See Sasse’s Smilin’ Face…

National Review Jan 2014 CoverWanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother…
Wanna see my smilin’ face
On the cover of the…

…National Review?

In conservative circles, this is the equivalent of Dr. Hook making the cover of the Rolling Stone.

(See the whole story, free, at National Review Online here.)

Sasse has been taking the national media by storm — well a midwest storm that Al Roker gives a few minutes to, anyway. So far almost all of U.S Senate candidate Ben Sasse’s campaign videos have received a link on The Drudge Report. (Consider that oftentimes when a site receives a link from Drudge, it will collapse from the influx of hits.) The attention can make an insignificant story turn into a media odyssey. (And more on that in a bit.)

But Ben Sasse has also made inroads into the office of the National Review, the premier conservative thought magazine in the country (founded by conservative titan William F. Buckley, Jr..) We have asked around a bit, and we do know that Sasse has a number of personal friends from his Washington, D.C. days that would enable him to have no problem at least getting his foot into the door at National Review. But much like a job interview, your foot in the door is only the first step. You have to sell it from there.

And all those we have spoken to tell that Sasse can sell it from there.

Former NR writer David Freddoso gave an extensive review of Sasse and WHY he made the cover. He notes that NR put both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the cover of their mag when each was way behind in the polls — 20 to 30% — yet had a deep well of conservative support. Freddoso goes on to say,

Okay, but what exactly does a glowing NR cover do for a candidate like Cruz or Rubio or Sasse?

First, you’re going to have the broader population of conservatives who don’t always read NR but generally trust the editors’ judgment. If you want to know who the conservative in the race is, you can check with groups that a lot of people don’t know much about (Senate Conservatives’ Fund, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks) or you can check National Review, which after so many decades everyone’s heard of.

This will simply put Sasse on the radar for a lot of people who might instead be thinking about other issues or races with higher profiles — such as the many challenges to Democratic senators this year, many of which feature Republican primaries as well. As any author will tell you, publicity matters all on its own, a lot more than you’d think.

To some degree — and I’d be careful about overestimating this — the NR cover will help raise Sasse’s profile within Nebraska. People don’t vote for people they’ve never heard of, and our early poll of the race showed Sasse with very little name recognition. But primary electorates are famously volatile — just ask Cruz, Rubio, or Rand Paul, who were all underdogs. The more important boost to name recognition will come if and when Sasse’s campaign spends some of its cash to make sure every GOP primary voter in the state is aware of it.

So what DOES the NR story have to say?
Well, most of the stuff you’ve heard before. Resume. Career outline. ObamaCare “expert”.

They do touch on the point that Sasse may not have been the all-out “repeal ObamaCare” prosthelytizer that he is now.

(More on that later.)

And for what it’s worth, we finally get a tease on Sasse’s plan for an ObamaCare alternative:

Sasse recommends a three-point approach: End the tax bias that has turned health insurance into a perk of employment, allow consumers to buy policies across state lines, and give states more responsibility for their social safety nets.

We’ve heard the second a million times, not sure what the third point means. But it’s the first one that we have a feeling may be the item that is controversial. Of course, we have no detail, so we’ll have to wait and watch — but it sounds potentially explosive.

One chuckleworthy part of the story focuses on Sasse’s…name:

Sasse faces an additional obstacle: a surname perhaps best described as unfortunate. It rhymes with “pass” but looks like “sassy,” and a bad-luck photo-cropping job could put him in front of a campaign sign that simply says “ass.” In any other state, his perfectly good first name would be an excellent bumper-sticker option, but in Nebraska it recalls that other Ben, the retired Democratic senator Ben Nelson — he of the “Cornhusker kickback” and the 60th vote for Obamacare. At a television studio in Lincoln on December 19, Sasse tries anyway: “My last name is Sasse, but feel free to call me Ben,” he says to a producer before going on air. The hosts of the show wind up calling him “Dr. Sasse.”

In any case, we wait to see what this national attention does for Sasse in Nebraska. As Freddoso points out above, the main thing it can do is get Sasse some more cash to spread his name across Nebraska. As far as his opponents go, the NR article give them short shrift in the interest department:

…Sasse squares off against banker Sid Dinsdale, former state treasurer Shane Osborn, and two other Republicans in this year’s first truly contested Senate primary.

Heh. We’re guessing those two others are named “Bart” and “McLeay”.

But no mention that in current polls Osborn has a commanding lead and that Sasse even trails Dinsdale. Of course, there is also a huge “Undecided” group there as well that Sasse needs to tap into.

This sort of interest can’t hurt.


We mentioned the Drudge links above for Sasse, and if you get Google News updates like us, you would have seen the dozens of stories about Sasse’s suggestion to “move the Capitol to Nebraska.”

Most stories noted that Sasse’s suggestion was tongue in cheek. But many others glossed over that and dug deep into constitutional questions on such a move. Others suggested other move sites. Others (we’re looking at you Wonkette) were furiously peeved that little fly-over-state boy had the GALL to suggest that Nebraskans have more common sense than those from the rest of the country.

The most interesting (and now we can’t find the link) was one suggestion that to get rid of lobbyist influence, all of the real business — hearings, votes, everything — should be done virtually so that lobbyists couldn’t congregate in one city and get their mitts on so many at once. They’d have to spread out, becoming less effective (in theory).

In any case, once again, this shows the influence of one little Drudge link (actually the video had 2 links on Drudge — a feat in and of itself). Again, mission accomplished by Camp Sasse to get people talking about their candidate. We wait to see the direction the other candidates go.

But we’re guessing the McLeay family won’t be on Drudge any time soon.


And with all the glowing coverage of Sasse, of course there are plenty of Sasse detractors who have let us know about Sasse’s past statements, particularly on ObamaCare. You’ve heard most:

“Take the idea of the ‘individual mandate,’ which would require all citizens to have health insurance. There’s an emerging consensus that this might be a good idea.”

“Ultimately, Sasse said the healthcare bill “is an important first step” in thinking about healthcare coverage, but does not address problems that drive the growth of uninsured Americans.”

Then there was his position on the actual Congressional votes:

“Republicans are not repealing this bill, Republicans are also not going to be able to defund this bill and Republicans are not really going to be able to void any of the significant regulations in this bill. They lack the votes to do any of those things,” Sasse said.

