December 21st, 2009
10:22 AM ET
6 months ago

Huckabee compares Nelson to Judas

Huckabee says Nelson was bribed into voting for the Democrats' health care bill.
Huckabee says Nelson was bribed into voting for the Democrats' health care bill.

(CNN) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted Sen. Ben Nelson in his own backyard over the Nebraska Democrat's decision Saturday to provide the key 60th vote to advance the party's health care reform bill.

In a fiery speech Sunday at an Omaha rally sponsored by Americans for Prosperity of Nebraska - a group opposed to Democratic efforts at health care reform - Huckabee said it is "historic and unprecedented that we are now bribing public officials openly - now we openly bribe them with $300 million at a time and tell them this is what your vote is worth."

The final Democratic holdout, Nelson agreed to back the measure following 13 hours of negotiations during which he won a commitment from the federal government to fund entirely his state's Medicaid population beyond the three years of funding granted to all states by the bill.

Republicans were quick to question Nelson's motivations for backing the bill, dubbing his alleged deal making the "cornhusker kickback," and claiming Nelson's provision has increased the burden on the 49 other states.

"That puts an added burden on all the other states, including mine," Sen. John McCain said "Fox News Sunday."

In an interview with CNN, Nelson said he did not seek any special favors but rather voted for the bill because of an added amendment allowing states to opt out of providing abortion coverage - a provision conservatives say falls far short of the blanket prohibition Nelson originally sought.

"I didn't ask for a special favor here. I didn't ask for a carve-out," Nelson told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "What I said is the governor of Nebraska has contacted me, he said publicly he's having trouble with the budget. This will add to his budget woes. And I said, look, we have to have that fixed."

But during his comments at the Omaha rally, Huckabee - a 2008 presidential candidate and potential White House hopeful in 2012 - likened Nelson's deal to the biblical story in which Judas agreed to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

"I don't want [senators] to go up there…and then somehow go back and boast, 'Here's some money that I got for you.' The last time we saw that kind of historic moment it was 30 pieces of silver and that didn't work out too well for us either," Huckabee said.


Filed under: Ben Nelson • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. RobNY

    Shut the pie hole Mike. I'm glad they got this far and look forward to the bill's passage.

    December 21, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Better be careful what you say , for certain when you call yourself a Christain.

    December 21, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. nick

    Does Senator Nelson think we are stupid?

    December 21, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Tram

    Judas huh? So tell me, is this reference to "Judas" the mythical one or the historical one? Because, just to let you know, the story that people have been told is in the Bible isn't really the one that happened 2000 years ago. It's been changed, altered and the context completely subverted to people's selfish uses.

    Oh, but that's right - a lot of people in Washington have no understanding that there's a difference between myth and story and history. That's why so many of them didn't understand that Bush was getting laws enacted that were reminiscent of 1930's Germany.

    December 21, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. JonDie

    Huckabee is a demagogue. All senators bargain for their states.

    December 21, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Jay, Illinois

    Shut up moron. Where was all this outrage when that disaster GW Bush was in office? How about that war in Iraq Huckabee..what did that do for our national debt?

    But I guess you're against people who need healthcare and you're for the insurance companies totally screwing people left and right?

    Hey how about that pardon Huckabee..why don't you talk more about what you are sadly responsible for?

    It's funny you idiots who got your butts kicked in the least election still think you have a chance next year and in 2012.

    December 21, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Has anybody taken the trouble to find out exactly how much the Nebraska Medicaid budget is? I bet it's less than Huckabee's lunch money. Big Deal.

    December 21, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. George

    That money is a drop in the bucket compared to how much money was paid to Republicans by the insurance companies. Every Republican in congress is a Judas to Americans that want to live.
    The Republicans are the DEATH PANELS also.

    December 21, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Obama 2.0

    And I compare Huckabee to Huckabee. A fool will point the finger only for it to find a mirror. Isn't that just dandy a so called minister spewing that garbage at Christmas. Change your tittle Gov to Pharisie. You have found your street corner at Fox & Friends.

