Sen. Vitter's Tantrum History
Turns out, last weeks' alleged airport rage incident isn't the first time Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has been known to lose his cool. He has a history of throwing temper tantrums, according to one of the senator's former Tulane Law School moot court participants and fellow conservatives.
That would be Quin Hillyer, the conservative writer, who recalls in this column in the American Spectator how Vitter once called him, cursing and yelling into the phone, "like he was absolutely unhinged."
At the time of the alleged telephone tirade, in 1991, Hillyer was writing a column called "Scuttlebutt" in the Gambit Weekly in New Orleans. Vitter was making his first run for state office. Hillyer says he wrote an innocuous item in his column about Vitter's aggressive canvassing efforts passing out glossy campaign literature, an item Hillyer says that "by any objective criteria made Vitter look good."
But how did Vitter react? Here is what Hillyer writes:
Imagine my surprise, then, when I got a phone call from David where he literally was yelling and occasionally cursing into my ear -- so loudly that I literally had to hold the phone away from my head, about six inches from my ear -- like he was absolutely unhinged. This went on for something like seven or eight minutes straight. Why was he so upset? Because, he said, my use of the word "glossy" -- hey, uh, David, that is a type of paper, dude, as in do you want your photos glossy or matte? -- was a deliberate attempt to insinuate that he was "slick and insubstantial." How DARE I? I was a dirty, rotten, bleeping yellow journalist. Or so he yelled, or words to that effect.
As I said, he sounded unhinged. It was truly, 100 percent bizarre. And this was from a guy for whom, if I had lived in his legislative district, I probably would have voted (before this incident) because his credentials seemed stronger than the other good and worthy candidates in the race. But he was convinced that I was out to get him. Weird. Very very very very weird, and thoroughly unpleasant.
In that light, his tantrum at the airport does not surprise me one bit.
And, by the way, the Sleuth thinks it's worth pointing out this little irony: Vitter sits on the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security subcommittee of the Senate Science, Commerce and Transportation Committee.
Shouldn't he know better?
Mary Ann Akers
March 13, 2009; 11:10 AM ET
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