WASHINGTON (CNN) - Moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, a power broker in the health care negotiations, joins Ed Henry to discuss the latest developments in the debate that could determine the fate of President Obama’s domestic agenda.
Was Nelson pleased by the president’s decision to show more flexibility over a public option, and will this make it more likely that the senator will provide a pivotal swing vote in favor of health care reform this fall?
Tune in at 11 a.m. ET today to 44 with Ed Henry.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Liberal critics of Sen. Ben Nelson's position on health care reform sent out a new plea Tuesday asking for financial help in keeping a statewide television commercial that targets the Nebraska Democrat on the air.
For the past week, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America have run a 60 second ad on Nebraska cable in an effort to pressure Nelson to embrace President Obama's approach to health care reform. This week, the organizations moved the commercial to local broadcast stations in Nebraska and Nelson, himself, has begun airing his own 30 second commercial to explain his position on health care reform.
"Ben Nelson's new ad says nothing about the public option, and for good reason –Nelson's efforts to undermine the public option are out of step with the overwhelming majority of Americans, including many rural voters and even Republicans," Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said in an email to CNN.
"We'll keep holding Nelson accountable until he bucks his special interest contributors and supports a public health insurance option for his constituents."
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."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two liberal groups that have been accusing Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson of undermining health care reform are stepping up their efforts to paint the conservative Democrat as an obstructionist.
Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee - a political action committee that supports "bold progressive" candidates - said Monday that they're tripling the amount of anti-Nelson television ads running in Nebraska and doubling the number of ads running in Washington.
The minute-long TV ad, funded by online donations, features a Nebraska resident accusing Nelson of "leading the charge to delay health care reform this summer." The ad will now run 600 times in Nebraska and 100 times in the nation's capital.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six key senators – three Democrats, one independent and two moderate Republicans – sent a letter to Senate leaders calling for a slowdown in the push for a health care overhaul, in light of the Congressional Budget Office's assessment that the Democratic plan currently being considered would not cut medical costs
CNN Radio: Hear Ben Nelson on “44 with Ed Henry”
"We believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the U.S.," read the letter, signed by Democrats Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Ron Wyden. independent Joe Lieberman and Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who also said they were "firmly committed to enactment of comprehensive reform this year."
The letter echoes concerns raised by many conservative Democrats on the House side.
Full text of the letter after the jump.