( – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, never one to identify himself too closely with controversial or partisan causes, gave a short speech defending a woman’s right to choose Tuesday afternoon at a rally organized by Planned Parenthood ahead of Wednesday night’s first presidential debate here.
A late addition to the slate of speakers at the group’s “Ask Mitt” rally on the Auraria Campus, Hickenlooper criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who stated earlier this year that he wanted to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.
“I imagine when Mitt Romney comes back and looks at some of the positions he’s taken in this campaign, he’s going to have a hard time rationalizing that with pretty much everything he’s spoken and stood for for the rest of his life,” Hickenlooper said…
Hickenlooper…began his speech describing his mom, an ardent supporter of women’s rights.
“My mother raised four kids by herself and she was very focused on her household, but also focused on what kind of a world was out there for us,” Hickenlooper said.
“There wasn’t a lot of money left at the end of the week, but at the end of the year, she’d get all of us together and make three contributions. One was to the college she’d gone to. One was to the local relief organization that helped homeless folks.
“And the third one – every year, she gave to Planned Parenthood.”
For someone who does try to follow the center line and not stick his neck out, this is big in two ways: Hickenlooper expending political capital in a controversial area, and doing so in a potent partisan manner.
The “Ask Mitt” rally was part of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes plan to paint Denver pink in the days leading up to the first presidential debate, one of many protests and political actions planned for Denver. Hickenlooper was preceded by CO CD-1 Representative and chair of the House Pro-Choice caucus Diana DeGette, a fiery Senator Micheal Bennet, and some local citizens who spoke about the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship and contraception used for medical purposes, and was followed by PPAF President Cecile Richards. The college students in the hall were fired up as were the three or four anti-choice protestors trying to raise a ruckus outside.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet went even further, saying the choice is between Obama, who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions: “And the other ticket that is to the far right of their party, they do not represent the views of Colorado’s Republicans.”
The Obama Campaign has been borrowing a page from Bennet’s 2010 playbook, when he squeaked out a win by painting his Republican opponent, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, as an extremist on social issues. The campaign seems to be hinging a large part of its Colorado strategy on this, especially in TV ads that have been blitzing the airwaves here since Paul Ryan joined the Romney ticket.
This seems like it could be a safe strategy for Hickenlooper as Planned Parenthood has huge favorability locally and nationwide, Personhood has been shot down twice at the ballot box and aborted before the ballot this year, and the “Bennet Playbook” has proven successful already.
But for someone who is rumored to harbor ambitions to higher office, is the Governor stepping into shark-filled waters?