Iowa’s Democrat Senator, Tom Harkin, was the final speaker at last night’s tribute to Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone in Minneapolis. He says Wellstone had a powerful authenticity that made a miner in the iron range know he was as important to Wellstone as the President of the United States.Harkin called Wellstone the “soul of the Senate.” Harkin noted the “outpouring of grief and admiration” for Wellstone that he said was “every bit as authentic as he was.” Wellstone’s two sons intended the event as part memorial and part political rally, and Harkin was the designated cheerleader. He called Wellstoned a leader, a “true D-F-L Liberal.”Toward the end of his 25-minute-long speech, Harkin threw off his coat and pumped his arms in the air as he urged the crowd of 25-thousand to carry on Wellstone’s political mission. His speech brought applause after every line.After Harkin finished, the crowd chanted “Fritz” — Walter Mondale’s nickname. Mondale, former Vice President and a one-time Minnesota Senator, was asked the Wellstone sons to take their father’s name on the ballot. Wellstone, who had been campaigning for re-election, died Friday in a plane crash in northern Minnesota.
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