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President Obama Rallies Grassroots Supporters in Denver

President Obama stopped in Colorado Wednesday as part of a two-state swing with events mostly geared at fundraising for his re-election bid.

The president started his day by giving the commencement address at the Air Force Academy before heading to downtown Denver where his campaign threw a fundraiser for grassroots supporters at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

"We have come too far to abandon the change that we fought for over these past years," Mr. Obama told the estimated crowd of 550 supporters, most of whom had paid between $250 and $500 for a ticket.

In the roughly half-hour speech, the president touched on everything from military issues to gay rights to the "don’t ask don’t tell" policy which he recently repealed. He also narrowed his attacks on Republican challenger Mitt Romney, taking aim at his economic and tax policies.

The president said under his watch, US manufacturing jobs are on the rise for the first time since the 1990's.

"I’m running to make sure that the next generation of high tech manufacturing takes place in Denver, in Cleveland, in Pittsburgh," Mr. Obama said. "I don’t want to reward businesses that are investing, creating jobs overseas, I want to reward them for investing right here, in Colorado."

While the president was courting his base in a key swing state inside the hotel, a small crowd of Republicans gathered on the street below. 

Amy Cooke drove down from Greeley to protest the president’s energy policies, waving a sign at passing drivers that read “Mothers in Love with Fracking.”

While Cooke was lukewarm about her party's presumed nominee Mitt Romney, she wasn't hiding her opinion on President Obama's performance so far.

"Four more years of him is a disaster," Cooke said. "It’s a disaster for my kids,  it’s a disaster for our country, I will not vote for four more years of him."

President Obama carried Colorado easily in 2008 but this year the race is predicted to be much closer.  He and rival Mitt Romney have been ramping up their fundraising efforts lately.  Recent campaign finance reports have shown Romney to be closing in on the president’s once wide lead in donations. 

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