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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama cares about FL?

Maybe it's time to cool the speculation about Barack Obama writing off Florida's 27 electoral votes. The day after the Illinois senator is expected to win a majority of the delegates for the nomination, he is planning to make up for lost time by kicking off a three-day Florida campaign swing in the Tampa Bay area on May 21. He also recently sent a campaign worker to Miami to work on voter registration, and more are expected soon.

"It just confirms what everyone on the Obama campaign has been saying — not only will we compete in Florida but we'll compete in every part of Florida," said Miami lawyer Kirk Wagar, Obama's Florida finance chairman. "He has to introduce himself to the people in Florida in a way that he won't have to in all the other primary states (where) he's competed, but he has the time and the resources and the message," Wagar said. "

Obama hasn't exactly acted like a candidate eager to win the hearts and minds of Florida voters.Since August, he has done no campaigning in Florida except private fundraising. He signed a pledge to boycott Florida's officially meaningless Jan. 29 Democratic primary, has refused to talk to Florida reporters, and repeatedly brushed off Hillary Rodham Clinton's calls to count the 1.75-million votes in that Democratic primary.

"He's got a lot of work to do and the time to do it, and I have no doubt he can do it," former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis said of Obama's Florida prospects. "Florida is a purple state. Just as the country was in the mood for change two years ago, I think Florida is in the mood for change this year, and Sen. Obama has a unique opportunity to be heard."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:57am]


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