“From 2010 to 2012 Republicans are disinclined to do anything constructive to solve the problem, and are instead going to have symbolic repeal votes.”

But after he became a candidate…

“Repeal it now rather than (await) the carnage in 2014” when the law is scheduled to fully take effect.”

If the main discussion during the primary is going to be on ObamaCare, you can bet you’d see some “comparison” ads that would point out some of Sasse’s inconsistencies. But of course if someone is focusing on Sasse at that point, half his Name ID battle is complete.

We will all take another look in a month or so.


Oh, and we had one commenter forward this shot to us, of the last Yale Dr. to run for Senate in Nebraska…

Sasse - Kleeb 01


We’ll have a separate post soon to talk about the Governor’s race.

Come on back!


  1. Great Work Sweeps says:

    This is the post of the year Sweeps. Great Work! Its why we keep coming back, and why folks should link to Amazon from your site!

  2. Anonymous says:

    He is running a different kind of campaign in Nebraska… calling for a new kind of leadership in Washington. It’s been four years since ObamaCare was passed and Republican’s still haven’t offered an alternative – it needs to be repealed, but we need to offer a real conservative solution to replace it. We need a new kind of leadership in Washington based on conservative solutions

  3. Ricky says:

    Unknown third party groups like the Club for Growth and the Conservative Senate fund or whomever the hell they are know what is best for Nebraskans.
    Why they picked this young unknown and friendless guy like Sassy to be their poster child is probably because he is kind of cute.
    But like I said before hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to be wasted by this campaign which could be going to a lot of other good uses.
    Stop throwing money down the drain Koch brothers. Thanks

    ricky from omaha

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am very excited to introduce my boss Ben Sasse to all of my family and friends. . It’s been four years since ObamaCare was passed and Republican’s still haven’t offered an alternative – it needs to be repealed, but we need to offer a real conservative solution to replace it. We need a new kind of leadership in Washington based on conservative solutions. Please watch and let me know your thoughts!

  5. Bob Loblaw says:

    Anonymous at 11:30:

    Those are great ideas. But next time try to be a little less specific on policy & ideas and speak more in vague descriptive generalities. Like does Sasse have Nebraska values? And if so will he bring those values to Washington? Are his values based on family or some sort of Caligula like lifestyle? What is his work ethic like? Is it an East Coast one or a Nebraskan one? Are his solutions going to be fool hardy or will they be based on common sense? These are the hard hitting issues that will distinguish him from other candidates.

  6. for the record says:

    Rarely does anyone in Nebraska venture out to the middle of a field on foot willingly. Farmers don’t do it, city folk sure as hell don’t do it, but for some reason politicians do it all the time. That random dude from Osborne’s intro video does as well.

  7. Somewhere in Middle America says:

    It’s odd to me that Sasse has doubled down on Obamacare when he’s so vulnerable given his past statements, but I guess you need to run on something.

    Btw, there is a Republican alternative to Obamacare that has 117 co-sponsors in the House, has reasonable provisions to protect those with pre-existing conditions and would do what Sasse wants to do (except for the third point, which I too can’t parse). And yeah, I read the whole bill.

  8. Midland student says:

    I’m not voting for Ben Sasse. We have been sold a bill of goods up here. The rumor is he is not running the college anymore and has no plans on coming back. He promised he was going to raise money for us. I guess that was a lie too.

  9. GreenTea says:

    “Ultimately, Sasse said the healthcare bill “is an important first step” in thinking about healthcare coverage, but does not address problems that drive the growth of uninsured Americans.”

    What else do you need to know? This guy is a liar and attempting to be politically expedient using Nebraskas contempt with ObamaCare as a cheap parlor trick to victory. Where was Ben Sasse when Nebraskans were fighting against the cornhusker kickback? I never sae him (or McCleay, or Dinsdale) at any events, protests or functions. But you know who was there, standing shoulder to shoulder with Nebraska activists saying how wrong it was? Shane Osborn.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I sure hope Osborn is re-affirming his infrastructure of grassroots support across the state. Sheep is what got us the current president. This guy is a flash in the pan who blows off people in the local economy to go coastal. Nice corn shot. How fitting.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sasse is co-opting from Obamacare what Obama co-opted from Mussolini.

    Sasse’s drumbeat of “repeal” always comes with a call for a GOP “alternative”. Sasselini instead of Obamalini? Oh goodie.

    Academics flock to Sasse like Mengela to what’s his name for a chance to help fix people.

    The USA is going to die unless more of us learn that freedom is freedom from our own government.

    The solution to leftwing solutions being shoved down your throat isn’t having rightwing solutions shoved up your ass. Sasse is hovering around behind looking for an opening.

  12. Macdaddy says:

    For the record, you do realize both Sasse and Kleeb are probably about a foot from the road that the photographer is standing on, right? Hell, for all we know these were shot at Boys’ Town.

  13. Obama says:

    I’m quaking in my boots if Ben Sasse gets elected. Evidently he will need 66 more of himself if he wants to override my veto.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “Nebraska Values” are what you get by applying “Nebraska Common Sense” which you gain by talking to “Regular Folks”, a/k/a “Folks”.

  15. Gaius Gracchus says:

    Does the candidate match the man? Will both of those match the office holder, if elected? I guess we’ll find out together. As for the anonymous posters and their sales yadda, sorry, this is the wrong place to post that tripe; we’re immune to your mind tricks.

  16. Macdaddy says:

    I think Bob was being sarcastic.

    Sasse is running a big risk here. National Review, which is as Establishment and Inside the Beltway as it gets, is going a little overboard in their promotion of Sasse. I get it that he’s their friend, but with their endorsement they are basically saying that all the other candidates in the race are not worthy of even a look. Or did they look? Did they call Osborn, Dinsdale, MacLeay or any of the others? My guess is no but instead relied on their Washington buddy network. So what’s the risk? This highlights the crony Republicanism that goes on in Washington, why people like Ted Cruz have such a hard time effecting change, and that Sasse is right in the middle of it all. Everybody is connected to everybody else there. Maybe Sasse should become a lobbyist. He’s got some mad skillz at it so far.

  17. Macdaddy says:

    From the NR article: “Today, Midland is one of the fastest-growing colleges in the Midwest,”
    Anybody know if this is true?

