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Romney on the Stump in Colorado Oil Fields

GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney brought his campaign to Fort Lupton Wednesday where he spoke to a small crowd of supporters at an oil and gas drilling site that lies at the heart of the current drilling boom in northeastern Colorado.

It was Romney’s first visit back to Colorado since his disappointing second place finish in the February caucuses. But he got a warm welcome from the founder of Denver-based K.P. Kauffman Company, an oil firm that employs about 200 people locally.

Standing in a field in front of one of his drilling rigs, Kevin Kauffman heaped praise on Romney during a brief introduction.

“I am pleased today to have the high honor to introduce to you someone who fully understands the continuing value of the responsible development of our oil and gas reserves, Mitt Romney,” Kauffman said.

Romney then quickly went on the attack in a roughly twenty minute speech. He said President Obama shouldn’t get credit for what’s been a recent rise in oil production during his administration, because most of that drilling is occurring on private lands like those at the Fort Lupton site.

“I’d like to take credit for the fact that when I was Governor, the Red Sox won the World Series,” Romney said. “But neither one of those would be the case.”

Romney’s visit to a reliably Republican corner of the state is an example of how his campaign is trying to rally the base in this important swing state. It seemed to be working for Cassidy Gunnel, a stay at home mom who lives in nearby Firestone.

“People, their eyes need to be opened at how terrible Obama has done so far, I mean, it kills me that people still want to vote for him,” Gunnel said, as she tried to snap a photo of Romney after the rally.

Still, the Romney campaign also knows it must woo independents who outnumber Republicans and Democrats in Colorado. Democrats Wednesday issued a barrage of statements and press releases saying the former Massachusetts governor’s economic policies are too extreme for Colorado voters.

Editor's note: click "listen" above to hear KUNC's Kirk Siegler interviewed by host Erin O'Toole live on All Things Considered this afternoon.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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