JACKSONVILLE (CNN)–Florida is an up-for-grabs state and both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are locked in a neck and neck race trying to convince voters their policies will help fix the nation's economic problems.
Thursday, the president made his fourth campaign stop in the last month to the state that represents a whopping 29 electoral votes.
In the reliably Republican city of Jacksonville, the president offered his supporters a reason to stick with him then cast a wider net by going after his opponent on an issue that resonates with senior voters–Medicare.
"He plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program," the president told a crowd of some 3000 people at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. "Now, Florida, that's the wrong way to go... We shouldn't be squeezing more money out of seniors who are just barely getting by right now. My plan is to squeeze more money out of the health care system by eliminating waste, and going after abuse and fraud in Medicare."
Senior citizens make up 18 percent of Florida's population.
The Obama re-election campaign says the president's policies will strengthen Medicare, a view not shared by his opponent.
White House (CNN) - In a Fourth of July ceremony at the White House, brimming with political undertones, President Obama hosted a naturalization ceremony for more than two dozen active duty service members.
"[T]his is one of my favorite things to do. It brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas," Mr. Obama told the audience of new Americans and their families.
The White House has hosted similar naturalization ceremonies in previous years but never on Independence Day. And while the newly minted citizens came from countries around the world including Russia, the Philippines and Cameroon, about half were Latinos, a key voting block in the upcoming election.
President Obama heads south for a day trip to Florida today. He'll be speaking at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) at Disney World in Orlando which is where Mitt Romney spoke yesterday to the same conference where he had a mixed reaction from the audience. Obama's remarks today come a week after announcing the changes in immigration policy for young immigrants. He also won 67% of the Hispanic vote in 2008 so he's likely to get a better review from the conference attendees. After his remarks in Orlando, he heads to Tampa, where he'll have a campaign event at the Hillsborough Community College- this time likely targeting younger voters. He returns to DC late this evening.
For the full schedule, click below. FULL POST
Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Touching down in the key campaign state of Florida for the second time this week, President Obama pledged to further promote trade with Latin America and unveiled a new federal program to aide small businesses exporting south of the border.
“In Latin America alone in the last decade, tens of millions of people have stepped into the middle class,” Obama said to a group of small business owners at the Port of Tampa. “That means they have more money to spend, we want them to spend more money on American-made goods. “
The quick visit to Tampa comes ahead of the president’s visit to Cartagena, Colombia later this evening, where he will attend the Summit of the Americas. The two-day gathering with leaders from the Western Hemisphere will specifically focus on economic and trade issues in Latin America.
While I am in Colombia talking to other leaders, I am going think about you,” the President told the group. “I want to sell our stuff and put Americans back to work.”
The summit also provides the president with a convenient opportunity to promote issues that his campaign no doubt hopes will resonate with certain Hispanic voters, specifically development in Central and South America and more federal assistance to businesses that have trading relationships with countries there.
Calling Republicans in Congress the "roadblock" to getting comprehensive immigration reform passed, President Barack Obama seemed to bristle when Univision radio host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo pressed him on breaking his 2008 campaign promise to Latinos.
"I would have only broken my promise if I hadn’t tried," the president told Sotelo in a radio interview broadcast Wednesday.
"But ultimately, I’m one man," the president continued. "You know, we live in a democracy. We don’t live in a monarchy. I’m not the king. I’m the president."
Mr. Obama drew a clear contrast between himself and his potential Republican challengers telling Sotelo, "[W]e haven’t seen any of the Republican candidates even support immigration reform. In fact, their leading candidate said he would veto even the Dream Act, much less comprehensive immigration reform," said the president in a reference to Mitt Romney's promise to veto any bill that would open a path to citizenship for some undocumented young people.”
When asked if he felt he still had support in the Latino community, a voting block of some 12 million, the president answered with bravado.
"[M]y presidency is not over. I’ve got another five years coming up. We’re going to get this done. And absolutely, we have strong support in the Latino community because they’ve seen what we’ve been working on."
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) –President Obama's west coast swing is expected to yield big rewards for his 2012 re-election campaign, and attract some Hollywood heavy hitters.
A Democratic official estimates the campaign will haul in more than $4 million dollars from six fundraisers in three states.
At a fundraising event in Las Vegas Monday at the Bellagio Hotel, 300 people are expected to attend with tickets starting at $1000.
Later, the president will travel to Los Angeles for two star-studded events.
One is a dinner at the home of Producer James Lassiter and his wife, Mai, with tickets going for $35,800, the legal limit an individual is allowed to contribute to a campaign per cycle and to a party committee per year.
The other is a $5,000 per person event at the home of actress Melanie Griffith-Banderas that will include high-profile Latinos in Hollywood. Actress Eva Longoria, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro are expected to be in attendance, the official said. FULL POST
Washington (CNN)– It is one of the most influential voting blocks and key to the 2012 presidential election, but President Obama's popularity continues to decline among Hispanic and Latino voters and now the president is facing criticism for once again skipping a major Latino convention.
The annual conference of NALEO, The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, is being held this weekend inSan Antonio,Texas. For the third year in a row, the president declined to speak at the conference. The White House says it's simply a scheduling issue and the president cannot make it to every conference he would like to attend.
But Latino leaders, even members of the president's own party, are critical of the administration's lack of leadership in crafting a comprehensive immigration reform policy. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D) IL Friday told CNN, "I supported this president and I want to see him re-elected." FULL POST