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Colbert zings Nelson’s ‘issue ads’

Weekly Clips October 27, 2011 through November 10, 2011

U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-NE.

U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT TO ALLOW AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS EXTENDED INPUT ON PROPOSED REGULATION

October 27: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “One out of every three jobs in Nebraska is tied to agriculture. We need to increase opportunities for our family farmers and ranchers to strengthen our rural economies, not threaten them with new, unneeded regulations from Washington,” Senator Nelson said. “Nebraskans deserve the time to make sure their voices are heard on this misguided rule. It is another example of Washington being out of touch with Nebraskans’ values.” More…

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Nebraska Spirit of Volunteerism Needed in Washington

November 01: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: Poverty is another factor that discourages volunteering. Nationally, the poverty rate is 14.3 percent. Nebraska’s is 12.3%, and, of course, Nebraska is well known for consistently having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and few foreclosures.

You can read more about this at http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/NE.

This spirit of giving for the good of others would be helpful in Washington. Budget cutting would be a lot easier if Washington practiced more volunteerism and worked together on spending reductions. That’s what Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and I are doing to cut 5.2 percent from legislative branch appropriations, which includes our own offices.

My colleague may not be from Nebraska but he certainly understands the Nebraska spirit of volunteerism and it’s a pleasure working with him to help reduce the budget by several hundred million dollars. It’s helping get Washington’s fiscal house in order. More…

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SENATE APPROVES NELSON PLAN TO CUT RED TAPE FOR JOBS REPAIRING ROADS AND BRIDGES

November 2: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “The goal of my common-sense solution is to avoid delays and get flood-damaged roads, bridges and highways back in shape as soon as possible, so Nebraskans can again use them for travel or business and get back to life as normal,” Senator Nelson said on his weekly conference call with the Nebraska media today.

“It might seem odd – but it probably isn’t surprising – that just fixing a road means it has to go through another round of the same environmental review process it received when it was originally built. This means rebuilding the same road in the same place will create more red tape, local expense and inconvenience while the federal government conducts lengthy regulatory reviews. It will take longer to fix the roads and bridges,” Nelson added. More…

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THREE NEBRASKA FAMILIES OF VETERANS HONORED WITH CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL

November 2: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson congratulated the Nebraska families of three Japanese-American World War II veterans who were posthumously honored today with the Congressional Gold Medal. Those honored are Shizou Sakurada, Wallace Takemoto and Yuki Akaki.

The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service members who served in World War II. These three groups were predominantly composed of Japanese-American soldiers at a time when roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to live in internment camps.

“It is an honor to meet the families of these American heroes. Their loyalty to the United States of America at a time when their own families were interned is an inspiring story of service and patriotism,” Senator Nelson said. More…

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NELSON STATEMENT ON SPENDING PLAN

November 3: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “While I agree infrastructure is a priority, the most important step Congress can take to create jobs is to get Washington’s fiscal house in order. Given that, the Rebuild America bill goes in the wrong direction because it raises taxes for billions of dollars in new spending,” said Senator Nelson.

“Congress should focus on completing a long-delayed Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization and reauthorize a major surface transportation bill that expired in 2009 and has been continued Band-aid fashion with short-term extensions. That would create certainty for business and jobs for Americans soon,” said Nelson.

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NELSON FIGHTS TO PROTECT NEBRASKANS FROM SHARP ELECTRICITY RATE HIKES

November 4: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “I’m fighting to protect Nebraskans from rate-hike shock if Nebraska utilities have to comply with a new EPA rule they only recently learned applies to them, and only five months to do so,” said Senator Nelson. “I’ve called on the EPA to give Nebraska utility providers extra time to comply or, if that’s not possible, the EPA should abandon its deadline altogether.

