KEENE, Calif. - US President Barack Obama dedicated the home of celebrated Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez as a national monument on Monday, a gesture that could help energize Latino voters a month before Election Day.
Detouring from a series of campaign rallies and fundraising events, Obama paid tribute to Chavez, a hero to many Hispanic Americans, while noting economic challenges that the community still faces.
"The recession we're still fighting our way back from is still taking a toll, especially in Latino communities, which already faced higher unemployment and poverty rates," Obama told a crowd gathered at the central California home where Chavez lived and led his farm workers movement.
Obama enjoys an overwhelming margin of support over Republican challenger Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters, and California's 55 electoral votes appear solidly in the Democratic president's column.
Even so, Latinos could help tip the balance in his favor in states that are up for grabs like Florida and Nevada, and campaign aides want to ensure robust turnout among the president's supporters for the Nov. 6 election.