President Obama barnstorms through Centennial State

Editor’s note: This is the Herald’s weekly roundup of campaign news.

What a week on the campaign trail in the Centennial State.

President Barack Obama held four rallies in two days here and gave interviews to representatives of five local newspapers, including Durango Herald editorial writer Megan Graham (see Sunday’s Opinion section for coverage of that meeting).

Mitt Romney dispatched national Republican stars, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, to shadow Obama all the way.

Obama presented custom-tailored events designed to appeal to crucial parts of his base. In Denver, he reached out to women and talked up his health-care law’s benefits for women. In Pueblo, he reached out to Latinos and ate green chile, which holds a reverential place in Pueblo culture. He also mentioned his funding of the Fryingpan-Arkansas water project, which President John F. Kennedy approved 50 years ago.

Jindal shifted the emphasis back to the persistently sluggish economy.

“I think the president’s trying to define this as the new norm, trying to get the American people comfortable with 23 million underemployed-unemployed Americans, trying to get Americans comfortable with a federal government that’s spending 24 to 25 percent of the (gross domestic product),” Jindal said in a brief interview with the Herald.

Poll positions: Obama is leading Romney by six points in Colorado. Or they’re tied. Or Romney’s up by five. So say a trio of polls released this week.

Public Policy Polling’s survey put Obama up 49-43. Rasmussen Reports found a tie at 47 percent. Quinnipiac University released the only public poll this year to show the Republican leading in Colorado, putting Romney up 50-45.

The Real Clear Politics average of all polls in Colorado puts Obama up by a slim 1.2 percentage points.

Debate round 1: Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Democrat Sal Pace squared off in their first of three congressional debates Wednesday night in Alamosa. Neither one landed a knockout blow, and the two agreed on gun rights, renewable energy tax credits and opposition to expanding an Army training ground.

Tipton knocked Pace on his record in the state House and his resume, which is heavy on government employment. Pace hit back at Tipton for supporting the House GOP agenda and for taking a recess for the month of August while pressing issues remain in Washington.

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Countdown: 87 days until the November election.

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