    I have defended Sasse against what I think are some stupid and scurrilous attacks, but I don’t think he’s been fully vetted yet and I don’t think he deserves, yet, the full-court press his Washington friends are mounting.

  18. To MacDaddy says:

    The only thing that saved Midland was Dana closing. Read into the tricks Midland plays with its finances. They heavily mark up their tuition then heavily discount it. This practice is of concern with those who review their finances. Their bond rating is a B according to Fitch. A “B” is not good, in fact it is one of the lowest in the region and nation. The Higher Learning Commision dings Sasse on both the finances at Midland and their academics. If you read their acceptance rate its like 98%.

  19. Financial Genius says:

    Forbes Financial Grades of 2013 had Midland 901 of the 925 Private Colleges and Universities in the US. Their grade was a D. Some “Turnaround” guy.

  20. Bob Loblaw says:


    That was exactly my point. WTF are “Nebraska values”? Its a statement that all of these guys make but means absolutley nothing.

    Sasse: “I’m a Nebraska conservative who’s focused on bringing Nebraska values and real solutions to Washington,” he told Breitbart News

    Osborn: “My conservative convictions remain unchanged and I’m committed to working to bring our Nebraska values to Washington.” Osborn website

    McCleay: “McLeay wants to sell Nebraska values to Washington” Fremont Tribune

    Dinsdale: ” He said strong Nebraska values can help build a stronger nation.” NP Telegraph

    See. Every single one of these guys says it but it means nothing. Makes me think they must not have anything worthwhile to say if this is what they lead with.

  21. Bob Loblaw says:

    BTW Gerard my original point wasnt an attack on Sasse in particular. Its every candidate that does it. I just wish theyd actually tell me where they stand, how theyd vote, what specific bills or amendments they would propose or support. Instead everyone dances around real issues and elections turn into beauty contests.

  22. To Financial Genius says:

    You mean there are actually 24 schools worse off than Midland? Are any of them trying to open another campus 20 miles away with no money while under the scrutiny of a federally authorized accrediting commission? Just curious.

  23. Spike says:

    Sasse Sucks! Smart Ass Sasse! Sassy Sasse! Sarsasparilla! Sasse is Crass!

    Anyway one cuts it, Sasse’s Ass is Grass! Kleeb is a Rancher & he still couldn’t win? Just what makes this egocentric POSER run? Or should I say who?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Don’t be a hater? You sanctimonious asshole of a sissy tyrant. Anyone you dislike is reasoned to the clean point on your part and yet anyone whom others dislike whom you like is “hate” on their part. You and Sasse remind me of Obama who plays a similar game. He demands respect and pity at the same time.

    This bastard Sasse actually said he’s smarter than everyone else and better. He’s an egotist. The bastard also took McConnell’s money and then stabbed McConnell in the back. So he’s a crook and a hypocrite. And his solution to Obamacare is some kind of federal Sassecare, on which he backpedals today for votes, so he’s a lying bastard of the first water. And you like him for that. So what’s that make you? Sasses’ butt boy? You sound like it.

  25. Gaius Gracchus says:

    Bob at 9:41 makes my point about the social creation of candidates better than I did. So does Anon at 6:32. Anon is a clever writer, but his parallel statements only make sense in the little world he’s created. Did Sasse actually say he’s smarter? If he did does that make him an egotist? Did he actually take McConnell’s money? If he did does that actually make him a thief?

    Maybe being an egotist, a bastard, a crook, a hypocrite, a lying bastard and a butt boy (in the case of the would be Sasse supporter) make Sasse a bad person and just the kind of politician best suited to bring Nebraska values to Washington. A special forces player I knew described himself as “a terrorist for America.” That sounds awful, but considering who he’s fighting, that’s what’s needed.

    I’m still looking for the right combination of high aspirations, low expectations, deviousness, cynicism, crassness, street smarts, and All-American Evil to elect. Sasse is not quite there yet. Where is Nixon when you need him?

  26. Macdaddy says:

    Neither Sasse nor Dinsdale have ever held elected office, so how do we know what they’ll do when the oily, sly, new found “friends of the Senator” start coming around to get them to vote a certain way? For Sasse, what decisions by either his direct boss or President Bush did he disagree with, what was the nature of the disagreement, and what did he do about it? What policies did he get through, how much opposition did he face, and what did he do to overcome that opposition? What policy babies were his that he was particularly proud of? For Dinsdale, that’s a bit tougher. I think it’s going to come down to political giving patterns and hopefully testimonials from friends about private conversations about politics. Also, bank policies or investments that would reflect and not contradict his conservative values.

    I hope the campaigns will take my suggestions seriously because I have not yet made up my mind who will get my vote or the votes of family and friends I will try to persuade.

  27. RWP says:

    Macdaddy: Oh sure, and I, like everyone else gave ol kickback a piece of my mind. But it was mostly impotent rage. I suppose it might have caused Nelson to retire, though.

  28. Bob Loblaw says:

    Macdaddy: Very well said. So many unknowns about these guys. Has there ever been a federal statewide race in Nebraska like this without any real heavyweight well known candidates?

  29. Facebook Pete Ricketts says:

    I like soup. Do you? Sign the petition.

    Grand Island is in Nebraska. Agree? Sign the petition.

    Hair is overrated. Are you bald? Sign the petition.

  30. Gaius Gracchus says:

    DS, Midland has a board of directors that supervises, directs and approves the actions of the president they hired. Shared responsibility, eh?

  31. Familyaffair says:

    Where do the NE candidates stand on consensual adult consanguine marriage? Previous state laws have denied and punished sexual behaviors spanning from gay sex, to blacks having sex with whites, to marriage between Asians and Caucasians. Consanguine marriage is the next rising issue along these lines.

    Consanguinity prohibitions were struck down by the NE Supreme Court in Voichahoske v. City of Grand Island, in 1975. However, incest remains a Nebraska felony, even between consenting adults. It applies to anyone who engages in sex with a relative who falls within degrees of consanguinity listed in 28-702, which in fact does not prohibit marriage between first cousins, including double twinned cousins. A pair of identical twin men can today marry a pair of identical twin women in Nebraska (happened in Texas) and each couple produce boys and girls who are genetically full siblings yet by NE law are deemed cousins who may marry and reproduce with the same or more genetic risk than a full brother-sister sexual union. And yet, even then, such risk of consanguine genetic damage to offspring is lower than that of genetically diseased Americans who today have the unquestioned legal right to marry and knowingly produce genetically damaged/deformed offspring.

