Strong Colorado presence at Democrat convention

Delegates wave the signs during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. Enlargephoto

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Delegates wave the signs during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

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, highlighted by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

They all fit into the Democratic convention’s script of praising Obama’s accomplishments and character.

“Barack and Michelle Obama lived lives like we all do, commuting to work, picking up kids, balancing the checkbook,” Salazar said in his Tuesday night address, which he delivered in his white cowboy hat and bolo tie.

Salazar shared his story of growing up without electricity in the San Luis Valley and drew comparison’s 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.

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.

Three private citizens and two members of Congress from Colorado were also slated to address the convention.

The gathering concludes tonight (Thursday) with speeches by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. They originally planned to speak outside at the Carolina Panthers football stadium, but on Wednesday morning, organizers announced that they would move proceedings back inside because of the threat of thunderstorms.

First Lady Michelle Obama closed Monday night’s program, 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.

joeh@cortezjournal.com