Listen: 6004587.wav
0:00

Guests, Sarah Stoesz and Sam Kaplan, and callers share stories about the late Senator Paul Wellstone and the family members and campaign workers who died with him.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

(00:00:00) From Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Greta Cunningham officials are getting ready for tonight's memorial service for u.s. Senator Paul wellstone and the others who died in a plane crash last Friday Vice President Dick Cheney offered to attend the service but wellstones family asks that Cheney not attend a White House official says the wellstone family didn't want the heavy security that Cheney's attendance would have required a family of Paul wellstone says making a donation to a local food shelf would be a good way to remember the late Senator. However, people attending tonight's memorial service at the U of M are asked not to bring food donations, since there is no arrangement to collect them. The memorial service will start at 6:30 tonight and will be held at Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The doors will open at 4:30 and people are being encouraged to arrive early a marathon mediation session ended early this morning without reaching an agreement between Redwing teachers and school administrators Minnesota public radio's Aaron galba Lee reports Redwing teachers and School District officials been closed. 12 hours of mediation but remain deadlocked over health insurance benefits and salaries local teachers have been on strike since early last week and as a result classrooms around the district have been closed representatives from the teachers unions say they presented administrators with four new proposals for solving the dispute, but still the to science cannot agree. The teachers have been without a contract for more than 15 months school officials say the district is facing a 1.3 million dollar deficit and cannot afford to meet the teachers demands. No new talks have been scheduled. I'm Erin Galilee Minnesota Public Radio Rochester light snow is in the forecast for Northwestern Minnesota today occasional rain mixed with snow in the Northeast cloudy with light rain in the South highs today from 28th in the north to 48 in the South right now in the Twin Cities Cloudy Skies a temperature of 43. That's a news update. I'm Greta Cunningham. (00:01:50) Thank you Greta. It's six minutes now past twelve o'clock. (00:02:07) From the high Canadian Rockies to the land of Mexico City and the country wherever you may go through the Wild and windy weather the sun of sleet and rain comes or whistling through the country this farmer-labor train. (00:02:26) Good afternoon. Welcome back to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary. Eichten. I'm glad you could join us. Well as you've heard this evening some 20,000 people from National dignitaries to ordinary Joe's are expected turnout for a memorial service for senator. Paul wellstone his wife Sheila and the others who died in that plane crash on Friday organizers say the event will resemble a celebration of their lives. Not a somber funeral type of fare, and if you're planning to attend the Hit Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota officials suggest you do get there early doors open at 4:30. The ceremony will begin at 6:30. And if you can't be there in person, we will be broadcasting the entire event here in Minnesota Public Radio. We'll also be streaming both the audio and the video on our website Minnesota Public Radio dot-org we're going to spend this hour of midday in the meanwhile getting ready for the memorial service remembering the wellstones Paul and Sheila joining us here in the studio are to folks who were close to both of them attorney. Sam Kaplan was an early wellstone supporter. He delivered the eulogy at yesterday's private Funeral Service. Sarah Stacey is also with us. She's currently the head of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota and South Dakota, you'll recall that she was a commentator here in Minnesota Public Radio and like mr. Kaplan. She was also with the wellstones from the get-go serving on Center wellstone staff in Washington. We also invite you to join our conversation this hour, we're talking about Paul and Sheila wellstone as people Public figures to be sure but first and foremost ordinary people who did some extraordinary things and if you would like to join our conversation, we do invite you to give us a call or two in City area number is 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities. You can reach us toll-free and that number is 1-800-321-8633 nor one eight hundred two, four two 28287 Kaplan Sarah States. Thank you for coming in today. (00:04:25) It's great to be here (00:04:26) Gary. Are you happy to be here time to tell some stories this hour Sarah you said in an email that Paul and Sheila wellstone were two of the most authentic and fundamentally good people I've ever known. (00:04:38) I that's right Gary. They were two of the very best people. I have ever been privileged to know and probably ever will be privileged to know. They were fundamentally through and through exactly in their private lives. What they were in their public lives. There was nothing about them. That was the way some politicians are one way in public and another way with their friends and family. They were exactly the same people every single day of their lives. No matter who they were with fundamentally through and through their values shown through their actions and their words and their relationships with all of us and it was these very intensely personally held values that Express themselves, politically and express themselves personally. (00:05:37) Sam Kaplan, can you give us a sense of what you touched on during your eulogy yesterday? We didn't get a chance to hear that of course because it was a private ceremony much of what I talked about was the fact that for me and for others. This was the most extraordinary political love affair that