ORLANDO, Fla. — Former President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail in central Florida on Wednesday to champion his wife’s commitment to diversity, addressing a crowd of several hundred Hillary Clinton supporters at a community center in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Orlando.
The Democrat from Arkansas contrasted Hillary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” campaign slogan to that of her Republican opponent, Donald Trump. He suggested Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan is reflexive of a time more than a half-century ago when opportunities weren’t great for African-Americans.
“If you’re a white Southerner, you know what that means,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s appearance in Orlando underscores the importance of Florida’s Interstate 4 corridor in the presidential race. Home to 6 million residents, the area from Tampa to Daytona Beach is traditionally considered the biggest swing region in the nation’s biggest swing state. Hillary Clinton addressed Tampa residents at the University of South Florida on Tuesday.
Bill Clinton said he sympathized with “a huge percentage of people” who are angry and frustrated because they feel like they can’t change their future or give their children better futures.
“Hillary is the only one who gives you answers,” Clinton said.
The former president talked about the need for infrastructure programs, investments in modern manufacturing and the ability of small businesses to access loans. He lambasted governors who rejected President Barack Obama’s efforts to expand the Medicaid health insurance program in their states. He said African-Americans had the biggest income gains of any demographic group during his administration in the 1990s.
“We were all rising together. … Nobody was mad … and we can do that again,” Clinton said.
He also lauded Orlando residents for embracing the gay community in the wake of the massacre of 49 patrons at the Pulse gay nightclub, and he said intolerance directed at Muslim Americans needs to stop.
“We have to live together and we have to be citizens together,” he said.