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LA-Sen: Vitter's Meltdown

How much electoral trouble will Louisiana Sen. David Vitter be in following his recent airport run in? (AP Photo by Harry Hamburg)

The report in Roll Call newspaper yesterday that Sen. David Vitter had engaged in a verbal confrontation with an airline employee after missing a flight has attracted all sorts of unwelcome attention for the Louisiana Republican who was already a prime target for national Democrats in 2010.

According to Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill" column, Vitter got to his gate 20 minutes before his plane was set to leave only to find the security door closed. He allegedly opened the door anyway and then engaged in what the paper described as a "'do-you-know-who-I-am' tirade that apparently grew quite heated."

Vitter, for his part, issued a statement chalking up the incident as a misunderstanding and dismissing the report as something that appeared in what he called a "silly gossip column."

Unfortunately for Vitter, however, the story lives on. Not only were there scads of stories in today's papers about the incident but the Transportation Security Administration is also looking into the fact that Vitter allegedly opened a security door and set off an alarm in the process.

This is the second time in the last few years that Vitter has found his way into an unwelcome national spotlight. In 2007, it was revealed that Vitter had ties to a prostitution ring run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey who was known as the "D.C. Madam." At the time, he publicly apologized for what he described as a "serious sin."

Democrats, not surprisingly, have seized on the latest incident. "Sooner or later Senator Vitter should learn how to control himself," said Eric Schultz, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brian Walsh dismissed the incident as "much ado about nothing" and accused the media of a double standard -- noting that there was next to no press coverage earlier this year when Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) instigated to get the U.S Airways Shuttle to take off early so he could make it back to Washington for a hearing. (Of course, the Post's Al Kamen, who knows everything, did write about the incident.)

What is the long term political impact of this incident? That remains to be seen and, in truth, depends largely on whether or not Democrats can find a top tier candidate to challenge Vitter.

To date, no one has stepped forward to do so although Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard is mentioned as is Rep. Charlie Melancon who seems disinclined to run. Others in the mix include former Rep. Don Cazayoux and state Sen. Rob Marionneaux.

A Republican primary challenge also is not out of the question, with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne the name most often mentioned. (Former Rep. John Cooksey ruled out such a bid earlier this month.)

The negative publicity surrounding Vitter could well embolden one or several of these candidates to get off the fence and jump into the race although there is no indication of movement on that front yet.

Vitter has proven remarkably durable -- in a political sense -- since the "D.C. Madam" scandal two years ago. He was expected either to resign or to announce that he would not seek reelection. He did neither. Can he weather another high-profile incident?

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 12, 2009; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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What a piece of S!!!, he should have been charged and be in jail like I would be if I would have done what he did.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | March 16, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

the GOP faithful are already rolling out theyre nominees for 2012. here the link

Posted by: crimesw1 | March 14, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

David Vitter is so arrogant & has such a sense of entitlement that he feels he never has to obey any of society's rules if it's inconvenient to do so.
He broke the law by using Palfrey's "escorts." Now he's broken the law again by obstructing the operation of an airline flight. He deserves to be punished. The punishment should fit the crime. Since his crimes are crimes of arrogance, Vitter should be punished in the most demeaning way possible.
Let's get a suggestion board going on potential punishments for that SOB.

Posted by: DoctorB | March 13, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Good Ole Pea brain = GOP

Bitter Vitter just say good bye.

Another republican done in by staying in the
mens room to long waiting for some republican
mens room lovin...

Posted by: 1-20-09 | March 13, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: sm98yth | March 13, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a mix we have here.

His Highness goes way off topic YET AGAIN in order to indulge his addiction to mindless vitriol (I suppose it's better than being addicted to painkillers, like his hero The Gasbag.....).

Plus, that paranoid loonie who keeps posting those black-helicopteresque fantasies might actually be onto something, and there's one guy who doesn't care if Vitter's a total sleazebag, because he'll fight to let you keep your guns (which sorta makes a weird kind of sense.)

Oh yeah, and the most intelligent posting of the day was the bio on the pornstar in Louisiana (and thank you, Mark In Austin -- always the scholar and the gentleman.)
Damn, she sounds like she'd be a better pick than Vitter (and I thought our politics in California were strange.....)

Whew! Quite the day at The Fix!

