Bill Clinton's Speech at Obama's Florida Rally

Bill Clinton's Speech at Obama's Florida Rally

By Bill Clinton - October 30, 2008

Thank you. Thank you. Hello, Orlando. Are you ready for a new President? And are you ready for this new President?

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank my good friend Senator Bill Nelson for his introduction. Thank you for coming out tonight. I am honored to be here to voice my support for Senator Barack Obama for President. And I want to talk to you a little about why it is so important for you to do what you can to make sure that Florida is in the Obama column next Tuesday night.

Look at this crowd. It's not only big, it is highly diverse. Even got a few old gray-headed white guys like me. You haven't cut my demographic out yet.

This is America's future. This is a future state. Barack Obama represents America's future and you've got to be there for him next Tuesday.

You know, I am very grateful to Florida. I worked hard to bring you back into the Democratic fold and you came and I thank you for that. It's time to come back again so we can take America forward. I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have had and that Hillary has had to campaign for Barack Obama and for America's future.

I want to say a few things that he can't say on his own behalf and then I'll bring him on to say what he can say better than anybody on his own behalf. But let me tell you, there are only two things you can do between now and Tuesday.

First, you can vote and you can make sure everybody you know who is already supporting Senator Obama and Senator Biden vote. And understands they do not have an option to stay home not if they care about their country and their future. You've got to get our crowd there. The other thing you can do is find the people that are still teetering and wavering and tell them why they ought to be with us. And so I want to tell you very briefly there are four reasons that I can tell you in a way no one else can, because I've been there. And I want you to tell this to everybody. And they don't just have to be your neighbors. You can e-mail people all over America. There are all these exchanges going on where people who are still undecided are fessing-up, at least on the Internet.

And I want you to get on there and tell them there are four reasons they ought to be for Barack Obama. The four things that really matter in a president are: number one, the philosophy; number two, the policies; number three, the ability to make a decision; and number four, the ability to execute that decision and make changes in people's lives.

So I've been noticing this philosophical argument on television. You all been seeing that in this election? And Senator Obama asked me to say a word about it on the way up here. He's got the right philosophy which is America works from the ground up, not from the top down.

They talk about redistributing the wealth. They just presided over the biggest redistribution of wealth upward since the 1920s and we all know how that ended. In the last eight years 90 percent of the gains went to 10 percent of the people over 40 percent to one percent. Can you run a great democracy that way? I don't think so. So don't tell me about redistribution.

When I served you, you had more than five times as many jobs as you are going to get out of this crowd. You had medium family income across all racial lines going up and now it's down. We paid down the debt. They've doubled the national debt. So don't tell me about redistribution.

What Senator Obama has is a plan that works from the bottom up. If there's a strong middle class and if poor folk can work their way into it and stay in it, there'll be lots of millionaires and billionaires. I know we made more millionaires and billionaires than they did and you just didn't know it because middle class incomes were rising and everybody had a good job and that's what Barack Obama will do again.

So he's got the right philosophy.

The second thing I want to tell you is he's got the right policies. And I've read them all. And I've read his opponent's. People used to make fun of me for being a policy wonk but I take it after the last eight years, we all know it really matters what people advocate.

And let me tell you folks, is again something I can say because I'm not running for anything, the historical record shows that virtually every person ever elected president does his best to actually do what they say they're going to do in the campaign and Barack Obama's do-list is the better do-list.

The economic plan is better. The education plan is better. Young people, you read his plan. If you are willing to do community service it doesn't matter how rich or poor you are, you're going to be able to go to college, universal, everybody is included, no ifs, ands or buts.

And his health care plan is light-years better. And I can tell you there are people in this crowd, I know there, are who have lost their health insurance. There are people in this crowd who have children with autistic conditions or other disabilities that need help and nobody is helping them. And we're living in the government, last week one in eight Americans are not going to be able to afford their cancer drugs this year. America drops to 29th in infant mortality and we're spending more than anybody else in the world? They want to defend that.