I have ever seen. Paul and Sheila wellstone were in love with one another in high school and were in love with one another until the day they died and I as Sarah has have witnessed all kinds of political marriages which after a period of years the toll has been taken the pressures the absences from one another if they're lucky it only phrase the relationship around the edge but more often than not it can be quite damaging. This was quite different Gary it intensified their relationship. They loved one another so much. They love to be together the very first person I heard and I mentioned this yesterday in the eulogy on television after the news with Senator Patrick, Leahy. He wasn't able to complete what he was saying because he was crying and I was too but he spoke about after these long late-night debates in the Senate that he would always see Paul leaving and Sheila would be waiting for him in the doorway and they would walk off arm and arm together. That's the way they (00:07:12) were. When you had a conversation with Paul or Sheila, it was very much as if you were having a conversation with either one of them as Sam says they were completely interchangeable and somehow what one said 21 was known by the other and the other responded to it. Even if they weren't there during the original conversation. They really were very much one. And again, it wasn't just for political purposes that they were this way. This is who they genuinely were I will always remember Paul in recent years. She lived had so much more public speaking with him and he was so expressly. Joyful about this and I will always remember him introducing her and saying and now the other wellstone Sheila wellstone Sheila wellstone and he was so Hensley joyful because he was able to say her name and the two of them were together and her expressions of political values and determination was were exactly his he spoke. She spoke they (00:08:30) spoke but they change I mean in when they were in the public Spotlight of it which was well over 12 years, but let's talk 12 years. I mean did they change as people or pretty much the same people think they were the same people now, of course, I refer to my wife Sylvia as the chair of the wellstone fashion police and it was she who caused Paul to get his first store bought in haircut in 1990 when Sheila had been cutting his hair and he did change and shave his beard after Sylvia relentlessly pursued that subject but I don't think they changed very much if at all, you know, it's so interesting to me. Gary that time and again Paul would say Sheila and I Sheila and I welcome you Sheila and I are happy to see you Sheila. And I thank you. Most political figures don't speak in the that terminology. They are he always did the fact of the matter is they are they're both gone, even though they were deeply fearful of flying on private planes because they needed to be together and as the campaign wound down they wanted to be together as they went into the final stages (00:09:48) Paul and Sheila that it was as if the name was Paul and Sheila one name, (00:09:53) it was always interesting to me and I was you know, I've not always been respectful of the national media people but to National media people both pointed out the same thing and I was pleased that they saw it and that is that when Paul and Sheila would be at a gathering a fundraiser or in Community it was as if they had found the mother lode of gold when they saw somebody that they hadn't seen in a while and Paul would yell Sheila Sheila. Look who's here or Sheila would drag this person over Paul. Look who I found here. They had this great joy of bringing themselves together with people that they had known and loved from the beginning. When was the last time you talked with them? (00:10:39) The last time I talked with them was the Saturday before they died. They we my husband and I who were both close with Paul and Sheila were with them at two different events on Saturday night one that my husband was co-sponsoring Bluegreen Coalition event, and one that I was co-sponsoring later, which was a women for wellstone event in Minneapolis, and I wanted to talk with Paul. Atlee afterwards because My husband and I had been circulating a petition through email Gathering signatures to thank Paul for his courageous and thoughtful vote on the war against the war in Iraq, and we were going to be running this petition is a full-page ad in the newspaper the following Friday. It turned out to be the Friday that they died and I wanted to tell Paul about that and that was my my last conversation with him was to tell him how deeply grateful we all were for his unwavering courage and commitment and although he took a vote that many of the so-called political pundits in this country said my ruin his career they said, oh he's a man of conviction and he's such a strong man of principle and he's taking this vote and he's going to lose and in fact, he wasn't going to lose he was going to win if if anything this vote that he took Against the United States invasion of Iraq was pushing him in the polls even higher he was going to win because he was a man of conviction and that's what we talked about last Saturday night and he was hugging me and whispering in my ear at the end of that evening that we would win we would continue to win. We would all stay strong. (00:12:49) Sam Kaplan, well, I was at the same event and I did talk to Sheila much later a few days later just a few days before the horrific accident. I'm sorry that my discussion wasn't as profound as your Sarah. Sylvia had cornered Sheila saying that Paul should wear a white shirt and there was a considerable amount of discussion about whether or not he should give up the blue shirt still working the fashion over him with that but I but I must say is speaking about my wife. She was not only the head of the fashion police. She was a constant interpreter of Paul wellstone and thinking of her in the context of what you said Sara Sylvia points out that the thing that