By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN, Neb. – Tuesday morning on MSNBC, Republican Senate candidate Ben Sasse said he’d support Mitch McConnell if Republicans put him up for a leadership position after the mid-term elections.
Sasse was asked about McConnell during the Daily Rundown show with Chuck Todd – where the three leading Republican candidates were asked different questions by phone. The Republicans are duking it out in the primary election today to fill the seat that will be vacated by U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns in January.
Todd asked Sasse about McConnell because Sasse has been endorsed by a slew of tea party groups and leaders – such as the Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, Sarah Palin and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz – and McConnell has been working to beat back the Tea Party, especially SCF, and anti-establishment candidates they support. Sasse was also reportedly berated by McConnell during a private meeting after he called on Republicans and called out McConnell to “show some actual leadership” in a campaign video.
Sasse seemed a little reluctant to answer, saying he normally doesn’t “deal with speculative stuff,” but then said, “Obviously I’m for better conservative ideas and more winsome persuasion and getting to a majority so obviously I’m a team player; I’m looking forward to supporting whoever our leader is.”
Asked by Todd if he’d be comfortable supporting McConnell if he’s put up for a leadership position by Republicans, Sasse said, “Absolutely.”
He said the civil war among Republicans has been “overblown” by the national media but that’s “not what Nebraskans are talking about on the ground.”
Asked the first bill he’d introduced if elected, he said a constitutional amendment for term limits.
“The problems we face in Washington aren’t just that Democrats are in charge but also that the kind of Republicans we tend to vote for want Washington to be in charge and I don’t,” Sasse said. “I’d love to see term limits.”
Asked if he’d put a term limit on himself, he said no because it’s not prudent for conservatives to “lay down our weapons first and liberals don’t participate in the discussions.”
Todd asked Pinnacle Bancorp President Sid Dinsdale if he believes polls that show he’s surging.
“I never accepted that I wasn’t right in the hunt but political people seem to say that I’m surging,” he said. “I think I’ve been in the hunt the whole way.”
When asked about his past statement (recorded on video) that he would “always vote to raise the debt limit,” Dinsdale said it was “taken a little out of context” but spending needs to be brought under control.
Pressed on whether he’d always vote to raise the debt limit, Dinsdale said, “I’d look at each circumstance differently.”
“I’d be hard-pressed not to vote to raise the debt ceiling but I’d have to look at each circumstance,” he said.
Former State Treasurer Shane Osborn was asked why so many people have rallied around Sasse when he’s the only candidate with experience in elective office. Osborn said it’s clear the time Sasse spent working in the Bush administration “has paid off.”
Todd asked why he’s made immigration the focus in the closing weeks of the campaign and signed a pledge that would shut down the borders “in a way many in Washington don’t advocate.” Late last week, Osborn slammed Sasse for not signing a pledge to cap legal immigration.
A group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform asks candidates to promise to oppose legislation that would grant work authorization to illegal aliens, increase the overall number of immigrants admitted annually and increase the number of guest workers admitted into the country annually.
Osborn said America should focus on the unemployed Americans first.
“I do not believe in amnesty for illegals,” he said.
The other candidate running in the GOP primary today is Omaha attorney Bart McLeay. The winner of the primary takes on Democrat David Domina in November.
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