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Vitter: 'I Will Work Every Day to Rebuild That Trust'

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) emerged this evening from his week-long self-imposed isolation after admitting his involvement with an escort service facing federal prostitution charges, asking for forgiveness but vowing to continue his work as a senator.

Sen. David Vitter
Sen. Vitter, standing with his wife Wendy, bows his head Monday at a news conference in Metairie, La. (Reuters)

Leaving almost every detailed question unanswered, Vitter and his wife, Wendy, stood side by side for several minutes and said they had dealt "several years ago" with his marital transgressions with the so-called "DC Madam".

"I am so very, very sorry," he said. "No matter how long ago it was, I know this has hurt the relationship of trust I've enjoyed with so many of you, and that I have a lot of work to do to rebuild that. I will work every day to rebuild that trust."

However, Vitter appeared to specifically deny allegations that, in addition to the Washington prostitution ring, he also frequented the so-called "Canal Street Madam" in New Orleans, whose operation was also broken up by a separate federal investigation. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has had two on-the-record interviews in the past week with the madam and a woman claiming to be the escort who regularly performed for Vitter.

"My admission has encouraged some long-time political enemies and those hoping to profit from the situation to spread falsehoods too, like those New Orleans stories in recent reporting. Those stories are not true," Vitter said, yet declining to take any questions from reporters assembled in his hometown of Metairie, La.

Emotional but poised, Wendy Vitter offered a much stronger defense of her husband. "Like all marriages, ours is not perfect. None of us are. But we choose to work together as a family," she said. "When David and I dealt with this privately years ago, I forgave David. I made the decision to love him and to recommit to our marriage. To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me. David is my best friend. ... I am proud to be Wendy Vitter."

Among the many questions left unanswered was just where the Vitters have been since roughly 5:45 p.m. last Monday, when the senator last appeared on the Senate floor and cast a vote. A second vote came at 6:12 p.m. that night with Vitter not voting, and by 10:30 p.m. the Associated Press had reported the statement that Vitter had given to its New Orleans bureau admitting his connection to the DC Madam. Sen. Vitter said he and his wife needed "time alone" with their children. He missed eight roll call votes during that time.

He expects to be back in the Senate this week, possibly tomorrow, as the chamber continues with a debate on the future of the Iraq war while handling the Pentagon's annual authorization legislation.

Read below for the Vitters's full statements and let Capitol Briefing know if this was enough contrition to quiet the simmering sex scandal.

David Vitter: Good afternoon. Last week, Wendy and I thought it was very important to have some time alone with our children, so that's what we did for a few days. We want to thank the countless friends and fellow citizens who have offered their encouragement and prayers. Those have meant the world to us.

I want to, again, offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed with these actions from my past. I am completely responsible. And I am so very, very sorry. No matter how long ago it was, I know this has hurt the relationship of trust I've enjoyed with so many of you, and that I have a lot of work to do to rebuild that. I will work every day to rebuild that trust.

Wendy and I dealt with this personally several years ago. I confronted it in confession and marriage counseling. I believe I received forgiveness from God. I know I did from Wendy, and we put it behind us.

Since then, I've gotten up every morning, committed to trying to live up to the important values we believe in. If continuing to believe in and acknowledge those values causes some to attack me because of my past failings, well, so be it. Unfortunately, my admission has encouraged some long-time political enemies and those hoping to profit from the situation to spread falsehoods too, like those New Orleans stories in recent reporting. Those stories are not true.

Now, having said all of this, I'm not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again. That might sell newspapers, but it wouldn't serve my family or my constituents well at all because we all have a lot of important work to do for Louisiana.

For my part, I'll be helping finalize a crucial water resources bill to provide much better hurricane and flood protection. I'll be following up on our important defeat of a bad immigration bill by working for good border and workplace security. I'll be fighting the complete I-49 and LA-28 and LA-1 and much more. From here, I'll go directly to the airport and to Washington for votes, because I'm eager to continue my work in the U.S. Senate to help move Louisiana forward. Thank you.

WENDY VITTER: To those of you who know me, are you surprised that I have something to say? You know, in most any other marriage, this would have been a private issue between a husband and a wife -- very private. Obviously, it is not here.

