President Obama and Puerto Rico’s Congressional Representative Pedro Pierluisi arrive at Muniz Air National Guard Base
NYT: ….By the time Air Force One landed just before noon in the first “official” visit of a sitting American president since John F. Kennedy, the crowd gathered in a hot hangar at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport had swelled to more than 1,000.
…The president’s schedule included the speech at the airport hangar, a visit to La Fortaleza, the longest-serving governor’s mansion in the Western Hemisphere (the White House says), a tour of the Kennedy Suite, where President Kennedy stayed in 1961, and a concert by a youth orchestra.
Perhaps more important on Mr. Obama’s itinerary, though, was the interviews he scheduled with El Nuevo Dia and Univision of Puerto Rico, and a fund-raising event Tuesday afternoon meant to plump Democratic National Committee coffers.
…About half of Puerto Ricans here now advocate statehood. The other half, more or less, prefer that the island remain a commonwealth because they are concerned about keeping its cultural identity intact. A few would like independence.
Puerto Ricans hold American citizenship and can be drafted, but the territory has no voting representative in Congress. And while Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico can vote in a presidential primary, they cannot vote in general presidential elections. Only Puerto Ricans in the United States can.
….About that first official visit business: Other sitting American presidents have certainly been to Puerto Rico. President Gerald R. Ford came in 1976, but it was for a Group of Seven economic summit, so that apparently doesn’t count as official, since it wasn’t for official Puerto Rico business. Ditto for President Lyndon B. Johnson – he came in 1968, but it was just to visit a military base on the island, so that’s not being considered official either….
President Obama greets singer Marc Anthony at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
From left, Musician Marc Antony, Puerto Rico Mayor Jorge Santini Padilla, President Obama, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, Rep. Pedor Pierluisi, D-Puerto Rico, and Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard Antonio J. Vicens
…arriving to speak to a crowd at an airport hanger at Muniz Air National Guard Base
President Obama, Gov. Luis Fortuno and Rep. Pedor Pierluisi, D-Puerto Rico, tour La Fortaleza
….with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno
….with Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno, his wife Luce Vela and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi
…. with Sen. Alejandro Garcia Padilla at Kasalta bakery
A woman holds an image of President Obama, dressed as Superman, as she waits for the presidential motorcade in San Juan
President Obama waves from Air Force One prior to departing Luis Munoz Marin International Airport