"At that time I was four months old", joked the president, who while campaigning promised the people of Puerto Rico that he'd return.
Part of the president's agenda for the region includes ensuring that people on the island can find work and make a living and provide for their children. "That’s why we’re increasing access to broadband and investing in education", the president said. "That's why we’re helping to grow local tourism and health care and clean-energy industries. We’re giving Puerto Ricans the tools they need to build their own economic futures.That’s why our economic plan and our health care reform included help for Puerto Rico".
The president made mention of the contributions of Puerto Ricans, citing that singer Mark Anthony (husband of Jennifer Lopez) was in attendance, and thanked the Puerto Rican service men and women for work.
Earlier in the day, the president stopped by the Governor's mansion.
A pool report sums up the visit.
|Giving President Obama a tour of La Fortaleza, the oldest governor's mansion in the Western Hemisphere, are Resident Commissioner Pedro Pireluisi, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno and first lady Luce Vela de Fortuno. By Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images|
“We are proud to be part of history,’’ the signs read.
People held up signs showing Obama’s face superimposed on Superman’s body. Others waved posters reading, “Statehood Now.’’
... arrived at the Governor’s Mansion (“La Fortaleza”) just in time to see POTUS enter the Mirror Room in the company of Gov. Luis Fortuno, First Lady Luce Vela and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi.
POTUS was marveling over the mansion, noting that it was built in 1533, making it the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the western hemisphere.
“Pretty impressive,’’ he said.
The governor said: “On behalf of the people of Puerto Rico we want to welcome you. I guess you got a taste of it driving here.’’
Obama thanked him. With a temperature of 86 degrees coupled with 85% humidity, POTUS said he wishes “we could jump into the ocean. Looked pretty nice.’’
In 2008, then Senator Obama wrote a letter to Puerto Rico to express his views on Puerto Rican status, citizenship, jobs, health and their place in America. Read it here.