“Our publicly-owned utility providers stand ready to install the technologies needed to meet federal requirements under the new Cross State Air Pollution rule. They just need a common sense approach, so they aren’t forced to pass sudden and steep rate hikes onto Nebraska electricity customers,” said Nelson.  More…

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NELSON APPLAUDS NEW OUTREACH PROGRAM TO HOMELESS VETERANS

November 4: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “As Veterans Day approaches, we honor the men and women who have shown their courage and loyalty to our country. Unfortunately, many who served on our behalf now have special needs and are homeless,” Senator Nelson said. “I applaud the Veterans Administration for offering incentives to encourage homeless veterans to get the help they deserve. I hope these American heroes will take advantage of this opportunity.”  More…

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Honoring Our Veterans, and Helping Them Get Jobs

November 7: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: This week, the Senate will take up legislation to provide a helping hand to some Nebraska veterans who deserve it.

The bill aims to make sure that once their service ends, our veterans can continue contributing to our society in the workforce. It provides tax credits of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been hunting for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 tax credit for veterans out of work more than a month, but less than six months.

The bill allows service members to begin applying for federal jobs before they officially leave the service, which will help them make a seamless transition back into private and productive lives.

The bill expands education and training for older veterans by providing veterans of past wars with additional Montgomery GI benefits they can use for education or training at community colleges. Not long ago, while traveling in the Panhandle, I was fortunate to meet some veterans using these benefits at Western Nebraska Community College to boost their job prospects.

Our struggling national economy is making it hard for veterans to find work, which is unfortunate. In my view, when they leave the service, we shouldn’t just shake their hands for a job well done and then send them out the door to look for work alone.

I’m supporting another initiative by the U.S. Veterans Administration that increases outreach to homeless veterans. Unfortunately, some who served our nation returned home with special needs and are homeless. Veterans Administration officials in our state estimate that there are between 800 and 1,000 Nebraska veterans who are forced to sleep under bridges, in parks or in shelters. More…

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NELSON’S MEDICAID FIX MOVING WITH 3% WITHHOLDING REPEAL THAT WILL HELP CREATE JOBS

November 8: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “By fixing flaws in two laws, we’re maintaining Medicaid as a safety net only for Nebraska’s most vulnerable citizens and repealing a burdensome withholding requirement, so job creators, communities and businesses can get to work helping our economy recover,” said Senator Nelson. “It’s a win-win making sure middle-class citizens don’t inadvertently receive Medicaid, and that our cities, colleges and businesses aren’t subject to heavy-handed rules that slow down our economy.”

“While I would prefer steering the savings to deficit reduction—as I proposed in my bill—I fully support repealing the 3 percent withholding requirement, and using the Medicaid savings for jobs and to help our economy grow,” Nelson said. More…

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NELSON HONORS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN MARINES

November 8: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “As we honor all veterans this week and appreciate the sacrifices they have made, it is important to recognize the Montford Point Marines as true trailblazers. Not only did they fight to protect the American way of life, their service and loyalty to our country helped advance the American ideals of equality and freedom for all,” said Senator Nelson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. More…

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NELSON JOINS BIPARTISAN “FAIR COMPLIANCE ACT” TO PRESERVE NEBRASKA JOBS AND AVOID UTILITY BILL HIKES

November 9: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “Our bill gives Nebraska utilities—such as Omaha Public Power District, Nebraska Public Power District and smaller systems such as Hastings Utility in Hastings—extra breathing room to make technological adjustments and retrofit their plants, so they can reduce their air emissions. That will help Nebraskans and all Americans breathe easier,” Senator Nelson said today on his weekly conference call with Nebraska media representatives.

“It’s not that the utilities, and hundreds of others nationwide, don’t want to comply with federal rules. They do.

“But they face major challenges in meeting deadlines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I’m fighting to preserve the hundreds of jobs that will be supported by the utilities upgrading their plants. And I’m fighting against EPA bureaucrats requiring that the upgrade be done so fast they’ll have little choice but to raise electricity rates through the roof for many Nebraskans,” said Nelson. More…

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NELSON COMMENTS ON KEYSTONE PIPELINE ROUTING

November 9: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: Today, during his weekly conference call with Nebraska media representatives, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson made the following comments on the special legislative session called by Governor Heineman on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and its route through Nebraska:

“It is unfortunate that the Legislature is dealing with this now rather than three years ago, two years ago, or even last session,” Senator Nelson said. “Had the state of Nebraska worked with TransCanada on the route in the beginning of this process, they wouldn’t be in crisis mode trying to address it now.

