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OPINION

Obama visits Puerto Rico with eye on 2012 election

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MIAMI — President Barack Obama is making a rare presidential visit to Puerto Rico, the U.S. island territory, with a firm eye on Puerto Ricans back on the mainland who could help him win at least one key state during his re-election campaign next year.

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About 4.6 million Puerto Ricans live on the mainland, boosting a fast-growing Hispanic population that is becoming increasingly important in American politics.

The first official visit to the island by a president in 50 years caps a two-day trip that took Obama to two crucial political battlegrounds — North Carolina and Florida — as he solidified his political outreach and defended his economic record against sweeping attacks from potential Republican foes.

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