Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, saying Senator Paul Wellstone “like a brother,” was unable to finish a brief press conference at his home in Cumming last night, offering his condolences on Wellstone’s death in a plane crash. For the few moments Harkin was able to speak, Harkin noted Sheila Wellstone, the Minnesota Senator’s wife, was his constant companion and a crusader for battered women. He says Sheila was always involved in the long weekend discussions of policy. Harkin broke down as he addressed part of his brief message to Wellstone’s two sons. He said he loved their father “like he was my own brother.”Harkin had already canceled an earlier press conference that afternoon, when he learned by phone of Wellstone’s death. Harkin says if Wellstone was convinced a vote would advance the cause of social and economic justice, temper greed, or silence the drums of war, even as a lone vote,he’d stand his ground. Senator Charles Grassley says he and Wellstone didn’t always agree on issues, but Grassley says they “always walked away from the debate as friends.” Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack issued a statement, calling Wellstone a “passionate politician in a time when there isn’t enough passion.” Republican Greg Ganske, a Congressman who’s running against Harkin, issued a statement as well, saying he and Wellstone sometimes found themselves on the same plane as they commuted to Washington, and Ganske called Wellstone a “very kind man.” Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell says Wellstone was a good man, a leader and a fighter. The Minnesota democrat, his wife and daughter and three campaign aides were killed Friday in a plane crash in snowy weather.
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