It was all about feeling the love inside Arapahoe High School on June 20 as Michelle Obama stumped for her husband, President Barack Obama.
“She is grace and passion and joy of motherhood and love of country all wrapped up in one perfect package,” Maggie Fox, Sen. Mark Udall’s wife, said of the first lady.
Outside the school in Centennial, not so much love.
“It’s political. It’s bogus,” said Mimi Bell of the Colorado Hispanic Republicans, addressing Obama’s recent announcement on immigration reform. “He’s so desperate in his campaign right now that he’s grasping at straws.”
She joined a couple dozen other protesters gathered at the corner of Dry Creek Road and University Boulevard to rail against Obama’s policies on immigration, fracking, taxes, government spending and more. They held signs declaring support for Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney and fracking, and big ones reading, “Will work for gas.”
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the small number of protesters were well behaved and required little or no law enforcement attention.
Inside, all the signs praised the president and the first lady, who started out by sending good thoughts to Colorado residents affected by the myriad wildfires around the state. She thanked the firefighters for their heroic service, and the communities for pulling together to support each other.
“America stands behind you every step of the way,” she said to cheers from the crowd of about 2,800.
She didn’t break any news during her visit to Arapahoe County but spoke passionately about her husband’s efforts during the last three years.
“I’ve seen how the issues that come across a president’s desk, they’re always the hard ones. Always,” she said. “They’re the problems with no easy solution, because when there is one, somebody else comes up with it. The judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there’s no margin for error. And as president, you’re going to get all kinds of advice and opinions from all sorts of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your life experiences, are your values, is your vision for the country. That’s all you have. It matters. In the end, it all boils down to who you are and what you stand for.”
Outside, the protesters didn’t like anything about what Obama stands for. Steve Heidenreich said taxes, inflation and government spending have all been out of control since Obama took office.
“Everything is going up,” he said. “It’s terrible.”