    The entire objection to close relatives marrying in Nebraska, or anywhere else, boils down to the “icky factor” and imposing one’s religious beliefs on others, both of which have no traction in matters of law but some amid the looser façade of politics.

    Nebraska law already allows double twinned first cousins to legally produce children identical to children produced by felonious brother-sister unions. Without doubt, Consensual Consanguine Marriage is coming to Nebraska as an issue. If our NE candidates don’t know where they stand on the issue, other than to pound on a bible and yell “no”, Nebraskans will find themselves unprepared to deal with the coming social tide of consanguine marriage and be swept along as Nebraskans too often are.

  32. Gaius Gracchus says:

    Red herring is my least favorite dish, Familyaffair. When you are ready to publicly debate the merits of what you may perceive as growing interest in consensual incest in Nebraska, I will be happy to sit in the audience. We both can use our state issued, picture id’s as our name cards.

    You post, Familyaffair, is usually an enter into yet another useless discussion comparing same sex marriage to other alternative marital structures, saying “If X then why not Y and Z?” The problem here is that there is no necessary relationship between X, Y or Z. Are you actually claiming to be a member of a protected class as a “kissing cousin” or a “saucy sibling?” Why have a hypothetical discussion about whether or not you are Out & Proud? A more useful discussion would be about the contents of proxy server log files showing where Congressional staffers hang out on the ‘Web, or a weeklong look at their Snapchat posts. A sage one said “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  33. Familyaffair says:

    GG, every discussion is useless when those who should discuss it won’t. You assume I am digging sideways into other issues. Want to make this about me? Okay. I admit I don’t like paying gays or anyone else to have sex via IRS deductions, since much subsidy is larceny turned tyranny in the guise of charity. I have a beloved close relative who is the most openly gay individual in their country and the wealthiest. I think marijuana should be taxed like tobacco and alcohol. And since I used to help perform abortions, you can guess how I fall on that issue, and still you might be wrong. But what’s the point? What does any of that have to do with changing attitudes and laws on incest?

    Whether we abhor or adhere to any issue, the greater problem is that we are unprepared to deal with it. Bad ideas like Prohibition came about because a few thought it good idea while the rest, wise thinkers all, presumed it impossible to pass or easy to control. Homosexuality, alcohol, marijuana, etc., have swung from outlawed, to tolerated, to taxed, to subsidized. Conversely, double punishment now goes for “hate crime” a new outlawing of intentions. We can take personal ethical stands on such matters but to what end? I am talking about new laws for a new issue, which will be prohibited or prescribed by those candidates who seek our votes today. Nebraskans can think about the incest issue beforehand or as usual we can suck hind teat in matters of national lawmaking.

    Decriminalization of incest has swept the world. Consanguine marriage is increasingly common. Incest in Idaho today yet warrants life imprisonment while Ohio, for example, has thrown out all of its incest laws and prohibitions. Normalization is advancing and yet here in Hooterville many don’t even know it is an issue. But there is mo discussion if sentient people refuse to see it coming.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Get your facts straight, oddball. First cousin marriage and closer is illegal in Nebraska. Sex and cohabitation between first cousins is however legal here. Moreover Nebraska doesn’t void marriages done outside Nebraska. First cousins, or a niece and her uncle, may fly from Nebraska to Rhode Island, legally marry there, and fly back and live in Nebraska legally as man and wife. The treatment of consanguine sex of course varies from state to state. Incest, in prosecutorial terms, refers to child sexual abuse by a related adult. With regard to consenting related adults, most states follow New Jersey’s example and ignore it. In NJ it is okay for dad and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister to live as common law husband and wife. I don’t see how that is at all about homosexuality. A gay who goes after men doesn’t go after his brother. A man who goes after a woman doesn’t go after his sister. But then again, some do. This is creepy stuff.

  35. AHEM Moving on... says:

    In addition to Sasse’s legitimately impressive credentials, it seems likely to me that some Republicans want to avoid playing into the Democrat’s “Republican War on Women” Todd-Akinesque narrative, which could happen if Sasse doesn’t win the primary and we instead have a Senate nominee who was accused (even if wrongly) of domestic violence. While the allegations against Osborn might not make a difference as to whether would win the general (if he were to win the primary), you can rest assured that Dems would try to give the allegations national attention to try to harm other Republicans en masse.

  36. To AHEM says:

    Your full of it. And the Sasse camp is desperate. They are in third place and still in single digits after that crappy ad. Keep trying to climb out of your hole, your DC media friends have not been able to help you so far.

  37. To AHEM from another reader says:

    You mean like Sasse covering up what his top hire did to female students? How long did Sasse know about what Dannelly did? When did Sasse warn his students?

  38. Concerned says:

    Here is what American School Search said about Sasse’s University

    Safety Evaluation
    Based on our analysis of the government data, Midland University is a relatively dangerous place to be enrolled at. American School Search gives this school grade “D” on safety.

    From our perception of the data, there are some problems with forcible sex offenses and aggravated assaults.

    I guess National Review didn’t dig too deep on Sasse, nor did they mention he presided over a school on probation.

  39. Omaha Voter says:

    “From our perception of the data, there are some problems with forcible sex offenses and aggravated assaults.”

    This guy seems to have a problem protecting women on his small campus and he wants to run this country???

  40. TexasAnnie says:

    Wow, Familyaffair, you certainly think creatively about human sexuality! I’m not sure why consenting ADULT siblings and/or cousins may realize sexual attraction for one another; I haven’t experienced that. But when they do, I do not wish them prosecuted, rest assured.

    There is one point you raised that prompts this response: the notion that allowing gays to marry establishes for them a “subsidy” under tax law. If by “subsidy,” you mean that a homosexual married couple shall obtain the SAME status as a taxpaying heterosexual couple, then I’m not opposed to that “subsidy.” But wouldn’t it be better for all of us IF the various tax codes treated ALL OF US THE SAME? If there were no subsidies for any couples, but rather a single tax rate for every individual (including corporations), don’t’cha think that would be better?

    It’s what I call ‘economic justice’ and it’s the single most important issue any candidate anywhere can take up!!!

