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Bill Clinton dismisses hecklers in Cincinnati, says Donald Trump supporters 'had a bad week'

Former president calls vote 'fundamental decision'
Posted at 5:41 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-15 03:27:43-04

CINCINNATI – Nobody ever said Bill Clinton isn't a masterful speaker and politician, and he proved it again at Washington Park on Friday afternoon.

The former president sharply and casually dismissed two male hecklers as he started speaking at a rally for his wife.

"You outta give this guy a hand. You know, his side has had a very bad week, so let’s try to make him feel better," Clinton said to the cheering crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters as the first heckler was led away.

"What you are seeing is basically a microcosm of what this campaign is all about," Clinton said of the heckler. "You got one person who's a master at rubbing salt in people's wounds, doesn't pay taxes, doesn't even contribute to his own family charity, doesn't pay his contractors, takes the life savings of people who go to Trump U. and don't get anything, except Trump. But he's really good at making people mad."

Of course, Clinton's "bad week" comment was referring to recent revelations of Donald Trump's lewd talk about women and allegations by several that he groped or kissed them. Clinton avoided directly mentioning the sexual accusations against Trump, as you would expect from a former president impeached after he lied to Congress about having sex with a White House intern.

In fact, Clinton only mentioned Trump's name once while calling him "demonizing" and "divisive" and portraying Hillary Clinton as the only strong and reasonable candidate for president.

Instead, he drove home the differences between the two candidates' plans and potential.

WATCH Clinton's entire 13-minute speech here:

"It's a fundamental decision," Clinton said, "if you believe America is going to hell in a handbasket and you want somebody who's great at dividing us, distracting us and demonizing those who are different ... If you believe America's best days are behind us, you should not vote for Hillary.

"I believe America's (best) days are ahead of us," he said, and the crowd cheered.

Clinton said there have been 79 consecutive months of job growth and predicted the country was on the brink of an economic boom.

"We're just this close to taking off," he said.

When Clinton said electing Trump would mean returning to trickle-down economics, the crowd groaned.

"Hillary wants to grow this economy from the middle out and the bottom up," he said.

Speaking to a mostly young audience, the former president touted his wife's plans to create "10 million jobs by modernizing our infrastructure" and making college affordable for all Americans by offering free tuition and reducing college debt.

He said the latter includes free tuition at community colleges, free tuition at public universities for students from families with incomes up to $125,000, and debt-free tuition to private colleges.

A second President Clinton would give students the power to refinance college loans, he said. Considering the average college debt is $30,000, he said, 20 million millennials would save $2,000 each.

He said Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with "truly great ideas and a proven record of breaking deadlock" between Republicans and Democrats.

Clinton said he recognizes that many Americans are angry and feel disenfranchised.

He said Trump is "fueling the road rage" and has people thinking that "everyone of my tomorrows is going to be like yesterday."

He said Trump offers "anger"  while his wife offers "answers."

He said his wife would provide economic opportunity for all Americans, not a few.

He warned that a Trump presidency would exacerbate bad feelings and tension  in Washington and abroad.

"There are two things that could keep America from rising together again. One is political gridlock in Washington fueled by the kind of animosity we see on the streets of this election, and the other is trouble abroad - both the turmoil and very slow economic growth abroad," Clinton said.

Clinton ended by saying he had asked a friend to give him a clever one-liner for his speech.

"He said, 'If you don't want a guy to drive a truck off a cliff, don't give him the keys,'" Clinton said, referring to Trump. "I want you to give Hillary the keys. She would open up the back of the truck for everybody.

"She'll drive the truck to the top of the mountain and you'll love what you'll see."

RELATED: Recap of Clinton rally.

With polls showing a virtual tie in Ohio, both parties returned in force to the Buckeye State this week. The latest state polls Friday showed Clinton or Trump ahead by one point, despite Clinton holding a sizeable lead in nationwide polling.

Trump held a raucous rally at US Bank Arena Thursday night for thousands of supporters – including many women and at least three Bengals players. It was the Republican's first official campaign rally in the Queen City and followed an afternoon appearance in Columbus.

RELATED: How big was Trump crowd? Nobody seems to agree.

Trump did not address recent revelations of his lewd talk and accusations that he assaulted several women years ago. Instead, he bashed Clinton, saying she should be "locked up," and repeated his promises to secure the border and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones  and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also spoke for Trump.

President Barack Obama stumped for Clinton in Columbus Thursday and in Cleveland Friday.

This week's campaign stops in Ohio followed the beginning of  the early voting period in the state Wednesday.

Former President Clinton was just here six weeks ago to speak at the annual AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic at Coney Island.