ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- President Obama's visit to Orlando, Fla., to announce plans to increase tourism provided a needed boost in visibility ahead of the GOP primary, observers said.
The president's visit Thursday to Disney World's Magic Kingdom may be an effort to "steal the thunder from Republicans ahead of the primary," Daniel A. Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, told The Hill. "In anticipation of the upcoming election, Obama is attempting to make himself appear relevant."
The newspaper said Florida's independent voters and growing Hispanic population are key to his re-election. A Quinnipiac poll last week showed Obama trailing Republican Mitt Romney 46 percent to 43 percent among registered voters in Florida. His overall favorability rating was 45 percent.
White House press secretary Jay Carney denied Obama's trip is related to the Jan. 31 Republican primary.
"The president, as every president is, is the president of all the United States of America, of all the people in the country," Carney said Wednesday. "And he's going to travel around the country to talk about issues that are important to Americans in every state, including, most importantly, economic growth and job creation."