Obama keeps message on economy during Florida stop
President Barack Obama speaks about trade policies with Latin America at the Port of Tampa in Tampa, Florida, April 13. Later today, Obama travels to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.
April 13th, 2012
02:23 PM ET

Obama keeps message on economy during Florida stop

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.

Obama’s victory in 2008 was in part fueled by the 67 percent support he received from Hispanic voters, a percentage the president’s reelection effort is hoping to build on in the wake of likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s tack to the right on issues of illegal immigration and the DREAM Act.

Meanwhile, the White House has billed the president’s trip to Tampa as a purely official event, though with the general election’s unofficial kick off earlier this week, no trip to Florida is without political overtones.

“I’ve been talking a lot about the fundamental choice facing America,” the president said at one point, in language that closely resembles that he has used at campaign events. “We should build an economy where everyone is playing by the same set of rules.”

Still, the president didn’t note his reelection effort explicitly in the 15-minute speech. Instead, he promoted the virtues of free trade within the Western Hemisphere while announcing a new program the White House is calling the Small Business Network of the Americas. Specifically, Obama said the new program would help businesses get financing and counseling on how to access new markets south of the border.

“This initiative is going to help our small business. Latino-owned businesses,” he said. “Women-owned businesses. African-American owned businesses.”

The president also touted his record on trade issues generally, referencing agreements signed by Congress last year with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.

“Soon there are going to be millions of customers for American goods in South Korea, Colombia, and Panama,” he said.

Republicans though were quick to hit back, noting the president’s record on free trade has been inconsistent.

“We are glad that President Obama has come around to see the foolishness of opposing free trade as he did as senator and presidential candidate,” said Jonathan Collegio, communications director for the GOP Super Pac American Crossroads.

Topics: Florida • Hispanic Vote • President Obama • Trade

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soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Biotechdev

    What do you mean "keeps" message on economy? The past few weeks have all been about Obama's focus on anytihing BUT – race wars, class wars and gender wars. The only thing he has talked about related to the economy is the Buffet Rule – silly election year theater. It raises 5 billion a year versus Obama's TRILLION dollar deficits. Really?

    April 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |


      April 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • Biotechdev

        Uh Oh – your posts are similar to a guy last night. Someone gave him good advice – cap the jug and take a nap

        April 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Biotechdev

      I almost didn't reply because it is so discouraging to see how uninformed Obama supporters are. Bush's deficits were well under 200 billion a year most of his 8 years in office. They went up a little when the Democrats took control of Congress and the budget. His highest deficit was in his last fiscal year in 2008 when the recession hit. It hit because of the crash of Fannie/Freddie. The GOP had been trying to regulate them, but the Dems wouldn't allow it. Go to youtube and watch them on Video just before the crash in "McCain's Early Recognition of the Fannie/Freddie Crisis". Listen to Dems like Barney Frank – VIDEO. When Obama took office he LIED and added the 700 billion TARP (which he supported) to Bush's deficit, making it 1,3 trillion. It was a lie because TARP was a LOAN. Then he promised to cut the fake deficit in half in four years, and STILL failed even though he stacked the deck. No American President has ever had the deficit spending of this one

      April 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
      • J.V.Hodgson

        You need Politico fact check.
        1) The deficit is made up presently of three main ingredients.
        a) Very high job losses in 2007 and continued until 2008 June caused by the global banking crisis of which Fannie Freddie were in fact bit players and the Bush generated bank bailout which dems supported.
        b) War costs Iraq and Afghanistan not included in Bush deficit budgets but kept separate as appropriations but they of course did land in national debt.
        c) The Bush trickle down temporary tax breaks passed in 2001 and still valid because of unconstitutional pledges to Grover Norquist. And Republican constant NO TAX INCREASES to lower deficits Including AJA and the Buffet rule.
        Yo need also to go to the We bsite that tells you the National debt the Obama administration inherited about $10bn.
        by the way check it out the current Romney /Ryan budgets are deficits (more tax relief to the rich and spend cuts the middle class bear) and Qed also increase the National debt.

