Reporting David Sutta
CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Hot on the heels of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to South Florida, President Barack Obama arrived in Miami Thursday to drum up support from young voters.
The President took part in the second day of a two-day forum on Hispanic and education issues, co-sponsored by Univision and Facebook and hosted by the University of Miami.
“After the election, when the number one goal is no longer beating me but hopefully the number one goal is solving the country’s problems,” President Obama told the crowd. “If they have seen that people who care about this issue have turned out in strong numbers that they will rethink it. If not because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s in their political interest to do so.”
After a quick stop at South Miami eatery OMG Burger, where he spoke with UM students about the importance of voting, President Obama made his way back to Air Force One at Miami International Airport and departed South Florida just before 5 p.m.
The interview focused on education and Hispanic issues in the community, and both candidates’ interviews will also be streamed on Univision Noticias Facebook page.
The University of Miami said these are the first events of their kind targeting Hispanic Americans which is important because an estimated 20 million Hispanics are expected to vote Nov. 6th.
UM students were excited to have the presidential race on campus, though most minds may be made up.
“People know who Obama is because he’s been President for four years. People know who Mitt Romney is from his record and what he’s said,” said Jordan Lewis, a UM senior and president of the UM Democrat Club.
Compared to 2008, things are different and political science professor Joseph Uscenski says he sees it in his class.
Republican students are not calling that an advantage. They said Romney has to make his message even clearer in this final stretch.
“Describe what America is going to look like in 2016 if Obama is elected president. He needs to make that image very vivid to us, students and all voting citizens,” said UM junior Ricardo Bueso.
“The students were coming to class with Obama hats, and bumper stickers, and sweatpants, and video games. You don’t have that anymore. The excitement is gone. He’s no longer the fresh new hip urban guy. He’s now the incumbent politician,” said Uscinski.
As for the gaffes and videos pushed out by both parties, Professor Uscenski said they likely have little impact.
“These gaffes, or these statements that are taken out of context, they really happen to both candidates. And they are really just noise on the screen,” pointed out Uscenski.
In South Florida, the large Cuban-American community has traditionally voted for Republican candidates, while Hispanics nationwide have tended to favor Democratic candidates.
If it seems like Romney and Obama have spent a lot of time in Florida it’s because they have. By Thursday night, each will have visited Florida nine times since June 1st, more than any other state during the campaign to date as they pursue Florida’s 29 electoral college votes.