Mary Landrieu, seeking re-election, vows to ‘speak the truth’ about bigots, sexists in Louisiana

By Chris Butler | Watchdog.org

BATON ROUGE, La. — U.S. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana wants another term, but her spokesman won’t answer why she wants to continue representing residents who, Landrieu says, carry racist and sexist values.

Watchdog.org asked Landrieu spokesman Matthew Lehner why Landrieu wants another go at the Senate while acting on behalf of people she seemingly believes are chauvinists and bigots, products of what she calls conservative Southern culture.

SOUTH: Are stereotypes of Southern racists still true? U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu seemingly said that about her own constituents.

In case you haven’t heard, Landrieu made the remarks last week to NBC’s Chuck Todd, although she says her political opponents have taken her words and distorted them for their own ends.

Landrieu, who is facing a Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy, made the remarks in response to Todd’s question about why President Obama is so unpopular in Louisiana.

Landrieu blamed Obama’s energy policies for the disconnect before bringing up matters of race and gender.

“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader,” Landrieu said in a video interview.

“It’s not always been a good place for women to present ourselves. It’s more of a conservative place.”

Was Landrieu simply referring to ugly Southern stereotypes — perhaps accurate 50 years ago?

Or were her remarks directed toward contemporary Southern culture?

If the latter is true, then how does Landrieu explain Louisiana voters electing Democrat Kathleen Blanco governor in 2003?

How about South Carolina electing Tim Scott, an African-American, as a U.S. Republican senator?

Lehner wouldn’t answer the question Thursday.

Lehner also wouldn’t answer when Watchdog.org gave him an opportunity to address many Louisiana residents, who took strong offense and say their differences with Obama stem from philosophy, not race.

Instead, Lehner relayed a statement from Landrieu.

“The South has not always been the friendliest or easiest place for African-Americans to advance, and it’s been a difficult place for women to be recognized as the leaders we are,” Landrieu said.

“Everyone knows this is the truth, and I will continue to speak the truth even as some would twist my words seeking political advantage.”

Louisiana NAACP President Ernest Johnson said Thursday institutional racism still exists in Louisiana.

Ernest Johnson (foreground), director of Louisiana’s NAACP, says he’s troubled by campaign ads featuring President Obama.

“But I can’t make a specific response to what Landrieu said,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Landrieu’s political opponents, angry with her over her vote for Obamacare, are trying to tarnish her as someone who supports Obama 97 percent of the time.

“If the senator has done a bad job, I’d like to see them back off of criticism of President Obama,” Johnson said.

“I’m very concerned with the images of Obama being put on TV. I don’t know how many people in Louisiana vote based on images, but I bet you there are some who do, and I’m concerned about it.”

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, a Democrat, told American Press most Louisiana residents dislike Obama because they aren’t happy with the country’s direction.

Scott’s office did not return requests for comment on the matter.

Scott didn’t address the topic of Landrieu directly in a Fox News interview this week, but he said too many Democrats try to appeal to the lowest common denominator when attacking Republicans on race.

“South Carolina voters vote their values and their issues — and not my complexion,” Scott said.

“This is a great sign for what’s happening throughout the South, but certainly a fantastic sign for the evolution that has occurred in South Carolina.”

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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