Some environmentalists, in particular, weren't all that thrilled that the former oil industry scientist sat down with energy industry executives for friendly negotiations. In one particularly memorable instance, the governor drank a glass of fracking fluid to prove that it didn't harm humans.
Mr Hickenlooper explained that he was trying to gain their trust--and that the talks led to real regulation of methane emissions. "They're mad that I did stuff," he said. "We actually did stuff. So sue me." They won't sue him, but they might not vote for him, either.
Reception at the SXSW conference: Mr Hickenlooper is an affable man, and that came across in his appearance. They have a saying about where nice guys finish, though.
His biggest idea: During his hour-long interview Mr Hickenlooper said that the 2020 presidential race would be a "campaign of ideas". So, after his talk, I asked him which ideas set him out from the crowd. "I think I'm the one person that demonstrates the idea of action, of actually accomplishing things," he said.
"Action" isn't really an idea, I said. He went on to talk about healthcare, environmental regulation and workforce training. It wasn't exactly stand-apart-from-the-crowd material.
His biggest challenge: Mr Hickenlooper's focus on co-operation may have won him political success in Colorado, but it also made him some fierce critics.
On immigration, Hickenlooper said both sides need to sit down and that hardliners must accept some realities. "To think we're ever in this country, that was founded and defined by immigrants, to expel 10 million to 11 million people is crazy," Hickenlooper said.
The above quotations are from South-by-Southwest political conference.
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