- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2002

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Bill Clinton told black voters here yesterday to "make it count this time" as he ended a 36-hour crusade across southeast Florida with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride.
It was the last stop in an 11th-hour appeal to a constituency that Democrats need to win the election.
Gov. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, stood with his older brother, President Bush, on Saturday evening. The president asked a packed house at a Tampa basketball arena to re-elect Jeb "for the sake of dignity and integrity of the office of governor."
Polls show a lead of five to 10 percentage points for Mr. Bush, but the late push from Democrats for the black vote mirrors their strategy in 2000, when a heavy black turnout meant Republicans could only whittle out a 537-vote win for George W. Bush.
So with the president on one side of the state and the former president on the other, the race remains in the national spotlight despite the protests of both candidates, who continue to speak on Florida issues such as education.
Mr. Clinton told the mostly black crowd of 500 yesterday to vote for Mr. McBride, implying that in 2000, there was an effort to thwart the black vote and divide the nation.
National politics, Mr. Clinton said, is divided "between those who favor community and those who favor division those who want to cooperate and those who want to dominate those who want to count everybody in and those who are perfectly happy to count some people out."
Mr. Clinton implored the voters not to be discouraged by the 2000 election-recount wars.
"America is looking at you, and if you don't show up in some numbers, they'll say 'division works,'" he said.
T-shirts worn by several dozen of those in attendance said it all: "Vote Nov. 5, 2002. It's payback time."
In what was promoted as a "worship service," the Rev. Griffin Davis Jr. assured the crowd in an opening sermon that "God will give us a victory when you vote for Bill McBride."
U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, Florida Democrat, introduced Mr. Clinton as a "man of humanity, man of decency, a man of character and courage" and called him "the world's friend."
The turnout yesterday was a relief to Democratic leaders, who were frazzled from poor crowds at two events in this area Saturday night, including one at Miami-Dade Community College that drew around 200 people.
Many Democrats are still concerned about voting problems in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, two Democratic strongholds.
The Democratic Party has recruited nearly 1,000 lawyers from all over the country to stand by for postelection filings. Republicans, too, have secured a stable of lawyers.
Legal teams on both sides include veterans of Election 2000.
"There are going to be a lot of frayed tempers by the time this is over," said Alan Greer, a Democratic lawyer who worked in 2000. "What it will come down to is if this race is close. Then there may be some legal action."
Mr. Clinton's appeal yesterday was purely partisan as he stood on a makeshift stage in front of a Martin Luther King memorial in downtown Curry Park.
"I lived through Mr. Gingrich and Mr. DeLay and all those Republicans I tried to get along with saying, 'We're going to deny his legitimacy, we're going to treat him like a nonperson, we're going to hound him every day of his life till the day he leaves,'" Mr. Clinton said.
"I wasn't mad at them; I'm not mad at them today. I don't ever want you to treat them the way they treated me, my wife and my administration," he said. "On the other hand, if you don't like what they do, stand up and be counted."

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