Obama has challenges in Florida

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON | June 11, 2011 | 3:26 AM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama has problems in Florida that he didn't have when he won the pivotal swing state in 2008.

Florida's economy is worse than elsewhere. Now that he's the president, Obama could be blamed.

The atmosphere has changed since his first campaign. Florida Democrats made gains in the 2008 elections with Obama on the top of the ticket, but the GOP won big across the state just two years later.

All that explains why Florida Democrats are redoubling their efforts to re-energize the rank and file, including Saturday at the Florida state party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Obama's campaign team also has been on the ground training volunteers a full 17 months before the election.

The challenges show why Obama has been a frequent visitor to the Sunshine State.