Big guns make their final pleas for Coleman and Franken

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG and LARRY OAKES , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: November 3, 2008 - 11:38 PM

Two former presidential contenders, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, exhorted supporters to get to the polls today.

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Senate Democratic candidate Al Franken, left, makes a joke as Sen. Hillary Clinton laughs during a rally for Franken at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Photo: Amanda Hansmeyer, Associated Press

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On the final day of a long campaign, a pair of heavyweight surrogates stumped the state Monday, imploring Minnesotans to get to the polls to deliver for the top of each party's ticket.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani rallied in St. Paul for Republicans John McCain and Sen. Norm Coleman at the same time that New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Duluth helping Democrats Barack Obama and Al Franken.

The two one-time front-runners in the presidential race were last-minute headliners in a state where Obama appears to have a healthy lead while the U.S. Senate race remains too close to call.

"With all this change they're talking about, we've got to be sure they don't take the change out of our pockets," Giuliani told a couple of hundred Republican supporters at O'Gara's Grill. "We're going to work our you-know-whats off."

He alternated in his praise for McCain and Coleman and singled out Franken for particular scorn, saying the DFLer has unfairly targeted Coleman's wife, Laurie.

"Certain things are off-limits," Giuliani said. "Somebody's family is off-limits."

Giuliani was alluding to a flap over a lawsuit filed in Texas that alleges that a Coleman donor had steered money through a Texas company to a Minneapolis insurance firm that employs Coleman's wife. The senator has adamantly denied claims in the suit and said that his wife was defamed. Franken, in turn, has categorically denied any connection to the suit.

Also at the rally were Coleman, who called Giuliani "the greatest leader I know," Gov. Tim Pawlenty and three of the GOP's congressional candidates.

Clinton in Duluth

Clinton appeared alongside Franken in Duluth in what she noted was also her 75th appearance in support of her former rival Obama. She said it was critical not only to elect Obama as president but to elect Franken and enough Democratic senators to "assure a majority" in the Senate and break "the gridlock" in Washington.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us after we finally, finally see that moving van leaving the back of the White House," she said to cheers from 3,500 people at the Romano gymnasium at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

In an apparent answer to ads that have criticized Franken's temperament and some of his work as a satirist, Clinton called Franken "a good man with a big heart and great ideas."

She also drew a contrast between Franken and Coleman, saying Franken will be "Minnesota's man in Washington instead of Bush's man in Minnesota."

Also appearing for Franken at the rally were Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. James Oberstar of Chisholm. Clinton also recognized St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Duluth Mayor Don Ness in the audience

vonste@startribune.com • 612-673-7184 loakes@startribune.com • 218-727-7344

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