Clinton: “I oughta be the tea party’s poster child”by Jeff Ostrowski | November 1st, 2010
ORLANDO — Speaking to several hundred voters Monday night, former President Bill Clinton stumped for Alex Sink and Kendrick Meek and chided Republicans for the big deficits that came before and after his two terms.
In a nod to the tea party’s influence in an election that’s expected to go badly for Democrats, Clinton pointed to his years in the White House as rare examples of balanced budgets and robust job growth.
“Where is the love?” Clinton asked. “I oughta be the tea party’s poster child.”
Speaking from an outdoor stage near Lake Eola, Clinton also bashed Republicans for cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
“I don’t know why I’m not over there at one of their rallies,” he said. “They’re just throwing money at me.”
Clinton shared the stage with gubernatorial candidate Sink, Senate candidate Meek and other Democrats. His visit was an effort to excite Democratic voters, who are expected to stay away from the polls this election. In a letdown from the 2008 presidential election, political analysts say young people and blacks are unlikely to turn out in large numbers on Election Day.
But Clinton pointed to the enthusiastic crowd in Orlando as evidence that Democrats are fired up to vote.
“I keep looking for this enthusiasm gap the Republicans say exists, and I can’t find it to save my life,” Clinton said.
During his 30-minute speech, Clinton urged voters to support Sink and Meek. He criticized Sink’s Republican opponent, Rick Scott, for running a hospital chain that paid $1.7 billion for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.
Clinton made no mention of last week’s reports that he talked to Meek about dropping out of the three-way Senate race. Polls show Republican Marco Rubio with a comfortable lead, followed by Gov. Charlie Crist in second and Meek a distant third. Meek shrugged off his weak showing in the polls.
“My faith drives me to believe that the people of goodwill will vote tomorrow, and I will be your next U.S. senator,” Meek said.
The stump speeches included a fair amount of trash talk. Scott Maddox, the Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner, predicted that Scott’s investment of $73 million of his own money in his campaign will leave him disappointed.
“He’s going to wake up Wednesday morning and figure out he bought a $73 million butt-whuppin’,” Maddox said. “And that hurts a whole lot worse than a regular butt-whuppin’.”
Polls show Sink and Scott in a too-close-to-call race for governor.
Clinton, meanwhile, acknowledged the rage felt by tea party activists over large deficits. Clinton said the Wall Street bailout signed by President Bush made him “sick,” but he said it was the only way to save the U.S. economy from collapse.
Tags: Bill Clinton