MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Fresh from last night's debate, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney campaigned across Florida today. The two leading GOP presidential candidates spent the morning in Miami, where they're looking to shore up support from Florida's Hispanic community. NPR's Greg Allen has our story.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Newt Gingrich started the day speaking to an influential business group in Miami, the Latin Builders Association. Later, he spoke before the Hispanic Leadership Network, a group devoted to building Republican support among Latinos. He laid out his case for an activist policy in Latin America, taking a harder stance against Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, doing more to help Mexico battle drug cartels.
When he came to Puerto Rico, Gingrich said, he supported the island's right to determine its status. An audience member asked him to take a stand. Are you for statehood or not?
NEWT GINGRICH: I just said what I believe and if you don't like it, I'm sorry we disagree. I believe the people of Puerto Rico should make the decision.
ALLEN: Florida's large Puerto Rican community is likely to be a larger factor in the general election than in the primary. In 2008, Florida Puerto Ricans went for Barack Obama and helped him carry the state. Mitt Romney took the stage about an hour later. He was clearly feeling good from his performance Thursday night in Jacksonville.
MITT ROMNEY: I want to thank you and this organization for having helped sponsor the debate last night. I thought it was a delightful debate. I loved it.
ALLEN: Romney handled a question about Puerto Rico a little more deftly, speaking warmly about the prospect of statehood. A few hours later, Puerto Rico's governor, Luis Fortuno, a statehood proponent, endorsed Romney. That was the second endorsement of the day Gingrich lost out on. After Gingrich, Rick Santorum also spoke to Miami's Latin Builders Association, and he's the candidate the group decided to endorse.
Greg Allen, NPR News, Cape Canaveral.
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