"Now, it seems to me if you're sending someone from this country to Washington, you better have someone who understands what it means to be a farmer and rancher."
Sounds like someone should have done a little better job of briefing President Bush on the candidates in Nebraska's Third District Congressional race. It's quite simple:
Scott Kleeb (D) = Fourth generation Nebraskan; Rancher with a PhD who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the history of cattle ranching
Adrian Smith (R) = Real estate agent and failed politician who is "not known as a skilled lawmaker" and "not known as a leader"
To be honest, it's hard to blame Bush for this one. He had a big crowd and a lot of time to fill in Grand Island. The problem is that, other than being "the Republican" on the ballot, there's just not a whole lot to be said on Smith's behalf.
Kleeb responded to President Bush's de facto endorsement in a campaign press release:
Scott Kleeb agreed with President Bush today that Nebraskans need to send a Congressman to Washington who “understands farming and ranching”....
“Having worked on a cattle ranch beginning in 1998, I have the real-world experience in agriculture that Adrian Smith does not have,” Kleeb said. “Adrian Smith, on the other hand, received over $550,000 from the anti-agriculture special interest group Club for Growth.”
“They want to end all farm subsidies and eliminate the Department of Agriculture,” Kleeb continued. “If that is not a misunderstanding of agriculture, I don’t know what is.”
The Club for Growth and other out-of-state forces have stormed the airwaves with hundreds of thousands of dollars to discredit Kleeb, bombarding voters with a year's worth of lies and distortions over the course of just a few days.
In such an environment, it was good of President Bush to remind people of the importance of having an independent voice who will actually represent the interests of rural America in Congress. With Adrian Smith's dismal record and compromised values, even Bush had a hard time faking the idea that he'd really make a better representative than Scott Kleeb.
But, cheer up, Adrian - at least he got your name right!