Obama makes a campaign-style pit-stop on his way to Colombia

President Barack Obama speaks at the Port of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., ,Friday, April 13, 2012, about trade with Latin America before heading to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
President Obama in Tampa on April 13, 2012
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

(CBS News) Looking to score some domestic political points before heading to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas, President Obama made his second visit in four days to Florida - a battleground state indispensable to his re-election game plan.

At the Port of Tampa, Mr. Obama sought to cast a spotlight on the importance of the trade talks he is expected to have this weekend with leaders of North, South and Central America.

He told the crowd that the economy was on track to meet his goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014, and that sales of "Made in America" products to the Western Hemisphere have been increasing since 2009.

"So the fact that it has gone up 46 percent since 2009 is a big deal for Tampa." Statewide, he said, exports from Florida were up nearly 30 percent.

He said the U.S. exports more to the Western Hemisphere than to any other region in the world, and that those exports support nearly 4 million U.S. jobs.

The president's stop in Florida today brought to seven the number of visits he's made to the Sunshine State since filing with the Federal Election Commission as a candidate for re-election. Since taking office, he has now been to Florida 16 times.

A CBS News tally shows that Florida is now third on the list of states Mr. Obama has visited most frequently, behind New York and Ohio, which he has visited 23 and 19 times, respectively. (Maryland and Virginia are not taken into consideration because of their proximity to Washington, D.C.)

The president spent most last Tuesday in Florida. At fundraisers in Palm Beach Gardens, two in Hollywood and another in Golden Beach, Mr. Obama generated over $2 million for his re-election victory fund.

At a speech at Florida Atlantic University that same day, he also gave speech on his efforts to win Congressional passage of the "Buffett Rule," which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on those making a million dollars a year or more.

Though the White House billed that speech as "official," it sounded and felt like a campaign rally before an audience of enthusiastic college students who at times made no secret of their political leanings by chanting "four more years."

With 12 events, Florida ranks fourth on the list of localities in which Mr. Obama has held the most fundraising events. He has held 20 in California, 21 in New York and 28 in the District of Columbia.

In 2004, Mr. Obama won Florida by a margin of 200,000 votes out of 8.3-million cast.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.