Whalen Gymnasium, halved by a partition, a wall adorned with blue banners cautioning We cant afford another four years and We need a real recovery, pulsated with energized Republican supporters Monday afternoon.
Talk of debt, deficits and taxes held sway. Those in attendance were unified in their conviction that President Barack Obama has mismanaged the economy since taking office.
CJ Alderton, 53, thought the United States would benefit from more business friendly leadership, and was especially fond of Paul Ryans reputation as a policy wonk.
(Ryan) carries 40 pounds of notes around all the time. Hes continually studying the budget and is the first person to confront the issue of entitlements. I appreciate someone courageous enough to tell the truth. For me, its about math. Adding $1 trillion of debt a year is the wrong direction, Alderton said.
However, he was ambivalent about Colorado coming under the swing-state microscope and disliked how politics can engender division between neighbors.
Im ready for the acrimony to be over, he said. At the end of the day, were one country and need to coalesce around one vision.
Deb Andersen was another who respected Mitt Romneys private-sector acumen.
Who better to run our government than a businessman? she asked rhetorically.
Many attendees criticized the Obama administration for profligate spending a real-time national debt clock towered ominously over the crowd, tracking each new dollar of debt and its response to the September attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Im livid. I speak for a lot of people. Its a scandal. Theyre covering up the truth, said Robin McGhehey, 43. (The attack) was a heinous thing. We havent lost an ambassador since 1979. As Americans, we take care of our own.
The euphoria was palpable, but a few dissenters were not impressed.
About two dozen sign-wielding Democratic sympathizers stood outside ready to welcome the delegation, local Obama fan Dick Dahl said.
Dahl had broken off from the main group after the rally and stood isolated among a sea of Romney-Ryan supporters exiting the gym.
I was a Republican for 25 years. I voted for Nixon and Reagan twice. Not since, he said.
Dahl acknowledged Americas rising debt under Obama, but maintained government spending was appropriate with the economy in the tank.
Meanwhile, Tom Williamson was confused by what he had seen inside. He described the crowd as a strange amalgamation of monied people and social conservatives concerned about God, gays and guns.
I dont understand. Some people in this audience dont have health insurance. They will vote for the guy who wants to give out vouchers instead of preserving Medicare and expanding coverage, Williamson said.