  41. Anonymous says:

    This race is shaping up to be an interesting one. Ultimately, it’s delightful seeing a couple candidates (Dinsdale/Mcleay) with very little (if any?) political background. Ultimately, the fact that Sid has been at the helm of an overwhelmingly successful business for over 30 years, makes it a no brainer to me. Not to mention, he grew up in central Nebraska and understands the agricultural aspect that makes Nebraska the state that it is. Yeah he’s a little ‘raw’, but I must say he comes across with a degree of authenticity and genuineness that is refreshing to the core.

    It’s going to be a fun race, but at the end of the day, it’s a slam dunk in my book.

  42. @ AHEM says:

    Now there’s a great argument. Let’s not elect someone because of an accusation that I believe even the maker of it now concedes was false and where the object of the accusation wound up with custody of all of the children, including one he adopted from the accuser’s earlier marriage. Moreover, the accusation was investigated by the Douglas County Sheriff who found it to be without merit and is now supporting the object of the accusation, Osborn. And we should do this because of some mythical perceived effect on the vote of women? I’ve seen a lot of moronic arguments advanced in the comments on this blog, but that has the lead in 2014 (it’s early yet) for stupidest post of the year. Congratulations.

  43. Gaius Gracchus says:

    WRT to Dannelly, Ben Sasse is rather in Chris Christie’s position. Being generous, I suggest that Sasse and Christie are both innocent beyond a doubt. But innocence does not change the fact that the guy in charge is the guy responsible – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. An unenviable position.

  44. I see L St has suddenly become the talk of Arkansas politics. I had no idea there was such enthusiasm for incest in Nebraska..well, except maybe in the third district.

    First cousin procreation carries a 4.4% excess mortality, parent/child a 30% risk. This has nothing to do with social mores, but the real risk of creating children with serious or fatal congenital defects. This is why normal humans have an innate aversion to incest.

    You people are freaks. But for humanity’s sake, at least get yourselves sterilized before you get down and dirty with Aunty Em or whatever.

  45. Familyaffair says:

    I see your point. But this is not hypothetical. While consanguine sex seems freakish, so too does much we do as humans until we get used to the behavior. What is natural and what is a human norm are two different things. We cannot feel our way out this. We need to think it. In that regard, calling it “freakish” seems profoundly un-academic.

    Is consanguine sex unnatural? Yes. Then again, so are we. Our true nature is to live on a savannah as hunter gatherers running down prey. We instead choose to behave in unnatural ways that give us carpel tunnel and heart disease. We can think ourselves into any unnatural situation since being human is us cognitively rising above nature, or us slipping below nature, depending on your spin. For us, what is natural is usually abnormal. In sex too. Homosexuality was mentioned. It serves no natural purpose of healthy procreation any more than does Stephan Hawking getting married. Yet, again, if taxation and subsidy come into it, none of this is rrelevant to politics simply because we find it creepy or unproductive. Blogging here is unproductive.

    Those who come from the hard sciences and accounting perhaps more easily keep their human presumptions apart from their provables. Social scientists some from a softer blend that often cannot tell its own primate feelings from measurable proofs. But in the end, most think consanguine sex is freakish. No matter. Its decriminalization is coming toward us as a social thus political issue. Deal with it or get blindsided by it.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of getting yourself sterilized, Boston Corbett, the fellow who shot the assassin who shot Lincoln, cut off his own testicles with a scissors.

    Corbett was a Republican and obviously thrifty. Booth was a Democrat who like having a tight control over blacks. Some things never change.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t there a moderator of some sort to delete pointless and irrelevant posts on this blog? I like Leavenworth overall, but some of the pointless comments on here…..seriously.

  48. Gaius Gracchus says:

    FA, you speak as if yet another love that dare not speak it’s name is speaking it’s name. The way things are going, the only love that date not speak it’s name hangs from the gibbet of the cross and says “I thirst.”

    The trouble with defining “natural” as “exists in nature” is there is no sense of teleology. There is already a remote glimmer of epigenetic heritability with respect to homosexuality, and it’s relationship to heterosexuality. No such glimmer exists incest except misplaced affection, and that’s putting it mildly.

    Ideally, the human family is the ONE place children can go to have their survival and developmental needs put first. The adults in that family agree, by virtue of the presence of children, to put the survival, development and safety (physical, emotional, sexual, psychological) of those children before all other interests and concerns. That includes solid example of appropriate relational boundaries and respect for those boundaries.

    My family is less than ideal and has a great deal of brokenness (sic). Thankfully that brokenness does not include, to my knowledge, remaking “The Hills Have Eyes.” Human beings are not the physical manifestation of infinitely malleable, social constructs; twist us too far and we break in unfixable ways, ways that affect the human relationships that form the fabric of human society.

    I see no signs of a slippery slope towards the normalization incest beyond you. For Pete’s Sake, we have enough trouble getting reliable people elected to public office without digression into incest. Go start your own blog, I’ll be mildly interest in public reaction to it.

  49. Macdaddy says:

    Epigenetics is a fraud along the lines of cold fusion.

    I see what FA is getting at, but quite frankly, the next push in the race to destroy marriage will come against the binary bigots.

  50. Gaius Gracchus says:

    MD, I hadn’t heard epigenetics described as fraudulent in my reading, which I admit is not wide in this field. Thanks in advance for hints on what to read.

    “Cold fusion,” which I consider myself well read about is less a fraud than an example of science at work. No reproducible results, no “Mr. Fusion.”

  51. Bob Loblaw says:

    So what’s everyone think about Tim Miles? Anybody hear how Bo’s recruiting class is gonna be?

    (This is how in my family we try to steer the conversation to something more normal and less heated after my crazy Brother in law says something so far out of left field, inappropriate, and completely unrelated to the conversations we were having. Sometimes it works, but most of the time we finish our dinner in awkward silence.)

    Thought it might work in getting the conversation here back on track since it jumped to something completely bizarre and nowhere at all associated with the topic we were all discussing before.

  52. Epigenetics covers a huge range of phenomena, and certainly isn’t fraud. How do your skin cells know they’re skin cells and not neurons? After all, they have the same genome.

    I do agree, however, that people are looking to epigenetics to explain almost everything for which a genetic explanation has escaped us, including phenomena that probably have nothing to do with epigenetics. I’d be skeptical of any such explanation until its mechanism is properly nailed down.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Even after Bill’s cigar antics, you still get squeamish about sex? Would it have been better if it was Hillary under the desk, or Gore, or Bill’s sister? Clinton was arranging troop movements while getting a nob job. It is never about the sex or kind of sex. It is always about abuse of power.

