Clinton, Hastings, Rich Stump For Meek

“You can tell who the real Democrats are,” says Florida CFO hopeful Loranne Ausley, “because they don’t have a lot of money behind them.” Ausley followed Senator Nan Rich and preceded Congressman Alcee Hastings and President Bill Clinton all giving their glowing recommendation of Kendrick Meek as Florida’s next United States Senator. The event at the Signature Grand in Broward County was one of three campaign stops for the Democrats in South Florida on Monday August 16th.

Alcee Hastings recalled working with Kendrick Meek’s mother, Carrie Meek in the House of Representatives, where together they were sometimes among the lonesome few supporting the Democratic agenda in a Republican controlled congress.  42nd President Bill Clinton gave a lengthy speech about the economy without needing to tout his own merits to the audience of mostly Democrats.

Clinton did not hover over the suspicion and disappointment felt by some Democrats – he addressed many of the economic concerns directly and specifically. “I’ve learned from experience that if you make a decision in a moment of anger, there’s about an 80% chance that it’s gonna be a bad decision,” said Clinton at the beginning of his speech. From there he reminded the crowd that Democrats have still not had the time needed to fix the economic problems cultivated by the previous administration.

“So if you have those sort of friends who are going to head to the polls and vote [against a Democrat] out of anger or frustration, you need to remind them that there’s that 80% chance they’ll regret their decision,” Clinton finished.

The campaign event, while focusing on the economy and the difference between “real Democrats” and self-funded entrepreneurial candidates, did not address the issues of the LGBT community in South Florida. Still, no public mention was made by high ranking Democrats of Florida’s Amendment 2 against marriages and civil unions, the adoption ban or the lack of funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

Gay Democrats, including Ron Mills and Michael Rajner still seemed pleased at the event, which drew a crowd three times the size of what Meek staffers had anticipated. Senator Nan Rich made sure to start the evening by firmly characterizing Meek as the only choice for women who care to protect their reproductive rights and Michael Rajner did not miss an opportunity to advocate for people with HIV who now find themselves without proper healthcare and medication in Florida.

“I shook Clinton’s hand and told him thank you for your bold message and commitment to the HIV/AIDS community,” said Michael Rajner. “He immediately went from shaking my hand to embracing it and stopped walking the rope line to engage for nearly 2 minutes of dialogue. I [told Clinton that] Bill Nelson is about to lead the charge in the US Senate to call on his colleagues for increased funding to address the AIDS Drug Assistance Program crisis. I asked the President to call Senator Nelson and thank him for his upcoming leadership on the issue,” said Rajner, who was rushed for words in the fray of the moment. “The President then started to walk off but returned to say that he will certainly call Senator Nelson.”

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