Obama heads to Puerto Rico, with eye on 2012

Ethnic group seen as a voting bloc in two swing states

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The president will begin his two-day trip Monday with a visit to Durham, N.C., where he will meet with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council and tour a lighting-manufacturing company. Inundated with weak economic news in the past month, the administration has been holding numerous events to show the president is still looking for ways to create jobs.

North Carolina is also important to Mr. Obama’s re-election bid. He won the state in 2008 by only about 14,000 votes. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte in 2012, and the state Republican Party has been serving notice in cable-TV ads in the past week that it won’t cede the state to the Democrats.

“In 2008, we fell for his hope and change,” says the ad airing in the Raleigh-Durham television market. “And now he’s back, asking us to believe him again.”

The spot, titled “Broken Promises,” urges voters to “take back North Carolina.”

From North Carolina, Mr. Obama will fly to Miami for a fundraiser later Monday. He will spend the night in Florida before heading to Puerto Rico.

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