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His wife sidelined, Bill Clinton steps in on campaign trail

Bill Clinton was campaigning for his wife, Hillary Clinton, in North Las Vegas, Nev., on Wednesday.John Locher/Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — When Hillary Clinton was sidelined this week with pneumonia, her campaign didn’t rush to cancel a busy slate of events out West. The presidential candidate’s husband simply stepped in to take her place.

Former president Bill Clinton hobnobbed with wealthy donors at a pair of Beverly Hills fund-raisers, including a $100,000-per-couple dinner at the home of designer Diane Von Furstenberg. He snapped selfies with fans during a surprise stop at a trendy coffee shop in Los Angeles. And he rallied supporters in a swing state, Nevada.

‘‘I’m glad to have a chance to stand in for Hillary today,’’ he told voters in Las Vegas on Wednesday. ‘‘She did it for me for a long time. It’s about time I showed up and did it for her.’’

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Having a former president on standby is an unprecedented luxury for a White House candidate. It’s also a reminder to voters that, when it comes to the Clintons, the couple is a package deal, for better or worse.

That’s been less overt in the 2016 campaign than in some of the Clintons’ previous political endeavors, when they pitched themselves as ‘‘two for the price of one.’’ Other than a prime-time speech at the Democratic convention, Bill Clinton’s general election schedule has been purposely low-key, reflecting the Clinton campaign’s desire to keep him from overshadowing his wife or creating unnecessary distractions.

But this week, Hillary Clinton was sidelined after getting dehydrated and dizzy at a 9/11 memorial in New York Sunday.

Campaign aides called Bill Clinton’s chief of staff to see if he could step in for a few days. The timing wasn’t ideal. His schedule was packed with interviews and other events in New York ahead of next week’s last-ever meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the family’s philanthropy. But aides said he quickly agreed to clear his schedule.

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‘‘She’s married to the best surrogate in the world,’’ said Jerry Crawford, an Iowa Democrat and longtime Clinton ally.

Associated Press

Stop politicking,minister tells Trump

FLINT, Mich. — Donald Trump encountered resistance Wednesday during his first campaign trip to this majority African-American city, which suffered a water-contamination crisis, as a pastor who invited him to her church asked him to stop politicking.

As Trump spoke in Bethel Methodist Church about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s ‘‘failed’’ policies, the Rev. Faith Green Timmons interrupted.

‘‘Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint. Not to give a political speech,’’ she said.

Trump relented, saying, ‘‘OK. That’s good. I’m going to go back onto Flint.’’

The brief trip to Flint, a city gripped by poverty, marked Trump’s latest attempt to boost his appeal to African-Americans and other minorities. It also highlighted the awkwardness and problems he has faced. The city’s Democratic mayor objected to Trump’s visit before he showed up.

Democrats have been skeptical of Trump’s recent outreach, which comes after months of showing limited interest in reaching out to black communities and repeatedly antagonizing ethnic and religious minority groups.

Before the church stop, the Republican nominee visited a water treatment plant that is not currently operational. Trump walked slowly as he was guided by employee JoLisa McDay, 45, who explained how the water had been contaminated. Trump stayed tight-lipped as he followed McDay along the thick concrete floors, occasionally asking questions.

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Flint’s Democratic mayor, Karen Weaver, was not happy. A statement on her Facebook page said neither Trump nor his staff have reached out since the crisis was declared an emergency. She said Trump did not let her know of his plans to visit this week. ‘‘Flint is focused on fixing the problems caused by lead contamination of our drinking water, not photo ops,’’ said Weaver, who supports Clinton.

As Trump left the church, an African American man shouted at the candidate, ‘‘Are you sorry that you did not rent to black and Latino tenants?’’

It was an apparent reference to controversy over the Trump organization’s renting practices decades ago. They came under scrutiny in the 1970s.

Others shouted at Trump but it was difficult to hear his response as members of the news media were rushed out.

Washington Post