Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Clinton In Miami

I couldn’t get a ticket to this – they were all snatched up within the hour – but here’s the Herald’s take on Bill Clinton’s rally in downtown Miami last night.

Plunging into a Miami crowd that serenaded him with cheers, bongo drums and air horns, former President Bill Clinton returned to the campaign trail Monday, invoking the 2000 election to exhort the Democratic faithful to turn out at the polls for John Kerry.

Still on the mend from quadruple-bypass heart surgery, Clinton looked thinner than usual and his voice sounded weaker — but the crowd’s reception was as strong as ever for the two-term president who in 1996 became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida in 20 years.

“Remember, we won this state the last two times. They just didn’t count ’em the last time,” he said to thousands gathered on the lawn outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center. “We can win it again. Let’s go for three in a row.”

The crowd reveled in Clinton’s return, with a man at one point yelling, “Let Bill talk!” as retiring Florida Sen. Bob Graham introduced the former president.

The affection wasn’t lost on Clinton, who has been sidelined since September, and before that, frozen out of politicking in 2000 because nominee Al Gore feared being tarred with the scandals that tarnished his boss’ tenure.

“Believe it or not, this is really good for my heart,” said Clinton, who, after his 20-minute speech, shed his jacket and entered the crowd to shake hands.

Clinton coyly noted that he didn’t expect his presence to “change votes,” but that’s what the Kerry campaign is banking on, using Clinton in appearances in Philadelphia and Miami — and today in Boca Raton — to pump up the enthusiasm among the Democratic base.

More on the story here.