Charlie Melancon

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Politico: Charlie Melancon leaves lobbyist job after fewer than 4 months

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Chris Frates, Politico:

Well that was fast. Former Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) is leaving his spot as the International Franchise Association’s top lobbyist, a position he took in February, “to pursue business opportunities related to his broad experience in Washington and Louisiana,” IFA spokeswoman Alisa Harrison told PI in an email. Judith Thorman of the American Beverage Association replaces Melancon as senior vice president, government relations and public policy.

Melancon joined IFA after an unsuccessful run for Senate and oversaw the trade association’s political, lobbying, grassroots and PAC strategy. “This is something that was his choice, a mutual decision, and something he wanted to do,” Harrison told PI in an interview. “He had a desire to get back (to Louisiana) and try to pursue some business opportunities that he has there.”

Don't know any more than that. Meanwhile, why not enjoy a replay of one of the many testy moments between Melancon and Sen. David Vitter at last October's face-to-face televised debate? (The "David, you've never had family values" line kicks in at 2:00.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tonight: Bryan Batt at Tulane

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Bryan Batt
  • Courtesy Justina Batchelor
  • Bryan Batt

New Orleans native, stage and television actor, author, business owner, philanthropist and all-around nice guy Bryan Batt appears at Tulane University tonight as part of the John J. Witmeyer III ’68 Dean’s Colloquia speaker series.

When I spoke with him in May (here, too), the future of his Mad Men character Salvatore Romano — who was fired in the show's third season —¬†was unknown, as show creator Matt Weiner is notoriously secretive with upcoming plot developments. The fourth season of Mad Men ended a month ago with no reprisal of Sal, but perhaps there's hope for the fifth season. Maybe Batt has some developments he's able to share tonight. Either way, the always amusing Batt will likely have a lot to say.

Batt speaks tonight at 6 p.m. in Tulane's Kendall Cram Room, located in the Lavin-Bernick Center (the place with the Taco Bell). Visit http://college.tulane.edu/jazzrat.htm for more details.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WWL-TV: Vitter 50%, Melancon 38%

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 9:37 AM

A telephone poll of 700 likely voters conducted last Thursday through Sunday by WWL-TV found that David Vitter is leading Charlie Melancon by more than 10 points in the Senate election to be decided Nov. 2:

Vitter received 50 percent of the vote, to Melancon’s 38 percent. None of the other 10 candidates in the race scored more than one point. Eight percent of those questioned said they were still undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.

Pollster Dr. Ron Faucheux said the poll shows two contrary forces competing against each other.

“On one hand you have 50 percent of the state's voters who are resistant on one level or another to reelecting David Vitter,” Faucheux said. “On the other hand, you have almost 60 percent of the state's voters who are resistant at one level or another to electing a Democrat to the Senate.”

Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos also discussed how Vitter's opponent in the race isn't Melancon; it's President Barack Obama, who remains unpopular statewide:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Debate club!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 2:17 PM

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Hey New Orleans voters! Have David Vitter and Charlie Melancon's dueling ads left you confused? Intrigued? Exasperated? Or are you just a debate junkie? Well, you're in luck — the Senate candidates will be participating in two live debates on the New Orleans airwaves this week. The first is Wed. Oct. 27 on WDSU-TV beginning at 6 pm, and the second will be aired on WWL-TV Thursday night at 6 pm. (If you're not near a TV but would like to follow along, we'll be live-tweeting it all on Gambit's Twitter feed.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Vitter's latest attack ad

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Republican Sen. David Vitter, taking a cue from Sharon Angle, introduced his latest ad ("Welcome Prize"), targeting democratic opponent Charlie Melancon on immigration. From Team Vitter:

I launched a new TV ad highlighting Charlie Melancon’s record of voting to make it easier for illegal immigrants to get taxpayer-funded benefits and welfare. Melancon even voted against allowing police to arrest illegal immigrants.

Thanks to Washington liberals like Charlie Melancon, we might as well put out a welcome sign at our borders.

I believe in a legal immigration process for those who want to pursue the American dream. But Charlie Melancon's votes making it easy for illegals to get taxpayer-funded benefits, highlighted in the ad, are offensive to me and many, many Louisianians.

I also strongly support Arizona’s new law that gets tough on illegal immigration. As the chairman and founder of the U.S. Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus, I’ll continue to fight hard against any use of your tax dollars for welfare for illegals.

