 18 found that 37 percent of those surveyed saw their vote in the Senate contest as a vote against Mr. Obama. Only 13 percent said their Senate vote was a vote in favor of the president.

There is no recent polling on Mr. Romney’s popularity, but judging from Monday’s event and from other recent stops on the midterm campaign trail, the former Massachusetts governor remains a favorite among Republican voters.

“I hope you know how lonely it is to be standing next to a man, to be introduced by a man we had hoped to call Mr. President,” Mr. Beauprez said. “The world would be a better place, America would be better off, freedom would be better protected if Mitt Romney were our president.”

The Colorado Senate, gubernatorial and 6th Congressional District races are all viewed as tossups, although the latest polling gives the edge to the Republican candidates.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll found Mr. Beauprez leading Mr. Hickenlooper by 50 percent to 40 percent, while Mr. Gardner led Mr. Udall by 48 percent to 40 percent. An independent Senate candidate, Steve Shogan, received 8 percent.

That survey polled 1,211 likely Colorado voters. Other polls of registered voters have found the races to be closer, usually within the margin of error.

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