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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Clinton rallies for Kendrick Meek; Meek acknowledges he needs more Democratic support



Former President Bill Clinton made a plea to Florida Democrats on Tuesday to support Senate candidate Kendrick Meek. Clinton spoke to more than 1,000 people -- a mix of retirees and college students -- at the campus of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

He largely avoided talking about the dynamic of the Florida race. He didn't mention independent Gov. Charlie Crist at all and only in passing called Republican frontrunner Marco Rubio "handsome." Instead, Clinton made a national argument that Democrats need more time in Washington to correct the mistakes of the previous administration.

Clinton called the new ideas of Republicans nothing more than their old ideas, "on steroids."

"We tested these ideas, theirs and ours," Clinton said. "Ours worked better."

Meek, meanwhile acknowledged that his uphill campaign for the Senate can only be successful if Democratic voters end their fascination with Crist and coalesce behind him. "The only difference between Marco Rubio and my campaign is that 85 percent of Republicans are behind Rubio," Meek said.

Clinton will be in Jacksonville tonight before campaigning with Meek again Wednesday at the University of Central Florida and then with Democrat gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink on Thursday in Miami.


[Last modified: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 3:43pm]


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