Here's the ad:

Aside from the ad's obvious race-baiting ("Dirty brown people are stealing from you, America!"), it's also, well, totally misleading, or backwards. Melancon voted against allowing illegal immigrants from owning or renting properties built from affordable housing funds, and the "welfare check" bit refers to this, which is designed so illegal immigrants don't receive the Earned Income Tax Credit — which was introduced by Republicans. As for the police, it's a non-issue. "Illegal immigration enforcer" isn't in their job description anyway.

And then there's this, from Team Melancon: "Illegal immigration is a threat to our communities and a burden on our local governments. We must do something to solve this problem," he said in a statement announcing his support of the Save America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act.

Melancon also voted in favor of a border fence and to make being in the U.S. illegally a felony. On immigration, Vitter and Melancon are, or should be, BFFs. So who, or what, is Vitter really after on this? Poking at his emotional homebase fearing job loss? Yes.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Senator Mary Landrieu, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, Gulf Coast Officials Launch "Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Sen. Mary Landrieu joined U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon and other Gulf Coast leaders at the downtown Marriott hotel this afternoon to launch the "Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition," a broad-based lobbying and public relations effort to attract federal compensation and defense spending to the region in the wake of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The senator was ushered off to her next appointment without taking questions. The press kit for the event was short on details but said the coalition was "committed to building a better tomorrow for the innumerable families, workers, suppliers, manufacturers, and small and large businesses within the region."
Its economic development initiatives include securing a $40 billion federal government contract for EADS North America to build a KC-45 Real Tanker (pictured) in Mobile, Ala.

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Ready 4 Takeoff — get it?

"There's going to be a significant amount of money paid to the federal government in the aftermath of the spill," Landrieu said in prepared remarks. "And our congressional group is claiming that 80 percent of that money be spent in the Gulf of Mexico region. Whether it's $5 billion or $20 billion, depending on if the courts find BP simply or grossly negligent, we're going to spend that money from Florida to Texas.
"BP is going to replace every blade of grass, every fish destroyed, every pelican oiled, and we are going to hold BP accountable."
The other politicians and commerce leaders from Mississippi, Florida and Alabama talked in similarly broad terms about BP being made to pay, but were also short on specifics when it came to defense spending, even though the coalition's members include Airbus Americas, which is owned by EADS North America and stands to benefit directly from the tanker contract.
In addition to the refueling jet, the initiative seeks to push the federal government to purchase more Gulf Coast seafood for military and school contracts, accelerate revenue sharing from offshore oil and gas development, and acquire federal money for projects like the U.S. High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program in Alabama and Mississippi.
The roundabout nature of the rhetoric stood in contrast to the specific request for a $40 billion defense contract.
"We're talking to each other, building relationships and coalitions," Mobile Mayor Sam Jackson said after Landrieu had left the building.
"People are scared of what they can't see, and what they don't know,"  Melancon said. "It's important the message gets out to people that the beaches are open and the seafood is safe to eat."
Again, no mention of the military jets being safe to refuel. But you can sign the petition online, if you're interested.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Melancon releases first TV commercial of Senate campaign

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 9:09 PM

On Aug. 6, Sen. David Vitter, who is facing a tough reelection fight this fall, sent out an email with the subject line MUD ALERT! — outlining what he said were connections between his Democratic opponent, Rep. Charlie Melancon, and his eleventh-hour Republican opponent, north Louisiana's Chet Traylor, whom he described as "nothing more than a tool and stalking horse for Charlie Melancon." But it was a line later in the sixth paragraph of the email that seemed to indicate Vitter thought something was about to drop soon: "Vicious attacks are about to start," he wrote, "and Charlie Melancon is clearly behind the push." Elsewhere in the email, Vitter wrote, "And this Melancon led Republican Primary operation will start vicious attacks against me as early as Tuesday."

Well, it's Tuesday — and today Melancon released the first TV commercial of the campaign (which will not be running in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge TV markets):

"I'm Charlie Melancon, and I approved this message because David Vitter hasn't been honest with Louisiana," it begins. Not nice, perhaps -- but "vicious attack"?

Vitter concluded his email with "More details to follow soon." We'll see — and we'll see which camp they come from

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sticking to His Script

Posted By on Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 3:43 PM

[This is an updated version of my Gambit column that will appear in the July 13 issue. It is updated because former Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor qualified against David Vitter after the dead-tree edition of Gambit went to print.]

