Sen. Ben Nelson Buys Airtime In Nebraska To Defend Health Care Vote

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Sen. Ben Nelson will defend his support for the health care bill to Nebraska voters in a new political television ad tonight – even though he won’t face them again until November 2012.

Nelson says the health care plan will not create a government-run system and lowers the deficit, and boasted of his role in improving the bill, saying he did so because “I listened to you.”

The Lincoln Journal-Star got a look at Nelson’s 30-second ad, which will air tonight during the Holiday Bowl game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Arizona Wildcats.

The newspaper reported that he speaks straight to the camera and says he wanted voters to hear from him instead of listen to “distortions” about the debate.“I’m convinced this is right for Nebraska,” Nelson says in the ad, according to the Journal-Star.

Nelson, whose reelection seems vulnerable at this early stage, has been pressured by Nebraska’s Republican governor, prolife organizations and liberal advocacy groups for months.

The Journal-Star reported the ad will continue to air statewide after tonight.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent around the story and polls showing Nelson’s support has declined.

“It’s clear Ben Nelson is in full-scale damage control mode but when you consider that only 17% of Nebraskans support the Democrats’ bill, it’s hard to see how a TV ad is going to turn things around for him politically,” said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. “In fact, it could arguably make things worse by serving to remind his constituents that he betrayed their values and the trust they placed in him.”

Walsh added: “Ben Nelson may not be up until 2012, but this poll is a reminder about the serious peril facing other incumbent Democrats next year including Blanche Lincoln, Harry Reid and Michael Bennet, who also represent states in which the health care bill is similarly unpopular.”

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