NEW YORK (AP) – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton marched for labor and stumped with Democrats on Saturday, but sidestepped questions about the woman who has taken her place as the nation’s most-talked-about female leader.

Clinton brushed aside questions about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin during appearances at New York City’s annual Labor Day parade and later during a stop on Staten Island.

“This election is about issues, and that’s what’s going to matter to people at the end of the day,” she told reporters who asked her about the Alaska governor at a rally for a Democratic congressional candidate at Wagner College.

Clinton joined other New York politicians for a Saturday morning breakfast with union leaders in Manhattan, then marched up Fifth Avenue in the city’s annual labor parade.

In the afternoon on Staten Island, she stumped for Democrat Mike McMahon, who is running for a congressional seat being vacated by Republican Vito Fossella.

Fossella decided not to seek re-election after a drunken driving arrest and a revelation that he fathered a child outside his marriage.

No longer a presidential candidate, Clinton was welcomed warmly at all three events. Some supporters at her Staten Island rally brought old “Clinton for President” placards.

She mentioned Palin by name only twice during the day, at the labor breakfast, when she uttered a modified version of a line from her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“No way, no how, no McCain, no Palin,” she said, repeating the remark later.

AP-ES-09-06-08 1715EDT


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