Election 2012

Obama Touts National Cesar Chavez Memorial

Places a rose on his grave

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With new polls showing the damage accumulating from last week's debate, President Obama took refuge in California Monday, stopping by for a late rally in San Francisco and a significant gesture toward the Latino voters he needs to win re-election.

While placing a single red rose on Cesar Chavez's grave, Obama announced a new national monument to the civil rights and United Farm Workers leader whose motto "Si se puede,"—or "Yes we can"—was the unifying slogan of Obama's first campaign.

"Cesar worked for 25 years without a major victory, but he never gave up," Obama told gatherers—including Chavez' widow, Helen, and son, Paul—at the property in Keene, near Bakersfield, known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, that served as the UFW's national headquarters and the iconic leader's home and workplace. "Our world is a better place because Cesar Chavez chose to change it."