On 69th Birthday, Clinton Rallies Supporters in Florida

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (Sun Sentinel/TNS) -

On her 69th birthday Wednesday, Hillary Clinton didn’t stop campaigning, telling a crowd of supporters in Lake Worth that “We can’t afford to take our foot off the gas for even one second.”

The presidential race between Clinton and Donald Trump remains close in Florida, a pair of conflicting polls released Wednesday morning show. A Florida Atlantic University showed Clinton ahead by three points, and a Bloomberg poll showed Trump in the lead by two.

The FAU poll showed Clinton ahead 46 percent to 43 percent with 6 percent undecided. Trump led by 17 points among white voters, while Clinton had a 49-point lead among both Hispanic and African-American voters.

The poll was taken Oct. 21-23 among 500 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 points. Among those who had already voted at that point by mail-in ballot, Clinton led by 26 points.

Until the Bloomberg poll, every poll of Florida released this week showed Clinton with a 3- or 4-point lead. The Bloomberg poll has Trump leading 45 percent to 43 percent, largely due to a 2-point lead among independents. The poll was conducted Oct. 21-24 among 953 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 points.

Clinton’s rally, held at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth campus, was about getting out the vote in the middle of the first week of early voting. Clinton asked the crowd to vote for Democratic candidates for Senate and Congress, including U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is running against U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Ten million people have already voted, and two million of them right here in Florida. That means Florida has already cast 20 percent of the votes that are in the ballot box,” she said. “Don’t let anyone tell you they don’t have time to vote.”

Clinton shifted her attention to attacking Trump.

“Among the many things he has said that are deeply troubling and disturbing, he said something truly horrifying in that last debate,” Clinton said. “He said he would not necessarily respect the results of this election.” After listing groups that have been the butt of Trump’s insults, from the disabled to women, Clinton added, “Now his final target is democracy itself.”

She went on to highlight her desire to increase solar power, make college tuition free for those earning less than $125,000 a year, and expand aid for child care. Much of these programs would be paid by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

“We’re going to raise taxes on the wealthy because they’ve gotten most of the gains in the economy,” Clinton said. “I don’t think it’s right that a guy like Donald Trump should pay zero in federal taxes.”

She finished her speech by telling the crowd of 2,100 that change is coming, but what that change is going to be is up to them.

“On Jan. 20, we’re going to have a new president. Things are going to change no matter what, the question is what kind of change we’re going to have,” Clinton said. “If you will work with me between now and Nov. 8 when the polls close, we will have the kind of change we want and we will prove once and for all that love Trumps hate.”

Clinton was the last of several speakers that day, one of whom she mentioned by name as she asked voters to support Randy Perkins for Congress in the opening of her speech.

Perkins, who is running for Congress in the seat being vacated by Murphy, opened the day by telling the crowd that “as the brother of four sisters and the father of four daughters” he’s particularly excited about the prospect of the country’s first female president.

After a lengthy pause, speakers again took the stage, starting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

“We are so divided, more so than I’ve ever seen in my political life,” Nelson said. “Do we want somebody who’s constantly going around insulting other people, or do we want a president who will respect others?”

He was followed by U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.

“We have an opportunity to elect a woman to the highest office in the land,” Frankel told the crowd. “And not just any woman, but the most prepared candidate ever.”

Clinton has another rally planned later Wednesday in Tampa. Up next, both Clinton and Trump are heading to North Carolina and then to the Midwest.