While Democratic officials have been slow to confirm news that Bob Kerrey is changing his mind and jumping into the Nebraska Senate race, Republicans are seizing on the story to mock the current head of New York's New School, especially for having all too recently backed away from a run.
"Earlier today, the Washington Post broke the news that three weeks after New York City resident Bob Kerrey told Nebraskans that he was putting his family first and staying in his beloved Greenwich Village home, he has had a sudden change of heart and has decided to run for the U.S. Senate," Rob Jesmer, director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote in a lengthy memo to the press. He wondered if Senate Democratic leaders had to offer Kerrey some sort of sweetheart deal.
Besides noting Kerrey's current hometown, Jesmer pointed out that Kerrey had declared New York "my city" when he considered running for mayor in 2005.
Jesmer also pointed to past Kerrey comments on health care reform that Republicans think make him too liberal for Nebraska, such as when Kerrey said in 2009, "It isn’t just because I live in Greenwich Village now –- the longer I live here, the further to the left I get on health care."
The Republican release also liked Kerrey's recent assessment of the state of politics in the Cornhusker State:
The NRSC finds itself in a rare area of agreement with Bob Kerrey when he told his hometown newspaper the New York Times recently, "[Nebraska] is a very Republican, very conservative state. I'm going to have much bigger problems if I run in Nebraska than whether or not I've been living there for the last 11 years." And as he also told the Associated Press, "I would say if you bet ... you'd have to bet against me. ... I've been away 11 Years. I'm a Democrat. Obama's going to top the ticket, and he's probably going to be unpopular. So I'd say the odds are probably not good."
"Bob Kerrey isn't just far more liberal than many of his friends in Washington -- he also has far more serious electability problems than Ben Nelson ever did," concluded Jesmer, referring to the retiring Democratic senator. "We look forward to Senator Kerrey's candidacy."
A Kerrey strategist did not immediately answer a request for comment.
UPDATE: 6:40 p.m. -- Paul Johnson, Kerrey's former campaign manger, said it is still an open question as to whether Kerrey would run. "Bob Kerrey is reconsidering his earlier decision but has not made a decision," Johnson said in an email.