was most meaningful in examining. The career of Paul wellstone is that he was never cynical. He was never cynical about the political process. He believed in He believed in the goodness of people and he was joyful about that which he did and he believed sometimes against overwhelming odds that it was still possible to do the right thing. I was so taken just an hour before I came over here Sylvia faxed over to me a an email that a young man by the name of Daniel may had written a young man whose parents Elaine and Larry May are well-known American studies professors at the University and he had been a press intern for Paul wellstone two years before and he tells the story of how Paul was on the floor by himself. Nobody else. Was there arguing for more support for day care how we had to do something for children's kindergardens doing it in the context of something relating to the District of Columbia Bill. And these young Pages were standing around snickering. Why was this Talking about this on an issue. He couldn't possibly win and these 18 and 19 year olds were already cynical. But Paul is 58 never was cynical. He believed it was always possible to achieve what other people might think impossible (00:15:03) Paul breathe. Joy and hope into politics and into our lives in a way that no one else has ever done at least not in my life. I can't think of anyone who bounded out of bed every morning with the joy that he felt and Sam is completely right about his lack of cynicism and moreover not only did did he like cynicism but he was our teacher in terms of our own learning and growing one and I'm sorry to say that that the same night. That I saw him the last time I also made a somewhat cynical comment myself about politics or an aspect of politics and he admonished me about that and I will also always remember that because of course he was right. He was absolutely right that we have a duty and an obligation to be joyful and to infuse that joy and that hope in everything that we do including our politics. (00:16:17) We're remembering Paul and Sheila wellstone this our course, there's a big public memorial service a ceremony tonight starting at 6:30, but we thought today would be a good day to tell some stories and two long time friends and supporters of the wellstones Sam Kaplan Sarah Stacey are here. If you would like to join our conversation, give us a call six five one two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities 1-800 to for 22828. Katie go ahead, please. (00:16:51) I'm actually calling when I met Paul and Sheila wellstone it was during it was right after his first campaign and I was in the military and he visited our unit and he was talking with the kernels and I didn't want to interrupt. I'm just a private and I went to Sheila and I said, you know, I go to the University of Minnesota and I really appreciate everything the Paul wellstone represents and stands for and I will vote for him as long as he runs for office and she took my arm and said you have to come and tell my husband that he would love to hear from you. I said no, he's talking to the Colonel's. I don't want to go over there. She said no, you have to talk to Paul. He wants to hear this and she interrupted the conversation and he stopped and listened and stopped his conversation and I will always remember that it was Really intimidating and the Colonel's weren't that impressed but I was really impressed with him and how he prioritized things and that's my story. Thanks Katie. Thank you (00:18:01) speaking of priorities. Paul would always go into the kitchen of every restaurant. I remember the first time I saw him do that. I was a little shocked. Oh my God, he's going into the kitchen. He can't go back there. It's health code or something wash some dishes but there he went and he always wanted to thank the people that made his food and wash the dishes (00:18:25) well in all of the in all the time that we've known Paul a Sylvia his own a restaurant first the new French cafe, and now by Abilene and that's true. He always has to go back into the kitchen. But he is a voracious eater. That's right. He ate at our house again and again and again, he's a he was a fast and extraordinary consumer of Sylvia's food. That's for sure. You know, I just wanted to make this one absurd we had dinner with them on their 39th anniversary, which was the a night during the state fair. And so we connected with them at the state fair and when we got there they were a few minutes late. There's all politicians are the line. There must have been a hundred and fifty people standing in line and then as Paul and Sheila began to walk up the street, it was like a rock star coming or a superstar coming the cheering the pounding of the payment the Paul Paul Paul, there was nothing artificial about the people's response. I mean, this was their man. This was their woman who was really quite compelling (00:19:32) being at the state fair with him was an overwhelming experience trying to move with him through a crowd was Just impossible because everyone wanted to touch him all the time and as a female staffer for him. I was at a little bit of a disadvantage because if he disappeared into the restroom, I couldn't help him out and he would be surrounded by people even there and just moved Inch by Inch by Inch across that state fair (00:20:00) Mark your comment, please. (00:20:02) Yeah, my name is Mark and I just wanted to I've known Paul and Sheila for 30 years, I grew up in Northfield with them and they were both mentoring good friends to me both of the kid and in college and You know you talk about being cynical and I got a little cynical after college, you know years of progressive politics and Paul was a great mentor there. And when he was elected, I was really inspired and I was reminded of why he's always been my hero and my mentor and and he hasn't changed, you know, since I first met him 30 years ago, but he's busier and stressed and he was and he'll be sorely missed but I think all of us will carry