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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.

Arkansas Senator A Non-Surrogate For Trump At Ohio Breakfast

By Michael Vadon - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Wikimedia Commons
Sen. Tom Cotton speaking Jan. 23, 2016 at First In The Nation Townhall, New Hampshire Republican Committee

CLEVELAND - Ordinarily, a state delegation breakfast at a presidential nominating convention features a main speaker who is acting as a surrogate for the presidential candidate.

But, Monday morning, hundreds of Ohio delegates, alternates and guests gathered in the ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel on the shores of Lake Erie, where their host was State Treasurer Josh Mandel and their keynote speaker was Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who, earlier this month, denied rumors that he was being considered as Donald Trump's running mate.

Cotton, a first term senator, spoke to the Ohio delegates for nearly half an hour Monday, but he was certainly no Trump surrogate.

In fact, he never mentioned the man who will become the Republican Party's nominee here this week.

Cotton, instead, jabbed at the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and recited a long list of what he considers failures by President Obama's administration over the past eight years.

Democrats had a choice for nominees, "and they chose the one under FBI investigation," a reference to the investigation into Clinton's use of a private e-mail server. The FBI came to the conclusion that she used poor judgment, but  no criminal charges were filed.

"Maybe she is running so she can pardon herself in January,'' Cotton said.

During eight years in the White House, Cotton said, President Obama and the Democrats have taken the country backwards.

"Isn't it sad that they are talking about raising the minimum wage a person can make?," Cotton asked. "We, as Republicans, are talking about maximizing the amount of money people can make."

Cotton, a 39-year-old U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said he is saddened by the incidents in recent weeks in Dallas and Baton Rouge "where police officers have been assassinated."

"We are the party of law and order and we always back the blue,'' Cotton said.

Cotton said the situation abroad and in this country has become far worse in terms of security and terrorism over the past eight years.

"There is no doubt that we are less safe than we were eight years ago; and that is because Barack Obama's foreign policy is impotent,'' Cotton said.

The Obama foreign policy, he said, "is a strange combination of arrogance and weakness."

That, he said, has led to a feeling of insecurity among Americans.

"That's how bad it has become,'' Cotton said. "Americans have to be afraid of terrorist attacks on their own homes."

After wrapping up his speech, Cotton left the breakfast and went speeding off from the Doubletree to his next delegation breakfast.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.