‘We’re all in this together’ always works better than ‘you’re on your own.’”
President Bill Clinton stopped by Memory Mall at University of Central Florida on Monday, Oct. 29 to campaign for President Obama based on his record on education, energy, health care and the economy to a crowd of over 7,500 people.
While the event was planned to feature both President Clinton and President Obama, President Obama decided to cancel his plans early Monday morning, choosing to fly back to Washington to lead the preparation of disaster relief plans for those affected by Hurricane Sandy over making a campaign stop. This event would have been the first time the two presidents campaigned together this election season.
Central Florida is a vital area in this election season, and the number of Obama campaign events in the area show it. President Obama visited Rollins in August and Kissimmee in September, Vice President Joe Biden spoke in Ocala on Oct. 31, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at UCF in July and plans to visit Daytona Beach on Nov. 1, and President Clinton had already visited Orlando once (in September) before Monday’s visit.
Senator Bill Nelson and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist opened for President Clinton this week, highlighting the optimism and focus on progress and moving our country forward that has been characteristic of the Obama campaign since day one.
Sporadic yells of “We want Bill!”, chants of “Bill! Bill! Bill!” and enthusiastic screams every time the music faded finally brought President Clinton out, looking healthy, dapper and excited. While he started his speech going easy on Mitt Romney, saying “I’m not mad at anybody. I don’t blame Governor Romney for wanting to be president; I did too!”, the former president went anything but easy on Romney’s take for education, stance on climate change, plan to repeal health care and his budget.
Clinton, connecting with the student-heavy crowd, laid out Obama’s higher education platform, including student loan reform that cuts out the middle-man, a doubling in the number of Pell Grants available, an increase in the amount of funding each Pell Grant provides and further funding for university-level research. Romney, Clinton reminded the crowd, would repeal this bill, cutting funding for higher education across the country.
“On this issue alone, every person within the sound of my voice should vote for Barack Obama for President of the United Sates,” he said.
Clinton also pressed the issue of clean energy and climate change, noting that even the “new, moderate Mitt Romney” that showed up in the first presidential debate “made fun of climate change.” “America is the only major country in the world where any major political party is denying climate change instead of arguing about what to do about it,” he said. “Barack Obama is doing something about it.”
The Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010, has been a central issue of this election season. The two candidates take polar opposite stances on this issue: Obama signed it, allowing young Americans to stay on their parents’ insurance longer, ensuring that patients will no longer be denied treatment because of pre-existing conditions, and providing millions of Americans with quality, affordable health care for themselves and for their families. Romney? Well he wants to repeal either some or all of that (he has been conflicting remarks throughout this election season.)
Clinton spoke at length on the all-important issue of the economy, reminding the crowd of the arithmetic—a central theme of his 2012 DNC speech—that is blatantly lacking from the Romney/Ryan plan, calling it a budget without any numbers. “Budgets based on arithmetic work a lot better than budgets based on illusion,” he said. Clinton also maintained that the Romney/Ryan ticket’s plan for the national deficit (a vital component of which includes decreasing revenue) made no sense at all. “If you had a hole to fill, would you dig it deeper before filling it?”
President Clinton urged Floridians to vote early and to “Vote for the man with the plan. Vote for Barack Obama.”