        April 14, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • al in memphis

      I guess you miss Mr Mitty speech about building more ships and cutting taxes further. The proven formula for increasing debt and ruining economies. Of course, it does make the richer happier because that means more money and a lower tax rate that allow them to keep more of the money we will borrow from China to make ships that just around waiting for a war to happen.
      If you think making more weapons is a good base for the economy, study Russian history and see where their military spending got them. Better yet, just go to North Korea. Ignorance keeps you from understanding that the government had to step in a save the economy until businesses could access credit and capital to recover from the Bush recession. People don't realize how bad things were when business could not borrow money to meet payroll - what do you think would have happen then if something effective wasn't done.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • Biotechdev

        Sigh. In ten years we will spend more on the INTEREST on the money Obama is borrowing that Medicare and defense combined. The GOP has a plan – at least something – the Dems haven't put out a budget since Obama took office: On the ryan plan: On Spending – The Path to Prosperity spends $3.53 Trillion in FY 2013, a number that grows to $4.88 Trillion by the end of the decade. It restores full military funding to pre-Budget Control Act sequestration levels, off-setting those dollars elsewhere and preventing a harmful gutting of our national defense. It reduces spending by $5 Trillion over the next ten years, compared to Obama’s budget. It restores federal spending to the historical norm of 20 percent of GDP by 2015.
        On Deficits – Ryan’s blueprint reduces budget deficits by $3 Trillion over the coming decade, relative to Obama’s budget. Although it doesn’t happen immediately, and unlike Obama’s plan, this budget balances. Within the current decade window, it comes closest to primary balance by achieving a $166 Billion annual deficit in 2018 (to put that into perspective, 2010′s deficit under this president was $1.6 Trillion). The closest Obama’s budget comes to primary balance is a $617 Billion shortfall in 2017, which is still roughly double the size of President Bush’s average deficit.
        On Debt – Unlike President Obama’s unflinching debt express, the GOP budget’s lowers spending and enacts crucial reforms to chart a more sustainable debt course, allowing the United States to gradually begin paying down the national debt. The plan would retire the publicly-held debt by the 2050′s. Gross debt reached 100 percent of US GDP this year, an alarming tipping point — yet Obama’s new budget offers ever higher debt in perpetuity[.]
        Be sure to read it all. Ryan’s plan takes the right approach, but doesn’t go far enough. It’s not sufficient any longer to slow the rate at which we add to the national debt; we have to start subtracting from it. Now that we have reached the Greece threshold of debt at 100% of our GDP, we can’t afford to keep adding to it. Unfortunately for Ryan — who certainly understands the problem — he doesn’t have enough people in Washington that will show the necessary leadership to get that kind of approached passed and signed into law. Until voters get serious and toss Obama and other unserious spenders out of office, Ryan can’t do any better than incremental improvements, which I’ll take over the alternatives offered at the moment.

        April 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • DON


        April 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • jean2009

        You are right BioTech, the GOP has a plan.... they obviously didn't get the job done of completely destroying the American economy during George W. Bush's 8 years of epic failure. President Obama has worked hard to start to turn things around.... so now the GOP wants a second chance to complete the work of destroying the middle class.

        Oh! Steveo (misguided fool that he is) thinks he is an independent. LOL!

        April 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
      • jean2009

        Bio Moron doesn't understand the Russians spent themselves into oblivion trying to keep up with the U.S. arms race...and for a matter of fact so did that wasteful squandering wizard of military debt – Ronnie Reagan who tripled the national debt on military hardware which is now rotting in missile silos, rotting on airstrips in the desert, or anchored at pier being eaten by barnacles.




        April 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • mickeyd93

      What does Romney expect from Obama? Can't he see that Obama is much too busy running around with Al Sharpton and their Liberal Media Cronies. Hyping up that phony Trayvon Martin Race-baiting story down there in Florida!!!!!

      April 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Howard


      SHOCKING ABC News on Obama/USA Infrastructure

      Diane Sawyer reporting on U.S. bridge projects going to the Chinese.... NOT Americans.

      The bridges are right here in the U.S. and yet Obama has approved for Chinese contractors to come in and do the work. What about jobs for Americans???

      Watch this video. It doesn't take long to view.

