Obama to visit Florida on Friday

Obama to visit Florida on Friday
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President Obama will travel Friday to the key presidential battleground state of Florida to trumpet his economic policies, the White House announced Tuesday.

Obama is visiting an advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Jacksonville that received funding from his 2009 stimulus bill. 

The president will “see first-hand the good jobs of the future that the Recovery Act helped make a reality today” and “talk about the tough choices he faced early in his first term to right America’s course,” National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients wrote in a blog post

Obama is seeking to use his bully pulpit to shape the race to succeed him in the White House. 

The nearly $800 billion stimulus bill was arguably the most significant action he took to help the nation recover from the Great Recession, but it has been long been derided by Republicans for its large price tag. 

Obama has repeatedly pointed out his economic record should be a point of strength for Democrats as they look to keep control of the Oval Office for a third consecutive term. 

In his State of the Union address, Obama argued that “anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”

On Monday, the White House released a sunny report saying job growth and gross domestic product gains will remain steady over the next few years despite growing uncertainty about the direction of the economy.

The president and his party are facing a hostile political climate. Republican candidates, such as front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight MORE, have seized on negative indicators to argue that a slowdown is coming and that Obama should be to blame.  

Democratic candidate Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAnti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps MORE has rocketed to prominence by arguing that while Obama helped the nation dig out from the recession, not enough has been done to address income inequality and to rein in Wall Street. 

Florida’s 29 electoral votes were crucial for Obama in his 2008 and 2012 general election victories. His visit will come slightly more than two weeks before voters in the Sunshine State head to the polls for Republican and Democratic presidential primaries on March 15. 

Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, is a traditionally Republican area of the state. But Obama kept his margins close there with both of his Republican opponents, John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump congratulated Putin after his national security team told him not to: report Trump faces backlash after congratulating Putin on election win McCain rips Trump's congratulatory call to Putin as an insult to Russian people MORE and Mitt Romney, contributing to both of his wins.