THE BOUSTANY/VITTER/GIULIANI POST-MORTEM ... One of Louisiana’s more bizarre political alliances is over before it had a chance to make it to the altar. In April 2007, The Independent Weekly chronicled the strange, early endorsements of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani by U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany and U.S. Sen. David Vitter. “Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control. Why are Louisiana conservatives Charles Boustany and David Vitter endorsing him for president, and will the state’s GOP base stand for it?” we asked.
The answer was pretty simple: Vitter and Boustany wanted to ride the former frontrunner’s coattails, and there were even rumblings that Vitter — before his prostitution scandal broke — was a possibility for a VP slot if Giuliani got the nomination. But now that Giuliani’s spectacular flameout is complete and he’s dropped out of the race, where do Boustany and Vitter turn now? Do they endorse current Republican frontrunner and favorite John McCain, whom Giuliani is now endorsing? (Boustany and Vitter did not return e-mail requests for comment.)
The Louisiana Republican legislators’ ill-fated Giuliani endorsement probably won’t matter much in the end for voters, but if the Republicans retain the White House, Vitter and Boustany won’t be at the front of the line for plum committee assignments and state dinners.
LANDRIEU, VITTER FACE OFF OVER U.S. ATTORNEY DUGAS ... It was all purple-and-gold warm fuzzies earlier this week when Louisiana Sens. David Vitter and Mary Landrieu introduced a Senate resolution honoring the LSU Tigers’ championship run. Since that important government business is now taken care of, they’ve returned to squabbling over President Bush’s nomination of U.S. Attorney David Dugas to the federal bench. Last October, Vitter and Landrieu traded sharp barbs over Dugas, exchanging icy letters. Some highlights, er, lowlights from Round 1:
Vitter: “I strongly believe that every judicial nominee deserves a fair and timely hearing and up-or-down vote. I believe this would be a new low of delay, obstructionism and partisanship regarding judges.”
Landrieu: “An important line exists between fighting the true obstacles to our recovery and seeking false controversy in hopes of grabbing headlines. I urge you to consider more constructive steps in moving past your recent political challenges.”
And now, Round 2. Vitter’s latest correspondence: “To continue to block this qualified nominee is nothing more than partisanship and obstructionism.” Landrieu spokesman Adam Sharp responded by telling The Advocate that Landrieu remains concerned over Dugas’ lack of intervention in a lawsuit investigating claims of insurance companies’ fraud in hurricane recovery claims. “She has not been actually convinced that [Dugas] acted in the constituents’ best interest,” Sharp said.
With it being an election year, expect the Vitter/Landrieu pen-pal follies to increase.
LANDRIEU CROSSES AISLE ON WIRETAPPING IMMUNITY FOR TELECOMS ... In between sparring with Vitter, Landrieu was one of only three Democrats to cross party lines last week and vote in favor of granting telecom companies retroactive immunity for their participation in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program. “President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program represented a lack of judgment on the part of the Federal Government,” Landrieu said in a statement to The Independent Weekly. “Immediately after September 11th, many telecom companies thought they had no choice but to comply with the government’s request. They should not be punished for cooperating in a fight for our national security. I will fight for amendments to the legislation that examine the legality of the President’s wiretapping program and that strengthen the role of the FISA court.”
It appears her vote is a nod to conservatives in anticipation of her upcoming 2008 re-election battle against Republican John Kennedy and other possible challengers. However, it’s worth noting that telecoms have been generous contributors to Landrieu’s campaigns through the years. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Landrieu received $33,250 from telephone utilities in the 2000 election cycle, including $10,500 from BellSouth. In the 2003-2008 Senate election cycle, Comcast and CenturyTel’s political action committees clock in as two of Landrieu’s Top 20 campaign contributors.
WHO DAT MAKIN’ DEM LAWS? ... Special interests are chomping at the bit to figure out a strategy for this year’s legislative sessions, but with so many new faces in the House and Senate, it’s difficult to figure out who is holding the cards. “There’s a lot of issues in the upcoming special sessions we’re interested in, but as far as the regular session, we’re waiting to see what’s being floated and who the players are,” says former U.S. Rep. Chris John of Crowley, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.
Maybe that’s why folks around the Capitol are eager to see this year’s versions of the legislative guides that various groups put out every year. The tiny booklets feature not only headshots, but background info on all lawmakers. “Yeah, I think everyone is waiting on those,” John says.
As for political maneuvers, the loudest chatter coming out of last week’s Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras concerned John taking on Vitter in 2010 in a sequel to their 2004 battle. “I would certainly welcome a rematch,” John says. “But everything right now is about [Sen.] Mary [Landrieu] until we get through this election year. Very few people are even thinking about David right now.”
Contributors: Scott Jordan and Jeremy Alford
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 13, 2013:
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.