Wednesday, March 11, 2009

David Vitter: Rage Against the Airport Machine

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 3:38 PM

The subscription-only newsletter Roll Call has a story this morning about Sen. David Vitter and an alleged tantrum he pitched last week at Washington D.C.'s Dulles airport. Seems the senator was tardy for his flight back to MSY and found the door to the jetway locked with the plane still at the gate, whereupon he proceeded to open it....

After setting off the security alarm, the Louisiana senator proceeded to dress down an airline employee who told him entering the restricted area was forbidden. He invoked his standing as a senator, delivering a "do-you-know-who-I-am" tirade, the paper said.

The airline worker then announced he was going to summon security.

"Vitter, according to the witness, remained defiant, yelling that the employee could call the police if he wanted to and their supervisors, who, presumably, might be more impressed with his Senator's pin," the paper's Heard on the Hill column noted. "But after talking a huffy big game, Vitter apparently thought better of pushing the confrontation any further. When the gate attendant left to find a security guard, Vitter turned tail and simply fled the scene."

The paper joked that Vitter, 47, had joined the "mile-low club," and said that there's a "proud tradition" of US lawmakers devolving into temper tantrums at airports.

Reached for comment by Roll Call, Vitter's spokeperson did not dispute the incident.

The lesson here: When it comes to federal airport law, no one gets special pampering.

UPDATE: Vitter in a statement this morning:

"After being delayed on the Senate floor ensuring a vote on my anti-pay-raise amendment and in a rush to make my flight home for town hall meetings the next day, I accidentally went through a wrong door at the gate. I did have a conversation with an airline employee, but it was certainly not like this silly gossip column made it out to be."

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