Clinton Focuses On Public Service, Economy During Florida Stop

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CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami/AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stopped by South Florida Friday along her campaign trail.

Clinton started off in Fort Pierce in the morning before heading to the Coral Springs Gymnasium at 2501 Coral Springs Drive.

Clinton began her speech addressing the painful passing of Miami Marlins superstar Jose Fernandez and offered up her “thoughts and prayers” for his family. Clinton called him the embodiment of the American Dream.

“When he left Cuba he did not speak a word of English,” Clinton said. “He never forgot where he came from.”

She also mentioned Coral Springs resident Bob Levinson, the former FBI agent believed to have been kidnapped in Iran in 2007.

“It is long past time for the Iranian regime to provide us information about his whereabouts and let him return home to his family,” Clinton said to a boisterous crowd.

During her speeches, Clinton detailed plans to enhance service opportunities. She wants to triple the size of the AmeriCorps program, grow the Peace Corps and create a new national service reserve program.

Under her proposed service program, people would enroll, receive some training and then state and local leaders could call on their help during in natural disasters or emergency situations. Clinton wants to sign up 5 million people, focusing on those under 30.

Clinton argued that service had been a priority of Republicans and Democrats in the past, but “I don’t think you’ll hear anything about this from my opponent.”

Although she avoided naming her Republican opponent, she criticized him for a “strongman approach” and said Donald Trump was unlikely to embrace national service as a priority.

“When he talks, sometimes I don’t even recognize the country he’s talking about,” she quipped.

Clinton added that Trump has still offered up little in terms of an actual plan to make the country great again.

“My opponent’s only infrastructure plan is to build a wall. I loved that he went down to Mexico and he choked,” said Clinton. “So he’s sitting with the president of Mexico and he doesn’t even bring it up.”

Clinton also pounced on a Newsweek report that Trump’s company funneled $68,000 to the Castro regime in 1998 trying to set up plans for a hotel and casino there. That’s illegal, given the strict economic embargo that was in place against Cuba at the time. It’s political dynamite for Clinton.

“Today, we learned about his efforts to do business in Cuba which appeared to violate U.S. law, certainly flout American foreign policy and he has consistently misled people in responding to questions about whether he was attempting to do business in Cuba,” said Clinton.

Trump’s campaign first refused to comment on his investments in Cuba but a spokesman now has denied it. The Newsweek report says Trump funneled the casino-boosting money to Cuba trying to make it appear to be a charitable contribution.

State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami) issued a statement on Friday calling on the candidate to take up the issue and apologize.

“We’ve known that Donald Trump has a history of putting his business interests ahead of our national interest — but with evidence that he and his associates knowingly violated federal law to explore investments in Cuba and then lied about it, Donald Trump must apologize to the Cuban-American community before he steps foot in our area again to campaign. No elected official who believes that what Donald Trump’s company did was wrong should stand quietly on the sidelines and should join me in calling on the Trump campaign to publicly release all documents concerning the trip and payments made to consulting companies under the watch of Trump organizations.”

Clinton’s visit comes a little less than a week before President Barack Obama is set to visit Miami to tout Clinton as the next president asking residents to register to vote. He is set to campaign for Clinton on Wednesday.

For more on Campaign 2016, click here.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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