on his legacy. I think all of us who knew him, you know were infected by that same energy and he opened that up and I think even now the spiritual kind of dimension of this is going to carry forward to help unlock a lot of that good and energy and a lot of people who who say it's time to carry on. Okay. Thanks (00:21:12) Mark. Thank you. May I tell you one Northfield story and the Mark is reminding me of it. And that is that in 1990. We had no money. We were paying our staff people starvation wages, and we literally we're living hand-to-mouth. In the hand campaign Paul was living in Northfield at the time and when he would end the session in the Twin Cities, he would stay at our house. I always thought that it was for the purpose of saving on the hotel bill, but in due course I discovered he couldn't stay at a hotel in those days without Sheila. It just wasn't possible for him instead. He slept with our dog Duffy and they got along quite quite handsome. By the way. I might also say that Sylvia and I are early risers we get up at six in the morning by 5:30 in the morning. Paul was downstairs railing against the early morning people on television because he thought he had had what was a marvelous press conference and they didn't say anything about it in the morning and those days we didn't get quite the coverage we get today now publicly. I think it's fair to say the public face of the wellstone specially Paul wellstone. They he came across as so intense. I mean, Arms are waving and yeah, he's hollering and yelling and I mean where they actually like that or they've good sense of humor what they do for (00:22:37) fun in a fabulous sense of humor and he was like that all the time. He was just the he was he was an overwhelming force of energy. I remember meeting him in the early days thinking. Oh my can I how can I ever keep up with this man? But he he just was like this day in and day out and Sheila was also a very energetic of course in a very different way, but they were both extraordinarily funny and warm and I remember going over to their house in Washington. The one that they are currently where they're currently live in Washington. The first time I went there. I got out of the cab and went bounding up the steps. It was a brownstone. Bang on the door and say hello and hear the door opens downstairs because they didn't live upstairs. They lived downstairs and the door opened up and outcomes Sheila. It was really early in the morning in her robe. And she said you didn't think we lived upstairs. Did you Sarah? We live downstairs? Have you forgotten who we are come in, (00:23:49) you know, that's so interesting Gary my I've been watching for 12 years this wellstone body movement that you talked about and I think I know the answer and a doctors will think I'm nuts and that is in most human beings. We are driven by the brain the brain the passion comes from the brain concludes that certain things should happen in his case. It wasn't the little corner of his brain. It was his entire being these were involuntary responses because his passion extended to every bit of his body. That's how He was in later years when he actually reduced those of the appearances. He it was in it was voluntary at that time. The reduction of that kind of passion was something he didn't like to do. We like to be himself. He also knew he had to be United States senators what they do for fun movie movie like movies. They were big movie people. What do they yell at the screen then when they saw Injustice on the screen or whatever it was it made him. First of all, they bickered about which movie to go to. I mean that was (00:25:00) always and then they bickered about whether or not it was good and who's the best in it? And what was the funniest (00:25:05) part the people love one another can bicker, you know, they didn't argue. They just tease one another about it and it was like they love movies. They love being with their children and their grandchildren very very important part of their lives. That's there was no logical reason for Marcia to be with them. On that flight except she was now part of the team and they wanted her to be with her. We're talking this hour with longtime friends and supporters of Paul and Sheila wellstone Sarah Stace and Sam Kaplan. And if you would like to join our conversation, give us a call here good time for stories today tonight. There's a public ceremony to honor the wellstones their daughter three campaign staff workers who died in that plane crash last Friday big public ceremony starting at 6:30, but we thought this hour would be a good time to spend some quiet time talking about the wellstones. If you would like to join our conversation, six, five, one two, two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight Mary go ahead place. (00:26:15) Yes. Hello. I am I too was a student of Paul wellstones at Carleton and the story I want to relate today is a Hi Sam. This is Mary puff. I I was a co-chair of a strike committee when we were concerned about the Vietnam were then and I remember Paul bounding into one of our first meetings and he said he always called me by my last name puff puff. He said puff. What can I do? What can I do? And I said Paul you can help us Lobby the other professors to shut down the school for a few days. So we might hold some seminars on what happened with the French occupation of Indochina and there are things that I think we should learn about their experience. Paul got it right away. He made phone calls that night and I think I got a call about three in the morning and he said well I've got I've got the heads of six departments on board and we're all ready to participate in the strike and to close down the school. And certainly we did and Paul was the heart of that waving his arms back then of course to it's never bothered any of us, actually the the energy we rather like it and we'd The absolute joy that he brought to every conversation. We will miss him. Sorely. We love this guy. We loved him. And in fact, I