COLORADO SPRINGS — President Barack Obama has taken the stage to relay a message directly to the middle-class on the leafy lawn of Cutler Quad at Colorado College, the last stop of his two-day campaign tour of the state.
After thanking various dignitaries and cheering on the US Olympic team, Obama launched into the fray of the "intense campaign" before the estimated crowd of 4,200.
"Four years ago we came together to restore the basic bargain to restore the middle class," Obama said.
"We understood it would take more than one year or one term,' Obama said, noting that that goal came before the financial collapse made the task even more difficult.
At previous stops, the president has assailed Republican challenger Mitt Romney for his tax plan, his stance on wind energy and made a weighted charge that the former Massachusetts governor would revert women's rights back to the way they were in the 1950s.
In Pueblo earlier in the day, Obama hit Romney for what he says is a defense of lower taxes for wealthier Americans.
"I do not need a tax cut," Obama said. "We need to keep taxes low for working Americans like you."
A report the Obama campaign released Thursday charges that here in Colorado under Romney's tax plan about 560,000 small business owners earning under $200,000 would face an average tax increase of over $500. Romney's campaign has dismissed similar claims as "a joke."
Pepper Beasley stood in the shade of a pine tree on the quad, dressed in a red T-shirt with an American flag draped across the front.
"It's a perfect day to see the president speak outside," said Beasley, whose husband Joe is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. The couple live on the Air Force Academy in northern Colorado Springs and are supporters of Obama.
"I hope he talks about his health care law, and continues to ask why Romney won't release more of his taxes ... his dad released almost a decades worth, what's he got to hide?"
Four years ago, Obama received 40 percent of the vote here in El Paso County — one of the most conservative pockets of the state.
First-time voter, and CC junior, Sean Paraham sipped on water in the afternoon sun, waiting in anticipation of Obama's visit.
President Obama in Colorado
"My first election and the first president I'll vote for will be Obama," said Paraham, who is originally from Fayetteville, Ark. "Just in my opinion he has the right vision for the country. It's really going to be something sweet to see him speak."
Meanwhile, several blocks from CC, a Romney campaign bus that's been trailing Obama for much of his visit will stop at a downtown Colorado Springs park where Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will meet with GOP supporters.
Wednesday Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who is rumored to be on Romney's short-list of potential vice presidential picks, held a rally at Sports Authority Field at Mile High lambasting Obama as a president whose first-term has been filled with failed promises.
Kurtis Lee: 303-954-1655, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/kurtisalee