Vitter dodges questions on ex-aide
While signing up for his reelection race, Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter was asked mostly about an ex-aide arrested for attacking his girlfriend with a knife.
Vitter avoided nearly all questions about the resignation, refusing to explain why he kept Brent Furer on staff after his guilty plea. (Furer resigned after the story broke.)
Democratic challenger Charlie Melancon has referenced the incident in his speeches and in a fundraising appeal.
"The fact that [my Democratic opponent] is so focused on, in the latter case, an ex-employee - something that happened two years ago - I think just shows how weak a position he is in, and I think it's going to absolutely come across that way to the voters," said Vitter.
When asked why he let the aide stay on after the attack, Vitter responded, "Well, the event was two years ago, the discipline he got in the office was two years ago." He would not say what kind of discipline, but he did say that contrary to media reports, Furer was not working on women's issues.
KnowWho, a directory of congressional staffers, listed Furer at the time of his resignation as Vitter's legislative assistant working on family, human rights, veterans and women's issues. Beth Meeks, the executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence told ABC News that in June Vitter had Furer meet with her. She was told he was the senator's point man on women's issues.
The National Organization for Women this weekend called on the Senate ethics committee to censure Vitter.
"This is not just Sen. Vitter making another lapse in judgment," Terry O'Neill, the NOW president, told ABC News. "This is about his utter disdain for the women of this country. It's important for the ethics committee to address this if the U.S. Senate wants to have standards that actually respect women."
July 7, 2010; 3:57 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency | Tags: David Vitter
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