Barack Obama wants to change that and he has a good plan to do it and we should vote for on Election Day.

And finally let me say his energy plan is better. And don't you be fooled by these oil prices going down because as soon as they can sucker us in to forgetting about being energy independent they'll go right back up again. And he's got the best plan to liberate Americans and create millions and millions and millions of jobs. So he's got the best policy.

Now the third thing he is, is the better decision maker. You know our current President said something that's really true. The President is the decider-in-chief. And in this election you've got a very unusual thing I've never seen happen before. You got to watch the candidates make, not one, but two presidential decisions. You always get one; who they pick as Vice President. He hit that one out of the park, folks, that was a good decision.

OK, then you got to see the reaction to the financial crisis in America nearly coming off the wheels. Having the wheels nearly run off. I saw this up close. You know what he did? First he took a little heat for not saying much.

I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers, he talked to my economic advisers. He called Hillary. He called me. He called Warren Buffett and he called Paul Volcker. He called all those people and you know why, because he knew it was complicated and before he said anything he wanted to understand.

Folks, if we have not learned anything, we have learned that we need a president who wants to understand and who can understand. Who can understand; yes, he can.

Now, wait a minute.

The second thing and this meant more to me than anything else and I haven't cleared this with him. And he may even be mad at me for saying this so closest to the election but I know what else he said to his economic advisers. He said tell me what the right thing to do is. What's the right thing for America, and don't tell me what's popular. You tell me what's right and I'll figure out how to sell it. That's what a president does in a crisis, what is right for America. And you know after this election there are going to be a lot of rough times ahead and you know it as well as I do. You have got to have a president who can understand and then has the fortitude to stand up and tell you, you hired me to win for America. I've got to make this decision now. This is the very best I can do. And I'm prepared to be held accountable.

I'm going to tell you something the way he handled this crisis and the way you saw him talk about it in the second and third debate showed that he will be a very, very fine decision maker working for the American people.

The last thing I want to say is this. Here's the last thing I want to say.

All over the world I see this where I work now. The world is full of good, honest, smart, hard-working people with the best of intentions that cannot figure out how to turn their good ideas into real changes in other people's lives. If you have any doubt about Senator Obama's ability to be the chief executive, that's what the Constitution calls the president, just think about all of you. Look at this. Has there ever been a campaign that involved so many people, had made so much use of the Internet, that thought about how to solve problems, that gave people so much opportunity to give money, to give their time, to express their opinions, to do things.

He has executed this campaign in a way that is different from modern and forward thinking, something no one else ever could have done. He can be the Chief Executor of good intentions as president.

So I want you to get on the phone, and I want you to stalk your neighbors on the street, and I want you to get on the Internet and say if haven't made up your might you ought to vote for Barack Obama. He's got the best philosophies. He's got the best positions. He definitely has the decision making ability. And he is a great executor.

Folks, we can't fool with this. Our country is hanging in the balance and we have so much promise and so much peril. This man should be our president, all of our president.

And he's going to be our president unless the American people forget what the election's about. This election is about restoring the American dream and giving poor people their shot at it and restoring America's standing as the world's leading nation for peace and prosperity. Diplomacy first, military force as a last resort, bring the troops home from Iraq, be a force for peace and get this economy going.

That's what it's about.

Once you define that there's no question, and I want you to think about this as I bring him on. Tuesday we will complete a presidential campaign. The presidential campaign is the greatest job interview in the world. And on Tuesday you get to make the hire. If you're my age, you think about your children and the grandchildren you want to have. If you are young you think about the future you want them to have -- if you are young you think about the children you want to bring into the world and what you want for them. There's not any real question here, this is not a close question.

If you make the decision based on who can best get us out of the ditch, who's got the best philosophy, the best positions, the best ability and the best judgment I think it's clear. The next president of the United States should be and with your help, will be, Senator Barack Obama.

Bill Clinton

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