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Update (3:30 p.m.): Borrowing a page from the how-to-break-bad-news manual drafted by countless apologetic executives this year, Sen. Ben Nelson announced his decision "to step away from elective office" and not run for re-election in 2012 in a YouTube video. The video's title, "What's Next," asks a question about Nelson's future that the Senator answers in this key quote: "It's time to move on." In other words, not much is next for Ben Nelson:

Original Post: Sen. Ben Nelson is scheduled to announce his retirement later today at "a press conference back home in Nebraska," Politico reports. News of Nelson's retirement comes after Republicans have taken him to task with the help of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ads smearing the second-term senator. Politico's John Bresnahan admits, "The 70-year-old Nelson was considered one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents this cycle." One could argue that Ben Nelson's departure will actually give the Democrats an even better chance of holding on to that valuable seat, one of 23 up for grabs in 2012, but given recent efforts by the White House and top Senate Democrats to keep Nelson from retiring suggests that his party would rather him run as an incumbent than risk propping up a mystery candidate. Twitter sort of freaked out about the news, making "Ben Nelson" a trending topic in the United States within the first hour of the news breaking. Meanwhile, reporters are already starting with the analysis, both serious:


Ben nelson retiring not only a blow to dems - makes nebraska likely go repub - losing a rare remaining mod will make a more polarized senate

Dec 27 via Twitter for BlackBerry®FavoriteRetweetReply
 


And not-so-serious:

warren buffett lives in nebraska. just sayin.
Dec 27 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply


FInally, Sam Stein's boss was just plain excited about the news:

All hail Ben Nelson: he will not seek re-election. Hallelujah! http://t.co/h7AFT6cW
Dec 27 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

 

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