Clinton promotes Obama, early voting at Aurora rally

Sen. Hillary Clinton with Gov. Bill Ritter. Clinton headlined an Aurora rally for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. (Photo/Bob Spencer)
Sen. Hillary Clinton with Gov. Bill Ritter. Clinton headlined an Aurora rally for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. (Photo/Bob Spencer)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton stumped for Barack Obama in Aurora this afternoon, rallying a crowd of more than 1,000 people who traveled from around the Denver metro area to see her.

Flanked by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, Clinton spoke at a park adjacent to the University of Colorado Hospital and a Colfax Avenue Checker Auto Parts store at 5 p.m. She has made dozens of similar stops for her former rival in recent weeks.

Though Clinton focused on Obama’s time-tested mantras — that he’ll cut taxes for the middle class, that a John McCain administration would be “four more years of the last eight,” that health care costs have risen to terrible heights — the most notable part of her speech was the fact that Clinton advised the crowd on how and when to vote in addition to whom to vote for.

“I know that Colorado has the longest ballot in the country this year,” she said, adding that voters should vote early in order to avoid onerous lines on Election Day. “You have waited eight long years for a new president. You shouldn’t have to wait any longer to get the change you need.”

Clinton asked how many people in the crowd had voted already, and nearly two-thirds raised their hands. She urged them to reach out to other voters, saying that each person should be “deputized” to advise other people how to vote.

Look back at the last 16 years, she said. “We had eight years with a Democrat and we had eight years with a Republican. I think you know the difference.”

“I want to thank everyone who supported me, and to ask you to work as hard for Barack as you worked for me,” she continued. “Don’t let your friends vote Republican this time.”

Others who spoke before Clinton issued a similar message about early voting. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette also asked how many individuals had voted already. Then, she said, “Now everyone put up your hands and say, ‘I’m voting before Election Day.'”

Ritter, who introduced Clinton, said that as of yesterday, 22 percent of eligible voters in the state had mailed in ballots or early voted. So far, he said, Democrats count 6,000 more returns than Republicans. But he also touted Independent support for Obama. “The Independents have found a residence in Barack Obama’s message and are going to vote for Obama,” he said.

That thought was later echoed by Clinton. “Barack Obama will be elected not only by Democrats, but by Independents and Republicans.”

“Your vote can make a difference in Colorado, and Colorado can make a difference in the election.”

Marylou Rogers, a 58-year-old teacher from Loveland at the event, had already heeded Clinton’s advice and voted yesterday. Originally a Clinton supporter, Rogers wore a jacket with painted lettering on the back that read “Proud member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit for Obama,” in reference to a line Clinton delivered at the Democratic National Convention.

“I very quickly and very proudly went from being a Hillary supporter to being an Obama supporter,” she said. “This historic election has taken the disenfranchised and empowered them.”

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