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Colorado's Hickenlooper Looks to Stay Positive in Home Stretch


Politicians from coast to coast, and on both sides of the aisle, are now making their final push to Election Day. In many races this means the campaigning is getting uglier and nastier, with attacks coming hard and fast.

But not every race is quite so nasty: Denver mayor and Democratic Colorado gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper says he has made it his mission to keep his campaigns (first for mayor and now governor) positive.

That means no "Demon Sheep" or "J.D. Huckster" for Hickenlooper. Just a hint simple messaging, a pinch of quirkiness, and a dash of humor for good measure.

Take Hickenlooper's "Shower" ad, which might just win the "most positive campaign ad" award (if it existed).

On Friday's Washington Unplugged, Hickenlooper spoke with CBS News chief political consultant Marc Ambinder, who asked if his "shower promise" might go down the drain now that 3rd Party candidate Tom Tancredo appears to represent a serious threat. Hickenlooper has for much of the campaign benefited from a split on the GOP side, but Tancredo has lately emerged as the consensus choice of Republicans.

Hickenlooper was adamant that even with 11 days left, he'll keep his message positive.

"We made that commitment for a reason," he said. "These negative attacks ads are such short-term, they're appealing to anger and frustration, but they really leave jagged scars."

Before becoming mayor of Denver in 2003, Hickenlooper was a business owner, having founded The Wynkoop Brewing Co. He said he brought a business mindset to his campaigns.

"There's a reason why General Motors doesn't do attack ads against Toyota or McDonald's against Burger King," He told Ambinder. "When you do an attack ad, not only are you putting down your competitor or opponent, but you're also diminishing all the people who believe in them."

Hickenlooper also questioned negative campaigns in the first place, arguing they cause long term problems.

"What happens is, after the election, people can't come together," he said, "and I tell people that Election Day, November 2nd is not the end, it's the beginning and we need Democrats and Republicans and independents, everybody has to come together."

Watch Friday's Washington Unplugged above, also featuring this week's Flash Points with CBS News senior national security analyst Juan Zarate and CBS News senior political producer Jill Jackson with Hot Ads of the Week.

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

Lauren Seifert
Lauren Seifert is an associate producer for You can read more of her posts here. For more Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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