SIOUX CITY | In a stop in Sioux City Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton lamented "all the poison" in this year's presidential election, as a renewed FBI investigation into his wife's emails threatened to shake up Democrat Hillary Clinton's race with Republican Donald Trump.

Bill Clinton gave a 40-minute address to an estimated 300 at a rare outdoor city political rally, on the Missouri riverfront at the Anderson Dance Pavilion.

Last Friday, FBI Director James Comey notified Congress that more emails had been found that may be related to a probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. While Bill Clinton did not address the email flap Wednesday in Sioux City, he did mention his wife has been repeatedly subject to unfair attacks during her more than 30 years in public service, which includes eight years as first lady and six years as U.S. senator.

The former president said his wife has the policy chops and temperament to excel as a president. Though he never identified him by name, Clinton described Trump as unfit to lead the country, and attacked the outspoken billionaire businessman for his coarse discourse, his repeated insults of women, minorities and other groups, and his penchant to "be fighting all the time."

"He is saying, you've got to vote for me, because I hate the same people you do," Clinton told the audience.

Bill Clinton said his wife understands that 2016 is a year of angst for many voters, and she recognizes resentments some Americans have about the "political order."

He contended his wife would make the lives of people better by adopting a tax code that would make millionaires pay taxes at a 30-percent rate; fostering renewable energy growth; promoting free markets to boost business; and lowering interest rates on college loans.

"You get to decide what it means to be an American, whether you think answers are better than anger, whether you think empowerment is better than resentment, whether you think facts are better than fantasy, whether you think cooperation is better than endless conflicts," Bill Clinton said, to considerable applause.

The rally was set in part to encourage early voting in Iowa, which is one of a few true toss-up states. Friday is the last day to request an absentee ballot in Iowa.

Bill Clinton also made a stop Wednesday in Waterloo, but canceled one in Des Moines after the slaying of two Polk County metro police officers in early-morning hours.

"My heart goes out to the families," he told the Sioux City audience.

Before Wednesday, the former president's most recent stop in Sioux City was Jan. 15 at Morningside College, where 300 people watched his speech two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

The warmer than normal early November weather of about 60 degrees Wednesday made for a nice afternoon, not only for Clinton fans, but also for the less than 10 people there to protest the rally.

Ben Bowman traveled more than an hour from Moorhead, Iowa. He wore a Trump t-shirt and stood 30 yards outside the venue with four others right before it began.

"I wanted to show my support for Trump and what he stands for, and show that I am against Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and what they stand for," Bowman said.

Danna Hurtado, of Sioux City, was at the rally and said she was going to vote for Clinton right afterward. She had seen Hillary Clinton in January 2016 in a city campaign stop.

Hurtado liked Bill Clinton's speech, particularly on student loan policy details.

"It was very positive. He wants the community to be involved in our future," Hurtado said.

Clinton wasn't the only surrogate in Iowa on Wednesday, as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made five stops in the state in support of Trump.

In Des Moines on Wednesday, Giuliani said Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is “sinking” in the polls, and Trump can win next week’s election by picking up some of the key swing states such as Iowa.


County and education reporter

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