Clinton shifts focus to Fla.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday she was going to Florida to assure Democrats that "their voices are heard" and to underscore her commitment to seeing the state's delegation seated at the national convention.

Though the Democratic presidential candidates largely have heeded the national party's request that they not campaign publicly in Florida, Clinton said it's time to pay attention to voters there who are showing heavy interest in tomorrow's primary. Early voting is under way and drawing strong interest, she said.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have already voted in Florida and I want them to know I will be there to be part of what they have tried to do to make sure their voices are heard," Clinton said in Memphis, Tenn., before heading for Florida.

Clinton worked overtime to deflect attention from her loss, hoping to claim credit for a strong showing in Florida when little was actually at stake. No delegate will be allocated, and none of the candidates have made an effort in the state. - AP

McCain and Romney spar

SWEETWATER, Fla. - Republican Mitt Romney yesterday lashed top rival John McCain for admitting less familiarity with the economy than foreign affairs, telling an earsplitting rally outside Miami: "No one needs to give me a briefing on the economy. I won't need to choose a vice president that understands the economy - because I know the economy."

McCain defended himself at a town-hall meeting in Polk City when a questioner challenged the Arizona senator's votes in 2001 and 2003 against Bush administration tax cuts. McCain now says those tax cuts should be made permanent.

"I opposed the tax cuts because I saw no restraint in the growth of spending. We let spending get out of control," said the self-styled maverick.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani contrasted himself with the two in both style and substance.

"Senator McCain and Governor Romney are doing such a good job of attacking each other, how about voting for somebody who's not attacking? Vote for me, Rudy Giuliani," he said while visiting the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach. - AP