Mondale enters race

Washington OCT. 31. Yet another veteran has been drafted in the last minute to try and hold the Democratic Party's narrow control of the Senate — Walter Mondale, the 74-year-old former two-term Senator, Vice-President under Jimmy Carter and America's former ambassador to Japan, has formally announced that he will seek the Senate seat from Minnesota in place of Paul Wellstone who died in a plane crash last week.

More than 800 representatives of the party enthusiastically endorsed the candidacy of Mr. Mondale who immediately started the political campaign. The last time Mr. Mondale campaigned was in 1984 when he ran for the presidency. He was trounced by the Republican candidate, Ronald Reagan; and the only State that supported Mr. Mondale in that rout was Minnesota.

Mr. Mondale has entered the Senate race against Norm Coleman, a candidate of the Grand Old Party hand picked by the President, George W. Bush. But on Wednesday, a poll showed Mr. Mondale sitting on an eight point lead over his opponent or roughly where Wellstone was prior to his death last Friday.

The former Vice-President's entry into the Minnesota race has injected an element of further uncertainty. But the Democrats hope that name recognition along with past experience will matter on Nov. 5. The Republicans have already started talking about Mr. Mondale as someone who belongs to the past and have started asking him what the visions for the 21st Century are. "The President thinks that Norm Coleman represents the future, has a vision for the future of Minnesota and he strongly supports Norm Coleman'', the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said. Mr. Mondale's plank is in such areas as education, social security and economic opportunities.

The Democrats in Minnesota have drawn sharp criticism over the manner in which the memorial service for Wellstone was conducted on Tuesday. What was to have been a sombre occasion suddenly turned into a political rally with leading Republicans like the Senate Minority Leader, Trent Lott, being booed. "I think the Democrats should hang their heads in shame'' said the State's Governor, Jesse Ventura, who along with his wife left the memorial service before it was over. Mr. Ventura has said he is planning to appoint an independent to take the seat of Wellstone as an interim Senator until the State has certified the election.

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