Like all marriages, ours is not perfect. None of us are. But we choose to work together as a family. When David and I dealt with this privately years ago, I forgave David. I made the decision to love him and to recommit to our marriage. To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me. David is my best friend.

Last week, some people very sympathetically said to me, "I wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now." I stand before you to tell you very proudly, I am proud to be Wendy Vitter. That's not to say that last week wasn't incredibly trying and very sad, not for our marriage -- our marriage is stronger every day -- but for our children.

And now I'm going to speak to you as a mother and I hope you will understand. It's been terribly hard to have the media parked on our front lawn and following us every day. And yesterday, the media was camped at our church -- at our home, and at our church every day.

As David returns to work in Washington, we're going to return to our life here. I would ask you very respectfully to let us continue our summer and our lives as we had planned.

Thank you very much.

(Transcript Courtesy CQ Transcripts Wire)

By Paul Kane  |  July 16, 2007; 7:13 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Vitter Returns, With Coburn at His Side

Comments

Forgiveness.....why should we forgive this slime when New Orleans has thousands of honest people who can do and deserve his job? Kick the slime bucket out NOW!!!

Posted by: Joe | July 16, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Bill Clinton apologize for not having "sexual relations with that woman Ms. Lewinsky?" How is he doing today? This, too, shall pass. As long as his wife forgives him all is well.

Posted by: Phillipe | July 16, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, we are desensitized to congressional members abuses, lies, taking of bribes, solicitous fund raising, etc. Still, to me, Vitter's real sin is his hipocrisy. I hope his colleagues shun him and his constituents have long memories.

Posted by: js | July 16, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

i doubt most people really care about the prostitute(s) or infidelity-- it really comes down to hypocrisy. vitter went out of his way to denounce clinton and demand his resignation. and wendy vitter ridiculed hilary as a female cuckold. THAT'S THE REAL KERNEL HERE. these two want forgiveness when they were so determined to deny mercy and forgiveness to others when they had the chance. meanwhile, vitter has claimed that same gender marriage is a bigger threat than hurricane katrina and BRAGGED about his opposition to same gender marriage. if only he had spent more time tending to his own marriage and less time lecturing and hectoring others, he would not be in this situation. and finally, sen. vitter, please don't blame your "political enemies." this is all you, baby. hope you like stewing in your own stink.

Posted by: john dog | July 16, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

JS- I agree with you.
This kind of behavior is to be expected from our politicians who don't run on a self righteous campaign but not from a guy who has ripped people apart for their moral failings. Vitter and his wife gained political power by playing up the religion card. That is, they are more righteous than the average Bill Clinton. In fact Ms. Vitter said he would Loraina Bobbette her husband if he did a "Clinton". Well....Senator Vitter seems to have all of his body parts attached.

This is why I don't vote for politicians that Bible thump everyone else in order to get elected. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Christian and I love Jesus and I live to serve God. But my religion has no place in Caesar's politics. As a Christian, I'm to live my life as to be a light place on a hill that give off light to the rest of the world. Jesus did not force his gospel through the powers of government.

I do believe the citizens of Louisiana will vote Senator Vitter out of office. He is a hypocrite

Posted by: SteelWheel | July 16, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I really felt sorry for Wendy Vitter. It was obvious that he's not willing to admit to her that the New Orleans charges might be true. Remember these charges came out years ago. the DC Madam charges only came out recently. She was a brave woman, and did what was right for her children, but he just should have let her carry the press conference. She's a lot smarter than he is.

Posted by: jjones | July 16, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The one thing that does bother me with the politicians that uses their religion to get elected is the real harm they do to the Christian believers who are really doing the Lord's work of evangelizing and spreading the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

I do not believe nor support homosexuality. It is a sin. And like all sin,like adultery, it carries the same punishment in the eyes of God. But for the life of me I don't see how these religion baiting politicians come to believe that homosexuals is a threat to a heterosexual's marriage. Adultery has long been the killer of traditional marriage and no one will dispute this claim.

Now Ms. Vitter will now have to endure the humiliation of the females whispering and snickering whenever she is among her frenemies. Ms. Vitter integrity is tarnished, not her husband. He will probably lose his job but he'll still be one of the boys. Ms. Vitter, on the other hand, may be disowned by her self-righteous associates that will feel she should have divorced her husband. How ironic.

