Clinton makes last-minute stop in Fort Myers
It was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it for Barack Obama followers when former President Bill Clinton took to the stage Friday at the Harborside Event Center for one of the finals stops on the campaign trail before Election Day on Tuesday.
Many had waited in line since the crack of dawn, a line that stretched for blocks. But the excitement was unabated as they finally made their way into the building, more than 1,000 strong.
The warm-up acts and campaign videos got the crowd going with chants like “Fired up, Ready to go!” and “Four more years!”
When they finally saw him, he looked weary and his voice was hoarse, but it didn’t matter to those in the packed house that came to hear his message: Four more years.
During his 50-minute speech, which started an hour after the 2 p.m. start, the former president laid out his case for why Obama should be re-elected much in the same way he did at the Democratic National Convention in September.
Among the things Clinton talked about were the economy, clean energy, the auto industry, the budget, taxes on the rich, and why Obama’s platform on those subjects differs from Mitt Romney’s.
Among the themes Clinton repeated during the speech was about “being in this together and not on your own,” a swipe at his perceived Republican agenda.
“It works better when the government and the private sector work together and cooperate than when we practice trickle-down economics and walk away,” Clinton said.
He also made that reference to the auto industry, saying if Romney had his way, Detroit would have gone bankrupt, which would have crumbled the supply chain, resulting in millions of job losses.
Another theme was “I swear I can’t make this up,” when discussing yet another crazy thing the GOP has done or said.
He said this in reference to three GOP candidates running for the Arkansas legislature and their comments about slavery; about what he says is Romney’s plan to repeal EPA standards on cars, funding for green energy and student loans.
Clinton made his points for Obama for his job as commander-in-chief, for the way he got troops out of Iraq, is getting them out of Afghanistan, and for his promise to take care of veterans when they return home.
Also, for the way he “handled a bad hand.”
“Nobody could have handled that financial crisis,” Clinton said. “He built a floor so there would be no depression, we lost jobs in the first year he was in office, but it slowed down. In the last 33 months the economy has produced 5.5 million jobs.”
Clinton also pointed out the increase in manufacturing jobs and in the auto industry.
Finally, for Obama’s vision of the future, which includes infrastructure for computers and alternative energy, and bringing more jobs here and less overseas, student loans and health care.
As for the candidates’ tax plans, Clinton was adamant the rich pay a little more.
“I’d rather pay more in taxes and see you go to college send your child to preschool for 100,000 well-trained math and science teachersbecome the leader in clean energy,” Clinton said, before adding, “It works better when we’re in it together than on our own.”
Clinton also took aim at Romney’s promise for creating 12 million new jobs.
“He came up with that number because a respected firm says that the economy will produce 12 million jobs in four years anyway,” Clinton said. “He’s saying give me the credit for what Obama did.”
Clinton also gave this analogy on Romney’s budget plan.
“If you hired me to come to your yard and fill in a hole, and then said “I want to dig the hole deeper, you’d unhire me,” Clinton said.
The message was clear to many in the crowd. Among them was Cape Coral Councilman Derrick Donnell.
“I thought it was very enlightening and detailed and upbeat,” Donnell said. “It’s about looking at the details. I’m encouraged to see the people of Cape Coral going to the polls. I want everyone to get out there and vote for the candidate of their choice.”