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YouTube Clip Takes Aim at Breaux

As former Democratic Sen. John Breaux ponders a run for Louisiana governor, a new video posted on YouTube aims to undermine his candidacy before it begins.

Posted on March 1, the 40-second clip features a variety of quotes from Breaux praising Rep. Bobby Jindal -- the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee.

"Before the Democrats get all excited about having John Breaux try to stop Bobby Jindal, maybe they would like to hear what super-lobbyist John Breaux has said about Bobby Jindal," says the narrator of the clip.

A series of Breaux quotes flash on the screen. In one segment, Breaux praises Jindal as holding "every job I can think of in Louisiana that is important." The remark came from Jindal's confirmation hearing as assistant secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in 2001.

Jindal also was the executive director of a national commission to preserve Medicare that was chaired by Breaux and former Republican Rep. Bill Thomas of California.

The narration in the video clip also refers to Breaux's praise of Jindal as a "highly skilled and eminently qualified individual possessing outstanding credentials and qualifications." That comment appears in a letter of recommendation Breaux wrote to the chairman of the University of Louisiana's board of supervisors on Jindal's behalf in 1999.

"Sounds like John Breaux would vote for Bobby Jindal....if he were even registered to vote here," the narrator concludes. Republicans have insisted that Breaux cannot meet the residency requirement to run for governor.

The unearthing of these quotes for political purposes is not new. Jindal's campaign used many Breaux comments in the 2003 governor's race when the then-senator endorsed Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco over Jindal. Blanco won that race narrowly but has become politically embattled following her handling of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

The difference is the "YouTube effect" -- the ability to circulate a clip like this one to hundreds or even thousands of people in a very short time. Authorship matters little in the new YouTube world of politics. This clip was posted by "lapoliticalwatch," who is identified on the site only by age: 27.

Is it likely the work of a young Republican activist or operative seeking to dissuade Breaux from running? Probably. But does that lessen its potential impact? No. So far just three-dozen people have viewed the clip. But it is beginning to make the rounds among Louisiana political insiders, so expect that number to grow.

Breaux has until the state's filing deadline of Sept. 6 to decide whether to officially enter the race.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 5, 2007; 12:53 PM ET
 
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