Ronald Reagan

It's not often in a political reporter's career that you find yourself in a room where you actually witness the moment an American president's chances of being re-elected go up in a puff of smoke.

I was in such a room on October 28,1980, at the old Convention Center Music Hall in Cleveland, for the only head-to-head debate between Republican Ronald Reagan and Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter.

And, to this day, I believe that debate sealed Carter's fate.

NBC

"Laugh-In" is 50 years old? You bet your sweet bippy.

I can see by the old clock on the wall that "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" premiered as a regular series on NBC on Jan. 22, 1968, and became an overnight sensation.  You can look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls.

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

I cut my teeth as a young reporter on one of the toughest nuts to crack in Ohio political history – the late James A. Rhodes, four-term governor of the Buckeye State.

Brian Bull / WCPN

Wednesday President Barack Obama continues a Cleveland tradition - speaking at the City Club. The 3 p.m. speech will be streamed live here.

Other sitting presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, have all had their turns at the podium, often at key points in their political careers.