Obama Stumps for Hillary in Battleground Ohio

     CLEVELAND (CN) — Recalling his own achievements for at least 1,000 Ohio voters, President Barack Obama said Hillary Clinton is the only candidate worthy of their support on Election Day.     Addressing an adoring crowd on the tarmac at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport, the president warned that all the progress made over the last eight years could be lost if Americans make the wrong choice on Nov. 8.     Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is quick to describe Obama’s presidency as a “disaster” on the campaign trail, but Obama gamely refreshed the crowd’s memory Friday about bringing the country’s economy back from the brink of a second Great Depression, slashing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice, reviving the U.S. auto economy and delivering marriage equality in all 50 states.     Obama recalled the Democratic nominee’s experience as a first lady, a senator and a secretary of state, and assured those in attendance that she understands the gravity of managing a global catastrophe or sending a young person to war.     “Even in the middle of crisis, she keeps her cool and pays everybody the proper respect,” Obama said. “And most importantly, no matter how tough the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she doesn’t point fingers or whine. She doesn’t talk about how everything is ‘rigged.’ She just works harder and gets the job done and never, ever quits. And by the way, isn’t that what you want from a president?”     Obama then turned his attention to Trump, who himself had praised Clinton’s determination when asked to name something positive about his political adversary at the end of the second presidential debate.     “I notice her opponent,” Obama continued. “He seems to be, in the middle of the game, making excuses all the time for why he might be losing. It’s always interesting for me to see folks who talk tough, but then they don’t act tough. If you’re tough, you don’t make excuses. You don’t start complaining about the refs before the game’s even done. You just play the game, right? That’s what Hillary Clinton is doing. She’s out there playing the game. She’s just in the arena for you, fighting every single day to make sure that everybody gets a fair shake.”     Obama then attacked Trump’s deal-making prowess and the massive loss he declared in 1995 — a figure first reported by the New York Times after Trump’s stonewalling made him the first major-party presidential candidate since the early 1970s to not release his income-tax returns.     “He says he great at making deals,” Obama reminded the crowd. “I don’t know a lot of people who operate a casino and manage to lose almost a billion dollars in one year. Usually the house wins. You know that saying, ‘the house always wins?’ Unless he owns the house. Then it loses a billion dollars.”     Obama also mocked Trump’s stance as a champion of the working class.     “I heard him in a speech yesterday, he started talking about global elites, that there was a conspiracy of global elites,” Obama said with an incredulous smile. “This is a guy who spent all his time hanging around trying to convince everyone that he was a global elite! Talking about how great his buildings are, how luxurious and how rich he is, and flying around everywhere. All he had time for was celebrities! And now suddenly he’s acting like he’s a populist out there. ‘Man, I’m going to fight for working people.’ Come on, man. You want to know what somebody’s going to do? Look at what they’ve been doing their whole lives.”     Obama went on to attack the Republican’s calls to jail political opponents and silence critical media. In an election that seems to be moving further and further out of Trump’s reach, the fascist rhetoric has been compounded by Trump’s increasing repetition of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that undermine the electoral process and give his hardcore supporters a reason to question the legitimacy of an unfavorable outcome.     The rise of the far-right movement that Trump has championed with such unexpected success is something for which the entire Republican Party must answer, Obama said.     “What’s happened here is, over the last eight years, Republican officials who know better — some of whom I talk to; they’re sane people; they’re normal folks,” Obama said. “But what they’ve done is they’ve allowed a lot of crazy talk to just be pumped out again and again, through all kinds of these media outlets. Conspiracy theories: I was born outside this country, and Hillary and I started ISIL, and we’re going to impose martial law, and we’re trying to take everybody’s guns away, and crazier stuff than that. And a lot of Republican elected officials have just stood by. A lot of House members, a lot of senators — they stood by, and they didn’t say anything, because it was a way to rile up their base, and it was a way to mount opposition to whatever we were trying to do. And over time, because a lot of the hardcore Republican partisan voters were just hearing this stuff over and over again, they started to believe it. And that’s what allowed Donald Trump suddenly to emerge. Donald Trump didn’t build all this crazy conspiracy stuff, and some Republicans who knew better stood by silently and even during the course of this campaign didn’t say anything.”     “I mean, I know that some of them now are walking away,” the president chided, “but why’d it take you this long? You said you were — you’re the party of family values. What, you weren’t appalled earlier when he was saying degrading things about women, when he was judging them based on a score of ‘Are they a 2 or a 10?’ That wasn’t enough for you? You’re walking away from him now? It wasn’t disturbing enough for you when he was saying Mexicans who come here are rapists or suggesting that people — patriotic Americans of the Islamic faith somehow are suspect and should be treated differently? That wasn’t enough? I mean, I’m glad that some of them now said, ‘Wow, this is really bad. I guess we need to — we need to walk away,’ but if you’re doing it just for political expedience, just because you’re looking at poll numbers, and you say, ‘Oh, this might get me in trouble.’ That’s not enough.”     The president ended his address by hearkening back to the theme of hope that propelled his 2008 campaign, summoning voters to reject the politics of fear.     “You can lift again back up the politics of hope,” Obama called. “Let’s not go backward; let’s go forward. You’ve got a chance to elect a woman who’s spent her entire life trying to make this country better. Don’t fall for the easy cynicism that says your vote doesn’t matter. Don’t fall for what Trump tries to do and just make everybody depressed. Don’t believe it. I promise you, your vote counts. Your vote matters.”     Obama blasted Trump’s ‘What do you have to lose?’ argument.     “The answer is everything,” the president said. “All the progress we’ve made right now is on the ballot. Civility is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Courtesy is on the ballot. Honesty is on the ballot. Equality is on the ballot. Kindness is on the ballot. All the progress we’ve made in the last eight years is on the ballot. Democracy itself is on the ballot right now.”     The president’s message was not lost on Malaz Elgemiabby, a Sudanese immigrant who came to America with her husband around the same time that Trump began campaigning for the White House. She attended the rally with her friend Reem Azab, who emigrated to the U.S. from Egypt four years ago.     “We sacrificed a lot to come here, we left family behind,” Elgemiabby said in an interview after the rally, as the president made his way back to Air Force One. “We are highly skilled immigrants, and we’re also Muslims. And we’re here to build our future, but also to contribute positively to this country.”     Elgemiabby and her husband are in America on J-1 Visas. She works as an architect and her husband is a physician in the Cleveland area who specializes in infectious disease. They have a young son who was born here in the United States.     “We are here to contribute positively to this country, but also to achieve our dream, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about seeking a better life legally,” said Elgemiabby.     Elgemiabby explained how her family in Sudan called her, concerned about her safety, after Trump began calling for a ban on Muslims and making other divisive campaign promises.     “Can you imagine them calling and being worried about us, here in the United States?” Elgemiabby said, with a nervous chuckle. “And they were saying, ‘Are you safe? We’ve been hearing Trump saying [anti-immigrant rhetoric] on the TV. Are you safe?”     Elgemiabby’s husband works with one of the founding members of STAT, short for Stand Together Against Trump, a nonpartisan group of health care professionals who formed specifically to protest Trump’s nomination at this year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.     Elgemiabby said seeing her husband’s colleagues join together in opposition of Trump’s divisive, anti-immigrant policies helped to ease her fears and make her feel safe.     “Coming from a country that’s been ruled by a dictator for 30 years, I don’t even comprehend how the American people can allow this to happen,” said Elgemiabby “I could see [Trump] fit perfectly in the description of a dictator in a third world country. People here should know better.”     Emphasizing that she does not look with scorn upon Trump supporters, however, Elgemiabby said she believes Trump’s business success attracts despondent voters who may not realize that Trump really only cares about himself.     “We come from Africa where community is very important,” explained Elgemiabby. “You never think of yourself as alone. The well-being of society, the well-being of your community is part of your own well-being. There’s a saying that you can go faster alone, but you can go farther with others.”     That African adage sounds a lot like the campaign slogan of the very same candidate President Obama is so enthusiastically endorsing.