just sent him an email on Thursday. He had requested I meet with him. He said as soon as the elections over he's I want you to meet with me in my office. And I just sent him some dates on Thursday. So he was on my mind all day and Friday. I was in tears for 12 hours. So he is the guy we're going to miss and I'm going to say today that his his spirit is infused in so many of us so many of us. I'm sorry. (00:28:07) Go on to another caller with some comments on the wellstones Paul and Sheila Linda Lee is on the line from Rochester Linda. (00:28:15) Hi. I was a Carlton student as well back in the 70s and at one point Paul and Sheila requested help in a lunchroom newsletter. They needed a few nights relief a month because his parents were suffering with a slow and degenerative illness and I think they were probably up and down throughout the night. They needed a couple of college kids to volunteer 25 years later. I heard him tell the story again Weeping at the podium that dozens and dozens of kids had volunteered. So that was just how you know, his heart was so readily touched and as far as missing him, we just we have to hold High the torch and carry on. (00:28:54) Okay, thank you. Thanks Linda. What should people who didn't know the wellstones personally, you know who only knew them as public figures. What should they know that? They probably don't know about these two people. (00:29:08) They should know that Paul and Sheila were every bit in their personal lives the way they appeared to be in their public lives. They were genuinely in love with one another they were genuinely in love with all of us to and they genuinely had enormous hope and determination and strength and an unwavering sense that the world did not have to be what it was and is today and that there was always something that they could do and that all of us can do I think that His and her Legacy is being expressed by so many of us in the last few days and will be expressed for the rest of our lives in a renewed sense of determination that we will carry on the work that they that they did they really were just so fundamentally decent Gary and so thoroughly honest and authentic Lee who they were. So (00:30:29) I think one of Paul's favorite Expressions was that he believed in the goodness of people. I think that I think that that best characterizes just who he was and what he was they did. They love the people that they saw and you're going to hear that again and again and again the little people all kinds of people he they were amazing in the extent to which they had a capacity for love. Probably. He's the only Senator that I know who truly loved his staff and that's a very professional relationship that people have and hopefully they like their stabs the Senators do but Paul loved his staff all of (00:31:18) this staff his interns. He was one senator who knew the names of all of his interns knew who they were knew something about their families. He was just unbounded in terms of his love for everyone. That's right. He's right. (00:31:33) How did they react privately to the criticisms that they received? I mean in terms of job approval gosh, I don't think Senator wellstone if he ever broke 50% It was not by very much which men means that half the people in his own State didn't like what he was doing and some of that criticism got pretty pretty tough as it tends to do with politicians. How did they respond to that? Well, I think he's a very tough guy one should not think of him as a milquetoast candidate. He knew his positions were controversial but one of the things that I said yesterday that I was interested in is the Breeders Cup Classic was run on Saturday and a 44 to One-Shot won that race and afterward they asked the owner how did this happen? And she said horses don't know the odds and in a sense of Paul wellstone didn't know the odds and Paul wellstone didn't care about what those Approval ratings were he certainly understood them intellectually, but emotionally he was intent on doing what was the right thing. He saw what the ratings were and what would happen if he voted for or against the Iraqi resolution and he was not influenced by that (00:32:59) but he was also a very competitive person and he was not in this to lose he intended to win not just his election, but he intended to persevere on the issues that he cared about. He was not going to walk away. There have been stories about how he held the record for push-ups or pull-ups in the Senate Jim and he really was intensely competitive in all you in every aspect of his life too. But he was sure that he was right and that in the end that taking this vote for example against the war in Iraq while It might have cost him the election and there were some other things that he did recently standing up against Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. For example, that people said might cost him the election. He was sure that people fundamentally in their hearts were good that that his his convictions were strong and were right and that he would win and we would all win and he intended to win (00:34:11) but as a person didn't it bother him that so many people disagreed with him personal at a personal level forget about the politics. You know, I mean, a lot of people are voting for his opponents are just giving him a hard time doesn't I don't think he was ever bothered by the fact that people voted for his opponents, but I and he was always very gracious and seeing anyone irrespective of whether it be a supporter or an opponent, but it would be less than human. And for him not to be upset to buy unfair criticism inappropriate criticism attacks that were vitriolic. Of course, he was affected like any other human being would be (00:34:49) affected. Well, he didn't like the ugliness in the cynicism of politics. He didn't like the negativity of politics today and he was not like that himself and so of course it was wounding to him to see it and know it wasn't pleasant. But that didn't stop him from being quite certain