David Vitter is sticking with what works. When Louisiana’s embattled U.S. senator qualified for re-election on July 7, he dodged questions about his latest self-inflicted scandal and instead offered reporters a familiar refrain: that his chief Democratic opponent, Congressman Charlie Melancon, is too supportive of President Barack Obama.

Vitter’s tack showed that he hasn’t lost his touch for sidestepping scandals. No matter what the issue, no matter how embarrassing the question, Vitter sticks to his talking points. So far, that approach has served him well. He consistently led Melancon in pre-qualifying polls.

But now the race is on, and Vitter won’t be able to hide without putting his early lead at risk. In fact, he drew a respected Republican opponent in the final moments of qualifying when retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor of Monroe entered the GOP primary against Vitter. Traylor’s north Louisiana base, which is home to many Christian conservatives, normally would be Vitter territory, but voters there who are not quite comfortable with the senator’s “serious sin” — and his failure to forthrightly address his character issues — now have an alternative. It remains to be seen how aggressively Traylor will campaign, and whether he will out Vitter as a hypocrite and a coward.

National analysts have already declared this race a likely win for the GOP. They may wind up being right, but hotly contested statewide races in Louisiana tend to be close, no matter what the early polls show.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Conservative challenger to David Vitter has an arf-fully interesting side business

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Mike Spears created waves in Louisiana Republican circles yesterday when he announced he would be running for the Senate seat now held by David Vitter -- as an independent and "constitutional conservative." Spears' announcement was carried in many Louisiana newspapers (including The Times-Picayune), and he was interviewed on Fox News Radio affiliate KVOL-AM.

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Spears, a former Louisiana National Guardsman, is now a Lafayette-based entrepreneur who runs his own Web development company, Firefly Digital. He told Gambit this morning, "When we try to reach out to Washington, nobody seems to respond. They continue to do things contrary to the will of the American people. I am running as an independent, not as a representative of the Tea Party. What I am saying is that my ideals and beliefs are consistent with the Tea Party, and it’s an affiliation I’m proud to say I’m a part of."

Spears also took a swipe at Vitter in print when he condemned last week's decision by a U.S. federal judge finding the National Day of Prayer to be unconstitutional, writing on the Louisiana political website The Hayride:

Last week a Federal judge ruled the National Day of Prayer, unconstitutional. This is an attack on the Constitution. Where is Senator Vitter, or any of the other Republicans in Congress on this issue? Our Congressmen must defend the Constitution at all costs. It is the foundation, the wellspring of our liberties and freedom. Today, its the National Day of Prayer. Tomorrow it may be the right to private property or the right to bear arms.

In the "About Mike" section of his website, Spears also spelled out his biography while making some not-so-oblique references to Vitter's "very serious sin":

Mike Spears is a devoted husband, entrepreneur, successful small business owner and dedicated community leader. Alarmed at the corruption and irresponsible behavior of sitting Congressmen, Mike has decided to take a stand and is running for U.S. Senate ....

Like many Americans Mike has proven himself a successful innovator and small business owner. His credibility is strengthened by an impressive portfolio of relevant community service work. Mike’s arrival in Washington is sure to shake-up the political “status quo.”

Omitted from the entrepreneurial resume on his election site was one of Spears' side businesses, one more colorful than that of Web provider: Spears owns a company called Molle Tache, where he calls himself "The Dog Designer."

Molle Tache (French for 'soft spot') sells high-end pet furniture and fashions "fitting for any dog's home, personality and lifestyle," and Spears has written that his dream as The Dog Designer is to have his own reality show and become the "host of an wildly popular dog style and fashion TV program."

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A June 2008 profile of Spears in the Lafayette weekly The Independent mentions that Spears does all the design and manufacturing for Molle Teche himself, including the "Stage Coach" dog bed ($28,500) and the "Queen's Obsession" ($18,500), "a four poster bed with a Swarovski crystal chandelier."

The Dog Designer's couture pieces includes canine clothing lines with names like "The Little Socialite Collection" (a sleeveless dog gown with "ruffled accents on the collar and skirt and pearl buttons along the back line"), the "EuroStyle," "Dress Blues," and "Lace Formal" ("It's exquisite and charming, playful and elegant. It's exactly what a sophisticated dog requires for any affair, particularly one in your honor! The Lace Formal features a well-fitted jacked, layered laced over satin with prim lace trimmings, adorned with Victorian buttons along the back. Underneath is a delicate ruffled blouse, with a lace collar").

