Friday, September 15, 2006

UNL Catholics Hoped for a Ricketts Donation, Got His Rhetoric

by Kyle Michaelis
Republican Senate challenger Pete Ricketts continues to amuse on the campaign trail. After this weekend's second of three debates with Senator Ben Nelson (available online), in which he shamelessly accused Nelson of being a liar and a poor representative in a desperate attempt to gain any sort of traction, Ricketts appears to have continued on the attack - even in the most inappropriate places. On Wednesday, he turned an innocent invitation to tour the Catholic student center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln into just one more assault on Nelson's record.

The Daily Nebraskan reports:
[Pete] Ricketts ... scheduled a brief and informal meeting with representatives from UNL's chapter of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

Jude Werner, the development director for the Newman Center, a Catholic community organization that reaches out to UNL students, said he called Ricketts's office to tell the candidate about the center's Catholic ministries on campus, since Ricketts did similar work while in college.

"We were just hoping to get some money (from Ricketts) and get the word out about what we were doing," said James Jansen, the campus director of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

In response, Ricketts's office sent an e-mail to Werner saying the candidate was interested in visiting the Newman Center.

So about 15 people ended up with a chance to shake hands with Ricketts and hear him speak ... [T]he candidate walked in the room, greeted each person, made small talk and directed attention to his widely publicized campaign against Sen. Ben Nelson for the Nebraska Senate seat.

"Ben Nelson is one of the least effective senators in the U.S. Senate," Ricketts said.

"He's completely ineffective....If we send legislators to Washington to solve problems, he's not doing it."

Good Lord, after subjecting the students to this latest routine, I hope Ricketts at least wrote the Newman Center some sort of check to make it worth their while. Can't really fault them for what sounds like a failed attempt at securing a donation - word that Ricketts has spent more than $7 million of his own money on his seemingly ill-fated campaign is bound to suggest that this is a guy with money to burn.

On the substance of Ricketts' attacks, it's hard to know where he's coming from but a place of total desperation. Just as Nelson deftly answered Rickett' charges of lying about his statements at the debate, all the substantiating evidence a person could want is available at PeteOnTheRecord.com. Nelson's campaign may have put a lot more emphasis on some of Ricketts' statements than he ever intended, but the record speaks for itself. Ricketts has no right to call anyone a liar - let alone a sitting U.S. Senator - just to avoid being held accountable for the most foolish and self-serving aspects of his now more discrete agenda.

As for Ricketts' most recent attack on Nelson's effectiveness in the Senate, Nelson did alright defending himself by mentioning his vital role in the centrist Gang of 14 coalition that prevented the shutdown of the U.S. Senate in Spring 2005. Still, one gets the sense that Nelson could have ended the race right then and there by reminding Ricketts that President George W. Bush himself had come to Omaha and testified to the effectiveness of his leadership and his service to the people of Nebraska.

A missed opportunity perhaps, but - with this race largely falling off the national RADAR as the Ricketts campaign has completely failed to materialize - there shouldn't be much reason to worry.

Although I, of course, would have liked seeing Nelson run entirely on his own record of standing for and by the people of Nebraska, one knows that Ricketts' endless resources would then be devoted entirely to a vicious campaign of character assasination far more intense than what we've seen. Ricketts hasn't been able to run that sort of campaign precisely because he's spent much of the last two months on the defensive - grasping for a message with no record of his own, pointing a finger at Washington D.C. politicians as he hopes voters don't recognize the same empty and undelivered promises that Republicans have been making throughout 12 years of one-party domination.

He's hungry to get on the attack - desperate, in fact - as evidenced by Ricketts' leaping at the opportunity to lob insults in front of a nonpartisan religious service organization "just hoping to get some money." Yeah, that's kind of sad, but I expect Ricketts has plenty more such pathetic escapades in store for us over the next 50-odd days before the November election.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ricketts is pathetic. if he wanted to go after an ineffective legislator, he should look at fort. or maybe hagel, who's only truly been effective in getting himself on tv.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ricketts caught lying:

the Lincoln Journal Star the other day printed that Nelson actually has 7 bills signed into law. Yet Ricketts keeps repeating his charge that Nelson has zero signed into law. Petey claims that his political idol Hagel has 3 signed into law in ten years in the Senate. Ben has 7 in five years. does that not make Ben twice as effective in half the time as Hagel?

Pete - you are Nebraska's Michael Huffington. And you are embarrassing all of us, not just the Republicans.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad…can’t we just stick to the issues like what is the difference between Nelson and Ricketts? No, I guess not- we have to resort to this sort of rambling on and on…so I guess it requires a reply. I was there; the article in the Daily Nebraskan did NOT reflect what actually occurred. Pete Ricketts was a pleasure to meet. The thing about his making a contribution was misstated. Jim Jensen read it the next day and agreed that’s not an accurate quote of what he stated to the student reporter. In fact, there were several misquotes that I found: Such as Ricketts (talking about Nelson) stating, “He'll go out and tell everybody he's pro-choice, but he's been fast and loose with the truth in the past.” In reality, Ricketts said this: “He’ll go out and tell everyone that he’s pro-life, but he’s been loose with the truth in the past.” I wish that the reporter would have gotten the more important statements quoted correctly. It was a relaxed friendly meeting of like-minded people- all interested in the same thing- truth and concern for our futures.

