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Listen to Me: Spotlight Colorado

President Obama; photo by Chris Schneider/Getty Images

In Golden, Colo., President Obama greets the crowd after a campaign event on Sept. 13. By Chris Schneider/Getty Images

While President Obama was in Nevada preparing for Wednesday’s presidential debate, his rival Mitt Romney campaigned in Colorado, hosting an evening rally in Denver, the city that will host their first official meeting on stage. Over the past few months, both campaigns have focused on the key swing state of Colorado in hopes of capturing its nine Electoral College votes.

So, what topics are on the voters’ minds there this election cycle?

Health care was most frequently cited as an important issue this election cycle by the Colorado voters interviewed as part of the NewsHour’s Listen to Me project.

“I’m nearing retirement age in a few years and I worry about the resources being there,” Leigh Sperry said. “I don’t want my own children having to take care of me as an aging parent.”

The voters also came down on either side of the Affordable Care Act. For Lauren Pagnard, the most important issue is repealing the health care law: “I believe that it goes against our constitutional rights, and it’s going to financially bankrupt the country.”

Don Hall of Centennial disagrees. “I think the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, has taken us a long way down the field. It’s not perfect, but it’s far better than anything we’ve had. And I really am troubled that if Obama were to lose, we’re going to go backwards and I don’t think healthcare will ever be taken on again because of the political dangers of it.”

Aside from health care, the issues voiced by the voters ranged from education to social security, from campaign finance to the direction of the country.

According to recent polls, the president leads Romney by a slim margin in the state, which he won in 2008 by nine points.

Although most of the Colorado voters interviewed said they thought the political system was broken in some way, the majority said they are hopeful about the future.

“You can get pissed off about politics, but you got to step up and do something about it,” said Dave Whiteman. “And I think this country will thrive. We’re in a down time right now, and a lot of bad things with the recession and the economy, but it will turn around.”

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