Ellison sheds the light of day on Wellstone crash

I’ve tried a number of times to figure out what Keith Ellison is talking about in his remarks yesterday honoring Sen. Paul Wellstone.

From the transcript, and looking at the video, it looked like he was winging it.

How else, then, to explain this?

It was a long night, Mr. Speaker, when we heard back the reports as the news reports said that a plane has gone down in Ely, Minnesota, and it was thought to be containing Paul Wellstone and his partner, Sheila Wellstone, and their daughter and several other campaigners. We hoped all night that what we thought might have happened didn’t happen, but at the end of the evening, we learned that that tragedy, in fact, did occur. Our worst fears were confirmed when we learned that we lost him, but it was a long several hours before we realized that that tragedy had actually occurred, and we had hoped against hope. I will never forget that night.


Were the House members looking at each other when he made this speech? Or was it one of those times where the chamber is empty and legislators take to the floor — and C-Span — to make it look like a big speech with people hanging on every word? Didn’t anybody notice this his recollection of events are pretty far off?

Wellstone’s plane took off at around 8 in the morning, it crashed about an hour later, and Jeff Blodgett announced his death a few hours after that. Here’s a link to the page I put together at the time, which includes audio from dozens of politicians on the same day…. when — I must point out — the sun was up.

Here’s the video of Ellison’s comments on the floor of the House.

Night? A long night?

And the plane went down in Ely, Minnesota, which will come as a big surprise to the folks in Eveleth-Virginia.

I figure maybe he was in Australia at the time, but he says in the speech he was to visit Wellstone in the office the same day, so he must’ve been in the same time zone.

If you’re going to make a heartfelt tribute, you’ve got to get the basic facts right.

(and speaking of which, in original “editions” of this post, I figured the problem was that some speechwriter wrote the thing and, comparing it to Radar and Col. Potter, it was no, shall we say vetted. However, at the time, I thought it was a press release statement and not a floor speech and, well, that wouldn’t really make any sense, would it? I mean, the guy could stop in the middle of speaking if it were written by someone else, right? For example, i could stop and say, ‘wait, it wasn’t Col. Potter, it was Henry Blake.” Armed with this knowledge, I am further at a loss to explain the whole ‘long night’ thing.)