Swinging through Colorado Springs last weekend to stump for themselves and fellow candidates, Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Senate candidates Wayne Allard and Tom Strickland all banged the drums of war, saying Americans are "united" behind the Bush administration's threats to invade Iraq.
They were met, however, with a series of anti-war protests.
On Friday evening, more than 100 people rallied on the Colorado College campus against Cheney, who was attending a class reunion with his wife, Lynne Cheney, a CC alumna.
Protesters held signs and banners, waved to passing motorists and chanted, "One, two, three, four, we don't want your bloody war." Many expressed concern about civilian deaths and the danger of sparking more terrorist attacks.
The next morning, some 50 anti-war protesters lined up across from Antler's Adams Mark Hotel, where Cheney was speaking at a fund-raiser for Marilyn Musgrave, the Republican candidate in the 4th Congressional District, in northern Colorado.
Inside, Cheney -- whom Allard introduced as "the president of the United States" -- repeatedly said the nation is "at war" and promised this would be the case for a long time. "We are probably closer to the beginning of this conflict than we are to its end," he said.
Defending the administration's Iraq policy, Cheney emphasized the new doctrine of pre-empting threats "before they materialize," saying, "The government of the United States will not look the other way as threats gather. ... The hopes of the civilized world depend on us."
About 200 people attended the fund-raiser, most of them Republican activists and politicians who paid $500 each for a plate of grilled petite fillet and jumbo shrimp.
On Sunday evening, Strickland and Allard descended on the Penrose Library downtown for a scheduled debate. Both emphasized their support for the congressional resolutions authorizing force to overthrow Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.
"He is the most dangerous ruler in the world," said Strickland, the Democratic candidate. He said a bipartisan coalition is building to act against Iraq, although the majority of Democrats in the House voted against the war resolution. "I think we're seeing the American people come together behind the president."
Allard, the Republican incumbent senator, likewise said that the Iraqi threat is an issue that has "transcended partisan politics ... the American people are united."
Outside, meanwhile, about 30 people rallied against war, many saying they supported neither Strickland nor Allard for Senate.
"Neither of these candidates are in opposition to the war on Iraq, and that's not acceptable," said Jean Ferguson, an activist with the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission. "They don't represent many Americans."
-- Terje Langeland