    December 21, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Bill

    2010 election. I wonder what excuses the democrats will have when they lose. Oh I know. They will blame the lack of deomcrats at the polls rather than their platform.

    December 21, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Mary Lou

    These Christian leaders should consider that just maybe God WANTS health care reform.

    December 21, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    So where was the "outrage" of these so-called "fiscal conservatives" during the six years that Bush and a Republican Congress that turned the Clinton era surpluses that had been paying DOWN the national debt into a record-breaking deficit? Why were they uniformly silent as tax cuts for the wealthy and a needless, unprovoked, illegal and immoral war based on lies that has added one TRILLION to our debt due to being funded "off the books" turned the US into the world's largest debtor nation? Where were their "principles" those long six years? The hypocrisy is sickening.

    December 21, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. not alone

    So he is Judas for compromising on health care? Name calling never accomplished anything and this guy is about as mature as Palin.Typical reaction from the party of NO.

    December 21, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. Randi L.

    I thought Huckabee was a minister. Apparently he didn't know that Christian teaching says it was part of God's plan for Jesus to be crucified to save those who believe in Him. So it [God's plan] "didn't work out too well for us" Huckabee?

    December 21, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. CalumetRegionBoy

    That's how much his vote is worth in Nebraska.
    So that's about $500 million for a California vote?

    December 21, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. dude palin

    cry me a yellow river...shame on you mike ! what would jesus do mike ! the dems have to sale out a little because you guys obstruct everything ! get over it mike !

    December 21, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Derek from Medford, MA

    Is Huckabee living in another world? Politicians have been receiving bribes for so long now.

    Or is he just oppose to bribing politicians "openly"?

    December 21, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. itemsold1@aol.com

    Mike Huckabee calling anyone a "judas" is laughable. He's a so-called christian who seems to have no problem ignoring just about every one of Christ's teachings when it comes to the poor, accumulation of wealth, and war.

    December 21, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. southerncousin

    Simply put, Nelson is a democrat. 20 Years ago, he would have been a republican. The socialists hijacked the democratic party I grew up with and turned it in to this lying bunch of people that represent the drug using, non working, non taxpaying elements of our society. The entitlement gang. All of that money (I have heard $3 trillion) that this country spent for the "Great Society" programs went in to the pockets of unions (NEA) with no change, and in fact a worsening of our dumbed down, entitlement society. And now we have a president and a congress devoted to bringing those who work hard down to the level of the people who vote (often many times in one election, thanks to SEIU/ACORN) for them. Just stay mad folks and vote them out in 2010 and get rid of the big liar in 2012.

    December 21, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Change In America

    Thank you Nelson for voting for the amendment. Mr. Huckabee is just like the other Republicans only care about theyselves not for the American people.

    December 21, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. chelle

    Hey Republicans, it's called compromise...not a word you seem familiar with any longer. It means you don't get everything you want but you get some concessions.....try it some time. It works.

    December 21, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. chuck

    At least Nelson didn't release a convicted murderer!!!!!

    December 21, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Paradox

    As a devout Christian, I would have to disagree with Mr. Huckabee. I would also suggest he read his Bible more. That 30 pieces of silver led to a crucifixion and resurrection that got us all salvation. I think that is a pretty good thing.

    December 21, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. dan

    Big mouth wacko Huckabee is once again waay out of line..sure Nelsons move was an aggressive obnoxious power play on behalf of his state and his voters, fait enough to call it that, but he is not putting the money in his own pocket, nor is it reasonable to make demented sacrilegious inflammatory references to Judas and the crucifixition of Christ.

    December 21, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Jme

    This is politics as usual.
    The give and take of bargaining for votes is unfortunately all a part of our "great experiment" which is the American democratic political system.
    So is politicians with future ambition making stupid remarks trying to paint the opposition as traitorous and dangerous. I thought Huckabee was too busy peddling books and doing a Fox News show to worry about this stuff? funny.

    December 21, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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