September 19, 2014

Kerrey sees no need for president to campaign for him (AUDIO)

Democratic US Senate candidate Bob Kerrey visits Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln. Judith Burnfield with Madonna Research Institute is at right.

Democrat Bob Kerrey brushes aside Republican questions about why President Obama didn’t make a stop in Nebraska to aid his United States Senate campaign.

The closest the president came was Council Bluffs, the first stop in a three-day tour of Iowa. Obama did give a “shout out” to Omaha and Nebraska during the speech, across the Missouri River from Omaha.

AUDIO: President Obama gives “shout out” to Nebraska during speech in Council Bluffs, IA

Kerrey sees no reason for President Obama to campaign here.

“I’m not involved with the president’s campaign,” Kerrey tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I think, correctly, he sized up Nebraska and (decided) it’s not likely he’s going to win it and Iowa is a battleground state. So, I presume that’s why he’s over in Iowa.”

In 2008, Obama found a way to seize an electoral vote from Republican-leaning Nebraska by winning the Omaha-area. Nebraska is one of only two states that split their Electoral College votes.

Kerrey says he hasn’t studied the 2nd Congressional District enough to know if Obama has a chance to duplicate his success in 2008, which would justify a campaign stop in Omaha, at least.

Kerrey doesn’t expect the president to campaign for him in Nebraska.

“I think it’s unlikely,” Kerrey says. “At the moment, I’m not lining up anybody to come in and campaign for me. I’ve always had a difficult time with surrogates. You never know what they’re going to say. I’m not sure they add much to the effort.”

Kerrey says the role of surrogates can be overplayed.

“Not long ago, Sarah Palin came in and had lunch with Deb Fischer,” Kerrey points out. “Clearly, her campaign wanted to disassociate itself with some of the statements and policies of Sarah Palin. It can produce a negative as well as a positive. Better, I think, to stand on your own two feet and tell people what you want to do.”

A news release issued by the Nebraska Republican Party pointed out that Air Force One landed at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, but the president traveled across the river into Iowa to begin his three-day campaign swing through that state. The party suggested the president had better things to do than campaign for “fledgling US Senate candidate Bob Kerrey.”

AUDIO: Democrat Bob Kerrey talks with Brent Martin about President Obama. [1:13]