Election 2008: Clinton Campaigning in Puerto Rico

The former president of the United States was out stumping for his wife in Puerto Rico, where he spent two days in anticipation of the June 1st Democratic primary in which Puerto Rico could have a rare chance to have an impact on national politics. Bill Clinton was quoted as saying "It is a good thing that your voice (Puerto Rican citizens) will be heard all across the United States.”

Puerto Ricans who are residents of the island have a representative in Congress who has no voting power and cannot vote in the general presidential election. But La Isla del Encanto’s 63 delegates might make a big difference in determining who our next Democratic Presidential elect will be. Only three states with pending primaries have more delegates up for grabs; Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana.

In a speech at Luis Llorens Torres housing complex in San Juan, Bill Clinton promised that Sen. Clinton would help Puerto Rico overcome a sagging economy and skyrocketing unemployment rates, as well as provide better health care access for all US citizens.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama had begun courting the island’s residents as early as February with an open letter addressed to the governor in which he discussed the “vital importance of Puerto Rico to our country.” In the letter he directly addresses the issue of status that has always been a hot button topic in PR. Obama stressed self-determination for the island and stated he would, “recognize all valid options to resolve the question of Puerto Rico's status, including commonwealth, statehood, and independence.” Sen. Hillary Clinton has previously co-sponsored U.S. Senate legislation favorable to statehood, ruffling quite a few feathers of prominent politicians on the island including the current Governor Anibal Acevedo who has publicly declared his support for Obama's campaign.

-Mariela Rosario