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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Clinton, relating to Fla better than Obama, heaps love on Val Demings, Heather Beaven and Bill Nelson



Can't say Bill Clinton generated any actual news stumping for Barack Obama in Orlando tonight - no mention whatsoever of what the violence in Libya and Egypt. But even at a fairly routine campaign appearance one is struck by Clinton's keen knowledge and interest in Florida. Where Obama shows up at rallies and sometimes gives the wrong name of his host city, Clinton sounded at times more like a central Florida mayor than the only Democratic president since FDR to win re-election.

The guy knows Florida in a way that Obama rarely demonstrates.

"Florida is the future, today. You have lots of young people with great diversity and enormous promise, and too much poverty. You have a ton of old folks, just like all of America is going to have when us baby boomers retire, " Clinton said. "Then you've got these folks in the middle, trying to build an entrepreneurial future."

He spoke of the local candidates like longtime friends, gushed over University of Central Florida's 53,000 students, and he hailed the more than 100 computer simulation companies that have popped up in Orlando. He mentioned Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown in the Rosen Plaza banquet hall, but he heaped praise on Democratic congressional candidates Val Demings, running against Dan Webster, and Heather Beaven running against Ron DeSantis.

Van Demings gave a rousing introductory speech.

"Is Val dmings good or what?," Clinton said. "You know when iu first met her she was your police chief. And don't forget you can tell  how people are going to do in their next job by how they did in their last one -- and violent crime went down 40 percent...Not only that, she's been married 24 years to the man you elected sheriff. You had 24 years of two police officers married to each other and no one got shot. I think that's a pretty good deal." (Okay, that's an odd joke.)

Then he recognized Beaven: "She's running against a fella who pretends to know what's in the heads of he founding fathers. Wrote a whole, long book about what they intended. Truth is they weren't even sure what they intended. They made compromises to give us a constitution, and they left it up to us as we went along to be faithful to the principles."

More here

"...It's very interesting. The Democratic party has a former police chief and a former well-decorated Naval officer. Heather was one of the first 10 women when I was president ever assigned to a combat role in the Navy, to a combat-ready."

On Bill Nelson: "I was listening to Grace talk and thinking about the 30 years that Hillary and I have been friends with Bill and Grace Nelson. I knew them, I think before Bill was ever insurance commissioner. I want you to know he is literally one of the finest human beings I ever met in all my long years in public office. He is smart, and he is sane - which is saying something these days. He believes in America's promise and in simple arithmetic and he will do what he can to keep this country growing."


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 10:12pm]


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