Politics & Government

Is Obama taking Florida's black vote for granted?

Florida State Sen. Frederica Wilson had a question for Barack Obama the last time he was in Miami and gave a speech at a posh, downtown hotel: When was he coming to "the hood?''

The Democratic presidential candidate promised to campaign in Miami several times before November, including at least one stop in the black community.

But in a historic presidential election that could turn on race, outreach to African-American voters in Florida is only now getting under way.

Obama and GOP rival John McCain will both address predominantly black audiences at the National Urban League convention in Orlando this week. Obama's newest campaign office is in the heart of Broward's black community, on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. Last week, his wife huddled privately with about 30 black leaders in Miami before a fundraiser.

Obama's challenge is to mobilize a community whose participation typically lags behind the overall turnout — in a state he has spent little time in. McCain needs to siphon off some of the black vote, while driving loyal seniors and veterans to the polls in droves.

In the meeting with Michelle Obama, Wilson made a pitch for a campaign rally at the AmericanAirlines Arena, with participants coming on foot and via Metrorail from predominantly black Overtown.

"People want to be able to say, 'I went to see Barack Obama,' '' Wilson said. "They want to feel included.''

Read the full story at MiamiHerald.com.

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