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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Clinton rallies support for Hillary Clinton in counties she struggled in before

Former President Bill Clinton greets supporters after a speech in Tallahassee on Monday in an effort to boost voter turnout for Tuesday's presidential primary election.

Jeremy Wallace/Times

Former President Bill Clinton greets supporters after a speech in Tallahassee on Monday in an effort to boost voter turnout for Tuesday's presidential primary election.

14

March

In the Florida counties Hillary Clinton did the worst the last time she ran for president, former President Bill Clinton spent Monday trying to reverse that.

At a rally in Tallahassee, before heading to Jacksonville for another, Bill Clinton promised more than 800 people that if they elect Hillary Clinton, they'll be electing someone who can tackle foreign policy, make college more affordable, deal with the nation's infrastructure problems, and bargain down prescription drug prices.

"We need a change maker as president and she is the single best change maker I have ever seen," Bill Clinton said during a 33 minute speech at a recreation center on the campus of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Bill Clinton's stops in North Florida comes in the heart of territory Hillary Clinton struggled in during her 2008 presidential campaign. That year, Hillary Clinton easily won Florida by 17 percentage points in the Democratic primary over Barack Obama. But Hillary Clinton lost 9 counties to Obama that year, all in northern Florida. Two of her worst results came from Leon County, where Tallahassee, is and in Duval County, where Jacksonville is. In both those counties, Hillary Clinton failed to get more than 33 percent of the vote in 2008.

Bill Clinton tailored his message to Monday to a crowd that was predominately made up of students at Florida A&M. He talked about the need for policies to allow students to refinance college loans, spread the repayment for those debts out more, and take steps to reduce college costs.

"We've got to make college affordable for everyone," Bill Clinton said to shouts of approval from the crowd.

Bill Clinton did not mention any of the Republican candidates for president by name, but compared their primary process to a "6th grade food fight."

Bill Clinton also used the event to call on Florida to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage to more of the uninsured. The Florida Legislature has refused to accept the Medicaid funding. Bill Clinton said thanks to President Barack Obama, 90 percent of the nation now has access to health insurance. He said that number would be close to 100 percent if states like Florida would agree to expand coverage.

"And when all the states like Florida get over it and take Medicaid, like they ought to, we'll be at 95 (percent)," Bill Clinton said.

But Bill Clinton made clear what his number one reason for being in Tallahassee was.

"Look the election is tomorrow, and I came here more than anything else to ask you to be sure and vote," Bill Clinton said.

[Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2016 4:12pm]

    

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