The Result Of The Louisiana Gubernatorial Runoff Will Be Determined By This Ad
Unlike lunatic and fraud Ben Carson, John Bel Edwards went to West Point. where he served as vice chairman of the panel that enforced the West Point honor code. One can only imagine how he views Carson. And one doesn't have to imagine how he views another right-wing disgrace, his opponent in the gubernatorial race, David Vitter. The reason there's no need to imagine is due, in part, to the campaign ad above. It's pretty shocking-- and very straight forward in a way that politically-correct-politics forbids. In the ad, he compares his military service-- he was an Army Ranger and served in Korea-- with Vitter's many years as an inveterate whore-monger, obsessively jumping from one prostitute to another, even fathering a child with one, who he demanded abort the fetus. Last night, during the Louisiana State football game with Alabama, the ad was aired for the first time on TV.
The advertisement accuses Vitter of calling an escort service "minutes" after skipping a 2001 U.S. House of Representatives vote to honor 28 troops killed in a missile strike in 1991 during Desert Storm. The ad concludes, "David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots. Now, the choice is yours Louisiana," and uses an ominous-sounding female voiceover during the 30-second spot.Last week the open primary showed Edwards considerably ahead of Vitter:
As its source material, the ad uses phone records previously released by Hustler Magazine in 2007 showing a phone number belonging to Vitter on Feb. 27, 2001 receiving a brief call from a phone belonging to the business of D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey. The call came in at 6:06 p.m. Eastern Time, which was 39 minutes after the 17-minute House vote ended, according to congressional records and C-SPAN coverage.
The House adjourned at 5:35 p.m., and reconvened at 8:45 p.m. for President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech, which Vitter attended. There is no indication that Vitter participated in House business that afternoon, and that vote was the only one requiring House members to be in the chamber that day.
Thirty-five other members of Congress also did not vote on the bill, which received no opposing votes.
Although there have been questions raised about what Vitter was doing when he received other calls from the D.C. madam's business, this is the first time his opponents have attempted to connect a call with the bill honoring slain servicemen. The call Vitter received that day was the last shown in records previously released.
• Edwards (D)- 444,061 (39.9%)Since then Dardenne, Bobby Jindal's Lt. Governor and a conservative Republican, endorsed Edwards, which flipped out the entire Republican political establishment. I doubt the other Republican, Scott Angelle, has any intention of endorsing Vitter. This ad Vitter ran during the primary is why I think he won't:
• Vitter (R)- 256,105 (23%)
• Angelle (R)- 214,907 (19.3%)
• Dardenne (R)- 166,553 (15%)
• Deaton (D)- 11,750 (1.1%)
Hypothetical match-ups before the primary showed Edwards beating Vitter. Now that Edwards and Vitter are in a heated battle for the Nov. 21 runoff, Edwards has expanded his lead, ahead of Vitter 54-38% according to Market Research Insight and by 52-32% according to a poll by JMC Analytics. Back to that Times-Picayune article, which went on to say that "You don't run an ad like this if you have a safe lead in the race."
Edwards has been running well ahead of Vitter in recent polls, but this advertisement isn't the type of thing a campaign puts out there when it is assured a political victory.The non-partisan anti-Vitter Gumbo PAC targeted Vitter during the primary, so this isn't the first time Louisiana voters are being asked to look at Vitter's character.
"If John Bel Edwards is running this ad-- no matter how many polls show Edwards above 50-- he is not in a comfortable position," said Geoffrey Skelley, who is an associated editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, a political publication about American elections from the University of Virginia.
"He think he needs to damage Vitter so much Vitter can't recover by election day," said Skelley. "The Edwards campaign must feel like it really has to go for it if they really want to hold on to this lead that they have in the polls."
Though polling shows Edwards ahead, the campaign may be nervous because of what happened in the Kentucky gubernatorial race earlier this week. Polling in that race also show the Democratic candidate in the lead, but the Republican ended up winning the election. The Kentucky results have caused some political observers to question whether polling that shows Edwards with such a substantial lead in Louisiana can be trusted.
...[T]he gubernatorial race has largely focused on the candidates' character and personal stories, not their public policy positions. Edwards is a conservative Democrat, but Louisiana voters would still be more inclined to support a Republican if they were just looking at issues, and not taking back stories into account.
In this case, Vitter is in trouble because there are concerns about his personal life-- not so much his record as a -- according to experts. Edwards, a West Point graduate who comes from a law enforcement family, has an appealing personal backstory.
So it makes sense that Edwards would want to run an ad drawing attention to his military service and Vitter's scandal. It is a large part of what has made him a successful candidate so far... Negative ads, such as this one, tend to be run by PACs that don't directly coordinate with the candidate. They aren't usually affiliated directly with the campaign, as this Edwards ad is.
Previous advertisements highlighting Vitter's prostitution scandal during the primary campaign came from outside groups -- not directly from his three opponents' campaigns. So it's an interesting choice on the part of the Edwards' campaign to "go there."
But the Edwards campaign appears interested in owning this message, and not letting PACs handle some of the more unsavory aspects of politics. Shortly after the ad dropped, Edwards sent out a statement saying that it was important.
"Voters have a right to know who the candidates really are," said Mary-Patricia Wray, spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign. "David Vitter's hypocrisy should not go unchecked, and this is yet another reason why Louisianans can't trust him."