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Colorado Has Huge Presence At The DNC

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS4) – Both political parties are going after the critical Independent vote, and maybe no politician is more popular with them than Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday evening.

Coloradans are well represented at the convention. In addition to the state’s 86 delegates, seven Coloradans have taken the stage at the huge event to talk about why President Obama deserves four more years.

“They’re holding us up as a model,” Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper brought political capital to the campaign while Coloradans like University of Colorado student Ryan Case brought a personal appeal.

“This isn’t just some abstract political debate, there are people’s lives at stake,” Case said.

Case is a senior at CU in Boulder. He told delegates how he lost his father to pneumonia and mother to multiple sclerosis after they lost health insurance. He also talked about how he wouldn’t have been able to afford school if not for Obama’s support of Pell grants.

“Even though if I’m just a little part of it, I feel like I’m making a difference,” Case said.

He hopes to make a difference especially with young voters who propelled Obama to victory in 2008 with a formidable ground gain, but have suffered disproportionately from a weak economy.

Unlike Mitt Romney, who’s laser focused on the economy, Obama has been tailoring his message to key constituencies — student debt with young voters, immigration with Latinos, and birth control with women.

“President Obama is fighting for women’s rights to birth control, family planning and so much more,” said Maria Ciano from Denver, who spoke at the convention.

Watch speeches from the following Coloradans at the DNC: Gov. John Hickenlooper | Rep. Diana DeGette | Rep. Jared Polis | Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

Ciano was invited to speak not only as a single mother, but as a former Republican. Independent women could likely be the swing vote in the swing state of Colorado. It’s a state whose importance is crystal clear at the convention.

“I think that President Obama stands on his own accomplishments, and part of my job is to say, ‘From a business perspective; he’s not as bad as what people have been saying,’ ” Hickenlooper said.

It’s not just the delegates and speakers in Charlotte who are from Colorado. There’s also a group of 25 police officers from Colorado who are helping out at the convention.

“We came out prepared to do any job they asked us to fulfill,” Denver police officer Daniel Andrews told CBS4′s Shaun Boyd. “Anything from traffic control to crowd management.”

All of the officers in North Carolina worked the convention when it was in Denver in 2008, so they have first-hand experience on how to handle an event of that size.

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