MELBOURNE, Fla. — Less than 24 hours after fighting his way through his first presidential debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump roused a cheering crowd of supporters in Florida, which will be among critical swing states in the tightening race.
“She’s the candidate of yesterday and ours is the campaign of the future!” he shouted to the crowd Tuesday night. “For 90 minutes she spoke against change, while I called for dramatic change.”
“Last night was very exciting and almost every single poll had us winning the debate against crooked Hillary Clinton,” he said. “She is as crooked as they come.”
The CNN/ORC Poll of voters who watched the debate showed Clinton was seen as the winner by 62 percent of voters, while 27 percent said Trump did better.
Trump was hailed by his faithful on Tuesday after a sometimes brutal debate Monday night at Hofstra University in which Clinton said Trump lacked the skills and temperament for office and openly mocked his policy and his demeanor.
He in turn took her strength — experience — and tried to make it a liability.
“She has been there for 26 years and hasn’t fixed anything,” Trump said at the Florida rally. “All talk and no action. Typical politician.”
He noted that when she ran for senator in New York, she promised to create 200,000 jobs upstate. She didn’t.
“You should see it now,” he said. “It’s a disaster.”
Clinton was on her own Southern tour Monday, which her supporters called a post-debate victory lap.
But the thousands of Trump supporters who made the long walk in 90-degree heat to attend his open-air rally in a hangar on Florida’s Space Coast were clear in who they thought won.
Among them was Rushel Smith, 68, of Fort Braden, Florida, a Vietnam veteran in a camouflage ball cap. How did Trump do?
“Dang good,” Smith said, declaring Trump the debate’s clear winner. “I’m a Trump man all the way.”
As in the debate, Trump made many promises Tuesday night, but with little detail: “I’m going to lower your taxes by a lot ... we’re going to rebuild the country and create a lot of jobs.”
Trump drew roars from the crowd by saying the deck was stacked against him and his followers. He said the mainstream media doesn’t treat him fairly, and polls are also fixed against him.
“The single weapon that Hillary Clinton has … without the mainstream media she wouldn’t even be here, she wouldn’t have a chance,” he said. “I’m a fighter, fighting for you. It’s time.”