Bill Clinton in Cincinnati: 'We're so close'

CINCINNATI - Hillary Clinton needs your vote and she needs it now, her husband and former president Bill Clinton told a Cincinnati rally on Friday.

“If you don’t want a guy who will drive a truck off a cliff, don’t give him the keys,” he said, referring to Republican candidate Donald Trump. “So here’s what I want to say to you. I want you to give her the keys.”

Clinton's rally, his second of the day in Ohio, was aimed at encouraging supporters to vote early. Voting opened in Ohio on Wednesday.

The former president was flanked by Ohio and U.S. flags and sheaves of dead cornstalks, a curious prop in the middle of the city.

Minutes into his speech, several protesters interrupted him with yells, one shouting "justice" over and over. Clinton smiled as security grabbed the first protester.

"His side has had a very bad week, so let's give him a hand and make him feel good," he said, and the crowd cheered in response.

"Bye, bye," said one rally attendee as a protester was escorted out, still yelling.

About a thousand supporters filled the rally area in the central area of the park. Prior to Clinton speaking, Clinton volunteers circulated among the crowd with clipboards, signing up supporters to help the campaign.

Halbert Thomas, 71, of Covington, said he's convinced Clinton is on the "right side of justice" on policy issues, and knows the foreign leaders with whom the U.S needs to work. But he was at the rally to make a point that Trump and his supporters, who rallied  in Cincinnati on Thursday, don't define America.

“I want to make sure it’s clear and clearer that Hillary Clinton has support and Donald Trump does not," he said.  "When they say Americans say this or that? Not this American.”

This is the second week Bill Clinton has barnstormed the state speaking in support of his wife. Last week, a bus tour. On Friday, a visit to very Republican Delaware County before his trip to friendlier Hamilton County, which backed President Barack Obama in 2012.

Hillary Clinton is riding an improved set of polls this week in Ohio, the quintessential swing state. She currently leads Trump by about 2 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polling, well within the margin of error. If Clinton wins Ohio, the road to the White House for Republican foe Donald Trump gets very rocky. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.

“I am telling you, we’re so close," Bill Clinton told the Cincinnati crowd. "But you’ve got to vote for the right kinds of policies and the right kind of leader.”

The Clinton campaign has put a strong emphasis on early voting, traditionally a bastion of Democratic votes. And the former president has been a regular surrogate for Clinton in Ohio, a state Bill Clinton won twice. But Trump has targeted Bill Clinton as a central campaign strategy less than a month before the election, referring frequently to the Monica Lewinsky scandal and highlighting women who accuse Clinton of sexual assault.

"Bill has become a liability as his decades-long history of sexual assault and admitted workplace abuse of a White House intern call renewed attention to the hypocrisy of Hillary's desperate campaign strategy," said Seth Unger, Trump Ohio campaign spokesman, in a news release issued in advance of Bill Clinton's Friday rallies. "The Clinton's are masters at the politics of personal destruction, and over the next 24 days will continue their 24-year scorched earth quest to control the highest office in the land."

But Kelly Burton, 60, of Over-the-Rhine, said she was in Washington Park to see Bill Clinton because of how much she thought of the former president.

Burton was quick to assure a reporter she had voted early for Clinton. She sees her as a "real person," she said. She mentioned Clinton championing the Children's Health Insurance Program while a U.S. senator representing New York.

Burton was excited to see Bill Clinton. She stood on a park bench for a better view.

“He’s a really good man, he loves his wife, he’s a family man," she said. "Get Donald Trump out of here. He’s a damn fool.”


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