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President Picks Strategic Location for Denver Stop

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President Obama got a mostly warm reception in southwest Denver on Tuesday where he spoke to a crowd of students and many supporters at Abraham Lincoln High School.  Many analysts and even residents of the predominately Latino neighborhoods around the school saw the choice as strategic.

These neighborhoods around south Federal Boulevard are some of the poorest in the state, and have been hit hard by the recession.  Work here is scarce. Ronnie Fellman knows this first hand. She was laid off from her job as a flight attendant just before she was due to come back from maternity leave. That was a year ago, and she’s had no luck finding a new job.

“We’re getting by in the meantime, we had to move back in with my parents, my husband still works for the city, and, we’re surviving.”

Standing in line to watch the President speak, Fellman said it was a logical choice that he’d pick a predominately Latino neighborhood for his Colorado stop.  Latinos came out in mass to help the president win the state in 2008.

“It’s not exactly Cherry Creek and I think it speaks a lot to the people, middle class families that actually do vote.”

Most pundits aren’t sure the president will have as easy of a go in Colorado in 2012. 

Nevertheless, many students at Lincoln High said they were just pleased the president chose their school.  Despite having a number of obstacles in front of it – the school has seen boosts lately in student achievement.  There are still problems – but Senior Gerald Maestas says schools like his deserve more attention from national politicians.

“I think it’s a historical moment, like, not too many people can say, the president came to their school, so it’s like an honor.”

President Obama’s $447 million American Jobs Act would allocate funding to upgrade and repair schools like Lincoln, which the president said yesterday, has science labs and equipment that were last update in the 1960s.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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