Lazio, Clinton trade metaphors, issues in closing weekend of Senate campaign
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.S. Senate race in New York can safely be described now in four words: Get out the vote.
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Rick Lazio, R-New York, crisscrossed the state Sunday in their final weekend of campaigning for the seat being vacated after 24 years by Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Mrs. Clinton appeared in seven mostly black churches in New York before making a final swing through key upstate cities.
Meanwhile, Lazio appeared at events in the suburbs north of the city before flying upstate himself.
A statewide poll of likely voters published by the New York Daily News found Mrs. Clinton ahead of Lazio 47 percent to 40 percent, a margin consistent with other recent statewide polls. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
'We're in the ninth inning'
The two candidates appealed to their respective supporters to turn out and vote Tuesday.
"Many people have sacrificed so we can take this right for granted," Mrs. Clinton told the congregation at the Allen AME Church in Queens. "We owe all those that came before us the respect and honor of showing up to vote."
Reprising a line used by Vice President Al Gore and running mate Sen. Joe Lieberman on the presidential campaign trail, Mrs. Clinton compared the election to driving a car.
"If you want to go forward you, put it in D. If you want to go backward, you put it in R," she said, bringing the congregation to its feet. "Will you get in that car with me on Tuesday?"
In Yonkers, Lazio used a baseball metaphor to make his point.
"We're in the ninth inning. It's a tied game. The home team is at bat, and I know right here this is where we're going to hit a home run," he told supporters.
The congressman was accompanied by the state's popular Republican governor, George Pataki, who has been by Lazio's side frequently in the campaign's final days.
Lazio continued to press his attack on Mrs. Clinton for accepting $50,000 from the American Muslim Alliance, a group whose leader has advocated using force against Israel. He accused Mrs. Clinton of associating with terrorists.
Mrs. Clinton returned the money, received at a June fund-raiser, saying she wasn't aware of the event's sponsorship. Lazio criticized the explanation because a form "thank you" letter from the first lady to the group surfaced on Friday.
"I think all the evidence is in. It's conclusive," he said. "The Clinton campaign and Hillary Clinton knew who was hosting the event."
Full schedules planned for Monday
Mrs. Clinton hoped for a boost from her husband, President Bill Clinton, who headlined Democratic rallies in the Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn on Saturday.
Lazio addresses supporters in Yonkers on Sunday
"If you want to keep the prosperity going, you got one choice -- Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Hillary," President Clinton repeatedly told the crowds.
Mrs. Clinton stressed voter turnout in her appearances Sunday.
"If you don't vote, I think you should lose the right to complain," she said.
"I've spent 16 months -- 16 months -- talking about all kinds of issues and telling people what I would do in the Senate," she added. "But I cannot go to the Senate if I am not elected on Tuesday."
Her weekend was scheduled to end with a Sunday night rally in Binghamton.
She planned campaign stops Monday in Buffalo, Albany and Rochester.
Although her personality has been a central focus of her campaign, Mrs. Clinton told reporters she believes voters will decide on the issues, even if they need a little encouragement in the closing days.
"I really believe a lot of voters are gonna turn out to vote for somebody and not against somebody," Mrs. Clinton said.
"It does take an extra push in the end to remind people about what's at stake and why they should take time out of their busy lives to go vote," she said.
Lazio also appeared Sunday at rallies in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. He harked back to a basic theme of his campaign -- that he is the only native New Yorker in the race.
"New Yorkers don't back down from a fight. No one from Washington, D.C., or Arkansas or Hollywood is going to tell New Yorkers who to send to the Senate," Lazio said.
Lazio plans to return Monday to New York's suburbs and his native Long Island.