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Facebook Satirist Says Page Was Free Speech

     (CN) — An Ohio man who was arrested and charged with a felony after creating a parody Facebook page for his local police department is now suing his accusers for civil-rights violations.     On Monday, 27-year-old Anthony Novak filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Parma, Ohio, Law Director Timothy Dobeck and two police officers — Lt. Kevin Riley and Detective Thomas Connor — for free-speech retaliation, unreasonable searches, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy.     Novak had used his cellphone to create a satirical Facebook page for the Parma Police Department while he was waiting at a bus stop on March 1, 2016.     He used images and text from the city of Parma’s actual Facebook page when creating his parody page, but also included distinct differences between the two pages and made six postings that “could only be deemed by a reasonable person to constitute protected satire and/or parody,” according to the complaint filed in Northern Ohio Federal Court.     In a fictitious posting about a job opening, Novak wrote, “Parma is an equal opportunity employer but is strongly encouraging minorities to not apply.”     One post offered free abortions for teenagers, claiming the procedures would be performed in a police van using “an experimental technique discovered by the Parma Police Department.”     Yet another post threatened a minimum of 60 days in jail for any Parma resident caught giving food, shelter or water to a homeless person.     The Parma Police Department quickly learned of the fake Facebook page and began investigating its origin.     Novak deleted the page less than 48 hours after creating it when he saw stories about it on the local news.     Parma Police arrested Novak less than a month later for disrupting public service, a fourth-degree felony under Ohio Revised Code 2909.04(B).     The statute states: “No person shall knowingly use any computer, computer system, computer network, telecommunications device, or other electronic device or system or the Internet so as to disrupt, interrupt, or impair the functions of any police, fire, educational, commercial or governmental operations.”     Police jailed Novak for four days, three of which were spent with violent criminals in the general population at the Cuyahoga County jail, according to his lawsuit.     Novak maintained his innocence throughout his criminal trial in Cuyahoga County Court, the lawsuit states, refusing to plea-bargain with prosecutors who wanted him to plead guilty to an unspecified misdemeanor.     When Novak’s attempts to have the case dismissed were rejected and it went to a trial, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty after a brief hour-and-a-half deliberation.     In that case, Novak’s attorney, Gary Vick Jr., successfully argued that Novak’s actions did not actually create any disruption to Parma’s ability to provide public service.     In a phone interview with Courthouse News, Vick said the city of Parma had only received 10 or 12 phone calls about the website, and those were merely reporting its existence.     “When you look at the search warrant affidavits that Connor put in, he focused on the comments people were making like ‘f*ck the Parma police’ and ‘the Parma police are assholes,’” Vick said. “They arrested [Novak] because of the content of the Facebook page, not the perceived harm it may have caused. They didn’t like what he posted. And that’s absolutely protected by the First Amendment.”     Vick and Thomas Connick, both of Connick Law in Beachwood, Ohio, are now representing Novak in his federal civil-rights lawsuit.     Novak seeks a declaration that ORC 2909.04(B) is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because it grants police “unfettered discretion” to prohibit constitutionally protected speech.     He is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages.     “The police, with no justification, with no probable cause and no good basis, arrested, charged and prosecuted Anthony,” Vick said. “In doing so, they completely violated his First Amendment rights, among other constitutional rights, and they’re going to pay for it.”     The city of Parma did not respond Thursday to a request for comment on the complaint.

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CSX Challenges Ohio Road-Obstruction Law

