JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo - GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Sunday laid blame for a flagging economy on President Barack Obama and touted energy independence and growing small business in his first rally in Colorado in almost two months.
Romney campaign officials said about 7,000 people attended the evening rally in a football field at D'Evelyn Junior/Senior High School. Romney will host another rally in Pueblo tomorrow.
"These promises he (Obama) has made, we don't have to guess what the results are going to be," Romney said. "We've seen the results, we don't like the results, that's why that man needs to get out of that office and let someone get there who will take America in a different course."
Romney's Colorado swing comes after a rough week for the campaign. A fundraising video leaked last week showed Romney characterizing 47 percent of the country as "victims" who are "dependent on the government."
The governor has only had five events in the last seven days and the Obama campaign has been using the video to paint Romney as out of touch.
But Romney's state director James Garcia described on Sunday the next 45 days as a double down on the candidate's message of energy independence, promoting small business and opening up trade across the country.
Colorado is still very much in play as every national poll puts Obama and Romney within a few points of each other - mostly within the statistical margin of error.
On Sunday in this swing county where active registered voters are split almost evenly between Democrats at 31 percent, Republicans at 36 percent and unaffiliated voters at 32 percent, Romney sought to define his message.
He pushed energy independence, school reform and opening up trade barriers.
"We have kind of an ace in the hole that came along to us because someone learned how to drill into the earth, not just vertically but horizontally," he said, talking about oil and gas hydraulic fracturing. "I will double licenses and permits, and I'll make sure we'll drill in the outer continental shelf and drill in Alaska and bring in that pipeline from Canada."
On education, Romney said, "we cannot sit still with our schools performing nationwide in the bottom third."