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Obama In Puerto Rico

June 14, 2011 by USA Post 

Obama In Puerto RicoObama In Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico has a tradition of erecting a statue of an American president visiting the U.S. territory, but the chisels of the sculptors have been inactive for a long time: John F. Kennedy was the last president to make an official visit to the island in 1961. The chisels have been busy chipping away at stone once more, however, as President Obama plans to visit Puerto Rico for a couple of hours on Tuesday at the end of a journey that is also in North Carolina and Florida.

North Carolina, Florida and Puerto Rico…? The first two are political battleground states Obama won in 2008 and would love to hang in 2012. But the people of Puerto Rico, while U.S. citizens are not entitled to vote in U.S. presidential elections. So why stop there is a tactic in what otherwise looks much like a campaign tour?

RECOMMENDED: How well do you know Puerto Rico? A questionnaire.

The answer lies in demographics, with the press on two major political parties are made to win the vote of the nation’s burgeoning Hispanic.

Puerto Ricans comprise the second largest Hispanic population in the largest U.S. after the Mexican-American. More Puerto Ricans – almost 5 million – live in the continent in the Caribbean island, where the population is decreasing.

And while traditional communities mainland Puerto Rico are the primary in New York and other northeastern states, more recent immigrants have tended to favor Florida. Puerto Ricans now make up about 5 percent of voters in a state where Obama is expected to need every vote he can get.

“How do you explain the president’s visit to Puerto Rico is the fact that there are about 1 million Puerto Ricans in Florida,” says Susan Kaufman Purcell, director of the University of Miami, the Center for Hemispheric Policy. “Florida is a swing state, and those are the voters who want to achieve and would like to count votes.”

But government officials insist that the visit has a broader purpose, and really reflects the emphasis of Obama has given Puerto Rico since taking office.

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