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Crime, Iraq, Ethics Top Issues in Colorado House Race

“We gotta fasten him down sometimes because he is always fired up on behalf of the people he seeks to serve,” Obama said of Perlmutter’s energy on the campaign trail. “He understands that this is not simply about ambition, but this is about services.”

Obama spoke before a crowd of 1,300 people in Aurora, Colo., the Rocky Mountain News reported.

The race to fill the 7th District seat vacated by Bob Beauprez, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is considered one of the closest in the country with the district’s voters split among Democrats and Republicans.

On the national scale, both parties’ political action committees together have spent over $1 million on contributions and campaign ads combined.

State Republicans dismissed Obama’s appearance Tuesday as just one liberal supporter of tax increases helping another.

“His Illinois liberalism doesn’t sit well with the Western sensibilities of the people of Colorado,” Colorado Republican Party spokesman Bryant Adams told the Rocky Mountain News. “His message of tax hikes and weaker national security will not resonate here.”

As Election Day draws close, the district’s Republican candidate Rick O’Donnell, the former head of the state’s Higher Education Commission who is trailing slightly in the polls, has done his best to injure Perlmutter in the eyes of voters.

He has accused Perlmutter of wanting to overturn tax cuts pushed by President Bush in 2001 and 2003, the Denver Post reported, and has criticized Perlmutter in one controversial campaign ad for voting against a 1997 bill to inform sexual assault victims of sex offenders in their neighborhood.

After an investigation into the ad, an article in the Rocky Mountain News found that it had failed to explain that the proposal’s Republican sponsor had urged Perlmutter and others to vote against the measure hoping to toughen its language the following year.

Perlmutter’s record on crime, as well as both candidates’ stance on troop levels in Iraq, has topped the issues leading the campaign.

Earlier in October, Perlmutter attacked O’Donnell for calling for thousands more troops to help stabilize Iraq.

“My opponent wants to add 75,000 troops to Iraq under a leadership that has bungled it from the very beginning,” Perlmutter said during a debate.

“We can’t leave a failed state with the third-largest oil reserves in the Middle East to become an even worse breeding ground for terrorists,” O’Donnell responded.

The candidates’ ethical behavior also has caused ripples on the campaign trail.

While O’Donnell accuses Perlmutter of accepting donations from clients of his wife’s Washington lobbying firm, Perlmutter accuses O’Donnell of taking his girlfriend on a trip to Panama financed by the CBS television network.

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