Turns out Harry Reid just kind of forced the money into his hands, you see.

“Three senators came up to me just now on the (Senate) floor, and said, ‘Now we understand what you did. We’ll be seeking this funding too‘,” Nelson said.

But the Democratic senator, who has faced a heap of criticism for appearing to trade his vote on health care for millions in federal Medicaid money, said he’s considering asking that the Nebraska deal be stripped from the bill.

Though he defended the exemption as a “fair deal,” he said he never asked for the full federal funding that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ended up granting his state. Nelson said he instead asked that states be allowed to refuse an expansion of Medicaid.

“This is the way Senate leadership chose to handle it. I never asked for 100 percent funding,” he said.

Nelson has maintained that the only reason he even brought up Medicaid was that Nebraska Republican Gov. Dave Heineman put him up to it.

See what happened here? This guy thought this was politics as usual, that the Medicaid stocking stuffer for Nebraska would cushion the blow of a yes on cloture. Instead it made him look like a bribe-peddler who’d vote for an awful bill and sell out on something as morally grave as abortion in return for a cheap earmark. (As Ed noted, even DNC TV feels clammy about it.) Worse, it gave all the other pigs the idea to come running to the trough, with Politico now hailing Nelson’s deal as something that will almost singlehandedly raise the bar for legislative buyoffs going forward. Never mind those “Joker” posters: When even a bridge-buildin’ RINO like Lindsey Graham is calling you “sleazy” on national television, the writing is on the wall. So now he’s trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Too late, too late.

Here’s his pal Tom Harkin using his own moment on national television to inform the hoi polloi that they shouldn’t sweat the “small stuff.” Click the image to watch.

harkin-small

Update: I doubt anything will come of this, but as anti-ObamaCare PR, it’s simply awesome. Godspeed, McMaster:

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said Tuesday that he intends to organize his counterparts in different states to investigate dealmaking that sealed a final compromise on federal health care legislation.

McMaster was asked by South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint review how Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson was able to spare his state higher Medicaid costs as the Democrat held out for perks for his state in the mammoth bill…

“In my judgment,“ said McMaster, “Democrats and Republicans alike from every state in the union should be outraged by this deal.”