Coloradans in convention spotlight

Four from state take the stage; first lady brings evening to close

Colorado delegates Julia Hicks and Senate District 15 Chairman Tom Kubik hug on the floor of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.N.C. Four Coloradans spoke to the convention Tuesday. Enlarge photo

DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald

Colorado delegates Julia Hicks and Senate District 15 Chairman Tom Kubik hug on the floor of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.N.C. Four Coloradans spoke to the convention Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Colorado isn't quite front and center at this week's Democratic National Convention, but it's close.

The state's delegates sit near the stage, just behind President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois.

And seven Coloradans are speaking at the convention, including four on Tuesday's opening night.

They all supported the Democratic convention's script of praising Obama's accomplishments the last four years.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar highlighted the Colorado contingent, addressing the crowd in his white cowboy hat.

Salazar shared his story of growing up without electricity in the San Luis Valley and drew comparisons to Obama's life.

In his seven-minute speech, Salazar repeated another convention theme by saying Republican candidate Mitt Romney “doesn't get it” because he hasn't lived a middle-class life.

“Barack and Michelle Obama lived lives like we all do, commuting to work, picking up kids, balancing the checkbook,” he said.

In an interview, he predicted that Obama will carry Colorado this November.

Salazar won election as Colorado attorney general and then U.S. senator at a time when Republicans dominated the state.

“That's because I had walked the path of the common man. And that's the path Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and their family have walked,” he said.

In addition to Salazar, the convention heard from Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder and two private citizens, Ryan Case of Boulder and Maria Ciano of Aurora.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will speak tonight.

First Lady Michelle Obama closed the night, in an echo of last week's Republican convention where Ann Romney spoke about her husband.

Both women talked about their love for their husbands and told stories of their early days together that were written to appeal to regular folks.

The man who is now president used to pick up his wife for dates “in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger-side door,” she said.

Michelle Obama never mentioned Romney by name, but she hinted at Democrats' criticism of his business life when she talked about the way she and the president were raised.

“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters, that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules, and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square,” she said.

The president hasn't let the White House change him, and he still sits down for dinner with his family most nights, Michelle Obama said.

The convention continues tonight with a speech by former President Bill Clinton.

jhanel@durangoherald.com

The Rev. Jesse Jackson works the crowd during Democratic National Convention on Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Enlarge photo

DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald

The Rev. Jesse Jackson works the crowd during Democratic National Convention on Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

Bergeland Enlarge photo

Bergeland

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