Nelson is such a disappointment. Ricketts quoted some statistics about Nelson saying that he has not had a single one of his bills passed in the Senate in 6 years!And co-sponsoring doesn't count, especially those times that he didn't contribute a word. The only senator that has been less productive than Nelson was only in office for 2 years. Another weird thing about Nelson is how he criticizes Ricketts for things like the whole “property tax protest”, when Nelson himself has protested his residencies in both D.C. and in California multiple times! And doesn’t it bother the pro-choicers how he courts the pro-lifers and casts a fair amount of votes against “choice” and doesn’t bother the pro-lifers that he cast 3 big pro-choice votes. Not to mention the many thousands of dollars he gives to pro-choice activists both in the Senate (Barbara Boxer, $5000 in 2004, Debbie Stabenow, $15,000 in this election cycle and there are many more) and candidates running against solid pro-lifers (he gave pro-abortion congressional candidate Maxine Moul $12,500 while courting the Nebraska Right to Life endorsement and after telling Nebraskans United for Life in a survey that he would support pro-life candidates -go figure). He talks out of both sides of his mouth and both sides on this issue ought to call him on the carpet for it! But pro-choicers must know what they’re doing…Barbara Boxer- the senator that never met an abortion she didn’t like- just gave him $10,000. Here’s hoping that Pete Ricketts wins in November- he means what he says and you know that the passion behind his ideas are real - not just what he thinks he needs to say to get elected. Pete Ricketts is pro-life first, a Republican second. Even if you are pro-choice, you’ve got to respect that and be suspicious of Nelson –who plays both sides against each other.

9/15/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete Ricketts accepted thousands of dollars from pro-choice senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, so the double-standard and hypocrisy of his supporters like the one above is blatant and lame. He was never active in pro-life causes until he ran for Senate - imagine that!

This guy is a phony, and has no experience. It's no wonder Nebraskans don't approve of him by huge margins.

9/16/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the anonymous "student" - I highly doubt that any talk of property protests came up at this meeting (I'm sure they would have been reported). In fact, i highly doubt you are a student.

if the tactic of the ricketts' campaign is to smear ben nelson anonymously via blogs and other websites (see this post as well as the earlier one on Nelson's family), it just shows what pathetic cowards they are.

9/16/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anonymous student:

see the post just above yours. Ben Nelson has had seven of his bills signed into law. Ricketts is lying about this statistic.

To comapre: Hagel has had only three signed into law in 10 years. Nelson had seven in five years. Who's more effective?

Just because Pete stood in the belly of a church and lied his face off, doesn't mean what he says is Gospel.

9/16/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MCCAIN-FEINGOLD ANYONE?? Aren't there new regs under McCain-Feingold that state that any religious entity that invites a federal candidate in to speak had better also be inviting in the opposition? What's up? Is Ricketts now so desperate he's hitting as many churches as he can?

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Nelson family ordeal doesn't it seem suspicious that Mrs. Nelson shot herself twice? I have never heard of that before.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anony: wow ricketts really is desperate if you're dredging up ancient history on how the first mrs. nelson died...give it up.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That comment about Mrs. Nelson might be the lowest, most disgusting act I've ever seen in Nebraksa politics. Pete Ricketts is making all of us so proud.
and the Nebraska Republcian Party too. What a bunch of vile, worthless, hatefilled human beings.

I hope they enjoy Ben Nelson becuase he's in the Senate as long as he chooses to be.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In regard to the now numerous blog attacks by the Ricketts campaign shills on Nelson's ex-wife - you people are disgusting. It's nice to see that Ricketts' millions are being used to come up with slimy, despicable, tabloid attacks. Anyone who "means what he says" and who has real passion behind his ideas obviously would have his campaign staff spread under-the-table filth like this. I guess that's what republicans do when they're suffering from a 20 point deficit in the polls less than two months out...in the second most conservative state in the country.

Jessica Moenning for President!!

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few observations from the posts above. First, the aforementioned anonymous student never said that property taxes were discussed at Mr. Ricketts visit to the Catholic student center. He began a new paragraph and therefore a new idea seperate from the Catholic center visit discussion.

Second, after doing a news search at the Lincoln Journal Star website and reading the articles on Sept. 14th that mentioned Ricketts' attack on Nelson's effectiveness, I found nothing mentioned on Sen. Nelson passing seven bills. I'm guessing from the Journal Star articles the blogger who posted that information must work for the Nelson campaign since the artilce mentions his campaign putting a list of the Senator's accomplishments together. By the way, did that list mention that the first bill Sen. Nelson introduced as a Senator was to make the oak tree the national tree? You all must be so proud to work for someone who obviously puts Nebraska first.

Finally, let us not forget that Sen. Nelson's FEC report shows that he took money from the Nebraska Planned Parenthood PAC. It must really irk you all that you can't brag about that one to your friends. On that note, someone above mentioned Sen. Hutchison being pro-choice. Well she has the exact same pro-life rating as Sen. Nelson at the NRLC website. Does this mean Sen. Nelson really is pro-choice. These were your words not mine.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous confirms he/she is a ricketts staffer. if property stuff wasn't discussed at the catholic student meeting, then where did the reference to CA come from? I've never seen that in any article. I can only assume that it is made-up. as is the slander about senator nelson probably posted by the same person here. ricketts campaign = pathetic cowards. since you are going to lose, you might as well lose with grace.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe that poster simply called nelson's office and asked if he'd passed any bills. since it's not a slanderous smear like the information coming from ricketts' staff, they'd probably be pretty open with the information.

9/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You assume that pete ricketts did not contribute to the catholic center and only showed up for a photo op. if he had written a big check to the newman center what would your beotching be about then?

9/20/2006  

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