Friday, June 18, 2010
Duane Acklie--An American Story
One week ago some 400 Nebraskans gathered at the Embassy Suites in LaVista to honor Duane Acklie. Duane is a man of tremendous character, integrity and humility, and for this reason the Nebraska Republican Party saluted him. The event was a tremendous success and may have set a new fundraising record for the NEGOP.
For those who don't know Duane, he was one of Nebraska's finest attorneys when he founded Crete Carrier Corporation and soon thereafter began serving as its President/CEO. Duane and his lovely wife Phyl subsequently built Crete Carrier into one of the nation's largest trucking companies. Duane has served our nation as President of the USO, Chairman of Sallie Mae, U.S. Senior Advisor to the United Nations. and as our National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee.
I want to personally thank Duane and Phyl for all they have done for our state and our nation. Duane has been a personal mentor of mine, and for that I am personally grateful.
Helping us honor Duane was Karl Rove, who did a great job expanding on the themes in his new book "Courage and Consequence." Few Nebraskans realize that Rove ran Mrs. Haven Smith's successful initial bid for Congress (that's Congresswoman Virginia Smith for those not familiar with history). He did an excellent job defining the differences between today's Democrats and Republicans and why the 2010 elections are so important.
A great event for a great man. Thanks Duane for allowing us to honor you and your service!
EPILOGUE: On Saturday after the Salute to Duane Acklie I had the pleasure of taking Karl Rove to the Millard Airport. When we arrived, an airplane crew stepped through the door and we asked, "Are you here for us?" They kindly replied, "No, we're here for Senator Nelson." Rove, being the consummate prankster, decided we need to make signs to hold up for Senator Ben Nelson's arrival. So Rove grabbed a Sharpie and a couple of pieces of paper, writing "WELCOME BENATOR" on one (Sen. Nelson's moniker courtesy of President Bush) and "Have a Great CORNHUSKER day" on the other--a clear and intentional reference to Nelson's Cornhusker Kickback. All good-natured ribbing by Rove. By the time Rove's plane arrived and I left Senator Nelson had not yet arrived, but I'm confident he received these notes. Sadly for him, these are not the only communications he will receive from me and those we work with over the next couple of years as we fight to return this Senate seat to hands of Nebraska voters.