December 21st, 2009
10:22 AM ET
10 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. Pragmatic

    Nelson played the political game and he played it hard: Since it effects the pocketbooks of the good people in Nebraska ... betting he gets re-elected in a midwestern heartbeat!

    If Pastor Huck thinks Nelson is Judas ... that leave the role of God open for Huck .... pardoning thousands of convicted criminals – freeing them to go out to rape and murder again... the man who killed the 4 police officers was not the only repeat offender Pastor Huck let loose on society.

    December 21, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Steve

    This guy should remember how he betrayed his own justice system repeatedly by reducing their sentances given to convicts.He is the Judas not Nelson.Nelson did not betray anyone,in fact his vote will save lives.Huckabee betrayed his prosectors and judges, his decisions cost lives.This guy is pathetic to of crawled out from under his rock to scorn Nelson.He should be tarred,feathered and paraded in the streets of Washington state.Fox news lost my viewership after I found out about one of their own handing out 1033 clemencys, some who raped and murdered people.I hope cnn points out who the real Judas is for all the world to see.Judas=Huckabee not Nelson.

    December 21, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Brandon

    Judas....I think Judas still wins on being the ultimate traitor no matter what...

    December 21, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Poor little Huck is down on his luck.Guess his own bribes were never that good.hahaha.He gets plenty of bag money from the mega churches,whats he crying about,hahaha

    December 21, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Georgio

    Now you realize how Republicans were counting on both Lieberman and Nelson to KILL THIS BILL..now they have turned against Nelson. Reid knew this and Nelson knew this and he got what he wanted for his State!!1. Another Sen... they are blaming is Sanders so what the guy got $ 10 billions to build community hosiptals through out the US what is wrong with his!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    December 21, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Death Panel Sarah

    Yeah preacher....how many other killers did you let out!!!!
    You should bury your head in shame instead of attacking others!!!

    Senator Nelson is trying to help the poor, just what Jesus would do!!!! You are a hipocrit and a fake, Bible thumper!!!

    December 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Nothing New

    Repub or Demo – this bill and all its meandering closed door deals is KY greased up to screw the American people. It comprises our country and our American way of life. It's plain wrong.

    Well here is one person you will see refuse this "service" and if any of you had any balls you would too.

    December 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. anyone see the real message here

    "What I said is the governor of Nebraska has contacted me, he said publicly he's having trouble with the budget. This [health care reform bill] will add to his budget woes.: – Senator Nelson

    If Nebraska will be financially hurt by the health care reform bill, it is safe to say all 50 states will be hurt. Why aren't the Democrats telling us the whole truth about how this health care reform will hurt ALL of us?????

    December 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Carlos

    I'll vote for this as long as nobody in my state has to pay anything, and we get to collect for nothing, I thought Nebraska was a better state than that, their people should be ashamed of this guy. Oh I forgot this is politics.

    December 21, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Mark from Dallas, TX

    Buckle up and settle in for the ride of your life. We are about to take a ride on the Hero to Zero train and become a third world country. Welcome to Africa two. Hopefully, other governments of the world will take pity on us and send us caravans of food and water. After all, we are entitled to it.

    December 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. Rickster

    That latest Rasmussen Reports tracking, released earlier today, shows that 41% support the health care legislation and 55% are opposed.

    Once again democrats don't care what the people want. The socialist dictator Obama is going to do just what you should expect from a third-world raised radical and the mindless lemming democrats are going to follow him right off the cliff.

    December 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Sadie

    Jesus Christ came to serve and in his life time he spent it on healing the sick.........so I think the "JUDAS" is the republican party, denigning the rest of America what they themself have and seem to take for granted........so to all you Hollier than Thou Christians........read the Bible and learn from the teaching of Christ.........

    December 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Nathan,

    Huckabee should spend more time reviewing who should be let out of prison and not worry about how Nelson is voting on the healthcare bill.

    December 21, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. tdorch

    I am no fan of Ben Nelson, but he was sent to the Senate by the people of Nebraska to champion their cause. I think he got a deal that benefits his constituients, but Huckabee wouldnt understand that; in his world only the wants of the religious right count not what is best for the people of your state. If Huckabee and Palin is the best the Republicans have to offer their party is in trouble.

    December 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. chill

    Mike, if you don't think there's been horse-trading like this since Judas, you're pretty naive. And Judas got the silver personally while Ben didn't. Ont he other hand, if Nelson didn't ask for the favor for nebraska as a requirement to get his vote, then drop it in conference and call his bluff. In any event, I'm hoping that the conference will resolve quickly and get this thing done.

    December 21, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. mark

    This health care bill is by far the largest legislative corruption in the history of this country...

    December 21, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. mark

    Chellie, did you actually call this bribe a "compromise" ? What's WWII to you ? A family squabble ??

    December 21, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Black Viper

    OH YES REPUBLICANS NEVER COMPROMISE. I already know That.
    Bunch of Hypocrits supported by mentally challenged fools.

    December 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Rich (Charleston, SC)

    The whole bunch disgusts me. This President and the liberal Congress is the most corrupt, unethincal, and immoral group of so-called polititions ever. And that is saying a lot considering the Bush Administration. Actually, the current bunch makes the Bush administration look good. Its a sad sad day for the country with the way that this President and Congress has been acting and we are going to all have to pay for it for years and years. Thanksto all those who closed their eyes when voting and put this bunch in power.

    December 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. good riddance

    So sad. 49 states pay for a yes vote. Talk about another redistribution of wealth if this bill passes.

    Way to go Dems, make a bill so terrible you can't even get your own party to agree on it, and then pay off the ones you need to jam it through. I wouldn't even care about it if we weren't PROMISED no more pork from the president. If this passes and Obama signs it, tack on another lie from the big guy.

    Pork for Nebraska means we all lose. Merry Christmas.

    December 21, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. historian

    How can Huckabee have any thing, any thing to say after he made theat terrible decision to free a man who murdered police officers who had families??????????????????

    December 21, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. PK

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

    He obviously recognizes it's been happening for at least 2000 years... did you not read the article or not get the reference?

    December 21, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Travis In Colorado

    Good job Democrats. You have to bribe someone to vote for something they don't believe in. You call that a victory? Spending money we don't have? You should have gone after creating jobs first, getting the economy going first, but health care for the jobless is better in your opinion I guess. This is a hollow victory, it doesn't really mean anything. It will prove to be pointless in no time. I can't wait for 2012. Obama will be out on his useless butt.

    December 21, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Stephen S (PA)

    Huckabee is right. The Dems are being bought off one by one. I've never seen so much blackmail and bribing in all my life as what has gone on in this health care bill. Calling meetings at 1AM twice...Obama and the Dems are doing everything he can to hide from the American people and not let them see the process. Jesus never called for the government to steal from the rich to pay for the poor...he asked for individuals to voluntarily give up money to the poor.

    December 21, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Huckabee's rants are the same as the crap from the 1940's when the fear mongering republicans also went on their witch hunts. They scared people with threats of socialism and communism. I am so sick of the republicans and their South Carolina style politics.

    December 21, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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