“That being said, I do not think it is too late to act. If the Legislature does not act, then it falls back on the Governor to bring the parties together to arrive at a solution.

“In any event, it would be unfair to Nebraskans if state officials failed to exercise their authority to determine a route based on what is in the best interest of Nebraska.

“It’s a state’s rights issue, purely and simply, and what good are state’s rights if elected officials refuse to exercise them and let Washington make the decisions for them, directly or through acquiescence?”

Audio: http://bennelson.senate.gov/audio/pipelineaudio110911.mp3

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SENATOR BEN NELSON’S VETERANS DAY MESSAGE

November 10: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “Veterans Day is an important and somber time when we pause to honor the dead and the living; the young men and women who in every war have shown their courage and their loyalty to our country.

“This is a day when Americans celebrate and honor our veterans, for their patriotism, their love of country, their willingness to serve, and for their sacrifice for the common good.

“As President Kennedy said during Veterans Day ceremonies 50 years ago, ‘I do not believe that any nation in the history of the world has buried its soldiers farther from its native soil than we Americans……

“Or buried them closer to the towns in which they grew up.’

“Veterans kept their promise to us by carrying out their duties with honor and America must always keep its promises to them. We’re helping to do that in the Heartland area by overhauling the Omaha VA Medical Center and establishing a new National Cemetery in eastern Nebraska.

“The contributions veterans have made for liberty cannot be measured, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.” Watch…

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SENATE PASSES THE VOW TO HIRE HEROES ACT

November 10: Ben Nelson–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “Tomorrow, Nebraskans will join all Americans in paying tribute to our veterans for their contributions and sacrifices in the cause of liberty, but the men and women who wear our country’s uniform deserve our gratitude every day,” said Senator Nelson, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Helping to create job opportunities for our veterans after they return home is a meaningful way to say thank you to our veterans and help the economy at the same time.

“The need is great. Today, unfortunately, more than one in four veterans between the ages of 20 and 24 is unemployed.”

Overall, roughly 8,300 Nebraska veterans are unemployed, an estimated 5.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“When our veterans come home, we shouldn’t just shake their hands for a job well done on the battlefield and then send them out the door to look for a job back home,” Nelson said. “Just as it takes specialized training to become an effective soldier, the transition back to civilian life can be a lot more difficult than a returning veteran might expect.” More…

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Ben Nelson 14% rating from Family Research Council Council and CitizenLink

FRC Council: Vote Scorecard: Ben Nelson 14% More…

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Letter, 10/28: Shocked by Local View

Lincoln Journal Star: The Local View column by Robert Eppler, state director of AARP, “Seniors aren’t just numbers in budget” (Oct. 14), presents a strange dichotomy. Eppler points to the congressional supercommittee as the potential source of significant cuts to Medicare benefits and services to seniors.

The column is timely because we also see Sen. Ben Nelson’s ads taking aim at both Democrats and Republicans, i.e., the supercommittee, as the main threat to Medicare.

Hang on. Weren’t the star players for Obamacare Nelson (who was the 60th vote) and the national AARP? This redirection coming from both the AARP director and Nelson looks much like a misdirection play in football. The real cuts in Medicare happened when Obamacare was passed.

Here are some facts concerning Medicare cuts. Obamacare will cut $818 billion over 10 years from Medicare Part A hospital insurance. Adding in the cuts from Medicare Part B, physicians fees and services, brings the total cuts to Medicare to $1.05 trillion over 10 years. I prefer to call these haircuts.

The AARP and Nelson will continue to attempt to convince us that the Medicare cuts are coming from other sources. The national AARP helped push Obamacare through Congress by contributing to a $121 million advertising campaign and paying for millions of dollars worth of Washington lobbying.