Posted by: SteelWheel | July 16, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

ABC News: Can the voters of Louisiana
ever forgive him?
History: Given what they've re-elected, from behind bars or not, if you've
read this, time has healed the wound.

Posted by: Alex | July 16, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

" The New Orleans charges MIGHT be true..."
This is a case of the Senator's words versus two admitted prostitutes.
Vitter was foolsh and selfish, but did he betray the publuc trust? Did he lie under oath? Did use his staff or his office to cover up this matter? Did Vitter receive or extort bribes in this affair?
The answers are no, and that is the difference between him versus Bill Clinton and Representative Jefferson.
Mr. Vitter did apply standards to himself. He reconciled with his family long before this affair developed in the news. He sought reparation and healing for his mistakes. So in that KEY sense Vitter is no hypocrite.
The culture wars will continue, but it is going to be example that will best heal this nation. Vitter should NOT resign.

Posted by: Peter Roach | July 16, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

" The New Orleans charges MIGHT be true..."
This is a case of the Senator's words versus two admitted prostitutes.
Vitter was foolsh and selfish, but did he betray the publuc trust? Did he lie under oath? Did use his staff or his office to cover up this matter? Did Vitter receive or extort bribes in this affair?
The answers are no, and that is the difference between him versus Bill Clinton and Representative Jefferson.
Mr. Vitter did apply standards to himself. He reconciled with his family long before this affair developed in the news. He sought reparation and healing for his mistakes. So in that KEY sense Vitter is no hypocrite.
The culture wars will continue, but it is going to be example that will best heal this nation. Vitter should NOT resign.

Posted by: Peter Roach | July 16, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Vitter lied again today in denying the New Orleans allegations. That's a Gary Hart-style challenge to prove it.

He must feel the La. GOP is stuck with him -- since the Democratic governor would replace with a member of her own party -- and as long as he denies everything, he can create and inhabit his own reality.

How about it, media? Are you the watchdogs of truth or just stenographers of his spin?

p.s. Wendy Vitter asked for privacy for the sake of her children -- guess it looks different when it's you going through public humiliation. Wendy never said Chelsea Clinton deserved any consideration.

They're both so arrogant in their insistence that we accept there should be no consequences for their being two-faced because he's sorry now, and that's that.

Posted by: oyster | July 16, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Just disgusting. Complaining about the media--that following this story might "sell newspapers" but not help the people of louisiana. Such chutzpah--simply no sense of the overwhelming shame and humility that he should feel. I bet he still campaigns on such "family values" as taking away civil rights from monogamous homosexual couples. Why would G-d possibly forgive this guy?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Clinton didn't have to pay for it! Vitter must have wanted something more than a good old, red blooded american bl*w j@b. When you pay for it you get to wear funny clothes or do Meth and play with boys. Sounds like typical deviant Republican sex. Come on, shave and put on a little make-up, will ya?

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 17, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

You couldn't write a script about our Repubilcan hypocrites and their sexual escapades because the hypocrisy would be writ too large.

Ms. Vitter, you go ahead and stand by your serial prostitute chaser but I'd schedule a quick trip to my OB-GYN if I were you to check for STDS.

Posted by: reporter1 | July 17, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Vitter's apology sounds hollow. I was expecting him to be contrite, to show some humility, yet, the man remains arrogant and defiant. And his wife? Well, think of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They blame the press, yet time Mr. Vitter's face and name adorn the local paper almost daily..he is overexposed...so, now that there is a fall, the media is not invited. Sorry, but once you are a public figure, your triumphs and downfalls are public fodder. I think the man is still lying..look at his face, mannerisms, and listen to his voice. Again, Louisiana is the laughing stock of the nation. Thank you, David Vitter and Bill Jefferson.

Posted by: octhern | July 17, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

@ss kick this republican b@stard to the curb. It's shameful that republicans still stand by this low life loser. Then what would you expect.

Posted by: Joe N | July 17, 2007 3:47 AM | Report abuse

That's it? He apologizes (sort of) and that's it? Does the hypocrisy not matter at all?

Tomorrow or soon afterward, he'll start making comments about his faith and how God has forgiven him. Hey, it worked for Tom DeLay...

