President to speak in Fla. on Friday

Obama to discuss trading with Latin American countries

Headline Goes Here Lesa Jansen/CNN

TAMPA, Fla. - President Barack Obama embarks on his trip to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia with one eye on improving foreign ties and another on an election year audience back home.

Outside Latin America, no population will be paying as close attention to Obama's three-day visit to Cartagena as U.S. Hispanics. With more than 50 million U.S. Latinos -- 21 million of them eligible voters, Obama has an important audience that is especially vital in an election year.

Obama also is kicking off the trip with a stop Friday in Tampa Bay, Fla., drawing attention to the benefits of trade with Latin America in a crucial swing state in the general election.

The brief detour underscores the president's attempts to improve his tenuous stance with the U.S. business community.

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