Primary season is in full swing, and Glenn has spent the last several months highlighting some of the small government, liberty minded candidates who are challenging big government Democrats and Republicans around the country. One such race is underway in Nebraska where two seemingly strong candidates are set to face off in the May 13 primary to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE). FreedomWorks initially endorsed former Nebraska state treasurer Shane Osborn but rescinded that endorsement last month. It then threw its support behind Ben Sasse, who had already been endorsed by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).
On radio this morning, both Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse joined the program in separate interviews to respond to recent criticisms and accusations and to explain why they are the best person for the job.
“We have really never done this before, but we think there are a lot of great candidates all across the country. These are the people we prayed for. These with the people we have worked for, slaved for, fretted over. We have said: Where are the good people? They are all over the country now,” Glen said. “Today we want to highlight Nebraska. And there's two candidates there. We actually like both of them, and you should decide which one you like best. So we'll do an interview with Shane Osborn, then we'll have Ben Sasse on a little later on. So you can compare and say, ‘This is the one I want.’”
In February, former Nebraska state treasurer Shane Osborn spoke to Glenn about his military service, his campaign, and what he believes are the most important issues facing the country. Glenn found himself impressed with Osborn’s stance on the debt, energy independence, and veteran affairs. This morning, Osborn initially came across a bit defensive about reports he is affiliated with progressive Republicans like Mitch McConnell, but he settled in once he started talking about the issues.
Pat asked Osborn to outline some of the differences between he and Sasse. Osborn chose to focus on the work he has done for the people of Nebraska in the past.
“It's not just the military service and putting the country first… In my time as treasurer, I kept my promises. I cut my budget – didn't slow growth – cut it nearly 12% over four years. Never been done in our state – probably any other state. I reduced the staff by over a quarter. I made the office so much more efficient that we won the National Treasury Marquee Award,” Osborn explained. “I brought transparency to Nebraskans. For less than $40,000 and a lot of college interns, we created NebraskaSpending.gov, where Nebraskans can see where the money is being spent. That's thing we need in Washington, D.C. So I'm running on a record of being a proven conservative. I have shrunk government. I know how to do it… Talk is cheap, Glenn. I think actions speak louder than words.”
Glenn found himself agreeing with much of what Osborn had to say about the threat of Russia and the dangers of amnesty as part of an immigration reform bill. But one of the last things Osborn said made Glenn a little uncomfortable.
“One other plug, I have Grover Norquist doing town hall with me at 8:00pm CT. So hopefully, we'll have about 20,000 to 40,000 Nebraskans on that. I am happy to have Grover helping me out,” he said. “I've known [Norquist] for years. I think Americans for tax reform do a lot to help the movement on simplify case. We need a flatter tax code.”
While most Americans know Norquist for his position on tax reform, anyone who is a fan of the program knows Glenn has serious concerns over his connections to Islamists.
“He had me up until [he said], ‘I've got a great thing with Grover,’” Glenn said. “I'm sorry. Grover is everything they have said he is – a very dangerous, bad, bad guy.”
You can learn more about Osborn’s campaign HERE.
After a break, Glenn returned to speak with Ben Sasse. When Glenn spoke to current president of Midland University last month, he referred to Sasse as a man who has “the Constitution running through his veins.” This morning, Sasse responded to some of the allegations waged by Osborn in addition to offering his position on some of the biggest issues facing our country.
Glenn is quite skeptical of the university system, and asked Sasse what differentiates him from, say, Glenn’s favorite president (sarcasm) Woodrow Wilson, who once served as the president of Princeton University.
“Assure me that you are not going to turn into a ‘I know better than everybody else’ kind of
Woodrow Wilson progressive and a guy who doesn't have the experience with the free market system,” Glenn said. “Help me out.”
“Amen. That’s the right kind of skeptical question our founders would relate to,” Sasse said. “I am a college president because I'm at 130-year-old school that was going bankrupt, and I do turn-around stuff, so my background is private sector. And I am in my fifth year as a college president in my hometown is because this special school was closing, and we had a crisis that was big enough that we could fix things. And now we put kids first and we have gone from the brink of bankruptcy to being the fastest growing college in the Midwest right now.”
As Sasse explained, turning things around included recognizing that students are “customers” who “ought to be at the center of institution.” Whether or not those students are learning is “what the school exists to do.
“We don't exist as a jobs program for those among us who have historically been employed there,” Sasse said. “So we had 45 majors and minors, but 84% of the students majored in only about seven departments. So we had 38 departments that were economically unviable. We had some departments that had more professors than kids. You don't need to be a math major to realize that doesn't work. So we had to end tenure at our school.”
With his education background in mind, Glenn asked Sasse where he stands on Common Core.
“I'm opposed to Common Core… It was going to be a voluntary state-based program. Nebraska is, fortunately, one of only nine states that haven't adopted the Common Core standards,” he said. “But ultimately it will be a weapon of political correctness for the government to force certain standards on local communities that are going to be about political correctness and the agenda of the left.”
Glenn couldn’t let Sasse go without asking him the now infamous question: How is your soul?
“You know, I'm a committed Christian. I believe I'm a sinner, and Jesus is my hope and redemption,” he said. “So I feel pretty good about my soul – not because of me, but because I believe in what Christ has done for me. So it's good.”
You can learn more about Sasse’s campaign HERE.
“That was like a debate,” Stu concluded of the back-to-back interviews. “We almost had like a debate on the air for the last hour, except they were separate from each other. That was fun.”