DENVER— Locked in an intense fight for support in the Democratic primary process, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders came to Colorado Saturday night in agreement on the news of the day.
Both denounced Republicans for suggesting that President Obama should not be allowed to appoint a replacement to the US Supreme Court after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia at a Texas ranch.
Clinton spent a lengthy stretch of her speech calling GOP pledges to block a nominee to the high court “outrageous.”
“The longest successful confirmation process in the last four decades was Clarence Thomas, and that took roughly 100 days,” Clinton said. “There are 340 days until the next president takes office, so that is plenty of time.”
Clinton went on to point out that Justice Anthony Kennedy was appointed in an election year and took direct aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “very disappointing” and “totally out of step with our history and our constitutional principles.”
McConnell said earlier Saturday that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice," and that “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Sanders (who spoke second at the event) spent far less time than Clinton on the issue, but echoed the sentiment toward Senate Republicans.
“Apparently they believe that the constitution does not allow a Democratic president to bring forth a nominee to replace Justice Scalia,” Sanders said. “I strongly disagree with that and I very much hope that President Obama will bring forth a strong nominee and that we can get that nominee confirmed as soon as possible.”
Sanders, who only recently embraced an identity as a Democrat, drew loud applause in the room packed with Colorado’s party faithful.
The crowd was slightly more energized for Clinton. The room was packed with elected Democratic officials, most of whom have already committed their support to her.
Both candidates are vying for support from Colorado Democrats in the March 1 caucuses, which Sanders has a credible shot at winning.
“I believe that on Super Tuesday people are going to be very, very surprised about election results here in Colorado,” Sanders said. “We are tapping a nerve in the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans.”
The bulk of Sanders’ speech mirrored the topics that led him to nearly tie Clinton in Iowa and defeat her heavily in New Hampshire, railing on Wall Street as a corrupting influence on the power structure of the country.
Clinton gave that issue a nod, but sought to broaden her appeal to the liberals in the room with a host of other topics: she decried efforts to outlaw abortion by conservatives in Colorado and pointed to family members of people killed in mass shootings who support her.
After referencing the attack on the Colorado Springs abortion clinic and the fact that it is soon to reopen, Clinton tried to drive home her stance on guns.
"The Planned Parenthood shooter should've never had that gun in the first place," Clinton said.
Both candidates spent time in Nevada on Saturday before the event in Denver.
Democrats caucus February 20 in Nevada, then in South Carolina before Colorado and the other Super Tuesday states.
(© 2016 KUSA)