Clinton urges Minn. Democrats to vote Franken

Hillary Clinton campaigning for Al Franken
Hillary Clinton visited Minneapolis to campaign for Al Franken at a rally at the University of Minnesota October 21, 2008.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told Minnesota Democrats they must do more than just elect Barack Obama if they want to end what she calls "the Bush era."

Clinton appeared at the U of M's McNamara Alumni center before some 1,500 people. Clinton told the crowd she's known Franken for years and she urged Franken supporters to see out undecided voters and convince them to vote for Franken.

"So on this election I hope you will do all you can to make sure that Al Franken joins Amy Klobuchar and President Barack Obama to deliver the change that America is looking for," Clinton said.

Al Franken at the U of M
Senatorial candidate Al Franken told a crowd of 2,000 supporters that it was time for change during a campaign rally with Hillary Clinton in Minneapolis October 21, 2008.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

Clinton also praised Franken's previous work as a liberal satirist. She said he was battling the vast right-wing conspiracy before some people admitted that it existed.

"I know Al and I know he'll make you proud," Clinton said. "He'll hit the ground running for Minnesota, following in the footsteps of historic progressive champions like someone both Al and I still revere, the late Paul Wellstone."

Clinton said 60 votes in the Senate would allow Democrats to pass universal health care, make investments in creating manufacturing jobs, cut tax breaks for oil and pharmaceutical companies and pass an energy plan that creates "green jobs."

In recent days, Franken's Republican opponent, Sen. Norm Coleman, has also started telling voters that if he loses that would likely mean Democrats get to 60 votes in the Senate. Coleman, needless to say, wants voters to view that as a bad thing.

A supporter shows her buttons at the rally
A supporter exhibited her passion for change at a rally for Al Franken in Minneapolis, October 21, 2008.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

"I think Minnesotans have to decide if that's what they want," Coleman said earlier this week on a campaign swing through southwestern Minnesota. "That's one of the stakes in the election, and I think it's fair to raise it."

Clinton and Franken, the former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and author, spoke warmly of each other at the University of Minnesota rally; Franken said the two first met shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992.

Clinton praised Franken, author of books including "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot," for "taking on the vast right-wing conspiracy before a lot of people admitted it existed" - a reference to her own late-'90s term for a network of conservative activists and commentators that she felt persecuted her husband.

"He never sank to their level of those attacking him, but he shed light on their tactics," Clinton said of Franken.

Amy Klobuchar
Senator Amy Klobuchar greeted supporters during a rally for Al Franken in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

Franken suggested that increasing the number of Democrats in Washington could lead to a return to Clinton-era prosperity.

"You remember the Clinton presidency?" Franken asked. "Inheriting the largest deficit in history and passing on the largest surplus? Twenty-three million new jobs? Remember that?"

"Vaguely," shouted a man in the crowd.

"I'll do the jokes, sir," Franken replied, to laughter from the audience.

Al Franken and Hillary Clinton
Al Franken and Hillary Clinton speak during a campaign appearance on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

Following the U of M event, Franken and Clinton headed to the Iron Range town of Hibbing to rally support for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Another New Yorker, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is in the state on Thursday to campaign for Franken's opponent, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)