ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that he was more convinced than ever that President Barack Obama had earned a second term because he's dealing with tough issues like the economy and climate change.
Clinton spoke in St. Petersburg in the late afternoon. It was his fourth of five stops in Florida in one day. Later, Clinton was scheduled to appear at an event in Tallahassee.
Before a crowd of about 1,000 people, Clinton said Obama needs four more years to fix the economy — and that the problems he inherited were too enormous to solve in one term.
"Nobody, not me, not anybody else, could repair all the damage in four years," he said.
Clinton added that Obama has "bent over backwards" to work with Republicans but they have blocked him from getting anything done.
"I want somebody who can prove he can stick by his principles and work in a sensible way," Clinton said.
Clinton referenced Superstorm Sandy in his speech, saying that GOP nominee Mitt Romney is ignoring climate change.
"President Obama is not ignoring global warming," said Clinton. "He's trying to figure out a way to save us from it."
Earlier in the day, Clinton spoke at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, saying that he was "just sick of all this big money, secret money, constant negative campaigning" and dismissed Romney as not having serious plans for the country.
"I may be the only person in America, but I am far more enthusiastic about President Barack Obama this time," he told a raucous crowd of about 700. "I feel more strongly this time because, first of all, he has done a much better job with a terrible situation than most people would."
Clinton unleashed a litany of familiar criticisms about Romney, saying his priority was cutting taxes for the rich rather than improving the economy for all. He portrayed the former Massachusetts governor as a man trying to fool the country into electing him based on his business credentials, then seize credit for economic groundwork laid by Obama.
"What's Romney's approach? 'I look like a businessman, I talk like one, I know how to balance budgets, vote for me and people will be so elated that I'm elected that you will get 12 million jobs,'" Clinton said.
He said simply: "Obama's policies are working."
A Romney campaign spokesman, Jeff Bechdel, said Clinton was dispatched to Florida "in a desperate attempt to make up for lost ground."
The former president was hoarse from a hectic campaign schedule as one of Obama's top surrogates.
In St. Petersburg, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist — a Republican who has since endorsed Obama — introduced Clinton, saying that he was "one of our greatest presidents ever."
Associated Press writer Gary Fineout contributed to this report from Palm BaY. Follow Matt Sedensky on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sedensky