August 11th, 2009
11:59 AM ET
5 years ago

First on the Ticker: Nelson buys TV time on health care

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a centrist Democrat up for re-election in 2012, is out with a new ad on health care reform.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a centrist Democrat up for re-election in 2012, is out with a new ad on health care reform.

WASHINGTON (CNN)- Under increasing pressure to support President Obama's approach to health care reform, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson has cut a new TV ad airing in his home state that explains his position on the issue.

Nelson, a centrist Democrat, has come under fire from liberal organizations for not standing squarely behind Obama when it comes to health care. Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee are currently running a commercial featuring a Nebraska small business owner pleading with Nelson to prevent health care reform from being delayed.

In an unusual step, Nelson has taken to the airwaves in this new 30-second statewide ad to lay out his "principles" that he says are needed to institute health care reform even though he will not face the voters until 2012.

"You've probably been hearing a lot about health care reform," Nelson says in the commercial that will run for two weeks on broadcast and cable stations. "And like too much stuff that comes out of Washington it is hard to know what's fact and what's fiction. So, I want you to hear my principles straight from me. First, any plan must keep spending under control; help our small businesses; improve care; control costs; and most of all the plan needs to work for Nebraska. I'm Ben Nelson and I approve this message because you can count on me to always put Nebraska first. Always."

A source close to Nelson tells CNN that the Nebraska senator decided to have his campaign committee pay for the ad, because there has been "a lot of misinformation, confusion and commotion about health care reform.

"Senator Nelson sees it as an opportunity to get information out there unfiltered and as a way to connect directly with constituents," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The senator sees this as an opportunity midterm to remind Nebraskans about his independence and thoughtfulness."


Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care • Nebraska
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Nichole

    This would be a great way for Senators to communicate with their constituents...However, Senator Nelson's spot is just a string of PC comments that are so generic they really don't mean anything. The people want specifics. What does a plan that works for Nebraska look like? What standards are you holding "improving care" to?

    August 11, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Sam Sixpack

    Will he tell us the truth about Obama's death panel? You can read the truth about it in Peter R. Orszag's letter to Nancy Pelosi dated July 17, 2009 and posted on the Whitehouse's own website - no less.

    August 11, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Brian

    So the rich are just peachy with their insurance huh? I have insurance, however, the premiums are rising each day and the company refuses to pay for just about everything. So, today you might have great insurance, tomorrow you might have good insurance. Next year, you'll have insurance but it won't pay for anything. You'll be the next Republican patsy. Wise-up America!!!!!

    August 11, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Dale

    If he wants to get information out there, why do it as a 30-second soundbite. He says the plan needs A, B & C, but then doesn't state if those things are in there, not in there or can be tweaked to provide what he feels it needs.

    Seems all he is concern about is "looking concern." That doesn't help either side in getting results.

    August 11, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. CJA/Independent voter

    Taking to the airwaves and to the internet is a great strategy, especially given the fact that the town hall meetings are no longer a venue to disseminate information.
    I applaud the Republicans who are suddenly waking up to the fact that they need to pay attention to what our leaders are doing. Yes! Ask questions and actually read the legislation. Be a part of the decision....but don't get in the way.
    And where in the world were you (woman at Specter's meeting this morning, worried about "dismantling America" ) when the previous administration was actively violating the constitution? Why no aggressive meetings when Bush lead us into a war under dubious, and now proven false, pretenses.
    Thank God those Conservatives have awakened to their responsibilities. Pay attention, weigh in, be accountable....but don't be simply a screaming Mimi!

    August 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Nelson is clearly a fake Dem and an obstructionist. Health reform w/o a public option is toothless. Forget bipartisanship. This is what Obama was elected to do. The "protesters" are those that never voted for The Prez anyway, so who cares what they think?

    August 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Vets4Obama

    "You've probably been hearing a lot about health care reform," Nelson says in the commercial that will run for two weeks on broadcast and cable stations. "And like too much stuff that comes out of Washington it is hard to know what's fact and what's fiction. So, I want you to hear my principles straight from me. First, any plan must keep spending under control; help our small businesses; improve care; control costs; and most of all the plan needs to work for Nebraska. I'm Ben Nelson and I approve this message because you can count on me to always put Nebraska first. Always."
    ---------------------
    Uhhh...30 seconds, and he says NOTHING. Informs you of NOTHING and accomplishes NOTHING. What a cop out! He needs to go. What a worthless bag of hot air. Maybe he should make a commercial that say's what is wrong with the current bill...but that would mean he would have to be smart or actually have a reason.

    August 11, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Bill from South Jersey

    Dear Senator:

    I don't think you know how bad you look when you tell us what's wrong in Washington. YOU'RE in Washington and if you haven't fixed anything yet, you're part of the problem!

    Oh, and you'd probably look a little better to the public if "your principals" didn't look so much like the Republican Party's campaign against reforming healthcare. This isn't a profit-and-loss issue, Senator: it's a life-and-death issue for many Americans.

    August 11, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Maria - Proud Democrat

    If he had supported the plan prior to being strong armed by lobbyist....he would have come across as a sincere....and possibly won our trust and support for the plan.

    Now he just appears to be a reluctant participant who was forced to PAY to PLAY.

    A reluctant participant whose actions make us wonder if there is anyone in Washington who really cares more about Americans than they do about their own political career.

