June 14th, 2011
01:12 PM ET

Obama has political reasons for quick trip to Puerto Rico

President Barack Obama made a rare presidential visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, greeting a cheering crowd to start a five-hour trip aimed as much at Puerto Ricans on the mainland as those on the island.

The roughly 4 million residents of the U.S. Caribbean territory are American citizens but can't vote for president, while the almost 5 million Puerto Ricans living in the 50 U.S. states have full voting rights, and Obama needs strong support in 2012 from what traditionally has been a largely Democratic constituency.

In particular, an influx of Puerto Ricans has come in recent years to central Florida, a key swing state in Obama's re-election campaign. Other states with large Puerto Rican communities include New York and Connecticut.

However, high unemployment and crime rates back in Puerto Rico, as well as the continuing debate over possible U.S. statehood or independence for the island, adds uncertainty to Puerto Rican political support.

Obama's trip, the first official presidential visit to Puerto Rico in 50 years, shows "the importance the Hispanic vote has in his re-election campaign," said political analyst Angel Rosa.

Rosa noted that in Florida, Puerto Ricans from the island have boosted the Hispanic population in Orlando and central regions.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Puerto Rico • U.S.
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. banasy

    @CSinSC:
    Or *course* Virginia is a state, also, lol. You knew what I meant...

    June 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    @Frank:
    Mr. President has stayed in the White House much, much more than GWB.
    He took, what, over 800 days of vacation while in office?
    Vacation, mind you.
    That's 100 days of VACATION per year he was in office.
    So, please, just stop bashing Mr. President, already.
    He IS working on fixing messes he inherited....

    June 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      BRA vo.

      June 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLG

      Incredible how the truth can be manipulated. Do you really think that the pres of the US is ever REALLY on vacation but especially @ camp david? It has a full communications compliment. It is completely plugged in. He held cabinet meetings there, met with foreign dignitaries. Held strategy meetings. Camp David is a change of venue, not a vacation. The pres receives a daily PDB 7 days a week, they don't get weekends, they don't work 9-5, they don't get sick days. They maintain decision making power and makes decisions 24/7. They make those decisions based on information that you and I will never know and worst yet they carry the weight of those decision and the backlash and criticisms of those decisions that they are unable to defend to the public because of national security. It is a thankless job that, quite honestly, only a lunatic would want – be they Republican or Democrat.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • chrissie86

      Yes, thanx for making that perfectly clear to some people that don't know better.
      The President has been fixing problems that was left unattended from the last president in office and to me he is doing a darn good job at it too!!
      People should respect the fact that we now have a great president in office and I hope and pray that he is re-elected this year again!!

      June 15, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. gung hoe

    I called this one yesterday when cnn reported michell went to hollywood supposedly working more like vacation i knew the prez would be going somewhere to work errr vacation which if you stop and think about it ever since they took office its been one big vacation except when they get back together on sunday to go to their racist church

    June 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gung hoe

    Hey banasy the messes he inherited was the one financial mess created by senators dodd and barney i gay and toothless frank other than that the mess that obama is cleaning up is when he goes number 2

    June 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Asela M. Crumley

    Why do you keep asking Luis Gutierrez about Puerto Rico? He does not represent the 3.7m american citizens that live in PR. He represents the interests $$$$ of the Popular Democratic Party who would like us to stay as we are without the benefits and opportunities that becoming the 51st state would bring us. Please make clear that his parents were born in PR; he was not born here, pays no taxes here and does not represent any Puerto Rican except those that live in Chicago.

    June 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mmmmm

    It seems to me, 24 years of republican bullsh!t...well...it takes awhile to wheelbarrel out all that manure out of the whitehouse.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. jracforr

    Puerto Rico will eventually break with the USA because the wishes of the Hispanic population cannot be met in a British Protestant society that is why we have a Spanish South America If we recognise that fact we can make the necessary changes to accomodate the new reality .Culture plays a large part in our lives and this presents a great problem in trying to assimilate people of diverse background.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
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