LITTLETON, Colo. —
"They're trying to paint him as this fire-breathing dragon in those suburban counties, and it's not working," said Rich Beeson, Romney's political director.
They believe Obama is especially vulnerable on issues of rising federal debt in such areas, as young parents fear leaving a broke government to their children.
And those fears are easy to find among Panera voters as well. Mark Warter, 48, owns a small remodeling firm in Loudoun hit hard during the downturn, as homeowners delayed revamping their kitchens and bathrooms.
Business is now improving, he said, but he fears rising spending under Obama.
"I just think a lot of times, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican depends on what you think of the general human condition," he said over lunch with his two daughters. "Do you think that people are going to take help and say, 'Thank you. Now I'm going to go help myself?' Or do you think they're going to get comfortable getting helped?"