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Obama talks about women's health at Auraria rally

Campaign stop draws more than 4,000

8/8/2012
President Obama standing with Sandra Fluke


By David Kelly | University Communications

DENVER – An upbeat, energized President Barack Obama told more than 4,000 cheering supporters and students Wednesday that if he wins Colorado he will win the White House.

“I still believe in you and if you still believe in me…we will win Colorado and if we win Colorado we will win the election!” he declared to a boisterous crowd inside the events center on the Auraria Campus.

 

This was Obama’s second visit to the campus since October and it was sponsored by the Veteran Student Organization.  

The president made the campaign stop to tout his health care plan, focusing specifically on how it benefits women, a critical constituency in what will likely be a close election.

He was introduced by Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University Law School student vilified as a `prostitute’ by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh after she asked that the Catholic university provide coverage for contraceptives.

“When I was publicly attacked I saw that our rights could be rolled back in the blink of an eye,” Fluke told the audience.  

She said simply being a woman should not be treated by insurance companies as a `preexisting condition,’ resulting in higher premiums or denial of coverage.

When Obama finally bounded onto the stage, his shirt sleeves rolled to his elbows, he immediately talked about the Aurora theater shootings and the killing of six Sikhs in Oak Creek, WI by a lone gunman last Sunday.

“We have to put an end to this kind of senseless violence,” he said. “As one American family, we need to come together to take a look at every way we can to put an end to this.”

Ultimately, he said, it won’t be the killers who will be remembered, but the resolve and courage of the survivors and those who died.

But the president was here to address women voters, who polls show tilt his direction. A huge banner that read, `Women’s Health Security,’ hung over the stage.

President Obama claimed his Republican opponent Mitt Romney's policies toward women were "more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century." And he touted his signature political achievement, the Affordable Care Act, as a boon to women’s health.

“They call it Obamacare,” he said. “I actually like that name, because I do care.”

Under the plan, he said, insurance companies will have to cover contraception. Such drugs, he said, not only prevent conception but are also used to prevent cervical and ovarian cancer.

“Nearly 99 percent of women have relied on contraceptives at some point and many have struggled to pay for it,” he said.

The president, with a large contingency of women sitting behind him on stage, asked how many in the audience had gone without a check-up or medical treatment because of money.

Hundreds of hands went up.

“I don’t think that a working mom in Denver should have to wait to get a mammogram just because money is tight,” he said. “My opponent said on his first day in office he’d take the Affordable Care Act and `kill it dead.’ I don’t think insurance companies should control the care you get.’’

The president also attacked Romney for his stance on whether women should be paid the same as men for the same work.

“When my opponent was asked about equal pay for equal work his campaign said, `We’ll get back to you on that,’’’ Obama said. “I think of my daughters Malia and Sasha and I say we aren’t going to have an America where they have fewer choices than someone else’s sons do.”

After urging everyone to make calls and knock on doors for his campaign, the president plunged into the crowd shaking hands and signing autographs.

Bruce Springsteen’s `We Take Care of Our Own’ played in the background.

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Contact: david.kelly@ucdenver.edu

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