that people were better than that and could be better than that and that politics was a way for them to be better than that. (00:35:18) We have as of the last count we had over a hundred and fourteen thousand individual contributors to the wellstone campaign from around the country. He loved that. He just loved the fact that his message his understanding of the world of politics have been communicated favorably enough to that many people who then they want. Share what they had in order to support him when we had a fundraiser at our house. We had people who sent in a small amount of money and said they were going to do it every month. They were so committed to the Senator Sam Kaplan. Sarah stays long time wellstone friends and supporters are here this hour to talk about Paul and Sheila wellstone tonight. There is a big public ceremony to honor celebrate the lives of the wellstones and all the other folks who died in that plane crash on Friday Lynn. Go ahead place. (00:36:11) Yes, I've known Paul since before he was elected from dfl politics and I think maybe even Sam and Sarah can speak more to this than I but there was there was something wonderful about wonderful about engaging in disagreement with Paul that the dialogue the process of the dialogue was exciting and stimulating because he was he's so phenomenally formidable. If you are in disagreement, but he was a he was also so respectful and he was someone who listened and who spoke to what you were speaking about and it and the passion Sarah's right that that truly he would want to win but in discourse he it was important for him to communicate where he stood and it was important for him to understood stand where you stood and the discussions were exciting and stimulating and and I have another flip to another little story and you may have I just tuned in but you may have already spoken about this that changes in Sheila. Sheila was always someone who, you know had her opinions and was strong her views and but she was very very reticent to speak in those early days. And I remember after Paul's first election. She was asked to come and speak and be the guest of honor at a DSL feminist caucus event and she had to speak there and she was terrified and she was with the couple of us and was just hand-wringing her discomfort in this was a room of people who truly loved her loved her and loved Paul and we're so excited at her win and she spoke well, but she was just terrified and of course over the years that that changed and she became such an articulate and strong spokesperson that that moved so many (00:38:18) people thanks, man. I can go back just a month or two before with Lynn was talking about during the course of the first campaign. There was a fundraiser that we had honoring an icon of Minnesota. Dr. Jane Hodgson, and it was a woman's supported fundraiser. And I said Sheila you have to speak. And she said oh my God, she said I'm a library and I can't do this. But she said she would and then at the last moment she froze and I remember putting my hand in the back of her back and pushing her forward and today I laugh about that thinking about pushing Sheila wellstone forward who became such a formidable speaker in her own right? She (00:39:00) really was and in recent years. She was able to move crowds to tears speaking extemporaneously just from her heart as most of you listeners probably know she was a strong advocate for women, but she was an advocate for many causes and was able did not need to have a written speech in order to be able to freely Express her emotional commitment and I've been in many rooms with teary eyed listeners listening to Sheila wellstone (00:39:38) one of the things I thought was so interesting was that toward the end during the last few years the style of their presentation was that Sheila would introduce Paul and when I first saw that I was horrified that's not the way it's done. Normally you have somebody who theoretically has a bit of objectivity to say extraordinary things about the candidate in here. The wife of the candidate was saying these extraordinary things about the candidate and yet as I watched it, I realized it was for them perfect because they were a singular unit they were together in which she was saying was part of what they believed and they were presenting themselves together as a solid Duo (00:40:22) and one thing that she always said was thank you to the people that came because as she said you did not have to come here tonight. You did not have to write those checks. You do not have to care about these issues. You do not have to give your time and you do not have to share yourself. Of the way you are but you are doing it because you are good people and she was able to make the entire crowd feel such a part of what they were doing and they were speaking about (00:40:51) Daniel. I was just going to observe that the we raised an enormous amount of money for Paul wellstone. And now that Paul is gone one may say he was one of the worst political Cash Fund Raisers I've ever seen he was just he hated doing it. That is he loved the events but he hated making the calls. Sheila was pretty comfortable doing that. She became a pretty good fundraiser. She'd get on the phone and do it put the arm on people without it wearing wearing too much about a Dan go ahead, please. (00:41:24) I just I wanted to recall a story that I saw on 60 Minutes where when Sheila would come out to visit Paul in Washington DC. He very easily could have sent a limousine to pick her up from the airport, but this guy thinking about saving the taxpayers some money would borrow a friend's car and go and pick her up at the airport, and that is always stuck out in my mind. I don't know why but it's always stuck out in my mind as is a very very much a man of the people and never forgetting that it's the people's money and I'll take any kind of comments or responses after you. Thanks for listening. (00:42:06) Okay. Thanks, Dan. You tell a great story Sarah speaking of the couple in