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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.

Bill Clinton Defends Hillary Clinton, Foundation Before Labor Crowd

Howard Wilkinson
Former President Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, told thousands of union workers at Coney Island Monday that this is a strange election, but one where they must work to make his wife, Hillary Clinton, the 45th president.

"She never got anything done in Washington- as First Lady, as senator, as Secretary of State – without the strong support from Democrats and Republicans,'' Clinton told the crowd at the annual Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council picnic.

Her opponent, Donald Trump, and his Republican allies, Clinton said, "have to demonize her. But there is nothing that they can say or do to make her close the door on open honest, negotiations."

Bill Clinton also defended the Clinton Foundation, a charity he founded after leaving the White House. Hillary Clinton has been accused of giving close access to foundation donors when she was Secretary of State.

"He even went after my foundation,'' Clinton said. ""I was sort of a Robin Hood, but I didn't rob anybody. I took money from people who had a lot of money and spent it on people who needed it."

He used as an example Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, which he said funded "billions and billions" of clean water packs for people in Africa.

"Is there something wrong with that?,'' Clinton asked, to the cheers of the crowd.

President Clinton's speech took place in the picnic grounds, where several thousand union members and their families had gathered for their annual Labor Day picnic.  (He spoke for about a half hour)

The speech was only a stone's throw away from the spot where, on Labor Day in 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton, delivered a campaign speech that was filmed by a Hollywood production crew and ended up in a campaign commercial that year.

Entering the day, Real Clear Politics, a website that tracks national polling, had Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump nationwide by 3.9 percentage points – by no means an insurmountable lead but usually the candidate who leads in the polls on Labor Day ends up winning the election.

But, then again, this is a most unusual election.

Dave Baker, business manager of Ironworkers Local 44, said he'll be nervous about this presidential election "up until it is over."

"We're in a fight; there is no question about it,'' Baker said. "It's a fight we can win, but we are going to have to work hard every day between now and then."

Hamilton County, Baker said, is a "critical county in a critical state. We are trying to reach people, one voter at a time."

He said that when his union members encounter someone who might be inclined to vote for Trump, "we just tell them that the record speaks for itself. He has absolutely no record of fighting for working people. Hillary Clinton has a lifetime of fighting for us."

The former president was in downtown Detroit Monday morning, marching in organized labor's annual Labor Day parade. Hillary Clinton had campaign events in Cleveland and Illinois.
Trump, on the other hand, was in the Mahoning Valley of Ohio Monday.


Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.