December 21st, 2009
10:22 AM ET
7 years 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. Mitch

    Does Huckabee mean in the same way he sold out those four police officers by pardoning a whacko?

    December 21, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. steve

    If there is any doubt that FOX NEWS is the campaign arm of the republican party, think again.
    Evidence :
    * Article
    * comments (372)

    Join the discussion

    Updated December 20, 2009
    Be Heard: Tell Sen. Nelson What You Think

    Be Heard: Tell Sen. Nelson What You Think

    Supporters say that the concessions Nelson won aren’t unusual, and that any lawmaker is expected to fight for his or her state, but critics says Nelson’s support was bought. What do you think?

    December 21, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Ben Nelson is Judas? How? He's been pretty clear since July that he wanted healthcare but he didn't want a public option and in the end he got what he wanted, so he's no Judas. The REAL Judas would be Senator Leiberman! This guy was all for a Medicare buy-in at 55 just a few months ago (an idea he even created) and then he dramatically axes it at the last second just to spite progressives was the real stab in the back!

    December 21, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Nelson needs to switch to the Republican Party. He fits right in with their hypocrisy.

    December 21, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. America Shrugged

    This is ridiculous. Working on a healthcare reform bill for a year is enough time given that the public option and expansion of medicare was removed. How long did it take to write the bill to fund 2 Bush wars put on the credit card? I'm sick of this bickering by the GOP. They had 12 yrs in a house majority and they did absolutely nothing to help the middle class american people..They had 6 yrs of Senate majority and did nothing for the middle class american people. Now they complain about the timing of the bill? I'm surprised they showed up to vote against it. Competition by allowing insurance companies across state lines is nothing more than de-regulating each state's abilitiy to make sure insurance companies don't rip you off.

    December 21, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Nestor

    separation of church and state huh? what a joke...get over it. its done over and people are moving on. If the GOP wanted to show off they would have found a way to make there own bill...oh opps...they never thought of that did they...all we heard was...slow down slow down..why the rush? but why not create their own to fight it...LOSERS!!!

    December 21, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Illinois 2

    Mike should pick his words more carefully, however, I do believe that incumbants should be voted out of office for not working for the people they serve and represent. It is time to stop the lobby and special interest groups and do what they have been elected to do.

    God help us all if this mess passes.

    December 21, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. Scott, Tucson

    What's ironic is the people actually believing that their health care cost would go down under obama's plan. Just who do you think is going to pay for this crap? You are and if this health care plan is so great than why don't obama and all politicians drop their current sweetheart plans and enroll in obamacare? The politicians knows a lemon when they see one.

    December 21, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Jim

    Senator Nelson was playing Judas by not going along with his own party on a procedural vote. The Republicans are being Judas to this country for not putting forth any real effort to work on the problems that affect us. They are just trying to cry and whine their way back to power. I would like to know what Mr. Huckabee would do as president to solve our health care problems. Does this mean he would make no compormises? I don't imagine he would get anything done that way. At least the Democrats are working on the problem.

    December 21, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Enough

    It is disgusting that they had to buy Nelsons vote.........and worse yet that kind of crap is even allowed. The rest of us will pay more to pay for Nelsons state........where is the justice?

    December 21, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Tiffany

    Is this man really a pastor?

    December 21, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Rick CT

    When the deficits continue to widen and new taxes (direct or indirect) are imposed on those that Obama specifically exempted (those making uder $200-250K per year), at least it will be easy to assign the blame. Anyone who really thinks this bill will reduce deficits is a complete moron.

    December 21, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Pete we go with the Jesus crap.....stay home and pray to your mythical god-being.......leave it out of politics or move to an islamic country where theocracy rules.

    December 21, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Sniffit


    Huckabee is an idiot for not believing in evolution...but every time he opens his mouth he seems to do a pretty good job of proving that he might be right.

    December 21, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Al-NY,NY

    the tightie righties and their allies the health care companies will do or say anything to keep this from going thru. To the Huckster and his minions....too bad.

    December 21, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Geoff

    I agree with Huckabee on this one. Its a shame. How can anyone defend this kind of activity?

    December 21, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sorry Huckabee. We already have Judas reserved for Joe "Judas" Lieberman.

    December 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Emma

    Huckabee, you use the Bible to make a point. You are more qualified to be a preacher than a President.

    December 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. George

    Mike: You do not own Jesus, nor does the GOP. Jesus cares about others, unlike you and your GOP party of GREED!!!!

    December 21, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is inappropriate for anyone to be calling anyone Judas. If were are to extend this thought, who would Huckabee have as Jesus? This is politics and there should be little if any religious references. I don't like this because it demonstrates that Huckabee has little understanding that it was someone who betrayed a friend. Huckabee has done little to show what could be done to minimize those that can't get health insurance and medical care. Where are his ideas? Say that before you nail someone with that dramatic an image!

    December 21, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Dyan, Minnesota

    Oh my gosh! Huckabee needs to get a some serious perspective! I don't like the bill either (although for different reasons), but he's acting like it's the end of civilization as we know it.

    I'm a progressive voter, and I think this bill stinks. But it's keep things in perspective. Governments have passed bad legislation before, and they'll pass bad legislation again at some point in the future. And guess what? Life goes on. People adapt, the legislation is either fixed or repealed and the country stays strong.

    As for Mr Huckabee, he has enough to eat. He and those he loves are heathy and well this holiday season. And he has a warm, safe place to sleep tonight.

    I am so not in the mood for 'the end is coming' whining from someone as privileged as he is.

    December 21, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. File under "Sarcasm"

    "Nelson said he did not seek any special favors" but when they threw enough money at him, he took it and voted their way. While I disagree with Huckabee's choice of comparision, the basic message is right. A principled statesman compromises based on the greater good, a self-serving political hack sells his vote to the highest bidder.

    December 21, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. AJ

    How funny is that statement coming from Huck? How many times did his penchant for accepting gifts get him into hot water?

    December 21, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Is this the best the republicants can come up with? Please read your Bible again Mike, I believe the right wing nuts would be calling Jesus a Socialist or Communist if he were among us today and staging "tea parties" in protest against his views and policies.

    December 21, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. NOT politically affiliated and not about to change

    "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."

    Paradox is right; as a fellow devout believer in Jesus Christ, this was well said. However, we are also not to cast judgement on each other, but live as taught by Jesus, so I hope we can learn to be forgiving for misspoken words.

    I'm more concerned with the Nebraska concession. Some things should be nationally applied, not parsed out in this fashion. Hopefully the final bill will either remove this portion, or expand it to include all the States.


    December 21, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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