President Obama to visit McCook / Nelson statue

He’s a popular person. Yet, a Presidential return in late Fall offers Obama little serenity.

An Autumn 2010 visit to Omaha by President Barack Obama was the original White House plan of attack for the Democrats’ newest 50 State Strategy. But Leavenworth Street has learned that the President will return a favor to Senator Ben Nelson, and visit the Benator’s home town of McCook, Nebraska before Memorial Day this year.

The visit is part of the real “Cornhusker Kickback” that Nelson bargained for in his Health Care vote just before Christmas 2009.

Nelson has long claimed that he never asked for the Kickback. But what has been recently revealed by our sources, is that Nelson’s desire all along was to have the President visit McCook — for the unveiling of the Ben Nelson statue at Nelson’s boyhood home.

Nelson reportedly broached the idea with Obama at the White House during negotiations on the Health Care bill last December.

Nelson noted that a statue of Obama as a young child was erected in Jakarta, Indonesia, where Obama spent much of his childhood (and where Obama has been trying to get back for a Presidential visit).

Nelson then informed POTUS that he too will have a statue erected depicting him in his youth, and the two then began discussing a Presidential visit. The statue, entitled, “On My Honor”, depicts a teenage Nelson receiving his Boy Scout Eagle rank from his parents

But in fact, Obama’s visit isn’t just to see Nellie as a young Eagle Scout. The President’s visit to the deep-Red, conservative Third District of Nebraska is part of the White House’s overall scheme to attack the heart of the Republican Party, and make in-roads in places where Democrats have seldom seen success.

Democrats hope that the President’s visit will also help to peel off votes from Governor Dave Heineman and make him at least spend more campaign cash against Democrat Mark Lakers — thereby leaving Heineman with less to spend on a likely run against Nelson in 2012.

An Obama visit will be the first in a long time (and we’ll take any info here from history buffs) that a sitting Democrat President has visited Nebraska’s Third District. [Update: We were reminded that President Clinton visited Kearney in 2000.]  But we at Leavenworth Street think David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the Dems in the White House are wasting their time.

The approval ratings for the President — and Nelson — are at an all time low. It will take more than an simple visit and a kicky new statue to convince the people of the Third that the Health Care bill and the Cornhusker Kickback are/were a good thing. And frankly, when folks who watch their pocketbooks in tough times see the expense that is needed for a Presidential visit, their flattery at the visit may be short-lived. That it’s simply a vanity trip for Ben Nelson may not help.

Nebraskans will always welcome a visit by the President. But they would appreciate, and will take, good-government over a fly-by any day.

**UPDATE at 2:00 pm**

To find out more about the President’s visit to McCook, please re-read the first paragraph (paying attention to the first letter of each word).


  1. Jamie says:

    i don't think this will work, this new fifty state strategy. i don't think anybody's view on healthcare will change, nor will it make dave heineman look less appealing to voters in the governor race or the senate race as far as checkbooks or votes go.

  2. Frank Abagnale says:

    What kind of fools do Nelson &
    Obama think we are? They can't fool us by making some visit to the 3rd district and expect us to forget about the tricks they pulled to get the HCR bill passed. Their not fooling anyone.

  3. GeosUser says:

    How appropriate, President Obama coming to help celebrate the unveiling of a statue of the Benator that the Benator paid to have erected to himself. What's the "line" on how many people the Kleebs will trample in order to get in on the action?

  4. Michael says:

    What the hell is Obama possibly going to talk about for more than five minutes in the 3rd District of Nebraska?

  5. macdaddy says:

    Come 'on, SS. At least the Sports Illustrated article spelled April Fools in the title.

    But a tip of the hat to you. You did get 14 comments first.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hope there aren't any former Nelnet/Union Bank/First National/Wells Fargo employees in McCook when Obama shows up there.

    Have fun with this one Adrian!

  7. Anonymous says:

    We can only hope this is an April Fools joke.

    Hell, we can only hope the entire last year was one long April Fools joke!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Did Ian Russell put his horse on prozac or somethin' after that whole fiasco with the Horseman's Benevolent Society?

    I guess whatever it takes to get Mr. White to follow the rules of the race is what the Dems will do.

  9. Oh mander says:

    I understand why some oppose the healthcare bill. And I understand why people outside of Nebraska opposed the Cornhusker Kickback. I get it.

    But can someone please explain why people in Nebraska would oppose a measure that would have saved our state government $100 million? "Benator" has become the punching bag of local conservatives for simply trying to relieve them of the financial burdens of the bill. Why?

  10. Street Sweeper says:

    I don't know what you're talking about. But I think the first paragraph really tells the story of this post.

  11. Travis says:

    I have to agree that we can only hope this is an April Fools prank, but if this is a true story, President Obama would not be the first sitting Democratic President to visit Nebraska's third district. In 1999 or 2000 President Bill Clinton came to Kearney, NE to visit the newly constructed Archway monument. I was still in middle school at the time & can remember lining on on the street to watch his limo drive by!!