Posted by: bpai_99@yahoo.com | July 17, 2007 3:48 AM | Report abuse

They are both self-righteous hypocrites. Unquestionably this kind of thing should be a private matter...unless you are a public figure who runs a "holier than thou" campaign. And his wife is no better. During the Clinton brouhaha, she had all sorts of things to say about how SHE would behave -- vs Hillary. Well...I see she isn't doing any of them. SHame on both of you. Why don't you apologize for being hypocrites? I don't care what you do in your private life. I do care that you claim to be one thing when you are something else entirely.

Posted by: JMH | July 17, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

It seems that the old adage is true: Get out in front of the story and apologize, first....And all will be forgiven.

Posted by: Linda | July 17, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

As the saying goes "You get what you pay/vote for. Vitter got sex, we got another lying, cheating,law-breaking politician. What a hypocrisy and double-standard we have in Congress. Isn't is truly amazing, Bill Clinton has sex outside marriage and Jesse Jackson comes to his support, a man guilty of a bigger offense (child out of wedlock) than Clinton. Sen. Vitter attacks Clinton viciously, calling for his impeachment,resignation. Then Vitter commits the same offense (even pays for it with the salary I pay him in my taxes). His wife 'stands by her man'. What a public humiliation that must be. What a role model for our sons and daughters. A shame and tradegy and will continue until we VOTE ALL THE INCUMBENTS OUT.

Posted by: JustMyOpinion | July 17, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Senator Vitter is a gentleman with "BIG PROBLEMS," not only with his family, but with the public in general.
Despite his wife's brave attempts to forgive and get on with life, she is to be more pitied than censured.
As for the Senator, his "credibility,"has been greatly damaged and only time will tell whether he can survive the impact of his misdeeds politically.
In the meantime, perhaps it is time for the people of his state to look for a more trustworthy representative.

Posted by: Alice T. | July 17, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Another right wing "Christian" Republican who seeks political gain and fundraising by inspiring hatred, discrimination and violence against gay people...and then gets exposed as the hypocrite he is. But he can count on a pass from most of the mainstream media and support from the Rush Limbaugh neaderthals.

Posted by: Jerry R | July 17, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The Vitter "affair" has to be exibit 1 in the debate over same sex marriage. After all, if the Vitter's marriage can survive his affairs with prostitutes, then it is certainly strong enough to endure gay couples joining together in holy matrimony. Also, has the Senator been tested for HIV? Has Wendy?

Posted by: Chester West | July 17, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Along comes another scheming slime bucket, claiming direct contact with the almighty. He's sure that god has forgiven him, which puts him in the same league as that total idiot in the White House who claims to daily speak with god and receive directions. Either he's a liar or his god gives bum directions.
Why is it when these bastards get caught giving in to their most base inclinations, they invariably invoke the pious image of contrition.
Screw the forgiving, this unprincipled puke has shown himself to be without sufficient discipline to be a model to his constituents and he should resign and find another line of work that doesn't expose him to public scrutiny.
I'd like to have heard the conversation these two had prior to deciding to "bravely" carry on with his political career. Using his compliant wife as a prop is so typical of these cowards. He's a disgrace, yes, even to the state of Louisiana, if that's possible.

Posted by: Doubtom | July 17, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Glad Sen Vitter was AWOL for a week as he and Sen DeMint seem to think that their job as a US Senator is to devote all their energies and time to attacking defenseless Mexicans. So I was glad Sen Vitter had a fall. Maybe we can get rid of him and other Senators who care nothing about solving problems such as immigration and Iraq but prefer to throw up constant roadblocks while offering zero solutions to these problems.

Posted by: mascmen7 | July 17, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Pampered Politicians give the rest of us diaper loving deviates a bad name.

Posted by: Marty | July 17, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Wendy and David weren't so forgiving in 1998 when they made harsh statements against Bill Clinton's infidelity. I believe Mr. Vitter placed an article in a newspaper at the time stating that anyone in that postion should leave elected office. Forgiveness applies to Democrats too, doesn't it Mr. Vitter? What a hypocrite. Family Values...what a joke!!!
GO GET HIM MR. FLYNT!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 17, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Definition: Hypocrite
See David Vitter

Posted by: A. Lincoln | July 17, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Definition: Hypocrite
See David Vitter

Posted by: A. Lincoln | July 17, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Her lips say "I have forgiven him." The look on her face says "no way in hell."

