GOP’s Osborn does slight about-face over Navy memo


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Only hours after going on the offensive backing a controversial look-alike Navy memo, GOP Senate hopeful Shane Osborn is doing a bit of an about-face.

ShawnTheW/AFP/Getty Images

Originally scripted to shore up Osborn’s military record—it wasn’t authorized by the Navy, but written by an unnamed Osborn friend at the Pentagon—the front runner in some polls is now having second thoughts.

“While the facts in the memo are correct and it was intended to clarify the issue, the manner in which it was handled was regrettable, and I take full responsibility,” says Osborn in a statement released late Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, in an interview with KFAB radio, Osborn defended the memo arguing it’s the unclassified version of what took place over China 13 years ago.

He also said the “attack on my service…is being pushed by another campaign”—although he didn’t name names.

In 2001, the surveillance plane Osborn was flying collided with a Chinese fighter plane. Instead of ditching his plane and risking the lives of his 23 crew members, Osborn landed on a Chinese island where his team was held captive for nearly two weeks.

Although he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, some have criticized his decision to surrender. But Osborn says he was ordered to do what he did adding “it was not a judgment call.”

The China incident has been a key part of Osborn’s campaign, even taking center stage in his first TV ad.

Osborn, Sid Dinsdale, Bart McLeay and Ben Sasse are battling for the GOP nomination. The primary is May 13 with the winner set to take on Democrat Dave Domina in November.

Contact Joe Jordan at and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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