DENVER (CBS4)– He’s gone from running a bar, to running a city, to running that state of Colorado. Now, John Hickenlooper says he’s ready to run the country.

Hickenlooper kicked off his 2020 campaign for president before thousands of supporters, and some protesters, in Civic Center Park on Thursday. He officially launched his campaign on Monday.

“It’s time to end the crisis of division, it’s time to bring all Americans together and that is why I’m running for president of the United States,” said Hickenlooper to a cheering crowd.

John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

He promised to be a dreamer and a doer, saying he would lead the country as he has lead Colorado.

“This isn’t just my vision, it’s my record. As mayor, as governor, I got people to put down their weapons, sit down together and listen to each other. Really listen to establish trust which is always the first starting point to building collaboration,” said Hickenlooper.

(credit: CBS)

The former governor made it clear that he was making a play for the middle, being a self-proclaimed pragmatic progressive.

John Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

“Being a pragmatist doesn’t mean saying ‘no’ to bold ideas, it means knowing how to make them happen. That is my record!”

He promised universal health care as president, an end to tax cuts for the wealthy and re-commitment to the Paris Climate Accord.

As for name recognition, “But let me tell you at four syllables and 12 letters, Hickenlooper is now the biggest name in the race!”

The event included a performance by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, national media attention and a protest by environmentalists. They will be one of his biggest challenges. Hickenlooper has opposed oil and gas ballot measures and the protestors say they will oppose his candidacy.

He heads to Iowa on Friday.

Shaun Boyd