MIAMI (AP) — Appealing for patriotism, former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday urged Americans to honor those killed on 9/11 and in the wars that followed by being a "good citizen" and getting engaged in the election.
"The least we can do is show up and vote," said Clinton, opening two days of campaigning in Florida for President Barack Obama.
Clinton muted his direct criticism of Romney on a day when both parties put aside their most harshly negative rhetoric. The former president also opened his remarks with a moment of silence honoring those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
But Clinton didn't hold back in drawing contrasts between Obama's proposals and those pushed by Republicans. In fine detail, he parsed the differences between the parties on health care, higher education and government spending.
Clinton, building upon his well-regarded speech at the Democratic Party's convention last week, argued that Obama was moving the country toward economic stability, even though sluggish growth and 8.1 percent unemployment showed there was a long way to go.
"The test is not whether you think everything is hunky-dory," Clinton said. "If that were the test, the president would vote against himself."
The former president spoke to a diverse 2,300-person crowd at a college gymnasium. He'll also campaign for Obama on Wednesday in Orlando and is expected to appear frequently in other battleground states throughout the fall.