With only days left before the general election Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton defended President Barack Obama's efforts to right the nation's economy.
Clinton told the crowd that Nobody, nobody, nobody," could have repaired all the damage to the economy inflicted by a deep recession Obama faced when he first took office.
I am more enthusiastic about him this time than I was four years ago, Clinton told a cheering crowd at The Coliseum.
Clinton pointed to the nation's continuing economic recovery, saying Obama had made the right decisions.
With the presidential election just days away and Obama and Mitt Romney in an apparent dead heat, the government reported that employers added a stronger-than-expected 171,000 jobs, McClatchy Newspapers, Inc. reported Friday.
"I think he's the best guy for the country," explained Steve Puhalla, 50, of St. Pete Beach, about the president.
The self-employed construction worker added, "You got a choice: Are you going to be for the rich, or the working guy?"
He was concerned that Republicans wanted to eliminate Democratic health care reforms and Medicare.
"I think that's a bad idea," Puhalla said.
Also in the crowd was Erin O'Brien, 30, a teacher from St. Petersburg, who brought her 5-month-old daughter, Molly.
"I want her to be able to have a future (in which she) has equal rights like everybody else, and to make choices for her own body," said O'Brien.
The city overlooking Tampa Bay is among the areas in central Florida where presidential candidates have spent plenty of time and effort over past months in hopes of putting swing state Florida into their column.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.