Full of Beans?


In his Washington Post.com blog today, Chris Cillizza takes a look at the Nebraska Gov’s race, and notes how positive it has been – Osborne has the lead, and doesn’t need to be negative; Heineman can’t succeed going negative against such a popular figure as The Coach (Nebraska Gov: Will a Titan Be Rebuffed? – Wash. Post – 4/25/06).

But with just two weeks to go, polls showing the race neck and neck and endorsements flying everywhere, will it continue to be positive?

Throughout the race, Heineman has been touting his sale of Nebraska beans to Cuba. But yesterday, Osborne took a direct, unveiled cut at Heineman regarding those sales – essentially saying that they were not profitable for the Nebraskans selling the beans (as opposed to his own initiative selling beans to Iraq). Said the Lincoln Journal Star:

He compared the sale of 10,000 metric tons of beans there for $5 million to the sale of the same size order to Iraq earlier this year for $6.5 million — a sale he helped coordinate.“I guess I can compare beans to beans in those cases,” he said.Said Osborne of the Cuban sale: “I can’t see where that would have resulted in a profit.”

But the Nebraska bean salesman said:

…he could understand what Osborne was saying, “that the two dollar amounts were different.” But prices often change substantially from day to day and “we don’t lose money on any business deal.”

(Osborne hails sale of corn to Colombia – LJS – 4/25/06.)

This is notable. No one has complained about the new market opened up in Cuba. The bean salesmen apparently haven’t complained about the deal they got. Yet, some Osborne staffer did some math, and gave a zinger to his boss — who made a very specific point to use it.

Maybe this hasn’t been in a TV or radio ad yet, but make no mistake: Osborne has gone negative. He does not want to lose to some underdog life-long political hack. And he will not go quietly.
As we continue to watch…

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