ORLANDO, Florida -- A rockstar greeting was extended to Bill Clinton at last night's grassroots event at Orlando's Rosen Plaza Hotel. After a joint introduction by Grace Nelson, wife of Senator Bill Nelson, and former Orlando Chief of Police and current congressional candidate Val Demings, Clinton spoke to the audience of 2000 for about 30 minutes with his typical folksy demeanor, albeit hoarse-toned, perhaps revealing the rigorous schedule of stump speeches that has had him crossing the state for the past 2 days campaigning for President Obama.
In his inimitable fashion, Clinton related the democratic platform to the central Florida audience. Tying Obama's increased funding of the Pell Grant scholarship and the American Opportunity Tax Credit to the 53000 students at Orlando's University of Central Florida, which he called "the country's largest unknown university." Clinton decried Romney's education plan and policy to reintroduce private sector lenders to student financial aid, citing America's current standing at 16th in the world in the percentage of young people with college degrees.
Addressing Romney's proposed tax cuts and the ailing economy, Clinton said trying to close the deficit with tax cuts has already been shown to be a fallacy, adding with Arkansas drawl "when you're in a hole I've been taught the first thing you do is to quit digging." Clinton blasted Romney's assertion that tax cuts and subsequent economic growth would reduce the deficit, and said in reality Romney's planned tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would be paid for by gutting Medicaid, education and Medicare.
Clinton also referred to central Florida's space industry and technological innovators, adding that he had spoken earlier in the day at the Solar Power International conference to 10000 attendees involved in the development of alternative energy sources. He added that nationwide there are now more people employed by the solar energy industry than there are coal miners. He asserted that a Romney budget would slash funding for research & development, and "cut the heart out of the space program."
Brevard Times Article and Photo by Devon A. Vann