Let’s be honest as to how devastating Obamacare will be to everyone in terms of jobs lost, higher health care costs, higher taxes and loss of services.

Karl Kollmorgen, Lincoln

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Local View: State agency should have pipeline authority

Lincoln Journal Star: October 29: Sen. Annette Dubas: I am not opposed to oil pipelines. I understand meeting energy needs will continue to be a challenge and the advantages of working with our friends to the north. I also understand the potential economic benefits that accompany the jobs and tax revenues of siting an oil pipeline.

However, I do not believe giving the federal government or pipeline companies total control over decisions impacting Nebraska’s land use is in our best interest. Citizens deserve a seat at the table while such determinations are being considered.

These facts led me to introduce legislation last session that empowered the Nebraska Public Service Commission to create a process to review oil pipeline siting.

Unfortunately, an effective and concerted lobbying effort to keep any pipeline bill from advancing prevented even a full and fair discussion of the topic. In the interim, pressure from U.S. Sens. Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns caused the U.S. State Department to conduct another round of public hearings in each state along the pipeline route. Those hearings intensified the public outcry for the governor and Legislature to take action. Because of citizen involvement, we are here today, about to begin a special session.

While the main focus of the current public discourse is re-routing the pipeline, my original motives for legislation remain.

We need a state agency that has the authority to represent Nebraskans in determining the best interests of our state, and an eminent domain law that allows for economic progress while respecting landowners’ rights.

I have worked with some of the most well-respected and experienced legal minds in the state to ensure that we can pass constitutionally sound legislation.

While hindsight is always 20/20, it can provide clarity for the present. The special session affords us an opportunity to bring that clarity and a purpose into this debate. More…

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Letter, 10/31: Nelson’s lukewarm status

Lincoln Journal Star: How interesting to see that the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste rated Sen. Ben Nelson the lowest of all the Nebraska congressional delegation. While Sen. Mike Johanns was rated as a “hero” at 90 percent and our three congressmen were rated from 89 percent to 77 percent, Nelson was rated “lukewarm” at 50 percent.

In light of his recent commercials touting his fiscal conservatism, this rating seems to dispute that claim. On top of his 60th vote for the Obamacare debacle, this should tell all Nebraskans that it’s time for a change.

Steve Tonkin, Lincoln

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Next jobs bill faces hard road

POLITICO: October 31: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared Monday that Democrats are the only ones “fighting to create good-paying American jobs.” But he again could face a handful of defections from his own party when he brings the next jobs bill to the floor this week.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a moderate Democrat who’s facing a tough reelection next year, said he’ll take a look at the latest jobs proposal — a $60 billion package to help rebuild aging infrastructure — but continues to have concerns about the fact that these bills have been funded by raising taxes on the rich.

“I have some of the same concerns about the way it’s paid for,” Nelson told POLITICO on Monday night.

Earlier this month, Nelson and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) joined all Republicans in voting to filibuster President Barack Obama’s sweeping $447 billion jobs package. A week later, Nelson, Lieberman and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) joined Republicans in blocking debate on a $35 billion bill for state aid to pay for teachers, police officers and firefighters — Democrats’ first effort to break the jobs package into individual pieces. More…

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Jim Webb goes out swinging

POLITICO: November 1: Webb’s departure also highlights the increasing Democratic struggles in keeping control of traditionally Republican states that they were successful in winning in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

“I think like all of us, he’s distressed by the fact that you have trouble getting something done,” said Sen. Ben Nelson, the conservative Nebraska Democrat, who has also opposed the recent jobs plans. “But extreme partisanship is not what he or I would prefer.” More…

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Dems seek to fracture Senate GOP unity

The Hill: November 2: Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), the upper chamber’s most conservative Democrat, said he would consider voting for the Democratic jobs bill, even though it raises taxes on income, an indication of the popularity of infrastructure spending in Congress.

