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By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter says anti-Castro leaders in Florida have a major and exaggerated influence on the presidential election in that battleground state.

Criticizing U.S. policy, Carter says he thinks most Cuban-Americans want open borders and an end to the trade embargo. He says he hopes the next president will act forcefully to improve relations with Cuba, no matter who wins. But he says he prefers that President Barack Obama win re-election.

Carter is also calling for Cuba to be removed from the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terror. Cuba has been on that list since 1982.

Carter spoke to a meeting of Latin America's development bank in Washington. His comments came as Mitt Romney's campaign is working to link Obama to unpopular aspects of Carter's legacy.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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