[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/28/art.acevedoandobama.jpg caption="Left to right, Victoria ‘Melo’ Munoz, Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila and Barack Obama during a visit to the central committee of the PDP."]
360° Contributor and Republican Strategist
Barack Obama's recent campaign swing through Puerto Rico highlighted the types of change he wants to make once he's in the White House. The Democratic presidential candidate's visit was in anticipation of the June 1st primary and the 55 delegates at stake.
Puerto Rico also has eight superdelegates, including Gov. Anibal S. Acevedo Vila who until recently was depending on his Democrat allies in Congress to block the appointment of Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez as U.S. Attorney for Puerto Rico. Despite their best efforts, however, Rodriquez-Velez was appointed and, as one her first acts, conducted an investigation of and issued an indictment against Acevedo Vila, charging him with alleged irregularities in his use of campaign funds between 1999 and 2004.
After appearing at the University of Puerto Rico, Obama marched down the streets of Old San Juan to Puerto Rican rhythms chanting for a leader who is "humble and with convictions." He then held closed door meetings with the leadership of Puerto Rico's Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Acevedo Vila, who had endorsed Obama back in February.
The governor has denied all the charges and continues his reelection bid.
With Obama and Acevedo Vila marching hand-in-hand, the momentum is shifting to Sen. Hillary Clinton. Already beloved by Puerto Ricans for her husband's 1998 declaration of a federal state of emergency after Hurricane Georges and her goodwill visit to survey the aftermath, the marriage between the Caribbean governor and the Illinois senator is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the voters. (Here's more on the Clinton-Puerto Rican relationship.)
In a recent poll by El Nuevo Dia Acevedo Vila is 34 points behind his opponent, Republican Luis Fortuno, in the gubernatorial race. It is curious that Obama, the candidate that "understands" and "respects" Puerto Rico, does not live up to his own mantra of post-partisan politics and change.
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