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Bill Clinton a Barack Obama backer? Not everyone got the word

October 1, 2008 |  8:20 pm

Bill Clinton, the master politician of his generation, clearly was in his element Wednesday as he hit the campaign trail for Barack Obama in the key state of Florida (where the recent polls have been breaking the Democratic way).

Former President Bill Clinton works the crowd in Florida at a rally for Barack Obama At the first of two rallies he headlined in the Sunshine State, the ex-president joyfully worked a crowd in Orlando.  And he gave a speech as only he can: It was fiery yet folksy and focused on the issue he has always liked to talk about most.

"We can make this economy hum again," he said to his enthusiastic listeners. "But we have to change."

And just as he had a little more than a month ago at the Democratic National Convention (but has not done since), he delivered the goods on behalf of the man who derailed his wife's hopes of a presidency of her own.

“Here’s why you ought to be for Barack Obama,” Clinton told the crowd.  “He’s got better answers. Better answers for the economy, for energy, for healthcare, for education. He knows what it will take to get this country back on track.”

Still, it apparently will take more than one day of hard-core, fully committed stumping by Clinton to Former President Bill Clinton exhorts his listeners to support Barack Obama erase the mixed signals he has so often seemed to be sending, vis-a-vis Obama.

The Times' Faye Fiore covered Clinton in Florida, and she reports that those who came to see him included Brianna Franklin, 18, a freshman majoring in philosophy at the University of Central Florida (the site of the first rally).

Franklin supports John McCain, but she said she was willing to stand in a blazing sun to see Clinton out of curiosity and a sense of history.

Franklin, at least, knew she was at a pro-Obama gathering.  One of her fellow co-eds, by contrast, was a bit at sea.  Franklin told Fiore she had talked with a student who thought Clinton was stumping for McCain.

Why?  She had been listening to his remarks over the last few days and, just tuning into the race, picked up that he liked the Republican better.

"I would say that is a problem," Franklin opined.

We would say the Obama campaign would agree.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credits: Associated Press