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NYSNYS NEWS: Campaign whirlwind touches down Albany, with Bernie Sanders raising roof at the Washington Avenue Armory and Ohio Gov. Kasich holding more low-key events at the Capitol and in Troy and Saratoga.
NYSNYS NEWS: Campaign whirlwind touches down Albany, with Bernie Sanders raising roof at the Washington Avenue Armory and Ohio Gov. Kasich holding more low-key events at the Capitol and in Troy and Saratoga.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 11) —The Campaign 2016 whirlwind touched down here Monday, with Bernie Sanders raising the roof of an old state armory filled with young people and Donald Trump hoping to pack the 17,000-seat Times Union Center a few hours later.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also stopped by the Capitol, meeting with legislators and reporters before traveling to Troy and Saratoga for far smaller candidate forums.

The unprecedented one-day blitz of national politics followed last week’s visits by Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz, underscoring the belief the April 19 New York presidential primary likely will be decisive in determining who gets their party’s respective nominations to run for president. Polls show Clinton and Trump with big leads, though Sanders is closing in on the former first lady making her second campaign for the presidency.

A huge throng of people were shut out of Sanders’ rally at the Washington Avenue Armory near the Capitol, prompting the Vermont senator to deliver an impromptu sidewalk speech to fired-up supporters before heading inside to deliver a blistering attack on corporate America and Wall Street.

Sanders said the super-rich have rigged the system for their own benefit, denying the majority of Americans the healthcare, jobs and educations they deserve.

“We are not a poor country,” Sanders thundered. “We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. But most people don’t know that because almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.”

“In the last 30 years there has been a massive transfer of wealth in this country from the middle class to the top 1/10th of 1 percent — trillions of dollars,” he said. “Well, you know what? We’re going to get that money back into the middle class.”

“Here is what a rigged economy looks like: A rigged economy is when the top 1/10th of 1 percent — not 1 percent, 1/10th of 1 percent — now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent,” Sanders said. “A rigged economy is when the 20 wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people.”

“A rigged economy is when one family, the Walton family of Walmart, owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of the American people … the Walton family that owns Walmart pays their workers wages that are so low that many of those employees are forced to go on to Medicaid and food stamps. Any you know who pays for those food stamps and Medicaid?”

“We do!” the crowd roared back.

“I say to the Walton family, get off of welfare, pay your workers a living way,” Sanders declared, prompting cheers.

People lined up for hours to get into the Sanders rally, which appeared to have attracted a large contingent of high school and college students who cut classes for the day. They cheered Sanders and chanted his name, and booed and jeered whenever Hillary Clinton was mentioned.

Sanders singled out Clinton for taking money from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms, and challenged her to releases the text of speeches she gave to to Goldman in exchange for a fee of $250,000 per speech.

Sanders also repeated his support for free public college for deserving students, relaxing marijuana laws, ending mass incarceration of minorities, support for a national healthcare plan and higher taxes on the rich.

He called for a national ban on hydrofracking and praised the recently enacted $15 minimum wage, both issues that stalled for years in New York until Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed his positions and acted on both. Sanders also praised Pope Francis, saying he is flying to Rome to meet with the Catholic pontiff to talk about economic justice.

Earlier, Kasich met with GOP state legislators, delivering a message that both Trump and Cruz are destined to lose the election if either is the GOP nominee. Kasich, who portrays himself as a more measured and mainstream politician than his rivals, has nonetheless won only one primary, his home state of Ohio.

‘I think we have a good chance of a united Republican Party with nominees who are going to get destroyed in the fall election,” Kasich said, warning that either Trump or Cruz at the top of the ticket could also spell the end of the Republican state Senate majority.

Trump’s rally at the downtown Times Union Center was set to start at 7 p.m. and counter protesters were already gathered there hours beforehand. Police closed off the streets in anticipation of what was expected to be a huge crowd.

Sanders held an earlier rally Monday in Binghamton before traveling to Buffalo for another arena event Monday night.