Wellstone death latest in long string
By Joe Baker, Senior Editor
Sen. Paul Wellstone, who was killed last week in a plane crash in northern Minnesota, was the number one enemy of Bush administration programs.
He voted against the war on Iraq; he voted against the Department of Homeland Security; he voted against the resolution giving President Bush expanded power to attack other countries; he voted against the Patriot Act: and he voted for an independent probe of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S.
It is well known that Bushs political helmsman, Karl Rove, had targeted Wellstone for defeat. He poured large amounts of money into Minnesota in support of a conservative Republican candidate.
In its May 27th edition, The Nation magazine wrote: Minnesotas senior senator is not just another Democrat on White House political czar Karl Roves target list, in an election year when the Senate balance of power could be decided by the voters of a single state. Rather, getting rid of Wellstone is a passion for Rove, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the special-interest lobbies that fund the most sophisticated political operation ever assembled by a presidential administration.
There are people in the White House who wake up in the morning thinking about how they will defeat Paul Wellstone, a senior Republican aide confides. This one is political and personal for them.
Despite all the pressure, Wellstone stood his ground and voted his principles. In casting his vote against the war, he declared: A pre-emptive, go-it-alone strategy towards Iraq is wrong. I oppose it. Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives also voted no on the war.
CNN reported that since 1972, there have been at least 12 prominent politicians killed in plane crashes. The previously most recent was Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan in October of 2000. Carnahan also was running for the Senate and was a Democrat.
The others were: U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown on April 3, 1996; South Dakota Gov. George Mickelson, a Republican, on April 19, 1993; Sen. John Heinz, Republican, of Pennsylvania on April 4, 1991; Sen. John Tower, R-Texas, on April 5, 1991; Rep. Larkin Smith, R-Miss., on August 13, 1989; Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, on Aug. 7, 1989; Rep. Larry McDonald, Democrat of Georgia, Sept. 1, 1983; Rep. Jerry Litton, D-Mo., on August 3, 1976; Rep. Jerry Pettis, R-Calif., on Feb. 14, 1975; House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, D-La.; Rep. Nick Begich, D-Alaska, on Oct. 16, 1972; and Rep. George W. Collins, D-Ill., near Chicagos Midway Airport on Dec. 8, 1972.
Very recently,Illinois Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald and several house leaders also had a close call over Missouri, when the pilots of their plane were concerned about a malfunction with their landing gear.