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Duck Dardenne 

Lt. Gov. defends Robertson family

  While local and national politicians rallied to the defense of north Louisiana's Robertson family after Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson's controversial remarks about gays and pre-civil rights blacks, few were as voluble as Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. "I am prepared to work with the motion picture industry in Louisiana to keep @DuckDynastyAE on-air if they cannot reach an agreement w/ A&E," Dardenne tweeted Dec. 21 — seeming to say the state of Louisiana might have an active hand in keeping the "reality" show alive if the Robertson family could not come to terms with the A&E network.

  Two days later, Dardenne attempted to clarify his position: "I am advocating for @DuckDynastyAE to utilize the existing motion picture infrastructure in LA, not offering 'state aid.'" As Duck Dynasty already "utilizes the existing motion picture infrastructure" in the state — and, presumably, enjoys the benefit of Louisiana's generous film tax credits, which were written by Dardenne himself, it was unclear what the lieutenant governor was proposing.

  It was a confusing week all around. Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an official statement on the matter, saying "I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment," apparently confusing the constitutional right to free speech with the responsibilities attendant to airing a television program. And the Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, which has 10 locations in Louisiana, pulled Duck Dynasty-branded items from its gift shops, only to reverse course quickly after furious backlash from Duck-o-philes.

  Regarding Cracker Barrel, Dardenne told the New York Daily News, "It seems to be a wise business decision since Duck Dynasty merchandise flies off the shelves faster than a green winged teal headed south for the winter."

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