      This one should be tough for the supporters of the current regime to swallow....AND it comes from ABC NEWS...no Snopes or Wikileaks on this one!!

      The lead-in with Obama promising jobs in the U.S. by improving our infrastructure is so typical of all his promises! Our tax dollars are at work – for CHINA!!!

      I pray all the unemployed see this and cast their votes accordingly in 2012!

      CLICK here: U.S. Bridges, Roads Being Built by Chinese Firms | Video – ABC News

      April 14, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    OBAMA 2012! PERIOD!

    April 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Ray E. (Georgia)

      Actually you have got that wrong. Reality is finally biting Obama. The Jobs report last week was slightly worse. That is why, (Finally), Obama is talking about the economy, 3 years too late. But we will see how the jobs picture goes this year. Maybe this will be the SUMMER OF RECOVERY.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  3. Lionel

    You go Obama. Give it to the Repugs.

    It's the second half and the game is not over. The Republicans wants the keys to White House after driving the economy into the ground with their Trillion dollar wars and Trillion dollar Bush tax cuts.

    4 more years, 4 more years...

    April 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Biotechdev

      Bush's deficits were well under 200 billion a year most of his 8 years in office. They went up a little when the Democrats took control of Congress and the budget. His highest deficit was in his last fiscal year in 2008 when the recession hit. It hit because of the crash of Fannie/Freddie. The GOP had been trying to regulate them, but the Dems wouldn't allow it. Go to youtube and watch them on Video just before the crash in "McCain's Early Recognition of the Fannie/Freddie Crisis". Listen to Dems like Barney Frank – VIDEO. When Obama took office he LIED and added the 700 billion TARP (which he supported) to Bush's deficit, making it 1,3 trillion. It was a lie because TARP was a LOAN. Then he promised to cut the fake deficit in half in four years, and STILL failed even though he stacked the deck. No American President has ever had the deficit spending of this one

      April 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • al in memphis

        If you believe Fannie/Freddie cause the recession, then you are really out of touch with facts. Wall Street and banks were creating all kind of unsecured betting games on mortgages. A 75000 house with $10 million worth of fake casino style bets on whether the mortgage would get paid. Banks creating mortgages that balloned up in 3 or 5 years and increase monthly payments by30% every six months, that's a system set up for failure and it was based on pure greed.
        When business had to layoff people because they could not access credit to met payroll, that only added fuel to the fire for people losing their homes and Wall street/banks having to pay off the ill-advised fake investment bets.

        April 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
      • Biotechdev

        The DEMS set up the housing bubble and refused to regulate it. And you know what – the Frank Dodd Financial Bill that Obama is so proud of DOESN'T regulate the hosung market that got us in ths trouble. Puzzling, isn't it?

        April 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • professor x

        Hide under a rock cause your no patriot, your a traitor to your country! Party over country even if your party's gonna sink the country.

        April 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Steveo


        The failures of Fannie and Freddie were factors! At the same time Clinton signed the Graham Leach, Billey Act into law. this act gave too much power to the banks and helped them become "too big to fail". We had two wars (which BOTH parties supported). All that Wall Street, bank stuff your talking about started by GLB being signed into law. Yes, the GLB act was written by the GOP member BUT signed into law by a DEM. There is more that enough blame for BOTH parties to share!

        April 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • Biotechdev

        Both parties may have had a hand in Fannie/Freddie, but when it was clear that a crisis was developing the Dems blocked the GOP from doing anything about it because they had control of Congress. Again – you can hear it from their own mouths on the youtube video "McCani's Early Recognition of Fannie/Freddie Crisis:. But the point of this article is that jobs an dthe economy have never been at the top of Obama's agenda – spending to appease his voting base and institute radical change – that's his priority

        April 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Steveo

        @professor x

        Hide under a rock cause your no patriot, your a traitor to your country! Party over country even if your party's gonna sink the country
        Really! Simply because someone else has a differing view point than your own makes them a traitor? Really? If Romney wins, will yoou the become a traitor? Were you a traitor when Bush was in office?

        While you may not be a traitor, you are certainly ridiculous!

        April 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • professor x

        I don't mind you giving your views but don't try and distort the facts and make up things. Look up things before you tout them, there's non partisan sites you can go to find the truth. Politicfact , Fact.check.org.