    Broaching this the incest issue was obviously a jug. What else is there to do here? We have all these U. S. Senate candidates promising to solve problems from inside the beltway. Yet as federal lawmakers they bake one size fits all bread and nothing else. So don’t worry about them screwing you death with it. You will choke on it long before that.

  54. TexasAnnie says:

    Well frankly, Familyaffair, I have not noticed the issue you raise as a social/political problem. Indeed, you are the first to have brought it to my attention. Yet I do find your words at 9:21am compelling.

    Gaius @ 1:37pm: what is “natural” may have no purpose. I’m sure you realize that.

    Gerard and Wiggily: your objection may be too much…

  55. campaign staffers says:

    Can you all stop talking about incest so we can get back to bashing each other. It gets boring in these offices…. and lighthouse’s

  56. Macdaddy says:

    Sorry, I was a little imprecise in my assertion. Epigenetics to explain human behavior is a fraud and is a really lazy attempt to end debate. It’s the current favorite explanation for why homosexuals are “born that way.” The implications of epigenetics, however, are actually quite disturbing. They suggest that there really is a cure for all kinds of behaviors and not just homosexuality. Pick an eccentricity, any eccentricity, and one day we will be able to banish that eccentricity forever. Feel the need to go to church? Feel the need to own a gun? Cops make you nervous? Got the need, the need for speed? It’s all epigenetics and can be washed away with the right pill. One generation is all we’ll need.

  57. Poverty Of Thought says:

    The phenomenon called the dumbing down of America has hit the pages of Leavenworth Street with full force. It is sick and wrong and poisonous. Stop it.

  58. TexasAnnie says:

    Say, Interested Observer, I see your Governor has a tax plan for you!
    How discounted do you believe the value of your ag land should become to achieve “fairness?”
    Is a drop to 65% good enough?

  59. Interested Observer says:

    Annie, I need to do a little more research into this matter. I haven’t read the new articles of the Governor’s proposal yet. I do know that the current market value of ag land has artificially inflated tremendously the last couple years and is now many, many times the true, actual production value. That is a “bubble” and is not sustainable.

    Not every school board member, county commissioner, NRD board member, legislator, etc. has my rigid, conservative backbone or my abhorrence for spending money, either my own or other peoples’. So, the current mill levy limits don’t, in and of themselves, hold down total spending, since the total assessed valuation of the particular governmental entity has skyrocketed, of late.

    Even though the cattle price is strong right now, the associated costs of production have also come up just as strongly. Most average Sand Hills ranchers pay a lot more in county real estate taxes every year than what they have available for their own family living expenses, tens upon tens of thousands of dollars. It does seem wrong to penalize ag land owners even further by making them pay even higher real estate taxes on that land that has temporarily been driven higher priced by outside influences. Paying the tax on the actual land is hard enough. Having to pay tax on the “bubble” value on top of the real value is beyond the ability of us.

    Even the grain farmers, who have had quite a good ride the last few years, are going to have to recalibrate their spending, given the drop in the grain markets, with corn falling around 40% in price.

    Last year, I mentioned personal responsibility and what I viewed as inappropriate and unjustified welfare several times. Ranchers and farmers who own ag land should pay their fair share of taxes. Currently, with this ag land “bubble”, they are being called on to pay far more than their fair share. I do object to that excess part of our current real estate tax bills. This issue of market value taxation versus actual production value taxation has been ongoing for many decades here and will, I imagine, continue to be discussed.

  60. Interested Observer says:

    OK Annie, now I’ve read the articles in the World-Herald and the Journal Star. The OWH article says that with “the state’s record cash reserve — and holding spending growth to 4 percent — would more than accommodate major tax cuts.”

    Annie, the official rate of inflation for last year was 1.2% and the Governor wants to “hold” spending to 4%? Isn’t that a real increase in spending of 2.8%? And didn’t I bring up this same point last year also? The budget for Nebraska, Fiscal Year 2013-2014, is a little over $8 Billion. The Governor’s proposed REAL spending increase of 2.8% of $8 Billion is an actual increase of almost $225 Million! That’s the problem! That is not “holding” the growth of spending.

    So, ultimately, increasing taxes by $225 for each of 3 years is around $675 Million and he wants to “give” $500 Million back in that same time. Isn’t that still taking $175 Million MORE?

    As I’ve said so many times before, it doesn’t matter from which pocket they take our money, it only matters HOW MUCH money they take!

  61. Anonymous says:

    Heard Shane Osborn on KFAB this AM. He gave a superb interview with a list of his impressive accomplishments especially as Nebraska’s treasurer. It made Sasse look like a light weight of empty slogans and quasi clever ads that don’t say a thing to make my life better.

    For the record? No I don’t work for him.

  62. Gaius Gracchus says:

    IO, I’m going to ask you to re-run your model some modifications. First, factor in inflation at 1.2% per year for the next 5 years. Second, what is a reasonable reserve to keep on hand just-in-case? If 2008 or something just as disruptive happens again, some cushion is better than no cushion. What should state government aim to have on hand through 2019 or 2020?

  63. Demon sheep says:

    I saw Midland is running banner ads on

    I love this statement in the ad “At Midland 9 out of 10 students receive at least $13,000 in University sponsored financial aid. With plentiful scholarships and grants, more than 98% of Midland student receive some type of financial support.”

    Midland doesn’t have a huge endowment. They are marking up the tuition 100% then giving 50% financial aid packages. Does anybody really think Midland is worth $26,000 a year for tuition???? This is why the analysts have concerns about their fiscal health.

  64. To Demon sheep says:

    So what you are saying Demon Sheep is Ben Sasse is qualified to sell carpet at Nebraska Furniture Mart? No wonder why they sell it at 50% off on the big sales…lol

  65. To To Demon sheep says:

    What made qualified Ben Sasse to be a president of a University? In his short tenure he had them in trouble with accreditation on academics and finances. The only reason they are not closed is that Dana went belly-up and they gained their kids. Sasse’s family pretty much runs Fremont. Funny how he loses his gig in DC then ends up with a huge salary and a cushy job at Midland. Of Course he has time to romp around the country giving speeches and spend time running for Senate.

