Barack Obama is due to campaign in Boulder, Colorado on Thursday night to fire up this liberal bastion and try to snuff out a libertarian challenge which threatens to siphon crucial votes.
The president hopes to shore up support in the swing state and neutralise Gary Johnson, who is running for president on the Libertarian party ticket, just days ago after the former New Mexico governor electrified students at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
The maverick Johnson remains barely known to most ordinary Americans but is expected to take votes from Obama – and Mitt Romney – in Colorado on the back of enthusiasm for a separate vote on November 6 over whether to legalise marijuana.
Hundreds packed a university auditorium to hear him speak on Monday night. Dozens who did not fit inside lined the corridors, ears straining to catch the words. All cheered and whooped Johnson's calls for social tolerance and a radically downsized government.