Posted by: mbrumble | July 17, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Her lips say "I have forgiven him." The look on her face says "no way in hell."

Posted by: mbrumble | July 17, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Peter Roach sucks Vitter's d**k more hungrily than those NOLA hookers ever did.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 17, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

If the Vitters had acknowledged their self-righteousness in savaging the Clintons, perhaps the rest of us could be more foregiving.

If Wendy Vitter can foregive her husband, why is it so outrageous for Hillary Clinton to foregive hers?

And if David Vitter's behavior did not require him to resign, then neither should have Bill Clinton's.

Moreover, it would have been refreshing if the Vitters had taken their experience and reflected on the nature of the human condition. And if they had stepped back and really thought through their stated antipathy to equal rights for gay people.

Posted by: Vista | July 17, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The Senate has an Ethics Committee and should use it to investigate this. It is not enough for Vitter and spouse to say Jesus forgave us. His conduct, if true, brings discredit to the Senate. It leaves him open to blackmail. The Senate has investigated a lot less than this, so Harry Reid should get this going.

Posted by: pest control | July 17, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

OK -- all you people who voted for Vitter, and for Mark Foley, and for Bush & Cheney, and who lined up to hear Ted Haggerts sermons, and who worship the ground Newt Gingrich walks on -- do us all a FAVOR. Next time you vote, pull the lever for the OTHER candidate instead of the one you want to win. Not only will we be happier with the outcome, but YOU will be happier with it too.

Posted by: MondayMorningQuarterback | July 17, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Dear Diaper Boy,

We don't believe, trust, or want you.

Please go away.

Sincerely,

The American People

Posted by: Reality | July 17, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Diaper Boy,

We don't believe, trust, or want you.

Please go away.

Sincerely,

The American People

Posted by: Reality | July 17, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Diaper Boy,

We don't believe, trust, or want you.

Please go away.

Sincerely,

The American People

Posted by: Reality | July 17, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, this makes it a LOCK FOR HILLARY to get the Republican vote in November 2008, right? I mean, she stood by her man, too, right? C'mon all you Family Values Republicans out there, isn't that the principle you're trying to teach here?

Posted by: Natn't_Insecurity | July 18, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

mr vitter is against amnesty?
what is he looking from people of usa?
amnesty?or something else?

Posted by: ap | July 18, 2007 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I believe god would forgive Mr.
Vitters once, but jumping right back into the same thing again god just might feel the same way as what we think, being that he just doesn't want to get caught again, not stop what he is doing.

Sounds to me like Mrs Vitters might have a few problems of her own thinking that the media should leave them alone, did she feel the same way when the media help them win the Senate election?

My opinion is that he should resign and get out of the public political scene completely if he can't be trusted on what he says.

Posted by: non believer | July 18, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, maybe NOW we can have a BIGGER DEAL for WOMEN...Point Women need money as much as Congressmen,,,So please get serouis and increase the WAGE-LIMIt..no more miniumWages the postman and the Civil Employees of Goverment start at $ 12.oo an hour...And mothers with children get there childsupport every months from the Dept. of Health and Welfare....NO MORE WAITNG for The FRIEND OF THE COURT to finally collect.It.
The madame DC only did good til somebody turn here in..Boys will be BOYS....
Yes we women know ...what our men do wen the Away from Home....Big guy get loney..Ask any Soldierwife or girlfriend.
Women in america are under paid and not respected and honored..
love your country

Posted by: sigu | July 19, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, maybe NOW we can have a BIGGER DEAL for WOMEN...Point Women need money as much as Congressmen,,,So please get serouis and increase the WAGE-LIMIt..no more miniumWages the postman and the Civil Employees of Goverment start at $ 12.oo an hour...And mothers with children get there childsupport every months from the Dept. of Health and Welfare....NO MORE WAITNG for The FRIEND OF THE COURT to finally collect.It.
The madame DC only did good til somebody turn here in..Boys will be BOYS....
Yes we women know ...what our men do wen the Away from Home....Big guy get loney..Ask any Soldierwife or girlfriend.
Women in america are under paid and not respected and honored..
love your country

Posted by: sigu | July 19, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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