Politics & Government

Florida Obama supporters say 'Si, se puede'

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Obama to supporters: Si, se puede

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had three words Wednesday for critics who say he'll have trouble winning over Hispanics in the nation's largest swing state: Sí, se puede.

Obama used the Spanish version of his ''Yes, we can'' slogan to greet the crowd of more than 600 supporters at a town hall meeting at the Kissimmee Civic Center Tuesday night.

During his 20-minute speech, Obama focused on bread-and-butter issues, like middle-class tax credits, higher teacher pay and college scholarship programs for teachers and young adults who volunteer. And he touched on the confusion over Florida's delegates by saying he was sure they would be counted.

Obama also spent half an hour taking questions from the audience on the economy, healthcare and race.

The setting was far more intimate than the Obama mega-rallies that have drawn stadium-sized crowds in cities around the country, including one earlier in the day in Tampa.

But the smaller venue didn't detract from the rock-concert atmosphere. Supporters clapped their hands and stomped their feet as they chanted ''Yes, we can'' — in English and Spanish — and waited for Obama to arrive.

Hispanic supporters who attended the town hall meeting dismissed comments that Obama would have trouble winning over the state's Hispanics during the general election.

''I know with all the people in my family, we're 100 percent with him,'' said Norin Mercado, 63, an Orlando schoolteacher who was born in Puerto Rico. ``I know I like him. And I'm with him.''

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