Kerrey: Liar, political coward, or both?

Cosmic Bob Kerrey wanders the Village

The Washington Post is reporting that New Yorker Bob Kerrey has “changed his mind” and has decided to run for U.S. Senate in Nebraska.

So was Kerrey lying when he told Nebraskans a few weeks ago that he was staying with his wife and child in New York City because a Senate run would be too much on his family?

Or is Kerrey simply an opportunistic political coward, who wanted to make sure that he would not have to run against the popular and powerful Republican Governor Dave Heineman, who had until last week to make his decision.

Since Kerrey — as a non-office holder — has until March 1st to file as a candidate, he was able to wait-out Heineman before making his decision.

Well, except that he told Nebraskans that he HAD made his decision. And he told Democrat Regent Chuck Hassebrook that he HAD made his decision. Guess what Chuck? Looks like it is too late for you to run for re-election as Regent! Wouldn’t that have been nice to know before Kerrey got in?

From David Catanese in Poltico:

“I haven’t been told that. I don’t have any comment. It doesn’t mean anything until I know it’s a fact,” (Hassebrook) told POLITICO. “It would certainly be a surprising development if it’s true.”

Hassebrook, who just stepped down from his position as a University of Nebraska Regent, announced his candidacy earlier this month after Kerrey said he was passing on a bid to avoid putting his “family at risk.”

If Kerrey does take the plunge into the Senate race, Hassebrook said he would not be able to keep his current job.

“There is a filing deadline for incumbents that’s two weeks earlier. I would not be able to go refile for the position I hold now,” he said.

Asked how he felt about the sudden change of events, he replied, “Let’s wait and see if there’s something for me to be disappointed about.”

When presented with the news, Bud Pettigrew, the Nebraska Democratic chairman of county chairs, told POLITICO, “I don’t think there’d be a lot of happy people.”

“Chuck would be really upset because he gave up his Regents job,” he said.

Pettigrew said Kerrey’s reversal would shock him because he heard the original decision was based on Kerrey’s children.

“He has a son who they didn’t want to pull out of the New York City school system,” he said.

Little Regent from Lyons, Nebraska… Don’t you know that this is how they play politics in New York City — Kerrey’s home? Kerrey wants that seat. Now go back to your Rural Affairs office, and sit down while Kerrey rolls in from NYC and Paul Johnson rolls in from Louisiana (interesting now that Johnson never offered to work for Hassebrook, huh?).
Would be interesting to know who else was in on this head fake by Kerrey — since NO ONE would or will believe that (assuming this is all true) this was not Kerrey’s plan from the moment he made his announcement not to run.

Isn’t it interesting too that Kerrey was so cowed by Dave Heineman that he had to lie to Nebraskans. Politician Bob Kerrey cannot stand up Dave Heineman. Politician Bob Kerrey lied to Chuck Hassebrook. Politician Bob Kerrey lied to Nebraska.

Apparently get ready for more from Kerrey, Nebraskans. If he is capable of this, he is capable of anything.

**UPDATE 1:50pm**

And this from Chuck Hassebrook:

“I do not believe the report that Bob Kerrey is getting in the Senate race. Bob Kerrey is a man of integrity. He told me as recently as a few days ago that he would assist my campaign. I gave up my seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents based on his word. I do not believe he would go back on it.”

Kerrey’s campaign man, Paul Johnson, confirms that Kerrey IS thinking about it, but that he hasn’t made a decision.

But of course they would never just confirm the leak as their announcement. In any case, Kerrey’s hometown newspaper, the New York Times, says that Kerrey told Democratic Senators that he is in.

Come back for updates and follow us on the Twitter.

**UPDATE at 3:35pm**

And the Washington Post is sticking to their story that Kerrey HAS TOLD Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he WILL run for Senate. They update confirming with Kerrey manager Paul Johnson that Kerrey is considering it. But they have not backed away from their main story.

We wonder if the Washington Post is aware that Chuck Hassebrook considers Kerrey “a man of integrity“. Here’s our bet that Kerrey says, “Chuck can still run. I’d welcome him as an opponent,” or some dismissive line.


  1. Kortezzi says:

    Not surprising that this news from Cosmic Carpetbagging Bob would break in the Washington Post. Kerrey’s preferred media connections are ALL on the East Coast now.
    Chuck Hassebrook & his supporters will not forgive a slight like this. Oh, they may vote for Bob, but they won’t donate or campaign for him.
    Bruning is going to have lots more support for a race against Kerrey.

  2. Matt Butler says:

    Kortezzi raises a good point. Why the trial balloon via the Washington Post and not the OWH? Robyn T at the OWH tweets that Hassebrook is outraged over Bob’s promise to support him, and says he gave up his seat on the Board of Regents due to Kerrey’s promise of support. Ouch!

  3. It Just Hurts says:

    From The Hill:

    “Kerrey’s decision proves the Democrats believe front-runner Jon Bruning is vulnerable,” said Matt Hoskins, a spokesman for DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund.

