Howard Wilkinson

Political Reporter

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.

In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists inducted Wilkinson into the Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame. 

Wilkinson appears on  Cincinnati Edition, blogs on politics and more, and writes the weekly column Politically Speaking at wvxu.org.

Ways To Connect

Tuesday morning, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum - who battled Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination and lost - talked to the Ohio delegation about some issues that they hadn't heard much about since they arrived in Tampa

Abortion. Same sex marriage. The government's role in promoting contraceptives.

"We're fracturing the family in this country,'' the conservative Catholic from Pennsylvania told the Ohioans at their daily delegation breakfast. "As much as we like to talk about the economy and jobs, we are fracturing the base of our society, the family."

Tuesday afternoon, as the first session of the delayed Republican National Convention was unfolding on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, House Speaker John Boehner made a bold assertion to Ohio reporters.

"You've all heard people talking about elections in the past being the most important election in their lifetimes,'' Boehner said, with Sen. Rob Portman of Terrace Park sitting at his side.

"They're wrong,'' the speaker from West Chester said. "This is the most important election in our lifetimes."

Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, of New Richmond in Clermont County, has been involved in Republican politics for 20 year, but this week's Republican National Convention in Tampa is not what he expected, with a tropical storm, canceled sessions and tornado warnings.

But, then again, he didn't know quite what to expect.

"This is all new to me,'' said Niehaus, before the Ohio delegation breakfast at the Mainsail Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Tampa.

Ohio senator Rob Portman will play the role of President Obama in Mitt Romney's preparations for the presidential debates, CNN reported.

Portman has done this before many times for GOP presidential and vice presidential candidates.

He's played Joe Lieberman and John Edwards for Dick Cheney in 2000 and 2004; and Al Gore and John Kerry for George W. Bush in the same years. He also played Hillary Clinton for New York State's Rick Lazio in his unsuccessful run for the Senate against Clinton, who is now secretary of state.

House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester - who is general chairman of the Republican National Convention in Tampa - is scheduled to make a speech to the delegates at the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 7 p.m. tonight.

Provided

Ohio GOP delegates in Tampa got a surprise visit Monday from a man who had run for the GOP presidential nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who sang the praises of drilling for more Ohio oil and natural gas as a campaign issue.

Gingrich, who is making the rounds of key state delegations, argued that scientists have recently found Ohio - particularly eastern Ohio - has 42 times as much natural gas beneath its surface as previously thought; and said that Republicans could use that energy resource as a way to win votes this fall.

Ohio delegates were in a ballroom of the Mainsail Suites and Conference Center when it was announced that there was a tornado warning in the area and everyone was ordered to stay in the building.

The delegates were listening to a presentation by staff members of the Ohio Romney campaign on grassroots organizing. It was raining heavily when the warning was issued, but the rain quickly passed and there was some sunshine.

The warning was canceled shortly after 2 p.m.

Provided

Josh Romney, the middle child of Mitt Romney's five sons, gave the Ohio delegation a pep talk about his father this morning.

And guess what?

He thinks his dad would make a great president.

"This man is my hero,'' Josh Romney said in a brief speech to the Ohio delegation Monday morning. "I want people to get to know the real Mitt Romney and they will like what they see."

Josh Romney said he has traveled all over the country campaigning for his father over the past 18 months.

Provided

Josh Romney, the middle child of Mitt Romney's five sons, gave the Ohio delegation a pep talk about his father this morning.

And guess what?

He thinks his dad would make a great president.

"This man is my hero,'' Josh Romney said in a brief speech to the Ohio delegation Monday morning. "I want people to get to know the real Mitt Romney and they will like what they see."

Josh Romney said he has traveled all over the country campaigning for his father over the past 18 months.

The nearly 500 Ohioans who came to Tampa this week for the Republican National Convention had hoped they would be celebrating a  victory - having their favorite son, Sen. Rob Portman of Cincinnati - in the second spot on the GOP ticket.

But it was not to be.

And. despite their disappointment, the 66 delegates, 63 alternates and several hundred Ohio guests here are taking it well; and vowing they will let bygones by bygones when it comes to going back home to work for the ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman chosen over Portman.

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