His pitch to young voters: Come for Amendment 64, stay to reelect the president.
The presidential contest next Tuesday may or may not be definitively resolved by the time Colorado's election returns suggest a winner of the state's nine electoral votes. In the Mountain time zone, Denver is two hours behind the big battleground states of the East, but Ohio may be counting votes until the week before Thanksgiving -- no, really -- and the lingering impact of Hurricane Sandy may delay voting and vote counting in places like Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Nothing about the election of 2012 figures to be simple or quick.
But President Obama wants Colorado. He won it in 2008 and has been to the state 12 times this year, including a memorable visit two days after the Aurora massacre in July. He has held 11 rallies at high altitude, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller, who keeps track of such things. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Joe Biden also have been frequent visitors. Colorado's electoral votes, and its decidedly purple voting record over the past decade, put it directly between Wisconsin and Iowa in the pantheon of swing states.
The state has a history of strong libertarian and conservative politicians. But today both of its senators are Democrats, and so is its governor. Unemployment was at 6.6 percent in January 2009. Now it has risen to 8 percent, roughly the national average. And yet if the president prevails -- the polls this week went in different directions -- folks on both sides of the divide will surely identify as a dispositive factor the presence on Colorado ballots of Amendment 64. It's the initiative that would legalize (and regulate and tax) small amounts of marijuana for use by adults.