RIP Eugene McCarthy; Norm cops to his roots

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Eugene McCarthy, former U.S. Senator from Minnesota-- among many, many other things--is dead at 89. The NY Times has the obit here.

Norm Coleman, current junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota, has issued a statement in tribute. Not surprising--Coleman's office generates a press release whenever he sneezes. What is somewhat surprising--and, yes, maybe even a little touching--is that Coleman, a former left-wing radical (remember those?) marks McCarthy as one of the reasons he got into politics.

"At a time when many were turning on and tuning out," Coleman's statement reads,"Senator McCarthy inspired an entire generation of young Americans in the sixties, including myself, to get involved in the
political process and make a difference."

Here's the entire statement:

STATEMENT OF SENATOR NORM COLEMAN
December 10, 2005

"I was saddened to learn of the death of Eugene McCarthy, whose passing truly marks the end of one of the most momentous eras in the history of our state and nation.

He was a principled and personable Minnesota original who rose from humble origins in central Minnesota to the pinnacle of national leadership during one of the most contentious eras in our history, the Vietnam War.

At a time when many were turning on and tuning out, Senator McCarthy inspired an entire generation of young Americans in the sixties, including myself, to get involved in the political process and make a difference. His commitment, conscience, and idealism made a lasting impact on me and set a high standard in many ways for those of us in public service to meet.

Eugene McCarthy's kids' campaign in 1968 may well have marked the high point of Minnesota's political clout as he challenged his friend and fellow Minnesotan, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, to be the Democratic nominee for president.

All Minnesotans should be proud of Senator McCarthy's service to our state and nation, not only as a Congressman and Senator but as a writer, thinker and philosopher who brought hope and inspiration to many at a time when we needed it most."


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