Trump beguiles Colorado Springs while Klobuchar woos Aurora

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AURORA | While President Donald Trump rallied Republicans — and praised Sen. Cory Gardner for his loyalty — in Colorado Springs Thursday night, Democratic candidate Amy Klobuchar took to Aurora to campaign, a week and a half before the state’s presidential primary election day.

Trump predicted the previous night’s Democratic debate would be the end of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign, and Klobuchar’s campaign was also mortally wounded.

“I think you lost two last night,” Trump said, adding that “it looks like Bernie” will emerge as the Democratic nominee.

Klobuchar’s rally attracted about 1,100 at Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace. 

“I go not just where it’s comfortable but where it’s uncomfortable,” Klobuchar, a U.S. Senator in Minnesota, said. “I’m not going to leave areas like Aurora behind.”

Klobuchar laid out her plans for the country’s highest office: firing education Secretary Betsy DeVos, focusing heavily on K-12 education, lowering prescription drug prices and building upon the Affordable Care Act. 

Meanwhile, Trump was exuding re-election confidence, after taking in the prior night’s prize fight of a Democratic debate in Las Vegas. He reveled in the intra-party squabbling and the weak debut debate performance turned in by Bloomberg, according to aides and allies.

“I don’t know if anyone watched last night’s debate,” Trump told an arena of raucous supporters. “It got very big ratings, and you know what, Mini Mike didn’t do well last night. I was going to send him a note, saying, it’s not easy doing what I do is it?”

He offered other biting assessments of the Democratic contenders, contrasting them to his own performance in debates four years ago.

“I became president because of the debates because unlike Mini Mike I could answer questions,” Trump said. 

Feeling re-election odds rising after his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial and his campaign’s record fundraising, Trump seized on the deep divisions and personal tiffs on display in the Democratic field. But his preoccupation with the scrambled nomination race for the Democrats seeking to replace him has been clear throughout the trip.

In Aurora, Klobuchar called those she shared the stage with the night before her friends. “Yes, we’re friends,” she quipped, adding that her record of winning makes her a viable candidate to take on Trump. 

If she were to face Trump, she said, she’d remind him that the middle part of the country — like Aurora, like her home state — isn’t just flyover country.

In Colorado Springs, Trump was rallying support for Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who is considered one of the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election this year.

“We are going to win Colorado in a landslide, and you’re going to help us get Cory Gardner across that line because he’s been with us 100%,” Trump said, referencing his vote in the impeachment trial. “There was no waver with Cory.”

Klobuchar gave shoutouts to Aurora Congressman Jason Crow, Sen. Michael Bennet — who she said is missed on the campaign trail — and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is vying for a chance to face Gardner in November.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report