CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Wellstone's Death and the Iraq Issue
Aired October 28, 2002 - 12:54 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators are still looking into the clues into the Minnesota plane crash that claimed the life of Senator Paul Wellstone and seven others, including his wife and daughter. Wellstone was one of only a handful of Democrats who have a tough re-election campaign to vote against a resolution that would authorize a possible war with Iraq. Indeed, some say he was the only Democrat in that situation who did so. This weekend we saw anti-war rallies and remembrances of Wellstone.
Joining us for assessment of all of this, our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.
Candy, the assumption out there is that Wellstone could have possibly lost that bid for re-election because of his vote on this resolution against the war on Iraq.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There are two issues here. Wellstone could have lost the election. It was close enough. You know, I think could make an argument that Paul Wellstone, who voted against the first Gulf War. would have hurt himself more had he voted for this one. This was in character with him. That doesn't make it any less a brave vote. He was frequently on the minority side of votes, sometimes the only one on the minority vote.
But in Minnesota, one of the things they appreciated about him and one of the things he based his campaign on was, look, even if you don't agree with me, you know where I stand, you know what I'm about. So I know that the popular thing was the Iraq vote -- his vote against it, might in fact hurt him. I think probably the opposite is true, and that is it would have hurt more had he voted for it.
BLITZER: That's very interesting. He was, though, the only Democrat in a tough re-election campaign to indeed vote against the president's vote, is that right?
CROWLEY: Absolutely. Yes, there are some in noncompetitive races that voted against what the president wanted. But Wellstone was the only one in a close election race.
BLITZER: How is the whole issue of Iraq and a possible war with Iraq playing across the country as far as the elections are concerned? Of course the elections being a week from tomorrow?
CROWLEY: There's two schools of thought. The first is those who support the president, who want the president to have more support would come out. You know, it's all about turnout in midterm. And so that was one school's thought. The other school of thought was that the people who were adamantly opposed to war would be riled up, first of all, about the possibility it was coming, and second of all, Wellstone's death does, in fact, give a lot of symbolism the anti-war movement.
So, you know, heads you win, tails you lose, I'm not really sure which is going to happen. I think it does affect the vote in some way, but I think there are other ways that do as well, Social Security and all those other issues. Since so few people come to vote in a midterm, anything that gets them out to vote makes a difference.
BLITZER: Candy Crowley, as usual, thanks for joining us.
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