  12. Street Sweeper says:

    Thanks Travis, I knew I was missing one.

    I recall that Clinton said, "I come to a lot of these type of things, and this (the Archway) is really well done."

    One can only hope that Pres. Obama will say the same thing to Sen. Nelson.


  13. Jamie says:


    People oppose the Cornhusker Kickback because it typifies the type of politics the President campaigned to end- earmarks, buying and selling of votes, etc.

    Think about what it means in the future. If there's a bill the Benator would vote for w/o such bribery, then we'll end paying for whoever Pelosi and Reid end up bribing. Not to mention, we end up paying for it in the long run, because our federal income taxes will end up paying for things like The Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That pic of Obama and Ben freaked me out at first. I didn't see the man behind them, so I was all "ZOMG the benator has thr33 handz!"

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Slate "Barack Obama's Facebook Feed" from March 26th was better:

    Ben Nelson can't wait to play his banjo at the White House.

    Barack Obama

    Harry Reid
    You told me to get the votes. Barack Obama

    Barack Obama
    I said no special deals. Especially with Nebraska.

    Ben Nelson
    Ahem. It's now "Awesomeland."

  16. Uncle Wiggily says:

    Cute stuff, Sweeper – not as clever as last year's, but purty good.

    BTW, regarding Clinton's Kearney visit, my youngest was in grade school at the time, and the kids were let out of school and stood by the street as he passed. He stopped the limo at one point and got out and shook hands with some of the kids, including my young'un. When she got home she was all excited about it but I told her she should wash – no telling where Clinton's hand had been.

  17. BOOT BEN says:


    Scout Oath (or Promise)

    On my honor I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country
    and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong,
    mentally awake, and morally straight.

    Scout Law

    A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
    courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
    brave, clean, and reverent.

  18. Street Sweeper says:

    "He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd's deciding about yoga…"

  19. Oh mander says:

    Jamie – Surely you're not naiive enough to think that earmarking would end due to regime change. I'm not, and I voted for Nelson and Obama. I know that's not what you're suggesting. My point is, at the end of the day, the ends justify the means under the Cornhusker Kickback. You may not like the priciple behind it, but $100M is better than $0, and I think Ben deserves credit for his attempt to defer that cost. Idealism is getting expensive!

  20. Some Pig says:

    Mark Lakers hates Western Nebraska and Family Farmers. Only his Fat Cat buddies make a dime in AG. Ask those people in Columbus what those Hog Lots pay and if they provide any health insurance. Something smells and it isn't his mega hog lots!!!!

  21. Street Sweeper says:

    Hey Kids,

    Thanks for all the comments today.

    Per the Update, to find out more about the President's visit to McCook, please re-read the first paragraph (paying attention to the first letter of each word).

    And thanks for reading!


  22. staf says:

    At least we had one laugh today. Of course looking at Tom White today on the floor was sad. He is such a lousy dresser. Looked more like he was ready for a round of golf, other than the sweater he was wearing. A total Fashion loser. Kind of like his campaign.

    As far as Sen Nelson, who really cares anymore? He is TOAST. Buh BY Benita.

    Great Kite flying weather today too.

  23. Anonymous says:

    We're discussing Tom White's clothes and Ben's statue while the country is going to hell in a handbag? Make that a fashionable handbag.

    Point? Who cares?

  24. Anonymous says:

    The idea of Obama coming to McCook isn't nearly as bizarre as the fact that a "private McCook Foundation", meaning Ben Nelson's own wallet, really is putting up a statue to Ben Nelson in McCook.

    But it is a statue of Nelson as a Boy Scout.

    Wasn't the bronze industry up to the challenge of his senatorial bulk? Or perhaps Scout Ben is a way to show Nelson in a uniform that wasn't heading to war.

    He could have served, he should have served, but Ben Nelson thinks he should instead be served. When he comes up for reelection he might be served notice.

  25. Anonymous says:

    lets hope what happens to that stupid statue of nelson's is what also happened to saddam's statue (i.e. the statue toppled and knocked into pieces). I btw sadly voted for Nelson in 2006. the guy running against him was a loser candidate who did a terrible campaign.

  26. I know Brad's record says:

    Brad Ashford is Pro-Life…………………………………………………………………………………………………April Fools!!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    brad ashford isnt pro life. he attends one of the most liberal churches in omaha. Ashford is a RINO just like Kratky and Jensen and McGregor are on the OPS board.

  28. Anonymous says:

    in regard to Some Pig's post, the only thing that smells is your post!! Get your facts right before you spew any of your social manure!! Nebraska lost a lot of Family FArmers becasue of I-300, at the same time states with less restrictive laws were keeping their young families on the farm

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