The Rocky Mountain News today in an editorial calls on Sen. Barack Obama to “take Denver off the hook” and chip in for the August convention.

Make the calls to your donors, Sen. Obama. Send the e-mails. Denver should no longer be on the hook for Democratic National Convention expenses. A few exhortations to your supporters could quickly retire the city’s remaining obligations.

After all, Denver is simply providing the venue for Barack Obama’s nomination. It’s his party. It’s only appropriate to ask his contributors to ensure that the celebration is a rousing success.

Obama has raised $265 million so far. He’s now opted out of public financing. Why is he not helping out?

The Obama team could shake the sofa cushions at his headquarters, relatively speaking, and go a long way toward meeting the city’s goal. Think about it: Denver’s $11 million shortfall might be 2 percent of the money the senator will raise during the campaign.

Moreover, Obama’s decision Thursday to reject public financing will let him tap a wider range of donors, large and small. With public financing, Obama could spend a mere $84 million for the general election. Now, thousands of new donors can participate.

Obama says 1/3 of his contributions come from small donors. If they are small donors, they haven’t maxed out their $2,300 limit. And those who have maxed out can still contribute to the Denver Host Committee:

Those who have maxed out have another outlet. They can help Denver and guarantee that Obama doesn’t take a PR hit for sticking it to his host city.

As for Republicans, the Rocky notes:

By the way, St. Paul, Minn., the Republican National Convention’s host city, has its own worries. The Twin Cities’ host committee reported Monday it had commitments for $31 million, but some of that included “in-kind” contributions such as phone lines, food and computer services. Denver may be in better shape because its $29 million is all cash.

Bottom line: This is Obama’s party. His supporters should want it to be the best it can be. Colorado Democrats have raised $31 million from private and corporate donors. It’s time for Obama to step in.

Leaving Denver (or St. Paul) with open tabs would send a clear but unfortunate message to other cities of similar size that might consider hosting a future presidential convention: Forget about it.