Nelson voted with Republicans to block the last two Democratic jobs bills.  More…

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Nelson still pondering re-election decision

Lincoln Journal Star: November 2: Nelson said he will weigh his family’s views along with a personal judgment on “whether I believe I have a role to play in dealing with a very divided Congress in a very divided country, whether I could be constructive in finding some solutions, whether I am convinced I can be a positive force for the following six years.”

Nelson has his campaign leadership in place, has blanketed the state with a series of TV ads paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has raised campaign funds and banked more than $3 million for a re-election bid, but he still has not yet left the starting gate, pushed the go button, pulled the trigger.

“I’m not trying to drag this out,” the two-term Democratic senator said. “There is no theater involved in this.

“It’s more that I just don’t want to be a candidate any longer than I need to be or (it’s more difficult) to do the job I’m elected to do.”

Tuesday’s interview provided no clear hints or clues as to what Nelson ultimately will do. But there was a clear understanding that he might not say yes.

If he seeks re-election next year, Nebraska is likely to be one of the key battlegrounds in determining control of the Senate. If he decides to step aside at the end of his current term, Democrats will be hard-pressed to compete for an open seat in a staunchly Republican state during a presidential election year.

Nelson said the possibility that he could lose a re-election bid in 2012 is not a factor in his final decision.

“I do not have to have assurance I would win,” he said. ”I’m a risk-taker. That would not be the deciding factor by a wide margin.”

Yes, Nelson acknowledged, “we poll from time to time” in an effort to measure voter views and sentiment.

“But those results would not be the defining factor at all,” he said. More…

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Dems Up To $1.2 Million for Ben Nelson

National Journal: Hotline: On Call: November 3: Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., may not be certain about whether he’ll run for re-election, but the Nebraska Democratic Party is sure sinking a lot of money into their hopes that he will.

Nebraska Democrats have spent a total of just under $1.25 million on television ads on Nelson’s behalf, including $138,658 in ads running this week and $139,968 running next week, according to a Republican source who keeps track of ad buys.

Much of the money — the vast majority, in all likelihood — comes from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which had transferred at least $865,000 to the state party through the end of September (The Democratic National Committee has chipped in another $76,000).

The Nebraska Democratic Party has then used that cash to run early advertisements, ranging from 300 to about 450 gross ratings points in each of the state’s major markets, continuously since September 8. So far, Democrats have run 3,700 points in Omaha, 3,600 in Lincoln, 3,500 in Sioux City and 3,400 in the North Platte market, as well as a smattering of smaller cable buys. More…

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Our ancient Senate: Ben Nelson has never used an ATM

Salon: November 4: Sen. Tom Harkin introduced an amendment to the finance reform bill capping ATM fees at 50 cents. But Harry Reid apparently decided that it wasn’t worth attempting to bring it to a vote.

“I’ve never used an ATM, so I don’t know what the fees are,” Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. “It’s true, I don’t know how to use one. More…

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Nelson vows fight for EAS

McCook Daily Gazette: November 3: Sen. Ben Nelson told the 100-or-so gathered for a Chamber of Commerce mixer this morning that he knows the importance of air service to the economic vitality of rural states and rural communities, and will continue to fight for federal funding that subsidizes scheduled commercial air service to communities like McCook.

Tim Monzon of McCook told the senator that about 60 Nebraska National Guardsmen and Army Reservists rely on air service to and from McCook.

Nelson said the Transportation Authorization Bill passed out of the Senate Tuesday, and Senate conferees could get it as early as tonight.

“We’re working to keep Essential Air Service,” Nelson said. “I’m optimistic we will be able to get that done.”

He continued, “If there are no real changes, it will be done.” If there are changes, he said, it goes back to the House and Senate.

