February 14, 2016

Sen. Fischer taking wait and see approach to presidential race (AUDIO)

Sen. Deb Fischer

Sen. Deb Fischer

United States Sen. Deb Fischer says she’s willing to sit back and wait to see what Iowa Republicans do in the caucuses next week.

Fischer, a Republican, hasn’t endorsed any of the Republicans running for president. She doesn’t plan to, at least not for a while.

As for the sometimes chaotic nature of the GOP race, Fischer calls it fascinating. Fischer says simply that it is the democratic process, a great process that eventually will choose the party nominee to put before voters in November.

The candidate saturation of neighboring Iowa ends soon.

“For those of us that are kind of political junkies and follow all of this stuff, it’s always amazing to watch it,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call. “But, the people of Iowa are going to make decisions on Monday night and I really look forward to seeing what they do.”

Nebraska Republicans cast their ballots in the presidential primary May 10th.

As for the Democrats, they will hold a caucus on March 5th.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:40]


Sen. Sasse campaigns for GOP in Iowa…against Trump (AUDIO)

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse talks with voters.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse talks with voters.

United States Sen. Ben Sasse is in Iowa stumping for about any Republican presidential candidate besides Donald Trump.

Sasse says Republican voters need to be asking a lot more questions of Trump leading up to the Iowa Caucuses Monday.

“What I hear from lots of people in my family, what I hear from folks at the grocery store in Fremont is how do we know what his views are on issues when he doesn’t explain where he has ever abandoned the old, crazy, leftist positions he had when he was thinking of running as a Democrat,” Sasse tells Jack and Dave in the Morning on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

According to Sasse, Trump has expressed disdain for guns, has backed a single-payer health care system, and has supporter a $6 trillion tax increase proposal.

Sasse has praise for Trump. He calls him smart, an attribute Sasse says the news media has generally overlooked. Sasse calls Trump a good salesman. He says Trump has gained popularity by rightly criticizing Washington, being blunt in his speech, and not backing down when challenged by the media.

Still, Sasse sees Trump breaking from a constitutional system of limited government.

“And when Donald Trump says, as he has recently, when I’m elected president I’ll be able to do whatever I want, we should talk about what that means, because that’s not the American tradition,” according to Sasse.

Sasse has spent two days campaigning in Iowa, meeting with both Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marc Rubio of Florida. Sasse says he will not endorse anyone, but will call Republicans to be the party that affirms the Constitution.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

Omaha attorney weighs in on U.S. citizenship eligibility

There are many questions regarding Texas U-S Senator Ted Cruz’s eligibility to run for president because he was born in Canada. Omaha attorney Bill Gallup was in a similar situation. Gallup says his mother was a U-S citizen when he was born in Alberta, Canada. Gallup says when they moved to Omaha his father became naturalized and was told by immigration that would include all his minor children.

Gallup says he always thought he was an American. He graduated from high school in Omaha and was even drafted and served in the U-S military. However, when Gallup later applied for a teaching certificate it was denied because he was told he was Canadian.

Gallup says, “I had to go down and get naturalized before I could get my teaching certificate. If you are born in Canada, you are a Canadian. I looked up the Supreme Court on this matter and the Supreme Court says there are two paths to citizenship.   One, you have to be born in the United States or a territory under United States jurisdiction or be naturalized. Cruz has never produced a naturalization certificate to my knowledge and that means as far as I can see he is not an American citizen.”

Gallup says there are exceptions to the natural born rule. He says children born of U-S diplomats on foreign soil are considered natural born citizens. Military parents of children born abroad must file the appropriate paperwork to assure their children are documented as citizens of the U-S.

Congressman Ashford uncertain what president’s visit means to his re-election (AUDIO)

Congressman Brad Ashford

Congressman Brad Ashford

Congressman Brad Ashford says he lobbied for specific projects during his trip on Air Force One with President Barack Obama, but he’s not sure how the president’s stop to Omaha will impact his re-election campaign.

Ashford says he lobbied for the University of Nebraska Medical Center to get the new Ebola unit, for Offutt Air Force Base to get a runway upgrade, and for money to build a new Veterans Administration hospital in Omaha.

“We had a chance to talk about that, but mostly we were talking about his vision,” Ashford says. “We’ve got to look at America five year, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years down the road and the only way to get there in a positive way is to break the gridlock of the old politics.”

Ashford says he talked with the president about how Nebraska approaches state government, with a non-partisan, one-body legislature. Ashford also says he wanted the president to see the progress Nebraska is making economically and the vibrancy of Omaha.

Ashford is a Democrat in his freshman term after defeating veteran Republican Congressman Lee Terry. He has a huge re-election campaign ahead of him.

How the president’s decision to make Omaha his first stop after delivering his final State of the Union address affects that race is unknown.

“I have no idea what it does for me politically,” Ashford concedes. “What it does for me is make me very proud to see all these people here. I mean, that’s what it does for me.”

Baxter Arena on the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus held slightly under 10,000 people who crammed in to see the president’s visit last week.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

Gov. Ricketts explains change of mind on greeting President Obama

Baxter Arena scoreboard displays Gov. Ricketts leading Nebraska delegation welcoming Pres. Obama to Omaha.

Baxter Arena scoreboard displays Gov. Ricketts leading Nebraska delegation welcoming Pres. Obama to Omaha.

Gov. Pete Ricketts credited his staff with shifting his schedule and freeing the time needed to greet President Barack Obama when he arrived at Offutt Air Force Base this week.

Ricketts first said he didn’t have time to meet the president during his visit to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He later relented and greeted the president after Air Force One landed at Offutt Air Force Base.

“Really, I just have a great team that was able to work around the schedule,” Ricketts told reporters during a news conference after his State of the State address. “As I mentioned earlier, it’s a big deal when the president comes to Nebraska. We felt it was important to make that change. So, we were able to get that done and make it happen.”

The president’s visit did come during a busy week for the governor.

Ricketts earlier had defended his initial decision not to greet the president, saying that his schedule was too busy in preparation for his State of the State address to the Unicameral to take time to meet with the president. That changed later and Ricketts led the team of Nebraskans who greeted the president on the tarmac of Offutt Air Force Base.

Ricketts said he had a few moments to speak with President Obama.

“The conversation was very brief as the president came off the plane,” according to Ricketts. “We talked briefly about trade, about the importance of Offutt Air Force Base. Also, I thanked him for his support of charter schools.”

Ricketts said the two also engaged in small talk about the president’s daughters growing older.

Ricketts returned to the Capitol after greeting the president. He held a budget briefing with reporters that afternoon on the eve of his State of the State speech.

Lt. Governor Mike Foley attended the event at Baxter Arena on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.