Elections

In Broward, Hillary Clinton takes aim at Florida Republicans over climate change, Medicaid expansion

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stops at Broward College

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at Broward College.
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at Broward College.

In an effort to draw Democrats to her campaign, Hillary Clinton bashed Republicans in a South Florida speech Friday for ignoring climate change and refusing to expand Medicaid in the nation’s largest swing state.

During her half-hour speech at Broward College in Davie, Clinton made no specific mention of her Florida GOP rivals, even though five are full- or part-time state residents: former Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and developer Donald Trump.

Instead, Clinton repeated familiar promises to fight for abortion rights and equal pay for women, and to raise the minimum wage and reduce student debt. She unfurled several attacks on the Republican Party related to the economy, healthcare and voting rights.

She touched on key hot-button issues for the liberal Broward audience by mentioning climate change and Medicaid.

Without naming Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Clinton attacked “your governor and the Republicans in Tallahassee” for failing to expand Medicaid.

“In Florida, as many as 650,000 could have gotten coverage under Medicaid,” she said. “Fewer people without insurance means fewer people who get preventive care, more visits to the emergency room. It makes no sense economically.”

What is wrong with us we can’t stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby and gun manufacturers?

Hillary Clinton

Clinton called for Florida to improve its record on wind and solar energy. She criticized Republicans who, when asked about climate change, say “I’m not a scientist.” (Rubio and Scott deployed similar lines.)

“My response to that is, ‘Why don’t you talk to a scientist and hear what they have to say?’ ” she said. “This is an economic opportunity.”

She also vowed to fight for new gun-control measures the day after a massacre at a community college in Oregon that left 10 people dead.

“What is wrong with us we can’t stand up to the NRA and the gun lobby and gun manufacturers?” she said. “This is not just tragic. We don’t need to just pray for people. We need to act.”

What Clinton didn’t reference: Her controversial use of a private email server as secretary of state.

“Everywhere Hillary Clinton goes, her campaign is overshadowed by unanswered questions regarding her secret email server,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ali Pardo said in a statement.

The scandal, though, didn’t seem to trouble voters who waited for Clinton, who was delayed at a Palm Beach fundraiser, to show up.

“I like her positions in regard to global warming,” said Arthur Jacoby, a 73-year-old retired New York teacher who now lives in Boca Raton. “She supports public education. . . . She supports Israel.”

Even though Jacoby plans to vote for Clinton, he’d still like to see more of her.

Everywhere Hillary Clinton goes, her campaign is overshadowed by unanswered questions regarding her secret email server.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ali Pardo

“The more she is here, the more people get to know her and understand her positions and the lies told about her,” he said. “Nothing like knowing the truth.”

Although the room was full of Democrats, not all of them were committed Clinton supporters.

Eve Rosen, a 59-year-old retired lawyer from Plantation, is torn between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I like that he is not as political,” she said. “He is more forthcoming in what he believes. She is more polished. She watches her words.”

However, Rosen is concerned about which Democrat could beat the Republican nominee.

“The question is, can somebody who is not a polished politician get elected in this day and age, especially with the Republican propaganda machine?” she said.

Friday’s event was Clinton’s first organizational meeting in Florida after holding similar public meetings in other states since August. She chose the county in the state with the highest number of registered Democratic voters: about 555,000.

By making statements that “black lives matter,” and vowing to fight for marriage equality and immigration reform, Clinton made a nod to key segments of Broward’s Democratic population.

She was also in South Florida Friday for fundraisers in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and North Palm Beach.

Clinton has stepped up her South Florida appearances in the past few months. On July 31, she gave a speech at Florida International University calling for lifting the Cuba embargo, and spoke to a largely African-American audience at the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale.

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