Former President Bill Clinton officially campaigned on Barack Obama's behalf for the first time today in Florida, the Associated Press reports. Clinton, who told the crowd "Hillary sent me," condemned Republican economic policies and issued an endorsement of Obama – though he did not mention the Democratic nominee's name until more than 5 minutes into his speech.
In front of a crowd of several thousand, Clinton talked about the nation's financial problems at length, praising Obama for his approach to the economic crisis. He also heaped high praise of Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, saying that no one in the Senate understands the economic and security challenges like Biden.
Clinton said Obama had asked him and other economic advisers for guidance.
The former president, who has been criticized for refusing to attack John McCain, told the crowd, "you don't have to say one bad word about Sen. Obama's opponent, you just have to tell them the truth." Clinton has professed admiration for McCain in the past, calling him a "great man." As the AP points out, Clinton has not said anything similar about Obama.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Obama with a 51-43 lead over McCain among likely voters in Florida.