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | March 13, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

poptoy1949 - As long as you're so educated, you might want to look up the proper use of an apostrophe. It's not commonly used for plurals (Dem's, belief's). I'd recommend a copy of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 13, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, There you go again, pushing your Democratic Party prejudice. Yoy said nothing the other day when Rep. Charlie Rangle GD'ed a reporter. But then, nobody reports bad things about Dem's anymore. AT least not major media. Let me tell you something you don't know. Senator David Vitter is going to be U.S. Senator for as long as he wants in the State of Louisiana. That you can take to the bank. All the Dem's you list in your article are laughable at best. When a Rebulican in Washington has the slightest effect on Democrat's or their SAVIOR you DEM'S. begin to get after him to buffer the effect. If I were you I would begin to worry now about Mary Landrieu the Dem. Senator from Louisiana. You are typical big city in your belief's. From one Catholic to another; I will pray for your children. Quit picking fights Chris. This is not journalism. Don't forget I am from Louisiana, college educated, and all the things you are except being so damned prejudice. You lack wisdom due to your lack of years. GROW up for GOD'S sake.

Posted by: poptoy1949 | March 13, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Senator Vitter may have lost his cool, yet is a fine statesman and the only one (aside from Ron Paul) who I completely trust to protect my 2nd Amendment rights from unconstitutional bills proposed by the Leftists in Congress.

Heck, he's not even a senator from my state, but I know of him and trust in him nonetheless.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | March 13, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

"It seems not one single intelligent person wants anything to do with obamanomics. He has gotten an F from economists. When we warned you last year that he had no idea what he was doing, why did the press ignore us? Told you so."

I guess because you kept finding poll after poll that showed Obama was going to lose so I suppose they felt they had nothing to worry about.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 12, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

"It seems not one single intelligent person wants anything to do with obamanomics. He has gotten an F from economists. When we warned you last year that he had no idea what he was doing, why did the press ignore us?"

Posted by: Bushlegacylies | March 12, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Interesting development. Zouk is now using the Royal We.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 12, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

It seems not one single intelligent person wants anything to do with obamanomics. He has gotten an F from economists. When we warned you last year that he had no idea what he was doing, why did the press ignore us? Told you so.

Letting peloony and spineless run things and voting present is not unexpected , but nevertheless, worthless.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 12, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

it is very clear what would have happened to you or me if we had violated a security gate? Indeed, some people are above the laws that govern the rest of us? rcm.

Posted by: rcbootsmiller | March 12, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Sy Hersh didn't provide a lot of facts, but yes, at the end of the day, scrivener50 may -- may -- be due an apology.

"Anyone who has read or heard reports about the ongoing Bush-Cheney spawned or expanded domestic "extrajudicial punishment network" must log on to MINNPOST.COM to see what investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has to say:

[Some out of control scrivener50 stuff omitted.)

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 12, 2009 7:07 PM

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 12, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse


Anyone who has read or heard reports about the ongoing Bush-Cheney spawned or expanded domestic "extrajudicial punishment network" must log on to MINNPOST.COM to see what investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has to say:

(Then read the comments section of said article.)

For more on "Gestapo USA"...



Does the "extrajudicial punishment network" recruit "program" members from the ranks of store clerks, who are ordered to place tainted stock on the shelves when a "target" comes in to buy a favorite brand (info gleaned from surveillance)?

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 12, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Vitter's an embarassment to Louisiana and a national laughing-stock. However, Louisiana has been trending rightward in recent years and the Democrats don't seem to have a viable candidate so he may survive. He doesn't deserve to survive, but he might do so.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | March 12, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, give the guy a break. Maybe he thought there was a hooker on the plane.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | March 12, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Explain to me again why Spitzer "had to" resign but this pervert is still in the Senate? Oh, yeah, Republicans are hypocrites.

Posted by: havok26 | March 12, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

why is it when a republican gets caught with his pants down the first thing the republicans say is "the democrats do it too!" ... followed immediately by claims that the media isn't covering those democrats doing it too.

It sounds like they're trying to justify it. Certainly they'll never accept the blame for anything they do, it's always diversion and claiming to be the victim.

Reminds me of recess on the playground.

Posted by: barferio | March 12, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The nicest thing could be said is that Senator Vitter lacks self-control.

Posted by: merrylees | March 12, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, Georgia Tech over Clemson. Maryland is up next in the ACC Tourney. Probably need to stay alive until Sunday.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 12, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

You can't blame the guy for being edgy. He hasn't been getting any since the DC Madam affair. The guys got needs. He should be glad no one recognizes him. They might blame him for the mess Republicans have made and his unwillingness to help clean up the mess.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 12, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Next time, Senator, take the Crescent.

Posted by: mattintx | March 12, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

ddawd asks
"Do Senators really expect that people would recognize them on the streets?"

