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In Fort Lauderdale, Hillary Clinton slams Jeb Bush

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In the first event of 2015 where presidential candidates from both major political parties were present, Hillary Clinton blasted Jeb Bush during her speech at the National Urban League annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale.

Clinton never mentioned Bush’s name. Instead she mocked the name of his political action committee, Right to Rise, that raised more than $100 million through the first six months of this year.

“The real test of a candidate’s commitment is not whether we come to speak at your national conference,” Clinton said, in mentioning how impressive it was for the Urban League to have five presidential candidates appear at their annual forum.

“It’s whether we’re still around after the cameras are gone and the votes are counted. It’s whether our positions live up to our rhetoric, and too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this, and what they actually do when they’re elected. I don’t think you can credibly say that everyone has a ‘right to rise’ and then say you’re for phasing out Medicare or repealing Obamacare!”

Democrats have seized on Bush’s comment at a New Hampshire town-hall meeting last week that he wanted to “phase out Medicare.”

Clinton, though, wasn’t finished criticizing the former Florida governor.

“They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education, and you can’t seriously talk about the right to rise and then support laws that deny the right to vote!,” she shouted,  eliciting huge cheers in the convention center’s ballroom.

Clinton talked about the high-profile tragedies involved young blacks who have been killed in confrontations with law enforcement agencies over the past few years, beginning with Trayvon Martin, and moving on to Sandra BlandTamar RiceWalter ScottFreddie Gray and Sam DuBose.

“Because of people sharing their stories, a growing number of Americans are realizing what many of you have been saying for a long time,” she said about the feeling that racism still exists in America. “We can’t go on like this. Things must change. Those of us who strive to lead have a special responsibility.”

The audience responded by giving her a standing ovation when she finished her speech.

While Bernie Sanders also invoked frequent cheers and also received a partial standing ovation, Clinton appeared to the people’s choice of the presidential five candidates who spoke.

After her speech, she headed south to Florida International University in Miami to give a speech calling for the removal of the economic embargo against Cuba. Although she has said that before, making such a speech in the heart of the anti-Castro exile community was noteworthy.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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