    August 11, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Aunt Bea and Opie

    The only good thing to ever come out of Nebraska was,oops, we cant think of anything,sorry.Maybe it was Johnny Carson?

    August 11, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. yuri

    We do see some renegades from time to time in any party politics. If it does not happen, there really will be something amiss.

    August 11, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. single mom

    Wow. A politician with the ability to think for himself instead of following the party line, the guts to stick to his guns, and the strength to put his constituents first.

    Now, if we could just find a few hundred more like Nelson!

    August 11, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Jay T.

    "The rednecks are coming! The rednecks are coming!"

    And boy aren't the corporations smart to target the ignorant rednecks of this country because they will believe anything if you dress it in fear and smear. See Iraq war which they supported with the same vehemence and ignorance.

    August 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Angela

    I'm no psychic, but if this healthcare bill passes in any way, shape or form, I believe every Democrat in Congress, the Senate and even the White House will pay a big price at the voting booth. By and large the America people are against this healthcare bill and our leaders are not listening! It's so sad what's happening to our country!

    August 11, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Sam Sixpack

    When will we hear the truth about Obama's death panel?

    It is described in Peter R. Orszag's letter to Nancy Pelosi dated July 17, 2009 and posted on the Whitehouse's own website — no less.

    August 11, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Ron in Wisconsin Dells WI

    Millions of people need this Healthcare reform to work for them.When in FACT it only works for the insurance companys.Its time for a major change on this issue.Lets reform it now.For better or worse it needs to be changed now.For the sake of the sick and dieing that do not have healthcare insurance.Where is the compassion and thoughtfullness here.Where is the heart and soul of this country stand.Lets help pick up our fellow man and there familys that need this done.Thanks and God Bless You.

    August 11, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. kenneth

    I believe we are all U S citizens not a my state first. At least that's what took me to Nam just do what's right for all of us!

    August 11, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Daisy

    While I don't agree with everything that is in this plan, I think it is an important step in the right direction. People need to face up to it; this IS an important issue. People are dying because of insurance company practices. Do you all understand that??? Our citizens are dying because of money. What sort of twisted world do we inhabit where it is okay to put a price tag on the life of an American???

    I think it's really important for us all to be communicating and debating this issue.. But since grown up conversation seems to be out of the question...
    Push on, Mr. President. I believe that history may one day thank you for it.

    August 11, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Leah from FL

    Why is the rethuglican party so ridiculous about trying to get health care available to every citizen? Aren't they supposed to be Christian? Aren't Christians concerned about everyone? Most of the very ones at the townhall meetings are on Medicare. Will they give that up to show how much they are against 'socialized' medicine? Yeah-right. There are NO death panels in Medicare are there? Stop acting ignorant and check facts – not go on some false emotional stance based upon falsehoods. The insurance and pharma co's are so pleased with what is going on now – they can continue to rip off Americans for health care. WAKE UP – WE NEED healthcare FOR ALL Americans!!!

    August 11, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. scott

    Somehow I don't think the Constitution is about only the wealthy having access to health care while the rest of us working people have to come up with thousands of dollars or hit the highway. The Republican demonstrators are so incredibly right wing, thank goodness we defeated them. Now all we have to do is defeat the Democratic Blue dog conservatives in sheep's clothing that are running this show!

    August 11, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Dont blame me

    They could try telling the TRUTH!!!

    Right now they are telling SELECTIVE truths about the proposed system while at the same time ignoring some very bad truths about the program..

    How about telling the WHOLE TRUTH and nothing but the truth!!!!

    How about the TRUTH on page 58 that will allow the government access to YOUR bank account?????

    How about the TRUTH on page 14 that plans the demise of private health care???

    How about the TRUTH that in 2003 and 2006 that Obama wants a single payer government run system??? It was Obama's own words.

    How about telling the American People the TRUTH for a change??

    August 11, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Jeff Brown

    Buh Bye Ben!

    August 11, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. kumpta shankar

    I am surprised to see people express their anger at public meetings over the important issue of health care.When as many as 50% of americans are not covered by any medical scheme and are left to the mercy of death when they fall ill.I am amazed to learn that America,the richest nation cannot protect their citizens from diseases.I am an Indian and happy to say that even the poorest of poor can seek medical assistance from state or federal hospitals even at rural level.Yet when Obama says that his scheme is not nationalisation of the plan and only extension of the medicare to one and all at reasonable cost.Everybody knows that in America,medicare is i luxury which is enjoyed by rich.It is true by implementing Obamas scheme,rich will have to give a pieece of their pie to poor,What Obama is implementing is the bibles gospel of share and serve.All americansmparticularly Republicans who are strong believers in God should not protest and object.God bless America.

    August 11, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. rob

    Unless its single payer–this all all just lip service

    August 11, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Sea.gem

    I love all the comments like "You republicans are low lives"....the hypocrisy and lack of education shows in those statements...the reason the country is getting ready to explode is that for decades the Left has felt it Patriotic to visciously attack, libel, distort and abuse every sense of decency to attack the right, while the Right showed restraint and let it go as 'Free Speech"...now that the majority is against a plan (including Dems and Independents) the far Left can not take it...except this time the silent majority is not "turning the other cheek"...the more the Left demeans the people in this country the more they will lose...and eventually more people than the ones the union thugs have attacked will be hurt.

    August 11, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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