OKLAHOMA CITY — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Sunday that his son’s fatal plane crash has led to him having closer relationships with some of his Democratic political opponents, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Dr. Perry Inhofe, 52, died Nov. 10 when the plane he was piloting crashed near Owasso.
On NBC’s News “Meet the Press,” Sen. Inhofe, R-Okla., said he has received widespread support.
“Well, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I seem to have gotten more — well at least as many, maybe more — communications from some of my Democrat friends. And I’m a pretty partisan Republican. And so something like this happens and all of a sudden the old barriers that were there — the old differences, those things that keep us apart — just disappear,” Inhofe said.
Inhofe said that support has included Reid, a political opposite of Inhofe.
“Harry, I know we just disagree on all this stuff, this political stuff. But Harry and I were both married the same year, in 1959. And we’ve both had some, you know, illnesses. So yeah, I would say that when something like this happens, you get closer together.”
Inhofe underwent heart surgery earlier this year. Reid suffered what was called a “mini-stroke” in 2005. The Oklahoma senator said he has not changed what he believes in, but that his understanding of other people has changed.
“Your attitude changes and I can’t help but think when I’m confronting someone on something in which we disagree — that I know how they responded to my loss. And how we got closer,” Inhofe said.
A preliminary report on the plane crash by the National Transportation Safety Board said Perry Inhofe took an unexpected turn and told air traffic control that he had “a control problem” and that his left engine was shut down.
Jim Inhofe said questions remain unanswered about the final moments before the crash.
“We don’t know certain things. An engine was down, but the last communication was garbled so we don’t know whether he shut it down, or it shut down,” Inhofe said. “But he knew that he was going down. He avoided any of the areas with houses and there were people and went into a wooded area. That’s Perry.”
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