        April 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • jean2009

        Actually BioMoron the housing bubble was dreamed up and brought about by the Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act as in Republicans: Phil Gramm Senator R-Texas, James Leach Rep R-Iowa, and Thomas Bliley Rep. R-Virginia.


        April 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
      • grif99999

        professorx. Politifact and Factcheck.org are left wing partisan websites. Nice try though.

        April 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
      • sonnie3

        Fannie and Freddie was a democratic night mare that required banks to make sub prime loans. They were under water the day they were written. Any body that has not figured that out yet is a 6 laps behind in the race to fiscal responsibility
        This was the handy work of barneymanholefrank and chris dodd.

        April 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
      • Steveo


        1. Why do you ALWAYS omit the fact DEM president signed GLB into law? Who forced Clinton to sign it? Who forced other DEMs to give support? Acts have NO authority until they have been signed into law. Clinton-D signed it and you seem to want to forget that. if you are ashamed that Clinton signed that bill, just say so!

        2. What's up with the name calling? Why can't you just state you disagree with someone's point and explain why? It's not hard to do!

        April 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • jean2009

        @ Steveo Which goes to show that a bill designed to modernize banking may have had some good elements...but it is that little stealth bomb built in by the GOP designers that blew up in everyone's face. Did you ever wonder what else was going on in November 1999?

        It does look like George W. Bush in 1999 was already making plans to invade Iraq... if elected. Gee...that means before 9/11 before WMD. Those plans must have been solely about the war-profiteering. Do you think?.



        April 15, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • Steveo


        Per wikipedia:

        Atlantic Free Press, an online political website, was founded in September 2006 by Publisher Richard Kastelein of V.O.F. Expathos, in Groningen, The Netherlands. That Atlantic Free Press? The progressive/liberal Atlantic Free Press? Nothing biased there, right? Recently, Jean , and on this blog, somebody was slamming Fox news because of it's foreign ownership. What doesn't that same slam apply to the Atlantic Free Press as it is also foreign owned, Jean? I'll tell you why! Because it is progressive? So, only foreign owned news media is fine as long as it is liberal?

        Don't you think CNN would have carried such a statement, if in fact Bush made it? MSNBC nor NBC (both very liberal and very pro Obama) didn't even carry that!

        April 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Steveo

      Where you asleep when the Dems also voted to support and fund these two wars?

      April 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  4. rightytighty

    Obama has NEVER balanced a budget.., not even his own.

    April 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • professor x

      When I see post like your's it just gives me more evidence of how lost this nation is, and how misguided your mind is (brainwashed) pathetic.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • grif99999

        professorx. Wouldnt it be more effective to say why you think a post is wrong instead of just calling it pathetic?

        April 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • Sponge-Bob

        Uninformed? OK name a budget he has balanced or even reduced?

        April 15, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • sonnie3

      And he has no intention of doing so either. All he knows is spend, spend, spend,spend. and Bigger Bloated Government.

      April 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  5. pjoe

    Oh ... his teleprompter is talking about the economy. Which means "the bus" (see I'm learning). Oh my ... such a sad sad story. Is that bus out of the ditch yet? Does anyone have a tractor?

    April 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  6. sonnie3

    The great divider we have for a potus is trying his best to influnce some voters. At the expense of John Q. Public that funds the treasury. He ain't got a record to run on and his stimulus and printing of money to jump start the economy will funnel it way to his campain purse strings. He is not pursueing the American Dream but rather try to turn this into a entilement socalistic country. And That will be the ruin of our Freedoms and Liberties that made us # one in the world.

    April 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  7. george of the jungle

    The president talks about the economy taxes health care and jobs . Things the public care about . That twit mitt talks about gun control patriotism and slams the president every chance he gets, I would rather listen to the adult and work to slove current problems than listen to milktoast try to scare the public. Repos should get behind a strong education policy it is obvious they need one after reading post made here . Obama 2012

    April 14, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • jerry

      Americans are buying guns and ammo like never seen ...they believe obama will go after them in a second term...as they did before he was elected. YOU MORON! FACT IS OBAMA SHOWS DISREGARD FOR OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS... and that is all we have...our precious BILL OF RIGHTS!

      obama showed you who he is wilt the Russian open mic screw up...so what else do you need to know...to wake up? Elect Mitt and you might just stay out of the bread line...

