BOULDER — Tens of thousands of people are squeezing into the University of Colorado's Norlin Quad today to hear President Barack Obama deliver his second campaign address in Colorado in a week.

By 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the gates even opened, the line to get in stretched past a half-dozen campus buildings, around a corner, up a street, around another corner and up another street to the entrance to University Hill. Supporters carried signs and wore "Obama 2012" T-shirts but mostly stood fanning themselves on a day where bright sunshine had already pushed temperatures into the 80s.

Chris and Tricia Higgins landed a spot near the stage, when a friend of Tricia's who works for the campaign got them choice tickets. The Higginses brought their 1 ½-year-old son, Will. They said they are excited to see Obama in person.

"This is just an inspirational place to be, to hear directly from President Obama," Tricia Higgins said

The Higginses said they agree with Obama on health care, education, the environment and other issues. Chris Higgins said he agrees with Obama's stand that government can exert a positive influence of social welfare.

"Counter to what you're heard the last week," Higgins said in reference to last week's Republican National Convention, "the government does have a role on helping out people. It's not always me, me, me. It's us."

Admiration of Obama was not in short supply around the campus Sunday. Standing beside the line to get in, Laura and Jim Ferenc held aloft a sign that read, "Obamacare(s). Saving my sister!!!"

Laura Ferenc said her sister, Stacy, is a mother of two battling ovarian cancer. They said Obama's signature healthcare initiative, the Affordable Care Act, would help Stacy keep her health insurance and sustain her fight.

"It's a life-saver," Laura Ferenc said.

"We like the 's,'" Jim Ferenc said of the sign's added letter at the end of Obamacare, "because it's what Obamacare is really about. Obama cares."

The president's speech is expected to focus on his plan to help the middle class, a theme Obama intends to hit repeatedly in campaign stops this week leading up to his appearance at the Democratic National Convention. He will also likely touch on his campaign's voter-registration efforts among young people, especially college students. That was a focal point of his appearance last week at Colorado State University, where he urged students to engage in a competition with rivals at CU to see who could register the most new voters.

Obama dubbed the contest the "Rocky Mountain Rumble," and — given the results of Saturday's "Rocky Mountain Showdown" — Obama will likely encounter a crowd Sunday eager for payback.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, or