DENVER — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has often been revered for his down-to-earth nature. At times, that portion of the business owner-turned-politician’s personality causes him to stumble through public addresses.
Just ask Christine Scanlan, who serves as the governor’s chief lobbyist.
“Watching the governor at a microphone is kind of like watching a baby cross the highway,” Scanlan has been quoted as saying. “You just never know if he’s going to make it.”
Hickenlooper’s State of the State address on Thursday was no different, with the governor getting painfully close to concluding the speech when he hit what may prove to be one of the most memorable — and humorous — road blocks of his career.
Reaching what he would later laughingly refer to as the “crescendo” of his address, Hickenlooper found his tongue in a knot as he tried to describe the Coloradans who have “punched holes in the darkness” over the past year.
“Working together, we can punch holes in some pretty big … We … Oh Jesus,” Hickenlooper said.
The Capitol erupted in laughter — Hickenlooper was no exception. Eventually he finished off the speech with the help of one final religious reference.
“Working together, we can punch some pretty big holes in the darkness,” Hickenlooper said. “Thank you very much. Thank you for making Colorado a better place. God bless Colorado.”
A short time later in his office, Hickenlooper sat down with reporters and seemed to be kicking himself over the flub.
“I should have said, ‘Oh, rats!’” he said. “But really, at that point, I think only Jesus could have saved me.”