An estimated 65 protesters showed up to greet the presidential motorcade as it arrived at the World Arena this week during George W. Bush's two-day campaign blitz in Colorado. With three weeks to go until the Nov. 2 election, polls have placed Colorado in a dead heat. Which means we should expect plenty of national spotlight (immediately after his visit, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that "Bush struck a deeply conservative social note ... as he rallied supporters in this bastion of evangelical Christians."). Springs resident Ed Billings, who showed up to protest the president's visit, described the exchange between anti- and pro-Bushies outside the arena as raucous at times. One 79-year-old woman carried a sign that read "George W. Bush is a war criminal." Republicans were no kinder. "They flipped us off, and called us faggots and communists," Billings said. "They also waved signs saying 'John Kerry supports terrorism'. They yelled, 'stay away from perverts and pagans' and I yelled back, 'stay away from Christians and Nazis.' " Inside the arena, Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan, who stirred national controversy earlier this year by insisting pro-choice Catholics should be denied communion, started things off with a prayer. Bush, according to the released transcript of his speech, thanked the litany of GOP honchos who gathered 'round, from Gov. Bill Owens to Senate candidate Pete Coors to Mayor Lionel Rivera. Then Bush launched into what has become his battle hymn against Kerry -- it's called "See, he can run from his record but he can't hide." Meanwhile, up in working class Commerce City north of Denver, the Associated Press reported that vice presidential candidate John Edwards stumped alongside Senate candidate Ken Salazar. Their emphasis? Jobs, the economy, education. "The American dream is on the ballot," Edwards told the crowd at Adams City High School.
-- By Cara DeGette
Photo by Sean Cayton