Thursday, September 29, 2016

Newt Gingrich's week of Donald Trump damage control continues at Baldwin Wallace

Newt Gingrich was a finalist to be Donald Trump's running mate. Now he is a has-been, holding on for a few last breaths of relevancy. And if that means he has to side with Trump in a sexist attack on a beauty pageant winner who struggled with her weight or allude to Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs, well, the portly and twice-divorced Gingrich is more than happy to play his part.

Gingrich's appearance here Thursday followed a dubious double-duty on Trump's behalf.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Round 1 goes to Hillary Clinton

With polls nationally and in battleground states showing the race for president a dead heat, Monday night's debate - the first between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump - was the biggest test yet in a blockbuster election year.

For the tens of millions of Americans watching the faceoff, televised live from Hofstra University, this was a chance, finally, to evaluate the candidates side-by-side.

Clinton came into the debate with sky-high expectations, raised by her decades in public service and by Trump's inexperience. But that lack of political seasoning has served Trump well with voters drawn to an outsider, and many of his loyal fans might not be swayed by a showing in which he clearly was out of his depth.

Even so, Clinton scored more points than Trump did.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in Cuyahoga County poll, but both are behind 2012 benchmarks

Hillary Clinton has a predictably comfortable lead in Cuyahoga County, according to new polling by Baldwin Wallace University and

But she is performing beneath benchmarks Barack Obama set in a region that has been a firewall for Democratic presidential hopefuls looking to win Ohio and its prized 18 electoral votes.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, is playing worse here than any Republican contender since at least 1960. And many remain undecided or unsatisfied with the two major-party candidates.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Reince Priebus makes a mess in Ohio

Reince Priebus has an Ohio problem.

Let us count the ways.
  • Priebus then presided over a Cleveland convention that left Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges and other Buckeye State delegates feeling slighted by pettiness.
  • Meanwhile, the RNC has no communications director here - an unusual deficiency given Ohio's battleground status. The first person who had the job left, in part, because he could not stomach supporting Trump's brand of bigotry. The second person who had the job bolted after two weeks and a big fight with Trump's state director. No one is beating down the door to be the third.
  • And now Priebus is picking at the scab. During a TV appearance Sunday, he warned that Kasich's refusal to endorse Trump could trigger party penalties if Kasich runs for president again. That drew outrage from Borges and from Kasich's political strategist, John Weaver.
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Donald Trump fans have been sending me racist, hateful messages for months. Here's a sampling.

For 15 years, my ethnic last name has appeared above all of my stories. Which means, for 15 years, some readers have judged me only by that ethnic last name.

I have heard their voice mails and read their emails. Smirked at their keyboard courage in the comments section. Told myself not to take the Twitter mentions too personally.

Call it bigotry. Call it racism. Call it xenophobia. As a writer – especially one who covers national politics – you chalk it up as coming with the territory, as hurtful and as menacing as it can be. This year, though, it is coming far more frequently. There is no mystery why.

Maybe you don't believe Donald Trump is a bigot. Or a racist. Or a xenophobe. But the Republican nominee for president certainly has won the support of people who are.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump kick off their fall campaigns in Cleveland

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump began their final sprints toward November similarly Monday, touching down here for some swing state stumping.

Labor Day, the first mile-marker of the fall campaign, saw Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, rallying with fellow Democrats at Cleveland's Luke Easter Park. Meanwhile, Trump and his No. 2, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, met with a smattering of union leaders in nearby Brook Park before darting to a fair in a Youngstown suburb.

At one point, the planes for all four sat on the tarmac of Hopkins International Airport. And Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, campaigned downstate in Cincinnati.

"This is the home stretch," Kaine said in Cleveland. "We have to come to Ohio. You all know this. You're used to this. You're used to the fact that you're one of the two or three most important states in any presidential election going back since there were presidential elections."

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

How John Kasich's snub of Donald Trump could help Rob Portman win re-election

It's early, but Ohio's big U.S. Senate race seems just about over.

Republican incumbent Rob Portman is running a very smart re-election campaign. He has kept Donald Trump, his party's erratic nominee for president, at arm's length.

He and his allies have spent their money wisely. (To the point where national Democrats appear to be giving up and the pro-Portman Koch brothers are easing off the gas, too.)

Meanwhile, Ted Strickland is running a surprisingly poor campaign.
Democrats thought the former governor's name-recognition would be an asset in a competitive contest. But Strickland is eating Portman's dust, at least according to several recent polls.

There's a third person who deserves mention: John Kasich.

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