Washington about being in a car with Paul wellstone as I recall and we give the story a way you were talking you were arguing with Paul wellstone as I remember the story you got to the house. You wanted to finish the argument by golly. You were going to stick it to him and what (00:42:29) happened, but we were actually we were trying to figure out a strategy for some products that solve some problem that we were working on and we were intensely involved in this and we'd been out at some event. I can't even remember anymore what it was but I was bringing him home and helping him get various bags and so on into the house and we were deeply involved in this conversation and it wasn't over and as we as he opened the door he had odd sort of look on his face that I really couldn't interpret and he said I am sorry Sarah but we cannot continue this conversation anymore. Sheila is not home. I cannot invite you in we have to talk some other time. (00:43:15) It's a wonderful (00:43:16) story and I was quite taken aback by it because I thought we were we needed to finish this discussion. It was important. But he said no, we'll talk about it (00:43:28) tomorrow, you know, it is interesting that the other party has frequently espoused the notion of family values and I would tell you that Paul and Sheila wellstone had the most conservative lifestyle of any couple I know (00:43:45) they really did that's very very true. They were very traditional in their marriage and the other side has attempted to paint them as some kind of far out, you know, Lunatic Fringe very much contrary to the mainstream. In fact, they were very very mainstream in their highly conventional approach to their family (00:44:09) Eduardo your come in, please (00:44:11) thank you Gary. I just want to call and say that Paul Weston represented what many of us immigrants who come to this country are dreaming about which is See his passion for human rights his passion for for working for the people who are the less fortunate is what characterized him as a great person. And also I want to say that, you know, even though we are very very sad for his departure. I think that he gave us and he left us a very very difficult charge to which will be to continue his legacy and work as with the passion and with energy that he always show in every single event in every single moment that you were with him and with Sheila to I just about a month ago. We were at the opening of Plaza Latina and the east side of st. Paul and we have the three of them Paul Sheila and in Marcia and as you know, Marcia spoke Spanish, she was a translator for for Paul. Anyway, Sanam incredible incredible event that it just is just you know, we have to give so many things to this family in general for providers what some many of us believe in which is democracy respect and passion. Thank you Eduardo. (00:45:45) May I take a moment to say a word about Marsha that Eduardo has mentioned I said yesterday that there are three different kinds of people in the world Gary there are those who never smile and those who smile with just a limited number of muscles being engaged in the process and then there are people like Marcia who smile with their entire being she read eiated joy. That was absolutely wonderful and she had you know, she became a teacher her father was a teacher all the days of his life and she took up that Joyful teaching and she was a marvelous marvelous young woman. I should have asked Eduardo. Do you suppose when Marcia was translating for him? Did she then wave her arms about (00:46:38) good chance (00:46:39) incidentally, she started out 12 years ago not enjoying public speaking either and at the event that Sarah described at the Lynn feste house on the Saturday before this horrible accident. She was up there speaking introducing her parents. She was a (00:46:57) star more and more people were saying this is the rising young wellstone (00:47:02) Sean go ahead place (00:47:08) for partying the wellstone party and also in here comes this little guy walking up the driveway and I told him, you know, it's a private party and she said yes the parties for me. Oh good, you know and I like what this For Paul wellstone. I didn't know who the guy was. I wasn't old enough to vote there anything and this lady who hosted the party said oh that so they went back and while later about an hour or so, he comes back with two plates of steak dinner for us for the guy. I was working with and then asks us what we want to drink and you got that for us and then sat down and talked to us for a while and asked us what was important to us and I didn't have a clue what he did. I didn't know who he was and while later I saw him on TV and I go hey I met that guy my dad goes. Yeah, that's your Senator. That's how it was really nice. You know, just I think he's chatted with us for what 15 minutes which surprised me because no one ever gave you a time of day when you're young. So I really respected him after that. (00:48:15) Thanks. John in June. We had a large fundraiser at our house. I jokingly said we had to build the larger house in order to accommodate all the Paul supporters. We had 500 people there and the Paul's position on Israel is in my view the correct one. It is a balanced view. We need to have two states some members of the Jewish Community have been critical of Paul because they think he isn't as aggressive in support of the state of Israel. I think he was just exactly right on so it was ironic that at this fundraiser across the street. We had picketers saying that it was too pro-israel Paul was to pro-israel. He should have been more supportive of the Palestinian cause and when the fundraiser was over Paul went across the street and visited with those folks suggested that I should give them some lemonade or whatever and do the Humane thing because it was a hot day, but that's the way he was He confronted his enemies and he confronted people who opposed him who he didn't really regard to be enemies. But rather people who simply didn't