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Sasse rally: Big names promise leaner governmentTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
Ben Sasse and Breck
Photo by George Lauby
Kay Orr
Photo by George Lauby
Mike Lee
Photo by George Lauby
Ted Cruz
Photo by George Lauby
Sasse makes a point
Photo by George Lauby
Palin pumps her fist (click on images to enlarge)
Photo by George Lauby
Enthusiastic hands reach out to Palin
Photo by George Lauby
Palin and Sasse meet the crowd.
Photo by George Lauby
Line of support
Photo by George Lauby
Sarah Palin

Backed by patriotic music and flanked by Sarah Palin, Senate candidate Ben Sasse told a cheering North Platte crowd Friday that people need to secure their inalienable right to liberty.

Sasse recalled the American Revolution, when colonists overthrew the British monarchy and created a nation where individual rights are paramount.

Sasse, 41, is surging in a hard-fought race for the U.S. Senate.

He has drawn personal support from Palin as well as former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr and Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, all of whom appeared in the biggest political rally in North Platte since President Ronald Reagan visited in 1987.

About 800 people attended the rally, which was held at Scout's Rest Ranch at Buffalo Bill State Historical Park. 

The speakers promised to battle for a more positive Republican party that fights for individual rights and less government despite the influence of Washington, D.C.  


“We are engaged in a fierce struggle with our opponents,” said Orr, who arranged for Reagan’s visit 26 years ago.

“We are the government,” Orr said to shouts of agreement. “We need to elect good men and women at every level.”

"We are the 'yes' party," she said. "We can solve problems. We can live together as a country."



Lee represents Utah. He is a relative newcomer in Washington, elected in 2010. He is a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito. He said he doesn’t endorse a candidate unless they demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.

He said Sasse and Cruz both passed his test.

Lee said government needs to create a better environment to create jobs.

“The government can’t create jobs, but it can stifle them with regulations,” he said. “We have to redefine the conservative movement. We have to rebuild our party. We have to put forward solutions.”

"In D.C., they refer to Nebraska and Wyoming as flyover country,” Lee said. “This is not flyover country. This is America, a place where you can be born in poverty and die wealthy. Most wealthy people recall a time when their families were poor.”

Lee put down Obamacare.

"Do you like Obamacare?" he asked, evoking a resounding “No!”

"Do you want to repeal Obamacare?" he asked, to which the crowd shouted “Yes!”

Sasse “has read it. He knows how to repeal it and how to put you back in charge of your heath care,” Lee said.



“God bless America,” Cruz shouted as he took the stage.

“Liberty is under attack, he said as he paced across the stage. "The Constitution is under attack. The American dream is under attack. What we are doing is not working. We are violating the rights of one another.”

“Thunder is coming,” Cruz quipped as wind blew across his microphone. “The IRS is asking groups what books they read; what is the content of their prayers? The government has no business asking anyone about the content of their prayers."

Cruz, another Washington newcomer, was elected in 2012. He spoke up for the Bill of Rights.

" In Nebraska and Texas, gun control is hitting what you’re aiming at,” he said.

And, he took a swipe at the NSA records of telephone conversations, asking everyone to leave their cell phones on, “so President Obama hears everything we say today.”

“An awakening is sweeping the country,” Cruz said. “We are awaking from our slumbers. We want our freedoms back. 2014 will be a good year (for Republicans), and 2016 will be even better.”

Cruz, and Sasse, both criticized incumbent politicians.

“The biggest divide is not between political parties, but between entrenched politicians of both parties and the American people,” Cruz said. “Ben Sasse has the courage to say to political bosses, ‘I don’t work for you. I work for the people of the state of Nebraska.’”

Cruz encouraged everyone to contact 9 friends and family members and urge them to vote for Sasse.  



Palin, introduced as the original momma grizzly, said she is happy that Lee and Cruz are in Washington “fighting the battle.”

“We need to send in reinforcements to turn things around,” she said.

Crediting Kay Orr as the first Republican governor in the United States, Palin said Nebraskan’s work ethic “feeding the world” is apparent. She said Sasse is a 5th generation Nebraskan, a family man who understands values.

Palin spoke up for Sasse’s wife, Melissa.

“People get tired of this joke, but I like to tell it anyway,” she said. “Behind every good man is a surprised woman.”

Palin said she understands compassion, but political fights get brutal.

"We don’t need more go along to get along Republicans,” she said. “We need a balanced budget. We need Washington to prioritize spending with the priorities of the people. We need government on our side, not on our backs. We don’t work for the government. The government works for us. That has been turned around. We need a smaller government, and a bigger ‘we the people.’”



Sasse took the stage carrying his three year old, Breck, who carried a toy rifle.

He said he started the race with three campaign workers and 3% name recognition in a poll, which had a 5% margin of error.

He built support by holding town halls across the state, talking about the regulations of Obamacare, the importance of the Constitution, the meaning of America, and how to put the country back on track.

Now he has 15 campaign workers and major endorsements.

Sasse believes that Lincoln County and places all across the state are the center of the world, not Washington D.C.

“Government doesn’t give you your rights,” he said. “God gives us our rights. We need your voice and votes for a constitutional recovery.”

“We have too many Republicans who like Washington to be in charge,” he said. “It turns out that Republican lobbyists like our system. Six of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States are near Washington, D.C., where the lobbyists live. That is not the vision of our founders.”

Quoting Regan from his 1987 visit to North Platte, Sasse said “I come to North Platte because I have an important message about America’s future. It is as big and wide open as the Nebraska horizon. It is as big and independent as a Nebraska ranch. It is as big and resilient as a Nebraska farmer."

Sasse was answered with rousing applause.

As he and his supporters filed offstage, someone in the crowd shouted “Cruz in 2016,” bringing a smile from Cruz. Then the speakers filed past the front of the stage, shaking hands and signing autographs. Sasse and Palin stood shoulder to shoulder.

At the exit, campaign workers invited people to contribute to the campaign.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/25/2014
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