  66. Interested Observer says:

    Gaius, you raise some important points. Your first point about the rate of inflation is very important. What I was trying to say is that even if we adjust (increase) the current State budget spending levels to keep up with inflation, that’s one thing. But the Governor’s proposal specifically included increasing spending by an annual rate of 4%, which is, of course, 2.8% above the rate of inflation and which represents, an expansion and real growth in State spending. He did the exact same thing last year at this time as well.

    Your second point about the State’s cash reserves is equally important for a sound fiscal future. I don’t know what specific level of reserves is prudent, but probably something in the range of the Governor’s $500 million to the State Tax Rate Review Committee’s recommendation of at least $643 million seems to be the area to be discussed. I think that I recall that there might be a statutory requirement of a 3% minimum reserve. It is my understanding that it is 3% of the total annual budget, but I’m not absolutely sure of that.

    My whole point is that it sure seemed that the current rate of spending seemed to meet our needs. If we in fact do want a smaller government with less spending, then let’s get started but increasing state spending by more than 3 times the actual rate of inflation is not a smaller government with less spending. It’s obviously an out of control, bigger government with more spending.

  67. Gaius Gracchus says:

    Agreed on all points, IO. If there is a statutory requirement for a minimum reserve, that’s one thing. The size of that reserve and the use of such a reserve deserves an occasional review.

    Budget growth in excess of the rate of inflation, or any budget grown for that matter, should not be standard operating procedure. The norm should be a real decrease in the size of government, and an accompanying real decrease in government’s budget, each day and every day. There is always something to stop doing.

  68. Macdaddy says:

    You also have to look at population growth and not just inflation. Not everyone who moves to Nebraska will have a job or keep their job. More people means more demand on infrastructure such as schools, roads, emergency services, etc. I won’t quibble with the need to keeping spending static, but in order to do that you would have to cut programs or cut benefits. Leaving things alone won’t achieve your goals.

  69. Interested Observer says:

    Back in the old days, both Curtis and Hruska proposed a Zero Base Budget process, whereby every budget started with a zero and had to justify every line in it. They both opposed the status quo of simply taking the previous budget and adding on a percentage increase. They felt that simply increasing every budget every year failed miserably in the accountability and the integrity of those budgets.

    So, considering Macdaddy’s points, let’s include those increases in population and demands for services, but let’s try to make the process a little more accountable.

    I just still fail to accept that the Governor’s 2.8% real increase in spending over last years, after adjusting for inflation, is absolutely and totally necessary.

  70. Baum de baum baum says:

    I just saw an Email from Bryan Baumgart listing 68 offices up for election in Douglas County. He invites Republicans to come out of the woodwork run for these offices.

    Does anyone here know how many of those offices are held by GOP incumbents running for reelection?

    Baumgart’s job is to oust Democrats and elect Republican to office. If this is his idea of fair play, it is to Democrat advantage. If he invites Republicans to waste limited GOP incumbent dollars against GOP challenger dollars, thereby leaving Democrats stronger and better heeled for defeating Republicans, that means Baumgart is actively helping Democrats more than the GOP.

    If these are all Democrat held positions, my apologies. If not, what a schiesskoph this guy is.

  71. Bob:

    I think he’s making a mistake. CUNY is a politically correct —-hole, and it’s only going to get worse with deBlasio as Mayor. He’s got so many strikes on him already; he’s white, he’s male, he’s heterosexual, and he’s from the midwest. They will chew him up and spit him out.

    I don’t have a whole lot against Milliken. I disagreed with him on a few issues, but he was mostly an apolitical, get-the-job-done sort of guy. I’m sure he’s not naive, but I wonder does he fully realize what he’s getting into.

  72. The late Ron Raikes was a budget wonk, and I heard him predict this way back in 2000. Basically, Medicaid eats up a huge chunk of the state budget. It grows, even as a percentage of the budget, every year. State aid to schools is the second biggest chunk, and the Teachers union makes sure that is always taken care of. And my beloved university is always there with its hand out. After those three monsters get their piece of the pie, even if you make cuts in the rest of the budget, they barely matter.

    The only way to cut spending is to starve the beast. You have to cut taxes.

  73. Wayne F. says:

    Anyone hear the Farm Bureau is supporting Bill Kitners opponent? Bill is my senator in Lincoln. There are very few men who fight liberals as good as he does. That is a shame.

  74. Erick Erickson too?? says:

    Wow, now Erick Erickson and have endorsed Sasse. What do all these conservative groups/conservative influencers know that we don’t? They either think Sasse is the best thing since sliced bread or really… really… don’t like Shane Osborn. What did Shane Osborn do to make the conservatives upset? Is it the support he is getting from Mitch McConnell?

  75. Demon Sheep says:

    Independent Nebraskans should be able to figure out when the Media Elite are trying to push a candidate like Ben Sasse.

    1) Ben has only lived in Nebraska for 4 out of the last 23 years.
    2) His friends in DC that have a vested interest in him are pushing him with national publications
    3) Ben has very few Nebraska endorsements
    4) Ben has significant issues at Midland which prove he is inept
    5) Ben has flipped flopped on Obamacare and supported Medicare Part D

    Ben’s astroturf campaign is full of DC insiders and Nebraskans are not fooled

  76. Hey demon lamb... says:

    If what you say is true, then why has Dr. Sasse raised the majority of his money in-state and the self-described “inevitable” candidate Osborn having to go out-of-state for almost 70% of his campaign cash? None of the Osborn supporters on here seem to want to answer that question. They seem to like they facts if they fit their narrative, but just ignore the facts when they don’t. To quote one of the best debate lines ever: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

  77. TexasAnnie says:

    Well I already sent a rebuttal to RWP’s notion about Ron Raikes which took a half hour and two cups of coffee to construct. Where is it Street Sweeper?

  78. Interested Observer says:

    Is there anything to be read into the fact that yesterday almost 75% of the House Republicans voted for the $1.1Trillion spending bill and barely 25% voted against it? This is even after both the Club for Growth and Heritage Action very strongly opposed the bill and pledged to use the vote for their conservative scorecards.

    I have to wonder if this is the year for a Republican candidate to try to “out-Conservative” all of his primary opponents? By that, I mean to position oneself as being the most over the top, uber, radical, ultra-Conservative in the race.