Sen. Nelson said he is less optimistic about the appropriations bill that will fund EAS. The Senator said he is not comfortable that a “Deficit Super Committee” — “12 people that I did not vote for … that Nebraskans did not vote for” — will decide how to make $1.5 trillion in “controversial cuts” in federal funding by Nov. 23. More…

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Senate gridlock: Both parties block jobs bills

POLITICO: November 7: Senate Democrats on Thursday came up nine votes short of the 60 needed to advance their infrastructure bill past a key procedural hurdle. The vote was 51-49, with all Republicans and two members of the Democratic caucus — Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) — voting no.  More…

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Democrats Aim to Localize 2012 Senate Races

Real Clear Politics: Caitlin Huey-Burns: November 3: For the 2012 cycle, Democrats are advising their incumbents and recruits to make their individual elections “a choice between the two people on the ballot . . . and not simply allow it to be a nationalized election,” said Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, at a briefing with reporters Thursday hosted by the centrist think tank Third Way. “I think it’s part of the reason why we were successful in Colorado, and I think it’s part of the reason why we will be successful in a lot of these incumbent states around the country.”

Even though they currently hold a majority, Senate Democrats have a difficult task ahead of them. They are working with a large map and have 23 seats to defend, compared to 10 for the Republicans. The GOP needs to win four Democratic seats in order to win the majority in the Senate, and the party is targeting four red states that didn’t swing for Obama in 2008: Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Having the president’s name on the same ballot poses an additional challenge for Democrats running in red states, which is why Democrats will try to make each race a two-candidate contest rather than a three-candidate one.

Republicans counter that the Democratic incumbents’ records make it difficult for them to move away from Obama.

“That theory might have some relevance if the elections were taking place in fantasy land, but in reality they’re taking place in states that have borne the brunt of the Democrats’ failed economic policies, which every one of their candidates is on record supporting,” said Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. ”At the end of the day, the president is on the top of the ticket with all of these senators. Coupled with that, senators like Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill and Ben Nelson have voted for a lot of his major spending initiatives. They’re tied to the hip with the president.” More…

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What We Learned: How Not To Be Seen

National Journal: Hotline: On Call: November 5: — Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., sounds less like a candidate this week than he did last week. That’s terrible news for Democrats; ask any senior party strategist and they’ll tell you the more a candidate moves away from the idea of running for re-election, the harder it is to reverse the momentum. Democrats have already sunk $1.2 million into Nelson’s re-elect. Watch to see if they keep that pace up. If the ads stop, Nelson’s probably signaled his intentions to the powers that be. More…

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Pipeline foes circle White House

Omaha World Herald: November 7: The Keystone XL would carry oil from the tar sands of Canada to refineries in Texas, crossing Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the aquifer along the way. Because it crosses an international border, the State Department is in charge of the permit process.

But President Barack Obama recently indicated in a TV interview that he will make the ultimate decision on the pipeline.

Sunday’s protest was aimed at reminding Obama about his environmental rhetoric on the 2008 campaign trail. Obama quotes were stamped on many of the signs among the crowd, which organizers estimated at about 12,000. Police put the estimate at 5,000.

That included a contingent of at least 27 Nebraskans, who were easy to spot with their red Husker gear and foam “corn fingers” calling for TransCanada to be stopped.

And yet the pipeline has drawn opposition from others who don’t exactly fit the oil-hating environmental stereotype, such as Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and Sen. Mike Johanns, both Republicans, and Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat. More…

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Ben Nelson ads blur lines, invite violations

Kearney Hub: November 7: Sen. Ben Nelson could serve the state by showing leadership of a different kind on campaign finance. At issue are television ads — including one in which Nelson with a straight face portrays himself as a Washington outsider complaining about how politicians in the nation’s capital “don’t get it” — paid for by the Nebraska Democratic Party with money allocated to it by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

 

Nelson contends they are issue ads, because Nelson does not ask for your vote, and thus are not subject to a $240,000 funding limit set according to federal law. The ads have cost more than $600,000.  More…

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Stenberg grabs DeMint’s support for Neb. Senate

The Hill: Ballot Box: November 7: Stenberg, Nebraska’s state treasurer, is running to unseat Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection. But most of the attention in the GOP primary has gone to Jon Bruning, the state’s attorney general.

“Don Stenberg is a lifelong conservative with the principles, integrity, and courage needed to stand up to the big spenders in both political parties in Washington,” DeMint said in a statement released by Senate Conservatives Fund, the PAC that DeMint chairs.

