December 21st, 2009
10:22 AM ET
11 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. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Every elected republican official needs to be impeached for crimes against the United States.

    December 21, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Linda

    It appears that Ben Nelson only believes that abortion is wrong when he is not "profiting" from it. Now that he has aquired MY tax dollars for his state (when every State is in financial trouble and I would just as soon my taxes stay in my state) then he is FOR abortion. What a joke he is to the rest of the nation. If I were the Republicans, I would go home for Christmas now and let the Democrats spend their Christmas in Washington DC for their vote,

    December 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. bobby

    get over it Huckabee..dont pretend you're any better. You let a killer loose and didn't own up to your error. At least he is out in the open about what he did! It's not nice I agree but that's politics baby love it or leave it..it's here for good..unfortunately

    December 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Just some more of the moralistic blather put forth by the 'New GOP'

    December 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. byron

    sounds like you should've cut a deal McCain...

    December 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Kathleen

    Hey Nelson, where's the "carve out" for Wisconsin. We're having budget trouble,too. What cowards you all are-afraid to let a Bill, amendment live or die on its own merit. PS the people will speak next fall.

    December 21, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Gale

    Yep, that's Chicago politics at it's best. "What's in it for me?" Not that it's a good bill, not that he's standing by his party, not for the love of his county, but "What's in it for me?" Go, Democrats, people are tired of your crooked policies and you will soon put you own selves out of office!

    December 21, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Indy

    Since when does John McCain care about Arizona ? Never heard a person yet from Arizona, saying that they thought John McCain cared about their state.

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

    Fox news, and the Republican/John Birch party are traitorous to American people and need to be stopped.

    December 21, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Peter (Atlanta)

    A expected republicans are the party of nay sayers, forget that 30 million Americans will now have access to healthcare, forget that the bill makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage due to preexisting condition, forget the mandate that comes with the bill will cut down on the burden from er visits to cure preventable ailments. One again we stand at intersection between doing the same and actually doing something about it. Its sad that the vote was on party lines, lets remember that in 2010 and 2012 when we let the republicans remember that when the country called for action all they did was stand on the sildelines and offered nothing.

    December 21, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Russ Burns

    I can only assume that the current posters live in Nebraska where there is a heck of deal on subsidized health care, the bill of course being paid for by the rest of us in the other 49 states!.If anyone thinks that it is fair and equitable for one state to have a free ride on the new universal health care at the expense of the rest of us, I feel sorry for your moral compass or lack of one! But there again its all about "my party is always right" isn't it? Irregardless of the spin you want to put on it, it was vote buying at its' most basic and odorous level!!

    December 21, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Hugo

    Time is coming elitists, a bribe is a bribe....even more so if it is with our tax dollars. The American people are watching and there will be accountability Senators, for ALL of you! It baffles me that the posts continue to call GOP the obstructionists to this debacle. Have you all not figured out yet that the Stimulus is a total failure and so will this health care entitlement bill being called reform. Bi-partisanship is supposed to iron out the wrinkles and make our system of Government work for the people. I guess it has failed us all, what does the Constitution prescribe for a failed Government?

    December 21, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Catty

    This is not about the bible or republicans or the democrats. This is about openly BUYING VOTES! I think Sen Nelson is a lot smarter than anyone else have him credit for. Of course Nebraska will kick his butt ot the curb in the next election, but he got a WAY better deal than anyone ele in this debaucle of the bill!

    December 21, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Peter (Atlanta)

    As expected republicans are the party of nay sayers, forget that 30 million Americans will now have access to healthcare, forget that the bill makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage due to preexisting condition, forget the mandate that comes with the bill will cut down on the burden from er visits to cure preventable ailments. One again we stand at intersection between doing the same and actually doing something about it. Its sad that the vote was on party lines, lets remember that in 2010 and 2012 when we let the republicans remember that when the country called for action all they did was stand on the sildelines and offered nothing

    December 21, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. marvinknight

    mike huckabee is the first in history go by the title i was a minister for the word of GOD BUT NOW I AM A POLITICAN. HE IS THE FIRST MAN IN HISTORY TO ADMIT he dropped JESUS for politics maybe he didnot see the riches and fame that come spreading the words of JESUS.

    December 21, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Alan from Detroit

    Mike Huckabee should be careful who is calls names. He is a person like Palin who should have never been a Governor, he was so out of touch he released a murderer who just slaughtered 4 cops! then he shifted the blame instead of being a real christian and accepting blame and being a man about it!

    December 21, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Devon

    Nelson is no Judas.Nelson just helped save peoples lives.Huckabee well he made 1033 clemency decisions that betrayed his judges,prosecutors,& people of his state.So who is the real Judas Huckabee,you or Ben Nelson?

    December 21, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Liberal4Obama

    The only one who has allowed a murderers, rapists and other criminals who have gone out and commited the same heinous crimes is Mike Huckabee, if anyone needs to apologize to the families of 4 DEAD BRAVE POLICE OFFICERS is Mike Huckabee, but he didn't even attended their funeral, he was too busy campaigning.

    December 21, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. charlie

    Liar's theives and traitors.All of them, Dems and Rep's. I have served this country for over 20 years (Navy) and for what? These self-serving
    capitol hill degenerates are a disgrace to everything this nation stands
    for. Shame on them all and may God help us all and deliver us from their corrupt clutches.

    December 21, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Pied Piper

    Hey guys,
    I'm moving to Nebraska with the rest of the country so we will be on welfare, food stamps, free health care..No need to look for work...

    December 21, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Skeeve

    Ah... another religious fanatic invokes another religious metaphor. Then, on the other hand religious fanatics are hardly imaginative enough to do any better.

    December 21, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. seabee

    Huckabee loves to put" religion" in any and all of his political statements. Now he siding with Judas......Hmmm..... CB

    December 21, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Linda C

    Mike Huckabee hit the nail on the head! Nelson, and the rest of his Democrat cronies, are betraying America big time, with their Socialistic idealology!!!!!

    December 21, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The Republican/John Birch Party are the government bureaucrats that are standing between the American People and health care reform. They are truly the republican death panels.

    December 21, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    So, Huckleberry, how many pieces of silver have the republiklans and you "christians" tried to save for the insurance industry in addition to the 45,000 American annual deaths?

    December 21, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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