     CLEVELAND (CN) — Railroad giant CSX Transportation claims in a federal lawsuit that it cannot be fined by a small city in northwest Ohio for routinely blocking a local road.     In a complaint filed Sept. 8 in Northern Ohio Federal Court, CSX argues that an Ohio statute prohibiting railroad companies from obstructing public roads with stationary railroad cars for more than five minutes is preempted by federal law.     City of Defiance Law Director David H. Williams, the only named defendant in the lawsuit, said in a phone interview with Courthouse News that there are currently over 30 first-degree misdemeanors pending against CSX in Defiance Municipal Court, with possible fines totaling over $35,000.     “[CSX] has been continuing the cases for several months while they decided if they wanted to commence a federal action to test the constitutionality of the Ohio statute,” Williams said.     The statute at issue, Ohio Revised Code 5589.21, states: “No railroad company shall obstruct, or permit, or cause to be obstructed a public street, road, or highway, by permitting a railroad car, locomotive, or other obstruction to remain upon or across it for longer than five minutes, to the hindrance or inconvenience of travelers or a person passing along or upon such street, road, or highway.”     The law does not apply to continuously moving trains or trains that stop for circumstances beyond the control of the railroad company, but it does apply to trains engaged in switching, loading or unloading operations, which are precisely the reasons for the delays at issue in CSX’s case.     CSX maintains a switching yard in Defiance near a General Motors manufacturing plant, and when it performs switching operations at the yard, a railroad crossing on nearby Hire Road is frequently blocked for lengthy periods that can last up to 60 minutes or more, according to complaints local citizens have filed with the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office.     Williams says CSX has historically plea-bargained with city prosecutors in municipal court over previous violations, pleading guilty to some charges on the condition that others would be dismissed.     He estimated that CSX had paid five or six $1,000 fines over the past three years.     Those arrangements were negotiated by prosecutors who worked under Williams’ general supervision, but had authority to plea-bargain without his knowledge.     But when Defiance County Commissioners concerned about long delays at the Hire Road crossing encouraged local citizens to lodge their complaints with the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, city prosecutors began getting swamped with cases against CSX and asked Williams how they should handle them.     CSX pushed for plea deals similar to the ones it had reached with city prosecutors in the past, but Williams, having been made aware of the issue, resisted.     The railroad giant argued in its complaint that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, the Federal Railroad Safety Act and the Commerce Clause preempt states from enacting laws that interfere with railroad operations, railroad safety or interstate commerce.     As CSX’s lawsuit points out and Williams willingly concedes, most federal circuits that have considered so-called “anti-stopping” statutes in other states determined that they were, in fact, invalid.     Williams also admits that the inconvenience to the public in this case is easily manageable because there are two alternate routes that Defiance citizens can use to get from one side of CSX’s railroad to the other in the event that the Hire Road crossing is blocked for any extended period of time.     Nevertheless, Williams refuses to plea-bargain with CSX as his own prosecutors and other prosecutors throughout Ohio have done in the past, due primarily to the mandatory fines set forth in the Ohio statute.     “I don’t know what the district court is going to make of it,” Williams said. “I’ve just taken the position that the statute is either valid, in which case I’m duty-bound to enforce it as it’s written, or it’s invalid, in which case I’m duty-bound not to enforce it at all.”     He continued, “It’s really a question that the Sixth Circuit hasn’t been called on to address yet. Compromising doesn’t seem like the right thing to be doing here because no matter how we adjust it, we’re doing something wrong. We’re either enforcing a law that shouldn’t be enforced, or we’re not enforcing it the way the Legislature says we’re supposed to. So let’s get it clarified.”     Williams said he plans to notify the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to give them an opportunity to intervene on the state’s behalf.     CSX did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The company seeks an injunction against Ohio Revised Code 5589.21, and it is represented by James Carnes of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP in Toledo, Ohio.

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Trump Lays Out Education Policy at Diverse Ohio School

     CLEVELAND (CN) — Visiting an Ohio charter school with a predominantly black student body, Donald Trump vowed Thursday to give families living in poverty more choice when it comes to education.     Speaking to press at the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, Trump accused the Democratic party of trapping millions of black and Hispanic children in failing public schools that deny them the opportunity to “join the ladder of American success.”     He then went on to describe the public school system as a “government-run education monopoly” that has “utterly failed” too many students and needs to be broken up.     “I want every single inner-city child in America who is today trapped in a failing school to have the freedom — the civil right — to attend the school of their choice,” Trump said. “This includes private schools, traditional public schools, magnet schools and charter schools, which must be included in any definition of school choice.”     The speech echoed Trump’s past remarks U.S. students perform near the bottom of the pack, though we spend more per student than most other major countries in the world.     Trump then outlined his plan to reallocate $20 billion in existing federal dollars to establish a block grant for the 11 million school age kids living in poverty in the United States.     Distribution of the proposed grant, Trump said, would favor states that have private school choice and charter laws, thereby encouraging broad participation among the states.     Trump also suggested that the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, stating that, if they do so, every K-12 student who lives in poverty could be provided with $12,000 per year to attend the school of their choice.     Trump promised to support merit pay for teachers and use the “pulpit of the presidency” to encourage the American people to elect officials who support school choice at the city, state and federal level.     “The future is filled with limitless possibilities for our nation and exciting opportunities for our children,” said Trump. “All we have to do is cut our ties with the failed politics of the past.”     The Clinton campaign offered harsh criticism of Trump’s education proposals later Thursday.     “It’s no surprise that Donald Trump — whose only experience when it comes to education is his fraudulent ‘Trump University’ — offered education policies that would prove disastrous for our public schools, our educators, and most importantly, our kids,” said Maya Harris, senior policy adviser for Hillary for America. “Let’s be clear: Trump’s proposal to apparently gut nearly 30 percent of the federal education budget and turn it into private school vouchers would decimate public schools across America and deprive our most vulnerable students of the education the deserve.”     Clinton’s camp posits that the $20 billion in federal funds Trump plans to reallocate would likely come from Title I funding that is targeted to schools and districts with the highest concentrations of low-income students.     If true, the Clinton team argues, then Trump’s proposal will put crucial funding at risk for nearly 21 million impoverished children who attend America’s 56,000 Title I public schools.     Clinton campaign’s also pointed to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which says participation in a prominent school-voucher plan in the state of Louisiana substantially reduced academic achievement and had a significant negative effect on reading, science and social studies outcomes.     “Hillary Clinton believes that the public school system is one of the pillars of our democracy,” Harris in a statement. “As president she will fight to strengthen our public schools to ensure every student receives world-class education, regardless of their ZIP code.”     Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, on the other hand, praised Donald Trump’s proposals as “bold set of policies that will increase accountability and lead to better results for our nation’s children.”     Trump’s education proposals, as well as his choice of venue to announce them, are clearly an attempt at outreach toward the black and Hispanic voters whose support has eluded him in national polls up to this point.     While it remains to be seen if Trump’s support of charter schools and visits to black churches will actually help him win over minority voters, they are a marked improvement over to his previous effort of asking, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

