Appearing at an open air location at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, Obama began his nearly 30-minute speech by referencing the DNC. He praised First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks, as well as the much heralded 48-minute speech by former President Clinton.
"Somebody sent out a tweet saying 'you should appoint him (Clinton) Secretary of Explaining Stuff,'" said Obama to laughs from the audience. "I have to admit, he really didn't say 'stuff.' I cleaned that up a little bit."
Though he won't be appointed to any title before the election, Clinton is embarking on a tour to sell the message for a second Obama term, including appearances in Miami and Orlando later this week. An African-American woman from Bradenton, who only wanted to be identified as Cynthia, endorsed Clinton's plan telling CL that Clinton's Wednesday night speech was the best explanation on the benefits of "Obamacare" that she's heard this year.
"Clinton explained it very good," she said before Obama hit the Seminole stage. "He explained it in more depth than it has ever been explained."
As has been the case for months, Obama is now embracing the term "Obamacare," which many of his supporters believe is a disrespectful phrase to describe his signature domestic policy initiative.
"We did that," he said toward the end of his remarks. "I do care. I like the term 'Obamacare.' Mr. Romney says he's going to repeal it. It should be 'Romney Don't Care.'"
The outdoor rally contained the usual Florida summer brew of strong humidity and occasional rain drops. CL counted at least three people who needed medical attention and were pulled out of the crowd.information that the portion of the population in the labor force fell to its lowest level since September of 1981.
Referring to the Tampa RNC, Obama said the GOP was more than happy to talk about what's wrong with the U.S., but didn't have too many ideas about how to correct the current economic morass, except for tax cuts.
"Tax cuts. Tax cuts. Gut a few regulations. Some more tax cuts. Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to help your love life," the president said.
He then laughed as someone in the crowd yelled, "It doesn't help."
Obama quoted Clinton again when the former president said earlier this week that there's one word to describe why the Romney-Ryan prescription to heal the economy won't work: arithmetic.
"The fact is Mr. Romney's plan and Congressman Ryan's plan don't add up. And by the way they don't add the jobs either," said Obama, referring to independent economists who say the Republicans plan would slow down the recovery.
The audience was filled with mostly — but not exclusively — pro-Obama supporters.
Douglass Leass, 41, is a military veteran and registered Republican who voted for John McCain in 2008 because he thought Obama was too inexperienced to be entrusted with the presidency. He said the president, "hasn't made it worse, and at the same time it hasn't gotten dramatically better," adding if given another four years, "he could possibly pull it out." Leass said he appreciated Obama's positive attitude.
Seminole resident Janet Ley works for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Department's office in St. Petersburg. She said she'd like to hear more talk about the environment (something that was barely mentioned at all in Charlotte). Of Mitt Romney, she said, "(he's) a good man, but I disagree with all of his policies." She also said she worried about the "lies" that will be spouted in the next couple of month in political ads, hoping voters will search for what is accurate.
One surprise, at least going into the DNC, was the lack of enthusiasm surrounding Obama voters compared to 2008.
Vince Palmer from Seminole said he didn't have any concerns that the base of the Democratic Party will come out in sufficient numbers to support Barack Obama, but admitted that his 22-year-old son isn't showing much interest or curiosity about the candidates.
"I said to him 'look at your beliefs and values,'" Palmer said. "'And then go find a candidate with those same beliefs and values and go out and vote for him.'"
Though that may be a bit of hyperbole, it's not too exaggerated. Most independent political analysts say Mitt Romney must win Florida and its 29 electoral votes to have a chance to win the election, whereas Obama has other routes to go to get to 270, and doesn't need the Sunshine State as much.
What that means is both the president and the challenger will be back in the Tampa Bay area several more times in the 59 days left before election day.