Bill Richardson calls for votes of 'cambio' in West Tampa
WEST TAMPA -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, formerly a 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, called on Tampa Hispanics to vote early for Barack Obama at a rally today.
Supporters waved signs calling for "cambio," Spanish for "change," as Richardson called on supporters to vote for Obama, vote early and get others out to vote, too. About 100 people attended the 11:25 a.m. event at Salcines Park on N Howard.
"Are we going to go vote? Let's go vote!" Richardson said. "Si se puede!"
He spoke of Obama's plans to create jobs in alternative energy and withdrawal from the war in Iraq. He said Obama could create a nation that cares about Latin America, Africa and Asia -- not just affairs in the Middle East.
Phyllis Busansky, who is running against incumbent Buddy Johnson for Hillsborough County's supervisor of elections, briefly took the stage to echo Richardson's go-vote message. "We can win!" Busansky said.
In an earlier interview, Richardson said Hispanics are key to this year's election and he said he's confident Obama will snag a slight majority of their votes.
"They want, more than anything, they want action," Richardson said of Hispanic voters. "They're sick of the hard-line policies on Cuba from the Republicans, and then nothing happens. And promises of comprehensive immigration reform, and nothing happens. And their immigrant kids' not being able to afford college."
The governor's next stop is Orlando, where he'll continue his get-out-the-vote push.
"For the first time, we have a chance to win Florida," Richardson said. "We cannot take this race for granted. If Florida goes Democratic, we win the election."
After the speech, supporters filed across the street to the West Tampa Library, an early-voting location, to cast their ballots.
"I love ya, Tampa!" Richardson yelled. "Let's go vote!"
Kim Wilmath, Times Staff Writer