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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Romney, GOP 'welcome' Obama to Florida



The partisan reaction to President Obama's travel to Disney. 

And here's a report from the Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei:

Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, blasted Obama for what Priebus called "yet another taxpayer-paid campaign day."

"Obama's goal while he's in Florida is to right this sinking ship," Priebus said, comparing the president's poll numbers in Florida to "one of the drops in Space Mountain."

Though Obama will be speaking about tourism policy, Priebus and other RNC officials characterized the trip as the president trying to make an appeal to Hispanics, a coveted voting bloc particularly in Central Florida's swing I-4 corridor.

Bettina Inclan, the RNC's Hispanic outreach coordinator, said Hispanics would not be easily persuaded to support the president when the Florida unemployment rate for that demographic sits at 13 percent.

"President Obama can live in the land of make believe," she said. "It's not a time for campaigning."

When a reporter asked whether Republican Gov. Rick Scott's low poll numbers would help or hurt the president, Priebus said of Scott, "He's not on the ballot. The president is."

"Heck yes, I think he's doing a good job," Priebus said of the governor. "He's doing everything he can to do a good job."

Pressed about the GOP's position on Obama's expected tourism announcement to draw more tourists from emerging economies, Priebus acknowledged that it's not the policies Republicans have a problem with, but with the president's trip itself.

"I'm not saying that every single thing here is a bad idea," Priebus said. "I'm not saying this particular trip is something that's awful...[But] he can do a tourism press conference from the White House....Why isn't he in Mississippi? Why isn't he in Alabama talking about tourism? He's in Florida because it's a battleground state." 

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[Last modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:19am]


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