Fidgety students awaited their big visitor Tuesday evening inside the cheerfully painted walls of the Overtown Youth Center.
“Hello, everybody,” Hillary Clinton greeted them as she walked in. She was met with a few gasps.
It was a day before Florida’s extended deadline for voters to register before the Nov. 8 election. Clinton was spending precious minutes with children mostly too young to sign up.
Some of them, though, would be taking part in their first election — if they filled out the paperwork in time.
“Get in the game,” they were urged — not by Clinton herself, but by a prominent donor and local philanthropist: Tracy Mourning, the wife of former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning.
The Mournings guided Clinton through the center, which opened in 2003 as a project of the Mourning Family Foundation. Students gathered for after-school programs, including one focusing on culinary arts and another designed around college prep.
That gave Clinton an opening to pitch her affordable-college plan.
“We’re going to get that cost down,” she pledged.
Even if most of the students couldn’t cast ballots for her, perhaps some of their parents could. So Clinton specifically mentioned HBCU’s — historically black colleges and universities. “I’m going to pay special attention to those, because they’ve done a great job,” she said.
There was not a single mention of Donald Trump.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Clinton had stumped at a rally at Miami Dade College — also aimed at attracting young voters — centered on climate change. Her unannounced Overtown stop was intended to highlight Clinton’s work for children and families. That it gave a little publicity to a pair of big-name campaign contributors didn’t hurt. Neither did its location in the heart of black Miami, where Clinton has tried to boost her popularity to closer approximate President Barack Obama’s.
The neighborhood seemed pleased to have her. Several young kids clad in school uniforms outside the center’s front door saw through a chain-link fence as Clinton entered.
“Hillary Clinton!” a little girl squealed, long after Clinton was out of sight.