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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On the first day of the Democratic National Convention here Tuesday,  every speaker who took the podium, every surrogate doing television interviews, seemed to be on message, celebrating President Obama’s accomplishments and drawing stark contrasts with Republican Mitt Romney.

But Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, in an interview with FOX31 Denver, went off the script, openly criticizing the Obama campaign for its sustained effort to pressure Romney to release his tax returns.

“It’s unfortunate that this campaign has gone all over the place where we’re talking about someone turning in their tax returns, things that really don’t matter to me,” Hancock told FOX31 Denver. “Someone else’s tax returns are not going to put food on the table of my neighbor who may have been unemployed for a year.”

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The answer came in response to a question that had nothing to do with tax returns: “how do you think the president is going to win Colorado?”

“If you talk about the issues that matter to me the most: my safety, my children, my education, my jobs, my health care, now you’ve got my attention, and I’m going to tune in. So we want to turn that conversation back to the things that matter most, and the president’s been doing it. We want him to get more on that platform, and I think you’ll see more of that in this convention.”

It was a Cory Booker turn for Hancock, who also named Booker first when FOX31 asked him which other U.S. mayors he identifies with the most (Hancock had just attended a U.S. Conference of Mayors luncheon prior to the interview).

Booker spoke at the DNC on Tuesday night and electrified the Democratic crowd.

The Newark, N.J. mayor likely would have gotten a better speaking slot had he not criticized the Obama campaign earlier this summer for attacking Romney’s record as CEO of Bain Capital — a criticism echoed by former President Bill Clinton, who, incidentally, speaks in primetime Wednesday night.

Hancock is not a delegate, nor was he given a speaking slot at the DNC. He traveled to Charlotte to attend meetings and to promote Denver, which will play host to the first presidential debate on October 3.

Asked to clarify whether he was truly disappointed in the Obama campaign’s focus on Romney’s tax returns, Hancock said this:

“I think it’s my role as a Democrat, as a mayor who supports the president, to say to the president and his people, ‘Listen, it’s not about Romney; it’s about the American people’.

“And that’s just part of being an adviser and a friend and someone who supports you.”