    Hahahahaha! Who taught that kid how to spin?

    Ouch, Don. Ouch.

  4. RWP says:

    As if the Great Kosmic Karpetbagger Kerrey of Greenwich Village, NY, NY, cares about blighting the prospects of some insignificant rural activist from Lyons, NE! Please, there are important people, and unimportant people. Kosmic Bob is important. Chuck Hassebrook is not. Suck it up, Chuck!

  5. Oh Mander says:

    Changing one’s mind and lying are too very separate things. Kerrey and his recruiters clearly were not willing to risk it all on little-known Hassebrook. I understand the ‘carpetbagger’ label, but ‘liar’?

  6. Bam says:

    Yeah, probably a liar. He said he thought long and hard about it before saying no, but his family’s needs overrode any interest he had in the job. Then just a couple weeks later (after it’s too late for Heineman to get in BTW) all of his family’s concerns have been addressed? Really? Or is he now throwing his familial obligations under the bus?

    I’d feel sorrier for Hassebrook than Heineman. There was nothing to prevent the gov from getting in and winning it if he really wanted to. He still HAS the job he loves – Hassebrook’s the one who’d be doubly screwed.

  7. Kortezzi says:

    To Oh Mander: Yes, Kerrey is a liar.

    To believe otherwise is to believe that Kerrey’s decision to enter the Senate race — after announcing he was NOT in – – is really based on some change of facts and circumstances in the past 20 days, rather than just trying to smoke out Dave Heineman.

    Do you seriously think getting in the race on Feb. 27 after announcing on Feb. 7 that he’s not in the race is anything other than maneuver to avoid a race against Heineman? He’s flaky, but not stupid.

    Kerrey lied to Hassebrook, a fellow liberal Democrat. Think of Hyman Roth discussing strategy with Michael Corleone….Chuck is “small potatoes”.

  8. Speaking of Liars says:

    Funny how Franklin Thompson promised he would not vote for the Ben Gray discrimination ordinance. Any word Franklin how you are going to vote. District 6 wants to know.

  9. Anonymous says:

    To Speaking of Liars –

    Where has Thompson said that? Without evidence of it (or even with evidence in his own voice) he’ll just call whoever says it a liar..

  10. Anonymous says:

    “He has a son who they didn’t want to pull out of the New York City school system,”

    WHAT!!? Who on earth would want their child in the New York City school system?

  11. Kerry for NYC Mayor says:

    Well – here we go again. This is EXACTLY why the RNC wanted Heineman to run for this job. Bob ended up bowing out and then back in right at the perfect time. whether or not he intentionally lied about his true intentions (only a naive fool would think otherwise), he had a plan and now we have it unfolding right in front of us.

    If NYC Kerry becomes the most liberal Senator from Nebraska since the last Kerry from Nebraska, a lot of people will be pointing fingers at Heineman for letting this happen.

    I can see Kerry trying out his old chameleon outfit now…

  12. Lil Mac says:

    On Jan 30th, you, Sweeper, said “Leavenworth Street has received reliable information that Bob Kerrey has polling info in his fist that supports his candidacy for U.S. Senate… Kerrey has polling data back (one of the reasons he has been delaying his decision) that tells him that he can beat any of the Republican challengers, save one: Dave Heineman,” but that Heineman only had until the 15th to file and Kerrey could file later. All of that has come true. So how is this a surprise? All that was necessary for this to happen was for GOP leaders to relax their grip on Heineman’s hiney and let him scoot out of running. That’s just what they did.

    This is all about Republican shortsighted gullibility. They and DH handed this to BK on a silver platter.

    But calling Kerrey a political coward? Come on. Might as well call Heineman that because he knew damn well what was going on. So did you Sweeper. You laid it all out. We could also call the NRP Political Incompetents for letting Kerrey and Heineman both get away with this. So lets keep this in perspective. Kerrey runs and Kerrey wins because of the reasons Street Sweeper listed on Jan 30th.

    What we have here is a very good prediction by Sweeper of a very bad outcome, in GOP eyes. Good prognostication SS. This is hardball, kids. If you cannot stand the sting, don’t put on the mitt.

  13. Polly Tics says:

    Typical New Yorker, Cosmic Bob thinks that he is the solution to all of our problems. And, he is a liar. What has magically changed his family situation in two weeks? Did Adrian suddenly wake up from a coma and tell Rocky, err, Bob to “win”?

    I guess Robert isn’t a true midwestern values kinda guy when he puts himself ahead of family, which, I guess, is true to his roots as a New Yorker.

