Hillary Clinton in Orlando: 'You've been through a lot this year'

By Jerry Hume, David Bodden, Digital Media Producers, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 4:17 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton spoke in Central Florida on Wednesday as her campaign pushes to keep momentum going with supporters.

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke at Frontline Outreach Youth and Family Center, in the Washington Shores neighborhood of Orlando.

Clinton opened her rally by praising Orlando for the unity it showed after the Pulse attack in June, remarking that the community had been through a lot this year.

"What has been so notable is you've responded with grace," Clinton said. "You've shown the world what Orlando is made of — strength, love and kindness. This is something we could all use more of right now."

Clinton then talked about recent police shootings in Charlotte and Tulsa, where unarmed black men were shot by police.

"Building an inclusive economy is another reason we’ve got to break down systemic racism, including under-investment in communities of color," Clinton said.

She also decried the targeting of police officers in Philadelphia, along with violence against police Tuesday night in Charlotte.  

"We are safer when communities respect police and police respect communities," Clinton said.

Clinton then turned to a topic that is "near and dear to her heart": increasing accessibility for the disabled, whether in education or in employment.

“First, we’re going to focus on jobs and incomes," Clinton told the hundreds in attendance. "I’m going to fight to get more Americans with disabilities the chance to work alongside those without disabilities, and do the same jobs with the same pay and benefits.”

Clinton’s plan, if she becomes president, is to make colleges and businesses more accessible for people with special needs.

Jennifer Allender from Daytona Beach came out to support Clinton because she said Clinton’s message speaks to her — especially when it comes to rights for the disabled such as herself.

“Employers don’t want to hire people with problems,” said Allender, who has been without a job since 1998, when she hurt her back at work.

“You walk in with a cane, and it’s over."

"When we leave people out or write them off, we not only shortchange them and their dreams, we shortchange our country and our future," Clinton said.

Paulette Edwards, Frontline Outreach's executive director, said she got the call about Clinton's visit less than 48 hours before the candidate stopped in Orlando.

"It's a pretty quick turnaround. But I am very excited that we got the call because of all the issues that are affecting this community are prime issues in this campaign, so we want to hear from both sides," she said.

Edwards and a team of campaign supporters welcomed as many as 500 people to the event.

She said the community center serves many parents concerned about jobs, health care and child care — all topics that have hit the forefront in this campaign.

2016 presidential candidate stops along the I-4 Corridor

Click on the red dots to see campaign stops by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Click on the blue dots to see campaign stops by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, former President George H.W. Bush said Monday that he will vote for Clinton in November, reported CNN, citing sources close to the 41st president — meaning that a former Republican president is outwardly rejecting his party's nominee.

It could give a boost to Clinton as polls some show her Republican rival, Donald Trump, closing the gap in some key battleground states.

"I know that even if you are totally opposed to Donald Trump, you may still have some questions about me. I get that. And I want to do my best to answer those questions," Hillary Clinton said recently. "When it comes to public service, the service part has always come easier than me than the public part. I will never be the showman that may opponent is, and that is OK with me."

Bush family representatives declined to respond publicly.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Tuesday that she respects "the 92-year-old former president very much and his decision" but that "it is ironic that he would vote for the wife of the man who knocked him out of the race."

Trump was campaigning Wednesday in another battleground state. He was scheduled to be in Toledo, Ohio this afternoon, followed by a town hall event in Cleveland.

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