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2012 troubles ahead for Obama in prized Florida?


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Washington Examiner:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama has problems in Florida that he didn't have when he won the prized state in 2008.

The state's economy is worse than elsewhere. Foreclosures are high. Property values are low. As president, Obama could be blamed.

Voters' shifting attitudes show the degree to which the atmosphere has changed since his first campaign. Florida Democrats made gains in 2008 with Obama on the top of the ticket, but the GOP won big two years later.

All that explains why Florida Democrats are redoubling their efforts to re-energize the rank and file, including at the state party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night.

And it's why Obama's campaign team has been on the ground training volunteers 17 months before the election and why the president has been such a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State.

Over the past 10 months, he has played mini-golf and hit the waves in Panama City Beach, eaten a corned beef sandwich at a Miami Beach deli, visited Cape Canaveral, addressed community college graduates in Miami and headlined fundraisers for Florida politicians.

He's set to return in the coming week for three fundraisers.

Florida offers 29 electoral votes, more than 10 percent of the 270 he needs to win a second term.

"The president can win the White House re-election without Florida, but it's certainly easier if he does win Florida," said Steve Schale, Obama's Florida director in 2008.

Florida's unemployment rate was 10.8 percent in April, or nearly 2 percentage points higher than the national average. The state has been hit harder by foreclosures and loss in property values than most of the country.snip
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