CNN BREAKING NEWS
Democratic Sources Confirm Eight in Wellstone Plane Crash
Aired October 25, 2002 - 13:51 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jonathan Karl, our congressional correspondent, is covering this story as well, checking, getting details.
Jon, tell us what you've found out.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I've been speaking to Democratic sources who say that they can confirm that there were the eight dead on this plane, including, of course, as you have said, the senator and his wife and his daughter. Also, three of Senator Wellstone's staffers and the two pilots of the plane.
I mean, I've been talking to Democrats very close to Wellstone, so has my producer, Dana Bash (ph), and I can tell you, people are almost unable to speak. They're crushed with the sadness of this. Again, the eerie memory, the eerie back to what happened to Mel Carnahan at almost exactly the same time during the election cycle in 2000. You know, many of them lived through that. Wellstone was the kind of guy who had extremely loyal people around him, somebody, you know, He's a former college professor, Carlton College out in Minnesota, and somebody who was seen as a principled politician, a liberal who stood by his principles, even when those principles were not politically expedient.
You know, most recently I had an interview with him about his vote against the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, And I also remember being in the Senate chamber with him back in 1991 when he gave his first speech of his Senate career, which was a speech against the Iraq resolution back then. Both were potentially politically dangerous to him, but he felt that he had to go that way to abide by his principles, and these Democrats that I've been talking to are just dumbfounded by what has happened and really speechless about what has happened. But they have been told that yes, he was on the plane, his wife, his daughter, three staffers, two pilots, and that they are all dead.
BLITZER: It's a sad day, not only for everyone in Minnesota, it's a sad day for all of us around the country, indeed around the world, who got to know Senator Wellstone, a very sad moment that we have to report. Senator Paul Wellstone aboard a small plane that crashed. Apparently, there was some freezing rain, we're told, in northern Minnesota as this plane went down.
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