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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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Mention of Biden’s Dead Son Settles Heckler

     CLEVELAND (CN) – Diffusing an angry heckler with aplomb, Vice President Joe Biden’s control of a rally Thursday for Hillary Clinton posed a stark contrast to Republican events of late.     Biden had been addressing several hundred Democratic supporters at a United Auto Workers hall in Parma, Ohio, when a young man in the audience began shouting for answers about military policy — referring apparently to a U.S.-backed offensive in the Syrian city of Manbij.     As the crowd tried to drown out the interruption — chanting “Hil-lar-y, Hil-lar-y” — Biden spoke to the heckler directly.     “Because the deal was,” Biden explained calmly, “to get them into Manbij, and to work, was they’d go back across the Euphrates so we could have Special Forces moved in. That’s why.”     When the explanation did little to quiet the heckler — “My friends died,” he shouted repeatedly — Biden called off the audience’s help a second time.     Inviting the heckler to speak with him in private after the rally, the vice president reminded the crowd of the death of his eldest son last year. A veteran of the Iraq War and former attorney general of Delaware, Beau Biden, 46, died in May 2015 of brain cancer.     “Will you listen?” Biden asked. “So did my son, OK? Let me ask you a question. Come back afterward and talk to me about this, OK? You have my permission.”     The respectful exchange stood out in a presidential election season where Republican nominee Donald Trump has nearly trademarked his brash style of ejecting protesters at his rallies.     Showing the divide is more than superficial, the vice president went on in his address to criticize Republican policies that give tax breaks to millionaires at the expense of those in the middle class.     Likening Trump’s economic-policy proposals to those that led to the Great Recession, Biden next took aim at the Republican incumbent U.S. senator from Ohio.     Sen. Rob Portman’s race against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has become a focal point both for Republicans seeking to retain a Senate majority and Democrats hoping that Trump’s low approval numbers will help them retake the control of the Senate.     At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland earlier this summer, Portman’s absence fueled rumors of the party’s reluctant embrace of Trump.     Biden urged voters to see through the theatrics.     “Now true, Portman won’t stand, I’m told, on the stage with Trump,” Biden said. “But these guys are cut from the same cloth in one regard. Rob Portman was the architect of George W. Bush’s economic policy.”     “Why they hell did we end up in this Great Recession?” Biden asked the crowd. “It happened because of a budget and a philosophy of the Republican party.”     Recent polling data collected by Real Clear Politics shows that Portman holds a comfortable lead over Strickland, but Democrats are hoping that Portman’s failure to explicitly disavow Trump will open the door for a Strickland victory.     Portman has also sparked criticism joining the Republican Senate’s unprecedented stonewalling of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.     In the audience Thursday, retired teacher Mary Ellen Murray praised Clinton’s leadership skills and experience, saying they are more important than her likability. Murray challenged discomfort over Clinton’s history in politics. “Well, guess what,” the Wadsworth, Ohio, voter said. “We have a democracy that has three branches of government that you have to know and understand.”     Clinton’s reputation in the world and her global outreach are vital attributes for Murray. “We can’t isolate ourselves,” she said. “It’s not the 1930s.”     On the other hand, Jerry Dragon, a retired truck driver from Middleburg Heights and a lifelong Democrat, said he cannot find a reason to vote for Clinton.     “The things that [Donald Trump] has said, I don’t agree with,” Dragon said. “But the things that Hillary has lied about hurts people.”

