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Obama kicks off Rocky Mountain showdown

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By Adam Aigner-Trewogy | CNN White House Producer

BOULDER, Colorado (CNN) -- Visiting his second Colorado university in less than a week, President Barack Obama tried to spark a little voter registration competition on Sunday between two traditional sports rivals.

"I know you guys are a little bummed out about the game yesterday. I know the Rocky Mountain Showdown did not go down the way you wanted," the president told a crowd of 13,000 at Colorado University on Sunday.

The C.U. Buffaloes lost their annual football matchup against cross-state rivals Colorado State University on Saturday, but Obama said he was going to give them a chance to "get even."

"We are giving the Buffs and the Rams a second chance to go at it this fall," he said. "We've set up a Rocky Mountain Rumble to see which school can register more voters, C.U. or Colorado State."

On Tuesday the president held a rally at C.S.U. in Fort Collins, which helped the Rams jump out to a 41-voter lead in the new competition, he told the crowd.

"But today we are in Boulder, so let's get it done," Obama said.

On all three stops thus far on his "Road to Charlotte" tour, the president has pushed crowds to register voters and cast votes early. This push mirrors a confidence expressed by senior Obama campaign officials at a briefing with reporters in August that their campaign's organizational advantage could help them gain an edge with early voters in key swing states like Colorado.

The officials told reporters that in 2008 a majority of votes were cast either early or by mail in Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado - all states both sides will be fighting over in November.

In Colorado alone, "77% of voting in the state happened by vote-by-mail or early voting," Obama campaign press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Saturday. "So we know how pivotal it is."

Much of the rest of the president's remarks mirrored his message to Iowa voters on Saturday. Calling the Republicans' message better suited for the last century than the current one, Obama said that last week's GOP convention was a "rerun, it could've been on Nick at Nite."

Portraying the election as a choice between two very different visions for America, the largely supportive crowd gathered here booed as Obama outlined his opponents' proposals.

"Don't boo. Vote," the president told them.

Previewing his acceptance speech at Thursday's Democratic Convention in Charlotte, Obama said, "I'm going to offer you what I believe is a better path forward - a path that will grow this economy, create more jobs, and strengthen the middle class."

The president continued, "The good news is, you get to choose the path we take - now you can go with their plan to give massive new tax cuts to folks who have already made it or we can go forward with my plan, to keep taxes low for every American who's still trying to make it."