      April 14, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  8. jerry

    another stupid speech in Florida and off to Columbia where the secret service agents are getting a party together.

    April 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  9. Tschrny Wolf




    April 15, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Sponge-Bob

      Has it ever occurred to you that growing the economy would get people jobs so that we don't have so many people on food stamps, welfare, etc? That should be the goal but doesn't seem to be, the Buffett rule doesn't do that at all and won't even affect the debt.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • John

      This is one of your dems. No wonder BO continues to get votes...

      April 15, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Steveo

      Are you telling us absolutely NONE of these programs existed until Obama became president?.

      April 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  10. Allen Gingrich

    Everyone commenting on this post looks like an infant. It's absolutely pathetic.

    April 15, 2012 at 5:22 am |
    • John

      You just posted here...

      April 15, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  11. leukevent

    Hard to believe that some here refuse to see the relationship between the Bush era tax cuts--which are still in effect across the board, our two wars (cost as of June 2011, 2.3 to 2.7 trillion and climbing -"Costs of War" by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies – REUTERS), the economic downturn of 2008 and our current massive budget deficit. Not to mention the under-regulated financial industry's 'we'll take your money for nothing by selling you worthless mortgage backed securities, scam'!

    Yes, we can all agree that it's a complicated matter, however--The GOP and Tea Party argument for opposing the Buffet Rule or any other form of tax increase for the wealthy (that it will kill economic growth by killing investment) doesn't hold water. The fact is, the wealthy have been enjoying their disproportionate tax break all along-–so, where is the investment! Oh, I see, they haven't wanted to invest because they're concerned that the tax break would be repealed at some point in the future. Naahhhh!

    We did just fine, and grew as a nation, with the taxes under Clinton and Obama is simply asking for comparative rates!

    April 15, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  12. leukevent

    So many of you taking digs at Obama are clearly full of it. The Republicans and the Tea Party are trying to sell the American public on the idea that we should already be out of this mess-all the while playing obstructionist politics and doing a good job at it too, based on so much of the vacuous drivel I've read on this board.

    The entire world experienced an economic crises beginning in 2008 and continues in recession for the most part and I bet you would say that's Obama’s fault too!

    Of course none of you care to know that as long as 10 years after the beginning of The Great Depression US unemployment was as high as 14% until WWII started and industrial demand kicked in!

    I propose that no one elected to the office of President could fair as well or have so great an impact! And, as with the Great Depression, there is still a long tough road ahead and the President has repeatedly said as much!

    His detractors, particularly those who vote in the House and Senate would do better to help govern, as opposed to impeding him--While the middle-class is squeezed, the poor grow poorer and the wealthy sit back on their heels, lining their pockets and protecting their ass-ets!

    April 15, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Sponge-Bob

      Put the cork on the kool-aid jug then study what President Harding/Coolidge inherited and how quickly they turned it around and even paid off 1/3 of the debt.

      April 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  13. lance

    liberals are the ones bankrupting this country, try supporting american manufacturing instead of proping up communist china and running up the national debt. halt the flow of iimmigrants flooding into america and leave open jobs for american born citizens.

    April 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  14. SiriusVH

    You can find a rather well researched analysis of the fiscal condition of all states in the union in the following article published by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

    States Continue to Feel Recession’s Impact
    By Elizabeth McNichol, Phil Oliff and Nicholas Johnson
    Updated March 21, 2012

    Beware, this article does not contain any GOP hogwash.

    April 16, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • jerry

      hey dope...the center on budget and policy priorities is a left wing political organization ran by a career bureaucrat(from the FDA). You have got to be a moron to quote this organization...or stupid or both.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  15. jerry

    obama can not run on his record...even his obama care is failing the legal test and he is supposed to be schooled in law and more specifically constitutional law....if he is not competent in the law he certainly is not competent as President of the United States of America...and his results prove that.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  16. pc games

    Usually I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very great post.

    November 15, 2012 at 12:18 am |