Hillary Clinton speaks at a really earlier this week. (Photo by M.L. Schultze/Ohio Public Radio)

Clinton Talks Economics at Cleveland Rally Wednesday

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Hillary Clinton spent a half hour focusing on economics and Donald Trump during a speech delivered in West Park, one of Cleveland’s changing neighborhoods, in her second visit to Northeast Ohio in about as many weeks.

Clinton spoke in the gleaming new John Marshall High School to about 23-hundred people. She called the school a symbol of the difference government investment can make to boost the middle class.

“I want to see more technical education like I saw right here in John Marshall across America so that high-school students can be better prepared,” the Democratic nominee for President told the crowd Wednesday.

Clinton talked of other investments – from job training to infrastructure to tax changes. And she cited a Moody’s Analytics report that projected her economic plans would create 10 million jobs, while Donald Trump’s would cost the country more than 3 million jobs.

“Ohio would gain 376,000 jobs under my plan and lose more than 123,000 jobs under Donald Trump’s plan. And it’s not hard to see why: because he wants to give tax cuts to big corporations, millionaires, Wall Street money managers. He’s even created a new tax loophole that we call the Trump loophole because it’s really good for Trump.”

Clinton took other swipes at Trump, including his refusal to release his tax returns. And she made a glancing reference to the shakeup in the Trump campaign this week, including the appointment of two new top-level staffers.

“He can hire and fire anybody he wants from his campaign,” she said. “They can make him read new words from a teleprompter. 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.”

One thing did change about the Trump campaign in Ohio this week. It set up a rapid-response team across the street from the Clinton rally – a common tactic for most campaigns, but unusual for Trump’s. Brookpark Mayor Tom Coyne – the colorful Democrat with his own controversial history – led the charge for Trump.

“The message that he’s giving is true growth. He has a positive effect on every working family in this country, whereas Clinton once again is just the same-old-same-old,” he said. “If you walk to a house and knock on a door and ask somebody, do they want another four years of Obama’s programs and policies, I think the answer would be a resounding ‘no.'”

Only it wasn’t.

A couple blocks to the north, 27-year-old college student Dontez Turner says he loves this West Park neighborhood, which he describes as peaceful and friendly. And he said President Obama has helped people like him and neighborhoods like his.

“Let’s start with students loans, he helped with people who needed assistance with housing, food. I think he did a great job.”

Angel Negron moved here from Puerto Rico 18 years ago and runs the auto repair shop next door to the school, and says he thinks he’ll vote “for the lady.”

A family of Nepali refugees lives across from him. They can’t vote yet because they’re not citizens, but Trump’s immigration talk concerns them.

Just up the street, Cathy Santa, owner of a local motorcycle parts business for over 28 years backs Clinton.

“I think she’s awesome” she said. “I hope she can break the glass ceiling. I mean she’s got the experience and the even keel and the knowledge to run the country. Let’s show them what a woman can do.”

Customer Matt Kilbane, who works for the school system, has reservations about Clinton, including her connections to Wall Street. However, he doesn’t think highly of Trump.

“I think he’s a buffoon,” he said. “I have no respect for the guy whatsoever. Everything he says is a contradiction. He has no policies, he’s completely unguided.”

A recent Quinnipiac Poll shows more than 90 percent of Ohioans have already decided who they’re supporting for president – with Clinton slightly ahead of Trump. And only about one in 10 of those voters who have made up their minds say they’re open to changing by Election Day.

So even 82 days before the election, appearances like Clinton’s in Cleveland and Trump’s earlier this week in Youngstown — are aimed as much at getting out the vote of their supporters as they are at winning over new voters.