Conservative leaders and some Tea Party groups have been vocal in their support for Stenberg over Bruning. FreedomWorks, a well funded Tea Party PAC, endorsed Stenberg in September, as have conservative commentators Mark Levin and Erick Erickson. But Tea Party Express, another influential conservative group, has backed Bruning. More…

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A look ahead to the key races in the Midwest in 2012

USA Today: November 7: Nebraska: Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is seeking re-election. Nelson’s seat has attracted several GOP hopefuls including state Sen. Deb Fischer, state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg. Bruning has received endorsements from the Tea Party as well as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

In the 2nd District Republican Rep. Lee Terry will be challenged by fellow Republican Jack Heidel, a mathematics professor at the University of Nebraska. Also in the Republican race is former University of Nebraska football player Brett Lindstrom. Democrats John Ewing, Douglas County Treasurer, and state Sen. Gwen Howard are also running.

Nebraska’s Legislature consists of only one body — the Senate, which is non-partisan and has 49 members. State senators are limited to two four-year terms. In 2012, eight legislators must step down. More…

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Bruning makes campaign stop in Beatrice

Beatrice Daily Sun: November 9: Jon Bruning says his decision to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate was simple.

“I’m running to take power back for the American people,” Bruning said Monday night during a campaign dinner held at the Kilpatrick mansion in Beatrice. “Government has gotten too big. We need to reduce the size and scope of government.”
Bruning, who currently serves as Nebraska Attorney General, faces a contentious Republican primary. Other challengers include Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine, Nebraska State Auditor Don Stenberg, Pat Flynn of Schuyler and Spencer Zimmerman of Omaha.

The winner of the 2012 GOP primary hopes to unseat Democratic incumbent Ben Nelson.

“When Ben Nelson took over we were $5 trillion in debt. Now we’re $15 trillion in debt,” said Bruning, who also reminded those in attendance of Nelson’s part in helping President Barack Obama pass “Obamacare,” a nationwide healthcare plan which Bruning believes to be unconstitutional.

Bruning also took a swipe at Stenberg, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996, 2000 and 2006.

“I promise you on my mother’s grave,” Bruning said. “You won’t see me run for Senate four times, I’ll take a hint.” More…

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Nelson: Don’t wait on feds to change pipeline route

Omaha World-Herald: November 9: U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson urged Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday to pass a bill to direct routing of crude-oil pipelines instead of waiting to see whether federal regulators are seeking a new route for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The Associated Press and Reuters both reported, using unnamed sources, that the U.S. Department of State was now pursuing a new route for the 36-inch pipeline that would bypass Nebraska’s ecologically sensitive Sand Hills.

That step, the reports said, would delay a final decision on the $7 billion, 1,700-mile-long for at least a year, until after the 2012 elections.

Nelson, during a teleconference call with reporters, said he wasn’t sure if the reports are true.

Nebraska legislators now meeting in special session can render that question moot if they pass a law to reroute the pipeline — a move supported by Nelson, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and Gov. Dave Heineman.

Said Nelson, “There’s a special session under way, and it’s my hope that they’ll be successful in determining the pipeline’s route this year and then we won’t have to deal with whether or not the administration is going to be engaged in routing.”

The senator called routing “a states’ rights issue,” adding that “what good are states’ rights if elected officials refuse to exercise them and let Washington make the decisions for them, directly or through acquiescence.” More…

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Colbert zings Nelson’s ‘issue ads’

Omaha World-Herald: November 10: Video: Watch video of Stephen Colbert talking about Ben Nelson ads He noted that Democrats claim the Nelson spots are not campaign ads promoting a candidate, but rather issue ads not subject to the restrictions.

He then played one of the ads that features Nelson looking into the camera and talking about his commitment to protect seniors in the budget debate.

“Clearly an issue ad. The issue? Ben Nelson is pretty great,” Colbert said. “So I say bravo Democrats. You are blazing a campaign trail to be followed by super PAC pioneers in their Conestoga money wagons.” More…

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