    To put it another way, is this the year to deliberately be the poster boy for the Tea Party, Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation, etc?

    Do the voters still remember the defund Obamacare government shut down and all the groups who conceived and supported that failed strategy? And remember at the start of that shutdown I said in here on October 2, “I’m going to go out on a limb here and wonder if Boehner might be temporarily allowing the extreme right part of the House to have their way in all of this, rather than creating a bi-partisan resolution with the majority of the more moderate Republicans and many of the Democrats, as he’s done a few times already this year, specifically to give the most radical of the Republican right the enormous opportunity and all the publicity they could ever want, to alienate themselves from the vast majority of the American voters. He gave them what they wished for. Why? Did he do this just to protect and prolong his position or did he do this to allow the extremists to damage themselves? Is Boehner simply self-serving or is he actually as dumb as a fox?”

  79. TexasAnnie says:

    Well shucks. In brief then, let me just say that Ron Raikes DID NOT espouse as RWP suggests, that Medicaid, K-12 and postsecondary educational spending are a problem. As tax expenditures he believed in economy to be sure, but he did not believe we needed “to starve the beast.” The tax expenditures Ron Raikes DID want to starve were those for “economic development.” Raikes did not believe the economic models usually presented to the legislature were even valid, and together with Wickersham and research provided by the Dept. of Revenue, Raikes fought tirelessly on the floor of the legislature against corporate welfare!

  80. Lil Mac says:

    As we grind candidate against candidate, here’s some food for thought… The only way to cut spending is to indeed starve the beast, cut taxes. Likewise, the only way to stem the federal’s freedom-crushing growth and drive it to leaner more efficient policy is to empty its feed trough. But who will do that? Certainly not anyone we elect to eat there. The beast won’t diet itself.

    The earlier sex policy discussion at first seemed a silly thing that interrupted my thinking about how a Senate candidate should save me from the Senate. Yet as I reflect on it, it occurs to me that our federal govt isn’t interested in its own job, i.e. providing laws we universally agree we all need. Washington leaves murder to the states to define and prosecute. Yet Washington increasingly controls every individual’s wallet, family, even what you must or mustn’t hate or love. All freedom is personal and nothing is more personal than sex. Yet Washington already mucks with controlling that so there is no bottom to its tyranny.

    On the other hand, we all seem to foolishly believe that someone we elect will voluntarily starve himself to political death. As voters we continually try to fill our legislatures with 51% or more Cincinnatus’, while utterly ignoring the fact of his rarity. Powers simply don’t disempower themselves.

    Our founders foresaw the inability of our federal to disempower itself and they gave us constitutional means of choking the federal into submission from outside the federal. The original external self-correcting mechanism for the Senate in particular was removed in 1913 but there are still options. We just don’t talk about them. Some will say we need more popular voting, unaware that it is the overabundance of such, outweighing a more political savvy external oversight by states, that is one part of this crippling problem.

    If this analysis is correct, then everything we do electorally is for naught. That is a scary conclusion. We need to start thinking outside the box.

  81. Recall winner says:

    Thank goodness for all that Ricketts money. On the downside I have to endorse the least conservative and most likely to fold candidate in the race. Oh well, not my state. i just drive through on my way to the bank!

  82. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Sasse strikes me as a showboat minus message, however, he must talk a good talk for all these outside Nebraska groups to attach like barnacles to his bottom.

  83. Demon Sheep says:

    I’m not Dean or anybody that works for any Senate campaign. I am a person that follows local and national politics. The name Demon Sheep comes from Sasse’s ad man Fred Davis who created the concept in Carly Fiorna’s race a few years ago. (go youtube it) I firmly believe Ben Sasse is a lightweight and a braggart. Anyone see Ben Sasse at any GOP events before this race? I felt burned after Chuck Hagel and this guy reminds me so much of him. Folks besides a few people here, Sasse has been trying to persuade you to vote for him by publications that are not even based here. The people are his buddies from DC. He claims to be this DC Outsider, yet he is the only candidate that worked on the Hill. He brags about his management skills, yet his University has accreditation issues. I get it he’s smart and he went to Ivy League schools….so did Obama and Al Gore. So let’s see how Dr. Ben holds up after some scrutiny.

  84. Jessica Kolterman says:

    As the Director of NFBF PAC I would like to go on record for the Farm Bureau to assure interested parties that Farm Bureau has a very specific process for our endorsements, and that process will begin after the filing deadline. At that time each county represented in District 2 will have the opportunity to meet with all the candidates and recommend to the PAC board who they believe should be endorsed. It is possible Farm Bureau members could recommend none, one, or more candidates for endorsement. Our process is grassroots driven and open for all active voting Farm Bureau members who live in District 2.

  85. Raven Shirley says:

    I don’t know why everyone on here is impersonating me. You people need to get a life. Making fun of Ben Sasse seems funny now, but just wait until we are bank rolling in Washington and the Osborn staff isn’t. #SorryNotSorry #SasseisProLife #SasseisSmarterthanYou #Can’tWaittoGoToDC #I’mGoingToVisitWashingtonMonument #MySororityWillLoveTheInstagramPhotos

  86. Tonic & Tonic says:

    Again folks, the major new breaks right here on L street. You don’t see JK, or many other people for that matter, running to the weird herald to go on record!

  87. Ms. Kolterman says:

    I would humbly submit that you take a hard look at Christopher Geary for Governor. Geary is no political novice. In 2010 GOP primary Geary was barely nudged out for third by political juggernaut Paul Anderson.
    Geary is also a Kempo master and has the heart of a lion. He can break boards which will be helpful breaking through partisan gridlock.

    Geary has also driven by several farms on his way to several Kempo tournaments. Geary knows that the number one issues that farmers are fighting for is getting rid of onerous regulations in the bib overall manufaturing industry. Geary also will propose a bill that will mandate all tractors to have seat belts and air bags.

  88. TA:

    I never said Raikes espoused starving the beast. Clearly you are incapable of reading and understanding a short passage of English prose. Raikes did a lot of economic forecasting, and predicted ever increasing Medicaid and state aid expenditures. He was right.

  89. Gaius Gracchus says:

    Ah, my favorite subject, Ms. Kolterman. Geary is master of disaster with the head of a block. Of concrete. Unfortunately we are already well-stocked with inert objects in politics. No need for more.

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