Mile-High Headlines for Monday, November 3

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The Final Countdown A small plane flew a banner reading “McCain Is a Raiders Fan” over a packed Invesco Field during yesterday’s Broncos game against Miami, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The impish jab, by the liberal ProgressNow group, was a distraction for Raiders-hating Broncos fans, some likely to have received joint Republican National Committee/John McCain campaign robo-calls portraying Democrat Barack Obama as soft on crime, according to Politico. No, McCain isn’t giving up on Colorado. Despite what the polls say, he’ll be in Grand Junction on Tuesday, following today’s visit by his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, to Colorado Springs (via the Rocky). The Obama family was greeted by about 16,000 people in Pueblo on Saturday, according to The Pueblo Chieftain, where, according to this Wall Street Journal blog, Barack pointed out that Vice President Dick Cheney has come out of his “undisclosed location” to endorse McCain, an attempt to solidify perceptions that there is little difference between McCain and President George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama will campaign for her husband at Dakota Ridge High School in Littleton today. Down Ticket Things aren’t shaping up very well for Colorado Republicans this Election Day. “Early voting projections are disastrous for GOPers in this state,” writes Marc Ambinder on his blog at The Atlantic. Colorado might have been named by Spaniards for its largest river–the one filled with red silt–but it appears the state is tilting heavily blue this election, a rare event, as ABC News notes, with implications for Dems down the ballot. That’s good for Barack Obama, because overall, as The New Republic writes, the presidential race appears to be in the hands of five states: Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Nevada. Indeed, it seems Tuesday will be a day of reckoning–and waning influence for Colorado’s evangelical fundamentalists, as Salon reports after checking in with the congregation at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Dems shouldn’t get too smug. Third-party “wild cards” like Ralph Nader and Bob Barr possess “small but tangible followings” in several battleground states, including Colorado, writes The Boston Globe. And all bets are off if there are widespread problems with the way the election is handled, as Panorama noted last week, here and here.

Ritter: The Frugal One Scoff all you want at those spend-happy Democrats. Governor Bill Ritter just doesn’t want you to count him as one of them. Despite plans to end a hiring freeze and create 907 new state jobs, the words he’s using to describe his latest budget are “frugal” and “conservative,” according to The Denver Post. He spoke of “tough economic times” in unveiling the 2009-2010 budget, which has about one-third fewer dollars for highways and other transportation needs than current spending. He also wants a $77 million “rainy day” fund. The new employees, Ritter says, are needed to contend with growing prisons and increased need for social services. He also hopes the state legislature will agree to increase spending in education, prison building, and developmental-disability services, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The Big Picture at Newspapers, Please As Panorama noted last week, the circulation numbers for The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News are abysmal. Not that circulation is the only way to measure a ” so-called newspaper’s” worth, complains the Post’s Matt Baldwin, vice president of research for MediaNews Group. After all, these are hi-tech times, and many people read the news online, as the Denver Business Journal notes. In a letter to the Post’s letters page, Baldwin writes that the Post has more readers than ever. He is “baffled” at the newspaper industry’s “self-flagellation”–its constant reporting of declines in print publications while failing to “properly position the reality of media transformation” to potential advertisers and readers. Judging newspapers by the number of papers they print “makes no more sense than counting the number of television sets to evaluate a TV station,” he adds. In three years, weekly unique visits to the websites of the Post and News climbed from 827,582 to 1,286,070, Baldwin notes. Boulder’s Naked Truth Every Halloween for the last decade, certain Boulderites have removed their clothing, placed carved pumpkins on their heads, and run down city streets like wild imbeciles. It’s called the Naked Pumpkin Run (warning: nude photos), and this year’s run unfortunately led to a clash with police. Twelve runners were cited for indecent exposure on Friday, an action police say was necessary to maintain civil order, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera, which notes the event now attracts hundreds of participants. Following the citations, pumpkin backers were miffed, resorting to the predictable argument: Police should focus their efforts on violent crimes. The citations also led a man clad in a red cape, holding a sword, to clamber to a high point in front of the Boulder County Courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall to lead a chant: “Let them go!” See more in this video posted to CNN. Broncos Drop to 4-4 The Denver Broncos’ solid start this season has evaporated. The team is now 4-4 after mustering just 14 rushing yards on 12 attempts in a 26-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Invesco Field, according to the Rocky Mountain News. It was nearly the worst game ever in terms of rushes. The single-game record low for Broncos running yards (13) was back in 1972, against the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos would have nabbed the record if Andre Hall hadn’t run for seven yards in his only attempt late in the fourth quarter. Nuggets Drop Another Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony “felt as if he was playing in Army boots” in his first game on the court following a two-game suspension stemming from a drunk-driving charge earlier this year. That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes the Los Angeles Lakers had the advantage of sleeping in Denver while the Nuggets were on a plane early Saturday morning, before the season opener at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets beat another Los Angeles team, the Clippers, on the road Friday. The Nuggets, the Rocky writes, simply “ran out of gas” in the 104-97 loss to the Lakers before a sellout crowd. Audiodose: Dr. Marc Ringel undergoes total knee surgery today–perfect timing for the election. If the “wrong team wins,” he reasons on KUNC radio, he’ll at least be able to enjoy the pain medication. It’s not just his knee that hurts. He’s become sick–sick of the campaigns, the ads, the counter attacks, and the robo-calls. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.10, Sunmart, 7170 Pecos St. (via