On the bus with Hickenlooper and The New York Times

“You’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus,” — Ken Kesey

These days, it’s pretty clear John Hickenlooper has been on the bus, and he hasn’t been riding around alone. Earlier in the week The Philadelphia Enquirer had a reporter on the bus. A day or so later, The New York Times joined the tour.

The focus of The Times’ article was Hickenlooper’s insistence on running a positive campaign. He has yet to run a negative ad, and told The Times that if an outside group ran one, he would ask them to stop.

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. — In his appearances around the state, the No. 1 applause line for John Hickenlooper, the Democratic candidate for Colorado governor, comes when he talks about running a positive campaign.

“No negative attack ads!” he told a crowd on a recent afternoon in this old mining town in the mountains west of Denver. “It’s a short-term fix that appeals only to fear and anger.”

That resonates with voters like Aleta Trabue because she is so disgusted with the tone of what passes for political discourse in this burned-over season of politics. Colorado’s Senate race, in particular, has been one of the most brutal in the nation, with outside groups pouring in money.

“If he had gone negative, it would have changed my view of him,” said Ms. Trabue, 58, a Postal Service worker who came to the rally here. “It would have hurt him.”

Watch one of his ads, below.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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