TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump finished a campaign swing through Florida with a rare visit to Tallahassee on Tuesday, promoting his promise to "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. and blending it with the charged language and insults that have become his hallmark.
In addition to delivering his closing anti-establishment message, Trump said he would like an opportunity to duke it out with Vice President Joe Biden. And Trump said Americans would be "crazy" to elect his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It was an unusual place for Trump to show up. Statewide candidates rarely journey during the general election to Tallahassee, a Democratic stronghold in solidly Republican North Florida. But the focus of the rally at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum seemed to be less about converting voters than convincing them to go to the polls between now and Election Day.
"Our country is rigged, it's crooked and it's broken. ... The criminal conduct of Hillary Clinton threatens the foundations of our democracy; it really does," Trump said. "But we're going to turn it around. A new day begins for America and it starts on Nov. 8. Get out and vote."
Thousands crowded into a field to hear Trump speak, many of them hitching rides with strangers in truck beds after learning that the Secret Service was not allowing people to walk onto museum grounds.
Trump spent much of his roughly 35-minute speech talking about the "Contract With the American Voter" that forms the centerpiece of Trump's message in the closing days of the campaign. Trump has vowed to propose a constitutional amendment to impose congressional term limits; seek more restrictions on lobbying for foreign governments; renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA; and begin a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Trump also emphasized a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the signature domestic accomplishment of President Barack Obama. The candidate seized on reports of large premium increases to slam the law, commonly known as Obamacare.
"Repealing Obamacare and stopping Hillary's health-care takeover is one of the single most important reasons we must win on Nov. 8," Trump said.
But the businessman known for wandering off message and responding to seemingly every personal slight followed suit Tuesday. He hit back at Vice President Joe Biden, who recently said he would like to take the GOP presidential candidate "behind the gym." Trump suggested he wasn't impressed.
"I'd love that. I'd love that," he said. "Mr. Tough Guy. He's Mr. Tough Guy. You know when he's Mr. Tough Guy? When he's standing behind a microphone by himself. ... Some things in life you could really love doing."
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the first statewide official to endorse Trump for president, also implored the crowd to vote, pounding on a theme that "eight years is enough" of Democratic polices in the White House.
"Make your friends, make your family go out and vote. That's the most important thing we can do. ... And it's all of us who are going to show them that these polls are rigged," Bondi said.
State Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda of Tallahassee, who recently left the Democratic Party as her term expires, also supported Trump and blasted Clinton.
"We need a commander in chief that is going to protect this nation, that is not running to be queen of the world, but president of these United States of America," she said. " ... And do I want a woman president someday? Absolutely. But Hillary's not the one."
In response, outgoing Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who represents the Tallahassee area, painted Trump as out of step with the values of the district. In a statement, Graham accused Trump of trying to divide the nation "along racial, ethnic, religious and gender lines."
"He represents everything the North Florida Way is not," said Graham, who is considering a run for governor in 2018. "Citizens across Florida are already voting in record numbers, and on November 8th, our entire country will send Donald Trump the loud and clear message that love beats hate and hard work beats boisterous rallies."