“I hate Republicans. I hate Republicans. They are cruel and destructive. They eat their young. They don’t think. They don’t allow people to think. They are bullies.”
“I don’t hate conservatives,” she added. “I am very conservative. I go to church on Sunday. I’m Catholic. I’m pro life.”
Fayard, who is widely considered to be the Democratic frontrunner should she choose to run for governor this fall against Bobby Jindal, immediately drew predictable fire from the GOP. The website The Hayride referred to it as “Caroline Fayard’s Two-Minute Hate,” while state Republican Party chairman Roger Villere Jr. issued a challenge to his Democratic counterpart, Buddy Leach, to denounce the statement. (Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Franck, never a shrinking violet, scoffed at the idea.)
“I don’t have my notes from the speech,” Fayard told Gambit this afternoon, saying she addressed the group “off the cuff.” Asked if she was trying to draw a distinction between popular perceptions of herself as a liberal, or was exaggerating what she perceived as her public persona as a Democrat, she said “I spoke off the cuff, and I don’t remember the exact context. I think it was a contextual issue. Chalk it up to my naivete in politics.”
Fayard, who had an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor last year against Republican Jay Dardenne, previously worked for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, and former president Bill Clinton raised money for her campaign. Today, she says, “I think I’m conservative. I’m against the president [Barack Obama], but I don’t need to see his birth certificate. … I’m a pro life conservative from the Tickfaw, and a registered Democrat.”
As far as her comments — which were likely kindling for talk radio hosts — Fayard said that those who were denouncing her “are probably not the people who want to see me run for governor.”
So she is running?
Fayard laughed. “I’m flattered,” she said, “but I don’t know what I’m doing next.”
“I got exposure to national politics when I worked outside the state, and I didn’t like it and came home. The negative side of the experience,” she added, “is watching people flying over to one side [switching parties] so they can keep their jobs, people in power having secret meetings. I could run for dog catcher and they would make this a national referendum.”
So there’s no chance Fayard would join the exodus from the Democratic party, following Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the dozen or so high-profile Louisiana pols who’ve switched parties to the GOP in recent months?
“I’m not an opportunist,” Fayard said. “I see myself as a conservative, and all I can tell you is that I see myself on the side of working families and middle-class people.”