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Clinton Blasts Tax-Break Scheming at Ohio Rally

     CLEVELAND (CN) – Drawing thousands at an Ohio rally, Hillary Clinton had tough words Wednesday for her Republican opponent’s plan to give tax breaks to rich business owners like himself.     Donald Trump has called to slash income taxes across the board, but Clinton questioned why the plan includes breaks for “pass-through” business entities like limited partnerships, limited liability corporations and S corporations.     Calling the proposal the “Trump loophole,” Clinton said it would result in substantial tax breaks for the rich.     A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that more than two-thirds of pass-through-business income flows primarily to the wealthiest Americans, a class that includes Trump.     And indeed the reality star’s financial disclosure reflects that such businesses make up a large portion of his financial holdings.     “Donald Trump doesn’t need a tax cut,” Clinton told the crowd of 2,000 gathered at John Marshall High School.     “I don’t need a tax cut. It’s time for the wealthiest Americans, whoever you are, as well as corporations and Wall Street, to pay your fair share of taxes.”     In contrast to Trump’s plan, Clinton said she would impose a 4 percent “fair-share surcharge” on Americans making more than $5 million per year. The former secretary of state’s campaign website notes that the tax would implicate only 0.02 percent of taxpayers.     Clinton said America can use the tax on multimillionaires and corporations to make infrastructure investments, like connecting all homes and businesses to broadband Internet, and creating a modern electric grid capable of distributing clean renewable energy.     In addition to making the U.S. economy more competitive, Clinton said, these investments create more job opportunities.     Clinton pointed to independent analyses by Moody’s Analytics of both candidates’ economic proposals.     Moody’s found that Clinton’s proposal would create at least 10 million new jobs in her first term, while Trump’s proposals and tax breaks would cost the U.S. economy 3.4 million jobs.     Clinton also pledged to do everything in her power to raise the national minimum wage, to make sure that everyone has the health care they need at an affordable price, and to bring down the cost of prescription drugs.     “I’m proud that our drug companies invent drugs that cure really terrible diseases and treat chronic diseases,” Clinton said. “But let’s be clear, your tax dollars help support the research that is used to create those drugs in the first place. Your tax dollars support the Food and Drug Administration that tests those drugs to determine whether or not they are safe and effective to be able to go to market. And we end up, in America, paying the highest price for those drugs that we have helped to create. We have got to take this on. And we can do it without hurting research and discovery.”     Clinton also vowed to defend Planned Parenthood, which recently won an injunction blocking efforts by Ohio’s Republican-controlled Legislature to defund facilities that provide women with legal abortions.     “And yes,” Clinton told the crowd, “I will take on the gun lobby.”     But Clinton denied Trump’s repeated claims that her goal is to “abolish the Second Amendment.”     “I am not, at all, advocating the repeal of the Second Amendment,” Clinton told the crowd. “I am not, at all, advocating any program that would in any way take people’s guns away.”     Echoing points from her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton went on to say that she wants to make sure that people who shouldn’t have a gun are not able to obtain one in the first place.     The Democrat’s campaign website lists expanding background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, the severely mentally ill, and other violent criminals as measures she would support as president.     Clinton closed her speech outlining the three big challenges that she foresees for the next president: getting the economy to work for everybody, not just those at the top; keeping Americans safe, and leading the world with steadiness; and, lastly, unifying the country.     “We have different experiences, different backgrounds,” Clinton said. “I think that’s part of American DNA. Our founders had some big arguments. We have a lot of impassioned people who care about the future of our country and what we should do, but at the end of the argument we’ve got to come together. We are the greatest example of freedom and opportunity and justice that the world has ever known. And we can’t do anything that ever undermines that.”     Clinton worked throughout her 33-minute speech to show that Trump is not the man for the job.     “He can hire and fire anybody he wants from his campaign,” Clinton told the crowd, referencing the recent shakeup at Trump campaign headquareters.     Just this week Trump hired Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon as his campaign CEO and Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway as his campaign manager.     The appointments were announced shortly after The New York Times reported that Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was listed as a recipient of undisclosed cash payments in the handwritten ledgers of Ukraine’s pro-Russian political party, the Party of Regions.     Manafort has denied receiving any such payments.     “For anyone waiting for Donald Trump to suddenly become more responsible,” Clinton told her supporters, “remember what the great American Maya Angelou said. ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them.’”     Clinton scoffed at Trump’s recent attempts at staying on message through the use of scripted speeches and teleprompters — practices he mocked during the early primaries.     “They can make him read new words from a teleprompter,” Clinton said. “But he is still the same man who insults gold-star families, demeans women, mocks people with disabilities, and thinks he knows more about ISIS than our generals.”     “There is no new Donald Trump,” Clinton said. “This is it.”

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