Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., says he has been “friendly over the fence” with his Capitol Hill neighbor, Grover Norquist, and that the conservative activist even helped fix some bricks on his walkway a few years ago.
But don’t expect to see the two men chumming it up at their next block party, given the barbs flying between them recently.
News outlets have been noting that many Republicans who signed Norquist’s famous anti-tax pledge are now distancing themselves from the activist and saying that they are open to a budget deal that includes increased tax revenues.
In a recent interview with CNN, Norquist went after Nelson, suggesting the senator opted to retire because his support of the new health care law made it impossible for him to win re-election.
“He also got elected taking the pledge, said he would not raise taxes, but did raise taxes when he voted for Obamacare, there are 20 different taxes there, many of them directly on the middle class and . . . he couldn’t win so he decided not to run because he’d broken his commitment,” Norquist told CNN.
In an interview with the World-Herald, Nelson criticized Norquist for trying to use the pledge for his own gain and position himself as a political power broker.
“His true colors are showing through, quite honestly, and his fall from power is going to be loud,” Nelson told the World-Herald. “I just live two doors away and I don’t want him to be too loud and interrupt my sleep.”
Nelson noted Norquist’s recent criticisms of him and said:
“On Halloween we had to have security to make sure he didn’t come down to soap my windows,” he said.