Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson took to the cablewaves of FoxNews last night to discuss the history of the Cornhusker Kickback with Greta Van Susteren. See the whole thing here:
First a few superficial items before we hit the meat:
1) Hey, Nelson staffers! Your boss is going on one of the highest rated shows in the country. Clean off the desk behind him for Pete's sake!
It doesn't look "busy" or "important". It looks sloppy.
2) This is the first time we've noticed the Benator with his reading glasses. Reminds us of SpongeBob.
So the gist of the entire interview is, really, Who Asked for the Cornhusker Kickback?
Now that's not what Nelson would want you to walk away with. He wanted to keep talking about how the important items to him were Single Payer, Abortion, and Unfunded Mandates.
OK, fine. We had read about those issues for some time.
But let's hit the question of Who asked for one hundred million dollars to Nebraska, or who came up with that number?
Here's what we get:
Greta: "When was the first time you heard...that Nebraska would get ... a $100 million provision?"
Nelson: "Probably during the discussions on how we would get an opt-out."
Greta: "Who came up with the idea that $100 million would go to Nebraska? Was that your idea?
Nelson: I think it was the idea -- someone's idea to put it in.
Nelson: There were various people involved at various times."
Greta: "Is (Majority Leader) Senator Harry Reid wrong when he says you wanted this (the Cornhusker Kickback), that you got it for yourself?"
Nelson: "I don't know what he means by 'got it for myself'".
Greta: "Whose idea was it for the $100 million? ... By whom?"
Nelson: "I didn't draw the bill so I don't know the answer."
Now keep in mind that during the rest of the interview Nelson was pulling out quotes and floor statements and articles (hence the reading glasses), and was trying to be as specific as possible.
But...not on the CRUX of the Cornhusker Kickback.
Not on the $100 million.
Not on who asked for it or who came up with it.
Now you can draw your own conclusions on this.
And of course, millions of Americans have come to their own conclusions -- including lots and lots in Massachusetts who cited the Cornhusker Kickback as the reason why Ted Kennedy's old seat went to a Republican. (Which, for some reason, Nelson is in denial on.)
But here are the facts: It took Nelson three days to come up with an alibi on the Cornhusker Kickback, after it was announced.
And he still doesn't have an answer for where it came from or by whom.
The spectre and embarrassment of the Cornhusker Kickback is still on Senator Ben Nelson.