Several years ago my dad recognized Smilin' Joe on the street. He was a bit disappointed that Joe declined to help them finish moving into the new apartment.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 12, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I see his GOP double chin is developing nicely. Is that where they store their verbal bile?

Posted by: bourassa1 | March 12, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse


(Then read the comments section of said article.)

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 12, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

From her web page:

Stormy Daniels has been breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings her entire life. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana , and raised by a single mother from the time she was four, Stormy’s creativity and iron will determination sparkled early in life. Even as a teenager, Stormy Daniels was an unstoppable force for change. Not content to let her gender stop her from participating in a world typically dominated by males, at the age of 17, she was made editor of her high school newspaper, in addition to serving as president of her school’s 4-H club, a service oriented organization sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture.

In 2000, Stormy Daniels transferred her determination and talents to the professional level, becoming a featured performer in the adult entertainment industry. In little more than two years time, Stormy broke yet another barrier by signing an exclusive contract with the video production company Wicked Pictures, a company committed to a health and safety first policy, as pertaining to its video performances. Stormy’s decision to sign with Wicked highlighted her commitment to sending a positive message to young people of the importance of practicing safe sex.

In 2004, Stormy’s trailblazing career continued as she became a director for Wicked Pictures and, utilizing her natural writing talents, began penning original screenplays. She has since won numerous awards for her writing, directing, and acting. Stormy’s groundbreaking success in the adult entertainment industry transcended into mainstream entertainment as well. She has appeared in a variety of films, including the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring famed comedian Steve Carell.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 12, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Do Senators really expect that people would recognize them on the streets? I'm a lot more involved in politics than most people and I know of most of the Senators, but I really doubt I would be able to recognize more than a handful on the street.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 12, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...another politician that thinks people should know who they are and respect them for being's ridiculous...we don't care who they are and if we knew..they would have to wear a disguise most of the time.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 12, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The porn star who's challenging Vitter has better moral credentials.

Posted by: drindl | March 12, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Vitter is a leader in the Republican party.

Why do southern republicans elect "Church on Sunday/sin all week long" nut-jobs to office, anyway?

Oh yeah, I forgot. He claims to be christian. Among religious republicans such a claim is all that is required to excuse ANY behavior while serving the nation, apparently.

Posted by: onestring | March 12, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Vitter and Limbaugh: paragons of the party.

Posted by: frodot | March 12, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

People like Vitter move to self-destruction. Every time he opens his mouth on the political front, I wonder how long it will take for him to screw up again. The same type of people who could only jump all over Clinton for his scandal prior to themselves being scandalized are at it again. It is hard to listen to Vitter scold the President when he holds such low regard in by view due to his past scandal. I have watched C-SPAN as he has made a few speeches on the Senate floor. The man has nerve. There is no humility in him. There is certainly no statesmanship.

Posted by: EarlC | March 12, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

--"Can he weather another high-profile incident?"--

Sheesh. Missouri elects a dead man, Alaska a convicted felon. I get the impression that Louisiana leans towards the: “It’s Ok as long as s/he is a Republican.”

Posted by: DonJasper | March 12, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Vitter is an absolute moron and a towering hypocrite, but that's never stopped politicians from getting elected and reelected before. Why should it hurt Vitter now?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 12, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Typical - all about Vitter - but nothing about Shumer.

Posted by: thornegp | March 12, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"What is the long term political impact of this incident?"

Barring video of the incident or a police/TSA report, this will blow over.

If the TSA decides to prosecute, he'll want to push for a speedy resolution ending in a slap on the wrist to give it time to blow over before 2010.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 12, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Vitter has rolled the dice and they came up "snake eyes". After Hokkergate, he should have gone all low-profile, responsible, reach out to the people.

Instead he chose to grandstand on the stimulus and the pay increases which he ultimately killed rather than passed. Then he pulls an ass-on-your shoulders move at the airport.

I smell toast and it's burnt.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | March 12, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Good Ol' Diaper Dave.

Maybe he was running late for having manbaby sex with a hooker? Sounds like he needed his diaper at the airport, and acted like a manbaby.

Posted by: sequoiaqueneaux | March 12, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Senator Vitter needs to go and take Rep. Murtha with him.

Political Championship Wrestling

Posted by: politicalchampionshipwrestling | March 12, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the pornstar is running as an independent. The funniest thing about her running is it actually seems fairly well thought out. A pornstar is running to draw attention to Vitter's hypocrisy on family values. I'm honestly surprised anybody put even that much thought into it.

Posted by: alkuth | March 12, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Isn't he going to get a primary challenge from a porn star or something? Pretty sure I read about that somewhere on the interwebs.

Posted by: lrsigman | March 12, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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