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Jean Carnahan Announces She Will Accept Senate Appointment Should Late Husband WinAired October 30, 2000 - 2:02 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to go to Rolla, Missouri now, where Jean Carnahan, the widow of the late Governor Mel Carnahan apparently is about to announce she would be willing to serve in United States Senate if her late husband wins next week's Senate elections.
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JEAN CARNAHAN, GOV. MEL CARNAHAN'S WIDOW: ... let you know that his ideals and his vision were contagious.
He sincerely believed that one person could make a difference if they took the risk of trying, and he took that risk day after day for Missouri's children. He knew that next to love, education is the most powerful and lasting thing that we can give another person. He also took the risk of standing up for the weakest among us, working to lesson the fears and the insecurities of the elderly and the sick and the disabled.
And he worked to reinvent government, to elevate the tone and the manner of public discourse and to rekindle civility in the public arena. He believed that government could be good and noble and worthy of our lives. He believed, as I do, that what makes the difference in the United States Senate, or in any place, is the direction of the heart.
And while we grieve at the loss of the man whose life and vision inspired us all, this campaign was never about one person; it was about giving a voice in the United States Senate to everyday working families in Missouri, especially to the children.
Eight days from now, Missourians will reaffirm their belief in self-government by going to the polls to vote. My husband's name will be on that ballot. His memory will linger in our hearts. His vision for Missouri families can prevail, if we want it to.
In recent days, I have spent a great many hours reading notes and expressions of sympathy from people all over the country. They warmed my heart, especially those from the children. I have learned so much from you. I have learned so much about the incredible triumph of the human spirit.
And now, with the support of my family and an abiding faith in a living God, I've decided to do what I think Mel would want all of us to do, to keep the cause alive, to continue the fight for his values and ideals for which he lived. Should the people of Missouri elect my husband, I pledge to take their common dreams to the United States Senate.
Now the choice is up to the people of Missouri. Mel always believed in them and I do too. Thank you.
WATERS: Jean Carnahan, pledging to continue the Carnahan campaign. Mel Carnahan, the popular governor, died in a plane crash two weeks ago. He was a two-term Democratic governor, and running for the seat against Republican incumbent John Ashcroft. The lieutenant governor who was appointed after Carnahan's death, Roger Wilson, has said he will appoint Mrs. Carnahan to the Senate seat if she is willing -- and you just heard her say she is willing -- and should the late governor win the election.
Polls show the race remains tight despite Carnahan's death on October 25, ten days after he died. The polls were 46-46. The Zogby poll today has Carnahan at 50 percent, Ashcroft at 43. It's one of the more interesting races in the country today.
CNN invited a representative from Senator Ashcroft's to come on and talk with us about Mrs. Carnahan's announcement today. The aides declined to appear.
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