Courting votes in Cleveland

The presidential hopefuls and their running mates were hard at work on Labor Day courting voters in the battleground state of Ohio.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton arrived in Cleveland hours apart, and barely missed running into each other as their campaign planes shared tarmac space at the city’s airport.

“It’s kind of interesting to have all the planes here on the same tarmac,” said Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine, according to The Associated Press. “Just shows you how important Ohio is. We’re going to be here a lot.”

No Republican has won the White House without carrying the state — so far Trump trails Clinton there by 4 points, according to a Real Clear Politics average of three August national polls.

Trump and running mate Mike Pence did not have any Labor Day events on their schedules as of Sunday night, but announced early Monday they would meet with union members at an Ohio American Legion hall.

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“We’re working very hard, and I think the message is getting across to a lot of people,” Trump said after the meeting.

Clinton and Kaine spoke to supporters at a Labor Day festival, where Clinton blasted Trump’s immigration policies.

“He can try to fool voters into thinking somehow he’s not as harsh and inhumane as he seems, but it’s too late,” Clinton said.

The latest NBC / Survey Monkey poll shows her lead holding at 6 points.

Taking a hack at hackers

The Russian-linked hacks of Democratic databases are "like Watergate, only in cyber-time," Clinton told reporters traveling with her campaign. She added that Russian President Vladimir "Putin and the team around him certainly believe that there is some benefit to them for doing this." Running-mate Tim Kaine put out a similar message.

She also discussed the FBI interview regarding her emails.

 "I went into the State Department understanding classification," Clinton said. "I'd been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for years before I was secretary of state. I take classification seriously. The fact I couldn't remember certain meetings, whether or not they had occurred, doesn't in any way affect the commitment that I had, and still have, to the treatment of classified material."

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She also said she is "not concerned" about unsupported rumors regarding her heatlh. She had a coughing fit during a speech in Cleveland and quipped: ""Every time I think about Trump I get allergic."

Trump commits to three debates

Trump told reporters nothing will keep him away from the upcoming presidential debates — well, maybe a hurricane.

Trump confirmed to reporters aboard his campaign plane that he would participate in all three debates, starting with the first, set for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University.

“I think you have an obligation to do the debates. I did them with the other, you know, the other cases. We had, I guess 11 debates,” Trump said about the 11 of 12 Republican primary debates that he participated in.

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The announcement comes after weeks of suggestions that he might not face off with Hillary Clinton on the debate stage.

Trump previously raised concerns over two of the debates competing for an audience with Monday Night Football, and last month told Time magazine he would not commit to the trio of debates until he could “see the conditions,” including the choice of moderators.

Asked what could cause him to change his mind, Trump said: “Um, hurricanes, natural disaster — no, I expect to do all three.”

Hill defends Bill

Clinton said her husband, Bill, should not have to step down from his post leading the Clinton Foundation until after the election.

Clinton, in a sit-down interview with ABC News, defended the foundation, which has come under scrutiny after emails revealed foundation donors may have received special access to the State Department.

“I don’t think there are conflicts of interest,” Clinton said. “I know that that’s what has been alleged and never proven. But nevertheless, I take it seriously.”

Trump spokesman Jason Miller issued a statement criticizing Clinton’s response as “proof that she operates in a permanent ethical blind spot.”

Sanders stumps for Clinton

Bernie Sanders hit the campaign trail for Clinton on Labor Day, telling an audience of New Hampshire union workers she was the “superior candidate” in the race against Trump.

“On issue after issue, there should be no doubt on anybody’s mind as to whether Hillary Clinton is the superior candidate — because in every respect, she is,” Sanders told Democratic supporters gathered at the annual Labor Day breakfast for the New Hampshire AFL-CIO in Manchester.

Sanders’ pitch was delivered to a room where not everyone was sold on Clinton’s candidacy — several in the crowd voiced their support for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson, and The Washington Post noted “the windows of a Jeep in the church’s parking lot were soaped with the slogan ‘STILL SANDERS.’ ”

What else is happening

  • U.S. Intelligence agencies are investigating a potential covert Russian plan to disrupt the November elections, reports The Washington Post.
  • One way to build suspense is to speculate on whether Trump can bust his ceiling in polls and show a majority in his favor, as Politico reports.
  • Allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are playing a prominent role in Trump’s presidential transition team, reports AP.
  • Clinton’s campaign planeHill Force One — embarked on its maiden voyage with reporters on board.
  • Trump's immigration plan remains now-you-see-it-now-you-don't, based on his latest remarks.
  • Clinton is having a difficult time winning over young, black voters, according to the findings of several focus groups, reports The New York Times.
  • Dallas Morning News editors broke from their tradition of backing the GOP candidate and refused to endorse Trump, deeming him unfit
  • Bill Clinton's association with a private for-profit university called Laureate shows how he leveraged the couple's connections to enhance their personal wealth, the Washington Post reports.
  • How clear is it that Trump is raising funds from Republican donors and sending it along to pay for expenses at his own companies?