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COL Political campaign intrudes

More than 20,000 attend Wellstone memorial service

The memorial service at the University of Minnesota for Sen. Paul Wellstone, his family and aides was a moving tribute to the senator and his career.

It attracted an overflow crowd of more than 20,000, including prominent political leaders from across the country and colleagues of both parties with whom Wellstone had worked.

For the first two hours it consisted of reminiscences about Wellstone's life and those of his wife, Sheila; daughter, Marcia Markuson, and campaign staffers Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic and Mary McEvoy.

Later in the evening, the event took on a political tone that was out of character for such an event. Rick Kahn, a friend and former student of Wellstone, even went so far as to ask the senator's Republican colleagues -- including Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico and Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana -- to help the Democratic Party win the Minnesota Senate race.

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; Even some Democrats acknowledged that the appeal was inappropriate and in conflict with the main purpose of looking back on Wellstone's career of public service and his contributions to the nation.

In the midst of a close campaign, it might be hard to stifle such political enthusiasm, but it could easily have waited one day for the necessary resumption of the campaign.

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