Sen. David Vitter is a New Orleans Saints fan — and his fandom reached its apotheosis in this completely spontaneous image from the Vitter family's 2009 Christmas card, which was good enough to squirrel away for safekeeping:
(Did the Vitters ever upgrade from that 20-inch portable TV? Turn over the stacks of cups? Apologize to the mortified-looking girls in the back for making them do this?)
Anyway, Vitter is such a Black and Gold supporter that he sent out an email this morning to announce he would be skipping President Barack Obama's jobs speech in favor of watching the Saints-Packers season opener tomorrow night at his house in Metairie:
Some of my left-wing critics call me a fanatic. Well, they're certainly right that I'm a fan. And I set my priorities that way. I sent out the following comment on social media today:
"Will listen to President's speech carefully . . . from my priority area for job creation, Who Dat nation. Family and friends coming over for big game. On to recovery—and super bowl!"
See you at the Super Bowl, Mr. President!
Of course, a lot of folks will be skipping out on Obama's speech — but most of 'em don't send out email blasts to draw attention to the fact. Nor do they appear on Fox News to announce their game day party plans:
Think Progress cast doubt on the rationale:
The Saints open the National Football League season at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. Obama’s speech is at 7 p.m., presumably leaving Vitter enough time to attend the speech and get to his office, a sports bar, or anywhere else with a TV without missing any of the game.
See you at the Super Bowl, Sen. Vitter!
A bipartisan group in the Senate today called for Clean Water Act fines for last year's oil disaster be distributed among Gulf Coast states. The RESTORE Act, they proposed, would set up a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, backed by 80 percent of the penalties paid by BP and other responsible parties in the oil disaster.
According to Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. David Vitter, both co-sponsors, 35 percent of the funds would be shared across the states (and specific to "restore our ecosystem and support our travel, tourism and seafood industries that were devastated by the spill"), while 60 percent goes to a "Federal-State Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council." The remaining 5 percent would set up a Science and Technology program through Centers of Excellence focusing on coastal restoration, fisheries, offshore energy research and development, commercial development, and "port, harbor, and waterway construction and maintenance."
The current provision would distribute — ahem — 100 percent of fines to the feds, for future oil spill mitigation.
Not only is the RESTORE Act a massive bipartisan, multi-state effort, it also was a "duh" recommendation from the National Oil Spill Commission, which determined yes, in addition to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, the Gulf obviously, and deservedly, benefits from the fines. (The several billions of dollars BP would likely have to pay wouldn't make much of a dent in the gazillion-dollar national deficit, anyway.) Their conclusion:
Congress—recognizing that dedicated, sustained funding is necessary to accomplish long-term Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration—should direct 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties imposed for the spill to support implementation of a region-wide restoration strategy. Directing such payments to the Gulf could, for the next 10 years, provide significant funding.
In a statement, Emily Woglom, director of government relations with the Ocean Conservancy, applauded the bill's endowment for a long-term Gulf research program, saying, "This is simply about fairness for the Gulf."
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.)
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:
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.
Take it away, The Lafayette Advertiser:
Independent U.S. Senate candidate Mike Spears this afternoon challenged incumbent Sen. David Vitter to a mixed martial arts cage match next month in Lafayette.
Spears issued the challenge at a press conference to announce USA-MMAS Return of the Champions on Oct. 16 at the Cajundome.
Citing the 2007 scandal in which Vitter was linked to a Washington D.C. prostitution ring, Spears billed the bout as a modern-day duel.
Sen. Vitters behavior his admission to breaking the law in 2007 has insulted the honor of Louisiana and the Louisiana Senate seat, Spears said.
Im in this race, and this fight, to restore the honor of Louisiana and of the nation as well.
Gambit profiled Spears back in April, writing about his side business as "The Dog Designer," creating custom canine couture in the five-figure range for Yorkies and other pocket pooches. (The website for the side business, Molle Tache, has been disabled in the meantime.) Spears, who owns a successful Internet development company in Lafayette, is obviously a man of many talents, though the subject of cage wrestling never came up during the Gambit interview.
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
[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.]
My inbox is constantly filled with the desperate pleas of Nigerian princes and Chinese widows that miss my spam folder, where so many fake bank statements and male enhancement offers go to die. I routinely delete these messages, and the message I received from a Robert Philippe Webb de Orleans with the subject line "URGENT" nearly received the same fate. But a quick glance at this message told me this guy is not some spambot, firing phishy missives from somewhere in Africa: he appears to be a real life crazy person, and he wants to be the king of Louisiana.
He advocates seceding from the union, doesn't like President Obama very much, talks about some conspiracy theories, is sore about the Louisiana Purchase, and would totally let Jindal and crew have jobs under his leadership. Here some of the highlights:
"I am writing to formally express my willingness in this turbulent time to lead The People of New Orleans, Louisiana and The Louisiana Purchase Territory as lawfully installed King of Louisiana. There is no clear leadership in these lands which rightfully belong to me and my Family."
"I would be willing to offer each of you a Title and position in a new government which I propose to lawfully put in place with International United Nations Laws and the support of all The Citizens in my Homeland."
"There are many of these violations but in particular I cite The United States Federal Governments creating The HIV and AIDS Virus in 1970 at Ft. Detrick, Marylands Biological Weapons Laboratory."
"It is our legal right to bear arms against a Tyrannical and unwanted oppressive Government. I do however advocate my peaceful installation."
God's speed, Rodrigue
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