  14. LilMac (and a few others who have suggested this),
    Before you go claiming that it was so obvious that Kerrey would pull this, please cite your own prediction after Kerrey said he wouldn’t run. No one thought he’d cravenly lie like this. And if they did, they sure kept it to themselves.
    Nonetheless, Heineman never once said he was interested in running. And Kerrey said he would not, citing his family. That’s the record.
    If Kerrey does indeed run now, I can think of no lower method than citing your small child as your reasoning, all the while having your fingers crossed.
    Not to mention the promise Kerrey gave Hassebrook.
    We’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

  15. Joyce says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with SS on the above note. Using your child (and I recall a photo of the two together in one story) as the reason not to run while hiding in wait for the gov to make his decision is low indeed. The picture this leaves in my mind is of Igor in the corner twiddling his fingers – “Yes doctor, it’s time to let the political monster out of the cage.” Gross.

  16. RWP says:

    WHAT!!? Who on earth would want their child in the New York City school system?

    Remember, the source of this nugget of information is Bud Pettigrew.

    Of course Kerrey’s kid is in private school. He may be a flake, but he’s not insane.

  17. To Dan Brown says:

    What makes you say Franklin won’t vote for Gray’s ordinance? He didn’t vote last time around, and from what I’ve heard, one week he was leaning towards voting for it, then the next not saying how he’ll vote.

    But if Franklin pulls the same stunt and refuse to vote on it, then he’s a bigger coward then Bob Kerrey and I don’t see how he could be elected to the City Council again.

  18. District 6 voter says:

    Franklin votes for Ben Gray’s ordinance at his own political peril. I hear that the Boy Scouts now will be considered a discriminatory group under the Ben Gray ordinance. I know this former scout and parent of scouts will not tolerate this!!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry if the D’s have a “Silver Bullet” for Jon, the R’s have way around it:) heeeehee

    Either way it’s going to be a glorious day to see two republican senators from Nebraska to support the agenda of the new POTUS.

    Going to take a lot of shredders working overtime to clean up the trail of deceit and lies by the current administration.

  20. Suttle's legacy says:

    Look at Suttle’s campaign staff, Gary DiSilvestro and Matt Samp. This will tell you volumes about contempt of organizations like the Boy Scouts and support of people like Gary and Matt. I hear Di Sillvestro is still on the Suttle payroll!!! If Suttle and Gray are after the Boy Scouts the there will be hell to pay next may.

  21. Lil Mac says:

    it is generally unwise to blame your opponent for him outsmarting you. Better to look at your own side’s failures because they are the only things you can control and fix. — I agree Kerrey is bad. He uses his own child as bait and for that deserves a special cell in hell. But before entering hell he gets to be a US Senator once again. I care about that, not his family.

    Voters expect Republicans to call him a liar. Kerrey will simply tell the truth, i.e. that circumstances have changed and now the best thing he can do for his child is to get back in the Senate. And his circumstances have changed. DH cannot run, he was BK’s only threat, and BK now has it at a walk.

    I blame top Senate GOP leaders for failing to deal/recruit Heineman. It was their job to see this coming. And how hard was that really? They knew if DH ran, a GOP LT Gov would step in as a Gov and Kerrey would have been out of it. They also knew it was all just risky enough that Dave needed to be promised some sweet assignments once in the Senate. But that mustard obviously didn’t get cut. Top GOP leaders weren’t seduced by BK’s lying. They simply didn’t pay attention and failed to incentivize DH to run. And for that failure, the GOP will now get a Senator Kerrey who helps the US Senate stay in Democrat hands.

    A carpetbagger accusation isn’t a game changer against a Kerrey who was a Nebraska citizen when he got the MOH, was Governor and Senator D-NE. Voters know all that, which is why BK already polls as the winner over all Republicans. And that’s without BK riding BHO’s coattails, which he might. BHO and BK aren’t nice or honest but they also aren’t stupid as campaigners. Like I said, it is unwise to blame your opponent for him outsmarting you.

  22. Scoutmaster says:

    So you are telling me that Ben Gray’s Ordinance will require the boy scouts to hire trans-gender scoutmasters? Also to have girls join the scouts as boys? What is the council thinking?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Lil Mac,

    Not a single poll shows Kerrey ahead of the GOP frontrunners. It’s possible you imagined that given the rest of your post is also fantasy.

    Do you honestly believe that after the Cornhusker Kickback Nebraskans will elect a liberal university president from New York with views more extreme than Ben Nelson’s? And that Kerrey will get help in Nebraska from Barack Obama who, at the peak of his popularity, still lost this state to John McCain by double digits? You honestly believe that?

    If Ben Nelson believed he could not win – which, obviously, he did – how in the hell can Bob Kerrey possibly expect to win here?

  24. Macdaddy says:

    Hassebrook should still run as the true Nebraska candidate. Heck, I’d switch parties to vote for him over Kerrey.

    This bit about Kerrey not wanting to leave it up to Hassebrook just doesn’t hold water. Who did he think was going to run for the Ds? Who did he think would have a shot against the Republican candidate? There was nothing known today that wasn’t known on February 15th. Bob Kerrey is a cosmic liar.

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