Obama Visits Florida

Obama's visit to the new plant of Power & Lightin in Florida takes place amid a rash of negative publicity about the utility's high salaries and close ties to regulators as it seeks a $1.3 billion rate hike.

At a fundraiser at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort, Obama will be joined by Sen. Bill Nelson and all of the state's Democrats in Congress -- including the party's front-runner for Florida's other Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami.

Meek, who is not well known outside of South Florida, will try to raise his profile during Obama's trip by talking up his visit at a Jacksonville news conference and greeting him when he gets off of Air Force One in Miami.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid are also expected at the Monday night fundraiser. Earlier in the day, Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston are slated to tout health insurance reform legislation at the Sunrise Senior Center.

Obama carried Florida in the 2008 presidential election, giving the Democratic Party a hard-fought victory in the nation's largest battleground state. But in his second trip to Florida since his election, Obama will find fewer voters who approve of the way he's doing his job and more without jobs of their own, MiamiHerald.com reports.

After a morning meeting with his national security team to discuss Pakistan and the war in Afghanistan, President Obama will board Air Force One for a trip to Jacksonville where he will address the men and women serving in the Navy and Marine Corps at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

In Miami where will attend a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidates on at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.

Tuesday morning, the president plans to stop in Tampa before heading back to Washington, CBS 4 reports.

It was also reported, when President Barack Obama swings into Miami Beach Monday night to raise money for Democratic congressional candidates, it will be the 26th fund-raiser of his maiden year in office, compared with the six appearances by his predecessor, George W. Bush, in his first year of office.

Just last week, the president raised millions of dollars for the Democrat running for an open Republican House seat in New York, the Democratic National Committee, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd. Beyond fund raising, he rallied Democratic faithful for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine Wednesday and will do the same on Tuesday for Creigh Deeds, the Democrat facing an uphill fight for the Virginia governor's seat.

Amber Wilkerson Marchand, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign, said Mr. Obama is risking his reputation as an agent of change by devoting so much time to fund raising, especially for longtime Washington fixtures such as Mr. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs noted that in 2001, Mr. Bush's first year in office, donors could write unlimited checks to political parties. In 2002, the campaign-finance law by Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D., Wis.) outlawed unlimited "soft money" donations to parties. Donations to parties are now capped at $30,400, indexed to inflation. Donations to individual candidates can't exceed $2,400 each election cycle, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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