Obama to Make 1st Prez Visit to Puerto Rico Since JFK


On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will become the first sitting president to visit Puerto Rico since John F. Kennedy did in 1961. Residents of the island territory about 1,000 miles south of Miami don't have voting representation in Congress, but that doesn't mean they aren't active in the political process.

Puerto Ricans made about $4 million in itemized federal political donations during the 2008 election cycle, with about 70 percent of that sum benefiting Democrats. (Donations that do not exceed $200 are not reported in an itemized fashion, so it's impossible to know the geographic providence of such small-dollar contributions.)

Obama and his Democratical presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton both battled for delegates from the U.S. territory during their extended primary fight, as territories are allowed to send voting delegates to national party conventions.

While Clinton bested Obama during the island's primary, Obama was the top beneficiary of money from Puerto Ricans during the entire 2008 election cycle, at about $354,000. Clinton ranked No. 2, at $298,200.

Republican Mitt Romney, who is running again for the GOP presidential nomination this year, raised only $6,550 from residents of Puerto Rico during his failed 2008 presidential bid.

Residents of the San Juan-Bayamon metro area alone contributed $3.8 million to federal-level politics during the 2008 election cycle.

During the 2010 midterm election, Puerto Ricans donated $1.7 million to federal political candidates and committees, with about 80 percent of that sum benefiting Democrats.

Prior to arriving in Puerto Rico, Obama will hold three fund-raisers in Miami, Politico reported. And once in Puerto Rico, Obama will also conduct a fund-raiser there, as well as meet with Republican Gov. Luis Fortuno and commemorate Kennedy's visit 40 years ago.

The trip also comes on the heels of news that Katherine Archuleta, a staffer for former Denver Mayors John Hickenlooper and Federico Pena, will be named the political director of Obama's re-election efforts. Archuleta has been serving as the chief of staff for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and is a power broker in Colorado politics.

Like Florida, Colorado is another swing state with a sizable Hispanic population -- voters that the Obama campaign hopes to woo during the 2012 re-election campaign.


Popular Video