Foreshadowing a fierce contest for the nation's largest swing state, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama clashed Tuesday over Cuba in an ongoing foreign policy skirmish played out for Florida's potent Hispanic vote.
Speaking in Miami on Cuban Independence Day, McCain assailed Obama for his willingness to broach talks with the communist regime about democratic reforms, saying it would send ''the worst possible signal.'' Obama struck back a few hours later on CNN, arguing that McCain would continue President Bush's ''failed'' policies.
Even before Obama's televised retort, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton jumped into the fray, clearing her schedule for rallies Wednesday in Miami, Sunrise and Boca Raton that will overlap with Obama's first trip to the state this year. Obama's three-day swing Wednesday-Friday will include mega rallies at 20,000-seat arenas in Tampa and Sunrise and smaller gatherings in Miami and Boca Raton.
For decades, the GOP has rallied Florida's politically influential Cuban-American community against the common enemy of communism. President Bush spoke in Miami on Cuban Independence Day in 2002. So did Ronald Reagan in 1983.
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