Spears (who, along with wife Ilse, has five dogs, all rescue animals) laughed when asked about his alternate identity as the Dog Designer. "I was one of those guys who watched This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop," he said. "Once I had my own workshop, then I got these 2 little Yorkies, and taught myself how to do upholstery and build furniture." Spears said his life as the Dog Designer was a side business and hobby that's been shelved, partially due to the recession: "They take so much time to do that I have to price them outrageously. I’ve sold quite a few smaller pieces, but the larger pieces -- I haven’t sold any," and added he's also put aside hopes of hosting a reality show: "All that sort of stuff sort of died when the recession hit. I recognized I didn’t have the time or resources into that venture."

Spears says he's now concentrating on national politics, and strategizing about how to compete with the war chests already built up by the leading contenders in the race, Vitter and Rep. Charlie Melancon. He says his campaign will likely be funded by small individual donations: "I don’t want to ally my campaign with special interests. We have adopted a Pledge of Fidelity regardless of the source of our contributions."

Above all, Spears added, is his concern for the U.S. Constitution and America's future: "I just recently got married and we’re planning on having kids, and I look at their future -- the way things are changing now -- and it worries me." But he's hopeful about his campaign.

"We thought we’d have a slow start, but our original launch and our press conference generated a lot of stir," Spears said, adding he hadn't heard much from Melancon supporters yet. "But I have seen a lot of commentary from the strong Vitter supporters, and the feeling is: 'Finally. Wow. We have a choice."

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stormy's got a new Web site

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 7:48 PM

It was almost a year ago when Baton Rouge-born porn star Stormy Daniels announced she was "exploring" the notion of running for Congress against Sen. David Vitter this November. Since then, Congressman Charlie Melancon has entered the race, but Daniels has teased and teased, making public appearances (clothed and unclothed), but offering nothing ... firm as to her decision.

Last week, Daniels -- whose grasp of the publicity pole is unmatched -- issued a statement saying she was switching her political allegiance from Independent to Republican, and offering a unique reason for doing so:

After months of careful deliberation and consult as to the true nature of my political affiliation I am ready today to declare that should I seek the office of US Senator from the great state of Louisiana that I will do so as a Republican.

While this decision has not been an easy one, recent events regarding Republican National Committee fundraising at Voyeur, an LA based lesbian bondage themed nightclub, finally tipped the scales.

As I have said for well over a year, it is time that our government and our tax policy begin rewarding entrepreneurship and creativity again. It is time again to inspire positive risks and out-of-the-box thinking in the interest of growing a strong economy and a strong America.

For me, this spirit can be summed up in the RNC’s investment of donor funds at Voyeur.

As someone who has worked extensively in both the club and film side of the Adult Entertainment Industry, I know from experience that a mere $1900 outlay at a club with the reputation of Voyeur is a clear indication of a frugal investment with a keen eye toward maximum return.

Naturally, all this tongue-in-cheek drollery isn't sitting well with the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

“It’s been clear for months, and evidence bears it out, that this is nothing but a shameless PR stunt engineered by Democrat Party operatives with connections to the Melancon campaign," said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. He added, "Charlie Melancon and his campaign operatives owe voters in Louisiana an apology, as do media outlets like The Associated Press who have given ink to this nonsense at a time when there are so many important issues facing the state of Louisiana and our country.”

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Meanwhile, Daniels spokesman Brian Welsh (not to be confused with the NRSC's Brian Walsh), has announced Daniels finally would be making her intentions clear on April 15 as a way of highlighting the need for tax relief.

Or is there another motive? Daniels' campaign site (www.draftstormy.com) hasn't been updated since May 2009. However, Daniels now has an announcement up at another address: "Great News — my sites is [sic] being totally revamped."

Like a typical campaign site, Daniels' new site will be taking donations; unlike a typical campaign site, it includes a photo of the candidate topless and wearing a leather skirt, and promises to offer even more titillating images and nocturnal admissions ... all for a monthly fee.

The date of the relaunch? "April 2010." Given the date of her senatorial announcement -- April 15 -- surely the timing behind this new Web site is just a coincidence.

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