Omaha, NE.—Gov. Pete Ricketts should have “watched that video” before releasing it.
That’s just part of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Krist’s first public and on-camera comments regarding three videos and charges by the Nebraska Republican Party that Krist, a state senator for the past ten years, has a drinking problem and has been drinking on the job.
(See Joe’s On Camera Interview with Sen. Krist Above).
In an exclusive interview with News Channel Nebraska, Krist vehemently denied the charges and added:
“There is no secret that the governor is the highest elected official in the Republican Party and as such is the quasi-leadership. If I put myself in his position I certainly, if I was going to make that kind of accusation against a man that I once called a friend and also have his family go through what mine did, I certainly would have watched that video and made sure that I wanted to go forward with it.
Joe Jordan, NCN: Have you ever been inebriated—drunk—on the clock for the State of Nebraska?
Krist: Absolutely not. I think you’ve seen my colleagues stand up and tell you that and I would tell you something else— and I won’t throw anybody under the bus— but there is a rule in the State Capitol that there is no alcohol to be had. I’ve never had a bottle in my bottom right-hand drawer and I’ll leave it at that.
Joe Jordan, NCN: Do you have a drinking problem?
Krist: Absolutely not. I live my life in and out of the cockpit where crew rest meant everything—12 hours bottle to throttle—that kind of thing. I’ve been in the desert with no alcohol for years on end serving my country and if I had a drinking problem I certainly wouldn’t have been able to make it through that.
According to the Nebraska Republican Party, the videos they released two weeks ago show Krist drinking on the job. A GOP spokesman added, “Nebraska voters deserve to know the facts surrounding Sen. Krist’s drinking habits.” A News Channel Nebraska review of the videos found no obvious drinking as a Krist spokesman called the attack “a new low in Nebraska politics.
In an exclusive interview with News Channel Nebraska, Ricketts acknowledged he knew about the videos before they were released but did not want to comment on them.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: The Nebraska Republican Party, your Party, they’re putting out these videos they say help allege that Sen. Krist drank on the job. But the videos don’t seem to show him drinking. What are your thoughts on that?
Gov. Ricketts: Well, I haven’t seen the videos so I really can’t comment on it, Joe.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Do you think Sen. Krist has a drinking problem? Should that be an issue in this campaign?
Gov. Ricketts: Again, I haven’t seen the videos Joe so I really can’t tell you.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Is the possibility of him drinking an issue in the campaign? Put the videos aside.
Gov. Ricketts: I’ve been talking about the things that I think Nebraskans want to hear about in regards to growing our state, the things we’ve been doing over the past three-and-a-half plus years to grow Nebraska and that’s what I plan to continue talking about.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Did you have any pre-knowledge of those videos going out?
Gov. Ricketts: Well I knew that they had videos on him but like I said I haven’t even seen them myself.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Since (the videos) are such an integral part of what is going on right now between the Nebraska GOP and Sen. Krist should you take a look at (the videos) and see what they are and maybe weigh in?
Gov. Ricketts: Well, I think I’m going to continue to focus on talking about what we’ve done for Nebraska over the last three-and-a-half years. That’s what we’re focusing on, all the things we’ve done to grow Nebraska in regards to providing that property tax relief, making it easier to do business, the international relationships we’ve developed to be able to grow our trade opportunities. All those are things that help us grow our state. That’s what I’m going to focus on.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: So you won’t be looking at the videos?
Gov. Ricketts: I don’t have any plans to no.
As we previously reported the videos were shot last spring at Billy’s Restaurant down the street from the Nebraska State Capitol.
Here’s what NCN found:
Video 1: Krist and fellow State Sen. Burke Harr are sitting across from each other talking. In the 1-minute and nine seconds Krist never takes a drink…of anything.
Video 2: Krist is behind a bar and it’s not clear what he’s doing (the GOP says he’s pouring himself “another drink.”) But he walks away and out of camera shot never taking a drink…of anything…in the 29 seconds of video.
Video 3: Krist is walking to his car and puts what appears to be a cup on the roof as he opens the back door, takes off his jacket and places the jacket inside. He then takes the item off the top of the car, opens the driver door, gets inside and drives off. In the 51 seconds of video there is no clear view of Krist taking a drink…of anything.