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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Rand Paul Takes An Indirect Shot At Fellow GOP Presidential Contender Donald Trump

Howard Wilkinson

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator, didn’t bring up the subject of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination when he spoke to the Florence Rotary Club Monday, but he had plenty to say about it to reporters afterwards.

Paul, who is mired in the single digits in national polls, took a back-handed swipe at the Republican candidate who is leading most national polls, business mogul Donald Trump – and he did it without mentioning him by name.

“I think the celebrity skew of this race is about to turn,’’ Paul said after the lunch at the Turfway Hilton. “I think you’re going to see that once the celebrity nature of this race sort of fades a little bit; I think you’re going to see it’s going to be a jumble again, a mixture of 10 candidates." 

Right now, there are 15 GOP presidential contenders.

Paul said he believes he can be competitive in that “jumble” – even though recent national polls show his support at only two to three percent.

“We think we’re right in the middle and in the mix of things,” Paul said. “And I think, as far as organizational strength, I think we’re doing very well.”

His campaign, he said, is fully staffed in the first primary state of New Hampshire and in Iowa, the first caucus state.

“Also, if you pit me against Hillary Clinton in a one-on-one poll, we actually beat Hillary Clinton in five states that were won by President Obama,’’ Paul said. “So we’re doing very well with the independent vote and very well in the battleground states.”

Paul’s campaign had a bad moment last week when the senator came back to the Bluegrass State to campaign for Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for Kentucky governor.  

Bevin then went on a radio show in Kentucky and said his candidate for president is Ben Carson.

Paul told reporters Monday Bevin’s statement wasn’t a big deal.

“Not every Kentucky Republican is going to support me,’’ Paul said. “If you don’t understand that some people like you as senator but won’t support you for president, you’re not really thinking through how races like this develop.”

Bevin, Paul said, will be "a much better governor than that other fellow, what's his name."

"What's his name" is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway. Paul ran against Conway for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and won. 

During his speech to the Rotarians, Paul talked about his familiar themes of government waste and government intrusion in people's lives.

He used a number of examples of what he says is wasteful government spending - such as 800 thousand dollars spent on a televised cricket league for Afghanistan, where only one in 10,000 Afghans own a TV.