Clinton Energizes Base at|Cleveland Labor Day Rally

     CLEVELAND (CN) – Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine kicked off the final stretch of the presidential campaign season by celebrating Labor Day in Ohio. The swing state has cast its electoral votes for the winning presidential candidate more than any other state in the country.
     Addressing hundreds of northeast Ohio residents at the 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Labor Day Festival in Cleveland, the Democratic nominee for president and her running mate and were joined on stage by prominent Ohio Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and current U.S. Senate candidate, Ted Strickland.
     Organized Labor was also well represented. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, all took the stage to lend their support, and their enthusiastic rallying cries, to the Democratic candidates.
     Fudge, Brown and Kaine all used their respective turns at the microphone to stress the importance of electing Strickland and unseating incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman.
     Strickland meanwhile spent most of his own brief remarks bashing Portman. The senator’s support for a national right-to-work bill, his desire to privatize Social Security, and his opposition to lowering interest rates for student loans all drew Strickland’s barbs.
     Strickland described Portman to the crowd as a guy with “baby-soft hands” who has “spent his entire life looking out for those who are already privileged.”
     When Strickland finished his remarks without saying anything about his own record or achievements, Fudge quickly took to the microphone and defended Strickland’s use of Ohio’s Rainy Day Fund during his time as governor.
     “Before Ted leaves, I know you’ve been seeing these commercials about how he spent the Rainy Day Fund,” Fudge said, referencing attack ads paid for by the right-wing super PAC, Fighting for Ohio Fund. “Let me first tell you a rainy day fund is for a rainy day. Let me also tell you that we had a lot of rainy days under his administration.”
     Strickland served as Ohio’s governor from 2007 to 2011 and, according to Fudge and Strickland’s campaign website, he used Ohio’s Rainy Day Fund to avoid tax increases and cuts to services like unemployment compensation, school funding, Medicare and Medicaid during the Great Recession.
     “It wasn’t just blown,” Fudge told the crowd. “It was for the people of the state of Ohio. Remember that!”
     Warming up the crowd for Clinton, Sen. Kaine spoke about how proud he is to be running alongside the former secretary of state.
     He reminded the crowd of Clinton’s early work with the Children’s Defense Fund and recalled his own beginnings as a civil rights lawyer, working in fair-housing litigation.
     Kaine then contrasted his and Clinton’s resumes with that of the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, whom the U.S. Justice Department accused of housing discrimination in 1973.
     Federal investigators at the time found that employees at apartments managed by Trump’s real estate company, Trump Management, refused to rent to black tenants and marked the applications of prospective minority tenants with the letter “C” for “colored.”
     Trump denied knowledge of any biased practices and his company eventually settled.
     Clinton struggled with a persistent cough when she finally took the stage, but she was able to finish her remarks without the need for any sort of break, although a hoarse rasp remained and seemed to keep her relatively subdued.
     The former first lady joked that Trump was to blame for her cough. “Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic,” she said.
     Aboard her campaign’s new charter plane later that day, Clinton told media that her cough was caused by seasonal allergies.
     Clinton’s address to the Cleveland crowd meanwhile repeated her calls for paid family leave, affordable child care and equal pay for women. She also reminded the union-friendly crowd of how Trump hired a union-busting firm to break up an organizing campaign at his hotel in Las Vegas.
     Clinton praised organized labor and spoke of recent findings that a strong union presence in the labor market increases wages for both union and nonunion employees.
     Though Clinton did not say who conducted the study, the Economic Policy Institute put out a report on unions last week.
     Clinton also promoted “Stronger Together,” a new book that she co-authored with Sen. Kaine that lays out the progressive agenda they plan to pursue from the White House.
     Trump’s meeting last week with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto also drew the Democratic nominee’s scorn, with Clinton remarking how quickly Trump managed to turn his first foray in diplomacy into “an embarrassing international incident.”
     The former secretary closed her address with yet another distinction between her own resume and that of Donald Trump.
     “We’re not running because it’s a nice thing to do after you have a reality TV show,” Clinton told the crowd. “We’re running because between Tim and I we have a lot of years in public service and we believe in what we can do together.”
     Opinions among those in attendance were, predictably, in favor of Clinton and strongly opposed to Trump.
     Bonita Edwards, a Cleveland resident who originally hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, brushed off concerns over Clinton’s email-classification lapses during her time in the State Department.
     “Most politicians make mistakes,” Edwards said. “None of them are perfect. I haven’t seen anything that would make me not vote for her.”
     While Edwards said she admires what Clinton stands for, she described Trump as “childish” and “ignorant.”
     “I’ve never seen anybody that’s running for office talk about people the way he talks about Hillary,” Edwards said.
     A Jamaican national sharing a bench with Edwards took the sentiment a step farther.
     “This is a man we have got to be afraid of,” said Peter Stephenson. “He comes in here with a lot of venom.”
     “He’s not presidential,” Stephenson continued. “If my kid was behaving the way he does, I would spank him.”
     Brian Carbaugh, a high school teacher from Richfield, Ohio, echoed the opinion that Trump lacks maturity.
     “I think he’s a joke,” said Carbaugh. “Are we gonna let the 5-year-old run the country? And I think that’s very much what he is.”
     A long-time supporter of Hillary Clinton, Carbaugh brought his 8-year-old daughter Keira and his 5-year-old son Kyle to the event with the hopes that they would get to see the first female president of the United States.
     Even Keira had harsh words for Trump.
     “He says terrible stuff about girls and women,” said Keira.
     Cleveland is historically a Democratic stronghold, but Clinton is expected to make more Ohio appearances before Nov. 8. By then, the pollen count should be much lower.

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