(UNIVERSITY PARK, Fla.) — At his first solo rally of the 2012 election campaign, former President Bill Clinton Tuesday night invoked the 9/11 anniversary to urge all Americans to register to vote and endorse President Obama’s vision for a future of “shared prosperity.”
He also took shots at Republicans and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whom he said were conspiring to discourage Democratic voters and would take the country on a drastically different path.
“I decided to come here on this day because I think if you look around at how this day is being honored today — it’s being honored by service projects all over America, by people trying to be good citizens,” Clinton told the crowd of mostly college students at Florida International University.
“The most important thing I can say today … [is] if you want to honor the people who’ve worn the country’s uniform … be a good citizen,” he said. “The least we can do is show up and vote.”
Clinton called Obama’s race against Romney a “pivotal election” with high stakes for the middle class and the poor.
“I believe we should be working, in an interdependent world, for an America of shared responsibility, shared opportunity, shared prosperity and shared membership in one American community. That’s what I believe in,” Clinton said.
He said the opposing approach was a “a militant, bitter, anti-government strategy,” though he did not mention the Republican candidate by name.
“What works in the modern world is partnership,” Clinton said, underscoring a theme Democrats have made central to the 2012 debate. “It’s not business versus government, it’s business and government working together.”
“‘We’re all in this together’ works better than ‘you’re on your own,’” he said, echoing a line from his primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Clinton reprised his vigorous, and at times professorial, defense of Obama’s record on health care, education reform, the stimulus, and deficit reduction, which he first made last week at the DNC.
He said Obama “stopped the slide into a depression, laid the foundation for a road to recovery and left the building blocks for a modern economy.” On the debt, Clinton said Obama has a “smart” plan to cut $4 trillion over 10 years, “but not today” while the economy is still healing.
He rattled off health care statistics, claiming hundreds of thousands of Floridians have benefited from insurance coverage and lower drug costs under the Affordable Care Act. And he debunked the Romney campaign’s claim that Obama “robbed” Medicare of $716 billion to pay for it.
They are “pedaling that old dog. It’s a mangy old dog,” Clinton said of the claim. “It’s not true. [Beneficiaries] haven’t lost anything.”
The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Clinton’s remarks.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Jennifer Rizzo, CNN
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Tom LoBianco, CNN