The odd couple William Janklow embraces his long-time friend, Tom Daschle, at a banquet held in the former senator's honor Tuesday night in the Al Neuharth Media Center. (Photo by Aaron Packard) By David Lias They are the odd couple of South Dakota politics.
Tom Daschle, a Democrat, is soft-spoken and thoughtful.
William Janklow, a Republican, is known for his bold, �shoot from the hip� style of public oratory.
Daschle, former minority leader of the U.S. Senate, displays a delicate style. Janklow, who served 16 years as the state�s governor and was a member of Congress until his resignation last year after his manslaughter trial, is loud and brash.
And the two men adore one another.
That was evident Tuesday night at a banquet in the Al Neuharth Media Center on the USD campus, held in tribute to Daschle.
It was a night of firsts for the two men. A speech by Daschle earlier in the afternoon in Slagle Auditorium on campus, followed by the banquet, marked his initial public appearance in South Dakota since he lost to John Thune in the November general election.
Janklow�s presence and talk at the banquet Tuesday was also his premiere in South Dakota since leaving office.
There are few men in the history of South Dakota who have had as much of a positive impact on the state as Daschle, Janklow said.
�When you begin to talk about a state like ours ? you begin to understand that very seldom does one
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person make that much of a difference,� he said. �It�s really the sum of all of the people of the society that make a difference.
�But there are those select few that the good Lord, for whatever reason, has just put up another notch or two,� Janklow said. �Tom is one of those people.�
Janklow easily explains how he and Daschle have been such close, long-time friends.
�I compare it to the Catholic priest and the rabbi,� he said. �Long ago, we quit trying to convert each other. We just try to make the neighborhood a better place to live.�
Janklow recited a litany of Daschle�s accomplishments while serving in Congress, ranging from Missouri River management and funding for the Lewis and Clark and WEB water projects to ethanol production and economic development on the state�s Indian reservations.
After listing each accomplishment, Janklow humorously added that he didn�t travel to Vermillion to give Daschle any credit.
He had a more personal reason for appearing at Daschle�s tribute.
Janklow told the banquet audience of 150 people of how his mother, at age 70, became a missionary nurse in Somalia.
�When she was gone from her camp, some Muslim rebels came in and killed everybody there,� he said. �There were four ladies from the Philippines that were also away at the time that were part of this missionary group.�
Daschle, Janklow said, helped these women and their families find sanctuary in the United States.
�Today in Flandreau, there are 42 new Americans from the Philippine islands who live in South Dakota,� he said, �as American citizens or people who are acquiring citizenship.
�I didn�t come here tonight to talk about all these money things,� Janklow said. �I came to talk about a person who never forget where he came from, who never forgot who he was, and who never forgot what his mission was with those God-given talents he has.�
Janklow said Daschle�s state and national impact will last for generations.
�No one can ever count the number of lives in which you (Daschle) made a difference,� he said. �It would be important if it was only one, but it numbers in the hundreds of millions.