Candidates ramp up rhetoric, Trump stumbles


Associated Press

NEW YORK

From a car wash in Queens to a hockey arena in Buffalo, both parties’ presidential candidates spread out across New York Monday in a final quest for votes, a surreal scene for a state that hasn’t experienced contested White House primaries in decades.

For Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, victories in New York Tuesday could help quiet critics who have questioned their strength as front-runners. Each has suffered losses in recent contests that emboldened their rivals, though they still lead in delegate counts and are favored in New York.

Clinton, who represented the state as a senator for eight years, spent the final hours of campaigning trying to drive up turnout among women and minorities, her most ardent supporters. Since Sunday, she’s danced to Latin music at a Brooklyn block party, vowed to defend abortion rights to female supporters in Manhattan, prayed at a black church in Westchester, drunk a bubble tea at a dumpling shop in Flushing and cheered newly unionized workers in Queens.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” she said Monday after greeting workers at the Hi-Tek Car Wash & Lube in Queens. “Tell your friends and your family, everyone, to please vote tomorrow.”

Clinton’s campaign was blunter in outlining the state of the Democratic race. Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook declared the primary effectively over, saying Sanders faced a “close to impossible path to the nomination.”

With the contest between Sanders and Clinton becoming increasingly tense, Mook said the Vermont senator had to choose whether he wanted to stay on a “destructive path” that could hurt the party’s eventual nominee.

Sanders has rattled off a string of wins in recent primaries and caucuses. But unless he can topple Clinton in a delegate-rich state like New York, he faces increasingly limited opportunities to change the trajectory of the race.

While polling shows Clinton with a comfortable lead in New York, Sanders held out hope for a closer race.

For Trump, New York is an opportunity to rebound from a trying stretch for his campaign – and with an exclamation point.

The biggest question for him heading into today is whether he captures more than 50 percent of the vote statewide.

Trump made an unfortunate slip-of-the-tongue while campaigning in Buffalo Monday evening.

He was about to deliver prepared remarks lauding New York values when he mistakenly mentioned the name of a popular convenience store chain in place of 9/11.

“It’s very close to my heart because I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen down at 7/11, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down, and I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action,” Trump told the crowd.

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