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Franken, Larson stump for Clinton at UMD

UMD students Catrina Fjerstad (from left), Lindsey Tilton and Michelle Fitzgerald pose for a selfie with U.S. Senator Al Franken after giving him a hat from the organization Love Your Melon during an event at the Kirby Student Center on the UMD campus Sunday afternoon. Love Your Melon is a hat company that has the goal to donate a hat to every child that is battling cancer in America. (Clint Austin / / 3
Senator Al Franken speaks to students at Kirby Student Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth Sunday afternoon. (Clint Austin / / 3
Senator Al Franken speaks to students at Kirby Student Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth Sunday afternoon. (Clint Austin / / 3

Sen. Al Franken isn't taking anything for granted heading into the home stretch of the election, even though Richard Nixon was the last Republican presidential candidate to carry Minnesota in 1972.

During a campaign stop at UMD's Kirby Student Center Sunday afternoon, Franken stressed the importance of getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton, his party's presidential candidate.

"I am the poster child for close elections. I won my first election by 312 votes." he said.

"You're talking to the guy who knows how important every vote is. So are you going to help Hillary?" Franken asked.

Mike Purtell, a student at UMD who took part in Sunday's event, said he has already cast his vote for Clinton and aims to do whatever he can to encourage classmates to do the same.

"It's really exciting. I think UMD is going to get out the vote like we never have before," he said.

Vouching for Clinton's qualifications, Franken said: "I've known Hillary Clinton for 23 years. She's the smartest, hardest-working, toughest person I know."

He said Clinton has earned his trust, unlike her Republican opponent, Donald Trump.

"The president has to call on his, and I hope her, experience and the knowledge that they've acquired over their lifetime — the breadth and depth of their knowledge. Hillary is someone who works constantly on public policy, who knows her history. Donald Trump is someone who tweets at 3 in the morning. He is someone who, as we've seen in the debates, has no command at all and seemingly no interest in public policy," he said.

Pointing to the purported ghostwriter of Trump's 1987 memoir, Franken said: "The guy who wrote 'The Art of the Deal,' Tony Schwartz, spent a couple years with him to do that book. And he said the guy has no interest in anything but himself."

Franken touted Clinton's plan to provide a free public college education to the children of families earning less than $125,000 per year.

He also stressed the importance of electing a candidate like Clinton who recognizes global warming for the very real threat it poses, rather than someone like Trump, who's a climate change denier.

"You will feel the result of this if we don't act. We already are, in terms of rising sea levels, storm surges, droughts and extreme weather," Franken said.

"I have three grandchildren, and I don't want my three grandchildren 50 years from now saying: Grandpa, you were a senator and you knew about climate change. Why didn't you do anything? And also, why are you still alive at 115?" Franken deadpanned.

He described the coming election as a vital decision.

"This is the most important election of our lifetimes, because it's the most frightening. This guy is completely unacceptable," Franken said.

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson also implored students to vote for Clinton.

"Are you ready to make history?" she asked

Whatever their views, Larson urged students to exercise their right to vote, saying: "Your vote is your voice in this election."