Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Before rally in Tampa on Friday, President Barack Obama will address Hispanic leaders

ORLANDO — Before President Barack Obama arrives in Tampa today to rally as many as 3,000 people, he will make his case to Hispanic leaders in Orlando.

Obama will have some explaining to do, even with the heavily Democratic crowd at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference in central Florida.

He last addressed the group in 2008, vowing that comprehensive immigration reform "is a priority I will pursue from my very first day." It never happened.

Four years ago he also reminded the Hispanic elected officials of the grim economy at the tail end of a Republican administration.

"For eight long years, Washington hasn't been working for ordinary Americans. And few have been hit harder than Latinos and African Americans," he said then. "You know about the families all across this country who are out of work, or uninsured, or struggling to pay rising costs for everything from a tank of gas to a bag of groceries. And that's why you know that we need change in this country."

As he heads to Central Florida today, Obama has little to boast about on the economy.

The national unemployment rate among Hispanics was 11 percent in May, almost 3 points higher than the national average of 8.2 percent. The unemployment rate among Hispanics was 6.5 percent in early 2008. A Pew Research Center survey in January found that nearly 6 in 10 Latinos reported that someone in their household was out of work in the past year.

Courting Hispanics, especially Puerto Ricans in the Orlando area, is a key part of Obama's strategy for winning Florida's 29 electoral votes. A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed Obama leading Mitt Romney in Florida 46 percent to 42 percent, while a national Associated Press-GfK poll found Obama with 47 percent support and Romney with 44 percent. The Florida poll showed Obama leading among Hispanic Floridians by 10 percentage points, though margin of error for that sample of Hispanic voters is considerable higher than the poll's overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

Hispanic voters nationally backed Obama over John McCain in 2008 by a more than 2-to-1 margin, and national polls have shown the president leading by a similar margin among Hispanics in recent months. Romney is now softening the hard-line rhetoric he used in the primary when talking about undocumented residents and trying to narrow Obama's lead among Hispanics by focusing on the economy.

"I would ask each of you to look at the last 3½ years, and ask whether we can do better," Romney told the NALEO conference Thursday. "Is the America of 11 percent Hispanic unemployment the America of our dreams? I know we can do better."

The president will address the group at midday and then fly to Tampa for a campaign rally at about 4:15 p.m. at Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry campus. No more tickets are available for that event.

The Obama campaign wouldn't disclose how many tickets were given out. But Ashley Carl, a spokeswoman for HCC, said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times that the gymnasium seats 1,084.

"They are planning for guests to stand as well," Carl said. "There is a formula for standing room space which would be determined once the staging is set. We held close to 3,000 in the gym when President Clinton visited."

Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler and researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@tampabay.com.

Before rally in Tampa on Friday, President Barack Obama will address Hispanic leaders 06/21/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies on Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre put Texas ahead 4-3 when he scored after two wild pitches.
  2. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  3. 13-year-old Janessa's father holds memorial service at Rogers Middle School

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — About 100 people sat in the tile-floored multipurpose room Saturday at Rodgers Middle School where Janessa Shannon once sat as a student.

    A mourner embraces Nahshon Shannon after the memorial service for Nahshon’s daughter, Janessa, Saturday at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview.
  4. Trump: Aircraft carrier a symbol of America's might (w/video)

    Politics

    NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.

    President Donald Trump commissions the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.
  5. Kushner discloses additional $10M in assets

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner "inadvertently omitted" more than 70 assets worth at least $10.6 million from his personal financial disclosure reports, according to revised paperwork released Friday.

    Kushner