disagree with him. You could disagree with Paul wellstone (00:49:25) could and did people did all the time and it did not deter him in the least not just from his job and doing what he needed to do. But also in his in intensely human feelings toward them. (00:49:40) How did his MS affect him and Sheila? I think that there was concern. I think it it affected his energy level because I think it was it was a difficult to walk a little more difficult at least than it once was but the fire in his belly was there Gary nothing changed about that not in any way that I could see if an anything he was more invigorated this year Sarah (00:50:11) he really was. Was I the last caller reminded me of something that happened about six or seven weeks ago or so out in Washington. I happened to be coming back from Washington on a Friday afternoon, and Paul happened to be coming back at the same time. And so did Senator daschle and Senator Johnson and a number of other politicians, and it was a bad weather day, and so our plane was delayed and everybody was very agitated because we all had things to do and we were all trying to get back to Minnesota for something and there was to be there were suddenly some a few extra spaces available on another plane and even though Paul had been borrowing my cell phone and madly calling his campaign and various other people to try to figure out what he needed to do and how could he get to his events and he'd promised to be someplace and promised to do something for someone he wanted to talk to me first and ask me what I needed to do in Minnesota. Did I need to get back because of my child did I need to be there for some reason so that he could help decide if I should have the seat or if he should have the seat (00:51:27) had they lived what were their plans for the future outside of politics? Well in his own way Paul had that wonderful laugh that was almost a cackle and he said I'm not making another pledge. Again. He said I've had enough of those pledges. He always talked about wanting to teach I think there was a change that occurred when he was elected the first time he spoke about wanting to teach at a community college and that may have been the case to but it may very well be that he would have preferred teaching at some kind of a government Affairs Center, but it would no longer be possible for him to be withdrawn from politics even if you were not an It official he would be a player in the American (00:52:15) scene. Well, I just don't think that people would allow him to withdraw the the world was watching Paul wellstone. You think he could have been elected (00:52:24) president? (00:52:26) I think he could have been elected president at some time. Not not not two years ago, but I really want to be in crime you think. Well, he could have been president. You know, you think about Al Gore and the last race and think about the the time when he began to dip in the polls and that was the time when he became more Centrist in his politics and when he turned back to the left his poll numbers Rose and I do think that the issues that he was speaking to during that campaign and that Paul spoke to are the issues that represent the mainstream of this country. Obviously Paul always had a very strong oppositional base and he was used to that so there were very very powerful forces that would have worked awfully (00:53:16) hard, but he believed that the way to be elected president was to be a Democrat of the democratic party and not tried to gild the lily not try to be something that he wasn't and his vote on Iraq and his vote on other issues made plain that it was exactly that. Sam Kaplan Sarah Stacey, thank you so much for coming in today. I'm talking about the wellstones. We really appreciate it was great story was a pleasure to be here. Thank you happy to be here. Those of you who have been listening this our like thank all of you been with us. And if you're on been on the phone or been trying to call in with your stories and so on didn't get through first of all our apologies and secondly would love to get you recorded. If you can put your story down on our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot-org, we're collecting all this information and like to get your comments as well. Minnesota Public Radio dot org is our web address. Sarah stays and Sam Kaplan longtime friends and supporters of the wellstones joining us this hour tonight at 6:30. There's a big public ceremony honoring all of the victims of the plane crash last Friday. The officials are advising if you're going to go over to Williams Arena and want to be there in person to get there early the doors. And at 4:30, if you can't be there in person will be broadcasting it here on Minnesota Public Radio starting at 6:30. It will also be streamed on our website both the audio and the video and again our web address is Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. I'm Gary eichten our condolences to the wellstone family. Thank you so much for tuning in and I hope you can join us tomorrow (00:54:54) programming on Minnesota Public Radio is supported by the Minnesota League of conservation voters education fund committed to educating citizens to vote environment to help protect our water and our future online at vote environment, Minnesota DOT org. On the next All Things Considered people from across the country and around the state pour into the Twin Cities to remember dfl senator. Paul wellstone. I'm Lorna Benz will have full coverage on the next All Things Considered weekdays at 3:00 on Minnesota Public Radio. (00:55:25) You're listening to Minnesota Public Radio. We have a cloudy Sky. It's 44 degrees at Kinder wfm 91.1 Minneapolis. And st. Paul good chance for drizzle through the afternoon with a high in the mid 40s tonight rain, maybe a little snow with an overnight low in the low 30s and no sign of the sun tomorrow either cloudy Sky tomorrow with a high temperature in the upper 30s.

Funders

Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>