David Vitter in 2010 Louisiana Senate Debates


On Principles & Values: OpEd: robo-response to "Did you break the law" with DC Madam

At last night's debate, Vitter was once again in robo response mode when it came to questions regarding his "serious sin" and exposed ties to the D.C. Madam prostitution ring. One panelist asked Vitter directly whether the "serious sin" he admitted to in 2007 broke the law. "You're a lawyer," the panelist said. "Did you break the law?"

Vitter's response: "You can look back. You can continue to write stories in the media about it. That's your decision. It's a free county. I looked the voters of Louisiana in the eye. I spoke to them sincerely. I think they heard me and I think they understood me. And now I'm looking forward, I'm not looking back." The panelist and moderator followed up, asking Vitter the question again: "Did you break the law? Yes or No." Vitter repeated his staid response. After the debate, Vitter was swarmed by reporters on his way out, who again peppered him with the question of whether he broke the law.

Source: Independent Weekly coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 29, 2010

On Civil Rights: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was a trial lawyer bonanza

Fireworks erupted when the candidates were asked if the law should guarantee women equal pay for doing the same work as men. While Melancon and Vitter both said they support equal pay, Melancon used the question as a springboard to attack Vitter for a range of votes that Melancon characterized as anti-woman, including against a bill to give women more time to file suit when they think they've been victims of pay discrimination. "We deserve a senator who respects women and stands up for women," Melancon said.

Vitter called the charge "a complete misrepresentation of my record," and said he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 because he thought it was a sop to plaintiff's lawyers. "Quite frankly it's a trial lawyer bonanza," Vitter said.

Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Families & Children: Prostitute was "serious sin" but made me a better family man

Vitter said that he became a stronger person and better family man after receiving forgiveness for a "serious sin" as challengers questioned his personal morality.

Vitter, whose phone number was found in the logs of a Washington, D.C. prostitution ring in 2007, said family remains the "greatest strength" his life, and that the D.C. Madam episode "redoubled my focus on living true to those commitments."

"Obviously I've stumbled in my marriage. Obviously I've committed serious sins that I've talked about in my past," Vitter said.

Melancon said Vitter's questionable character helped motivate him and others to get in the race against the incumbent. "It's about honesty and integrity in Washington and that is one of the key ingredients and the reason why I think everyone got in this race to challenge Mr. Vitter," Melancon said.

Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Health Care: Introduced legislation to repeal ObamaCare

Vitter stressed his differences with Melancon on new federal health care law. While Melancon and Vitter both voted against the health care law, Vitter has introduced legislation to repeal it while Melancon said there are many parts of it he would like to keep, such as the requirement that children be allowed to stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26.
Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Principles & Values: I've stumbled in my marriage; but it's my greatest strength

Family values were addressed right out the gate in Wednesday's debate, with Sen. David Vitter briefly addressing his "serious sin." When asked by the moderator about how their values affect their candidacy, Vitter briefly referenced his tie to a Washington, D.C., madam in 2007. "My greatest strength in life is my family, and their love and prayers and support. Obviously I've stumbled in my marriage, obviously I've committed serious sin, which I've discussed in the past," Vitter said.

Melancon took the opportunity to set themselves apart from Vitter and his values. "It's the family unit that brings us all together... It's about honesty and integrity in Washington," Melancon said.

There were no other direct references to the call-girl issue at the forum, though Melancon has run attack ads seeking to remind voters of the controversy.

Source: WDSU New Orleans coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Tax Reform: Permanent extension of all Bush tax cuts

Vitter stressed his differences with Melancon on tax policy. On taxes, Vitter favor a permanent extension of all the income-tax cuts approved in the early years of President George W. Bush's administration.

Melancon said he supports extending the tax cuts for middle-income earners but allowing rates to increase on the wealthiest taxpayers. "Every one of us wants to extend the present tax rates... except one candidate, Charlie Melancon," Vitter said.

The candidates were less sure of themselves when asked for specifics on what federal spending they would seek to offset the tax cuts with corresponding cuts to spending. Vitter did not offer any suggestions for what he would cut, while Melancon suggested that Congress should take its cue from a government report that details which federal programs and agencies are "not giving bang for the buck."

Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Health Care: I fought ObamaCare & I'm still fighting it

Melancon and Vitter debated on a wide range of topics including the economy and health care. "It's a shame that Mr. Vitter continues to lie about my record, I opposed the health care bill, because the health care bill didn't work for America," said Melancon.

Senator Vitter responded, calling their differing views on health care "a big, honest disagreement between us, I fought 'ObamaCare,' I'm still fighting it," he said.

Source: KATC News coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 27, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Stimulus package won't lead to significant job creation

Melancon voted for the stimulus package, saying he recalled the 1980s, the last time the country faced an economic collapse. "It was pretty God awful," Melancon said.

Vitter criticized the measure as wasteful spending. Today, unemployment stands at 10 percent with about 80 percent of the stimulus money dedicated. "It immediately increased spending and debt," Vitter said. "At the same time, I didn't think it would lead to significant job creation."

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Budget & Economy: TARP package will expand power & role of federal government

Bush's Wall Street bailout, or Troubled Asset Relief Program, led to $700 billion in government money going to financial institutions in danger of collapsing. Melancon said he voted for the bill after consulting with business leaders and economists who feared an economic free fall. "They all agreed that doing nothing would lead us into a depression," Melancon said.

At every turn, Vitter tried to thwart the program. He introduced legislation aimed at blocking the use of $250 billion of the TARP money, which was approved in two installments. He called for any money returned to the federal government by the institutions taking part in the program to be dedicated to reducing the federal deficit instead of supporting further spending. Vitter also wanted an ending date for the program. "It played out to do what I feared, to expand the power and the role of the federal government," Vitter said.

Vitter's proposed measures did not pass. The government has received most of its money back.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Corporations: Small Business Tax and Lending Bill is a government bailout

Melancon voted for the Small Business Tax and Lending Bill, which established a $30 billion small-business lending fund administered by the U.S. Treasury. The money was directed to community banks to lend to small businesses.

Melancon is a former small businessman, having operated an insurance agency and several ice cream stores. "I had to worry about making payroll and staying in business and creating jobs," Melancon said.

Vitter didn't vote on the measure, saying his absence was equal to a "no" vote. The bill passed.

Vitter, who sits on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, joined fellow Republicans in calling the measure another government bailout that would do little to stimulate small business and didn't provide enough tax breaks.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Environment: Introduced bill to extend National Flood Insurance Program

Vitter introduced a bill that extends by a year the National Flood Insurance Program, which affects 500,000 home and business owners in Louisiana. The bill passed.

Vitter prides himself on pressuring federal agencies, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to move on flood-prevention projects.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Health Care: ObamaCare injects government into private decisions

In rare moment of agreement for the two lawmakers, Melancon and Vitter voted against the massive health-care legislation successfully pushed by Obama and the Democratic leadership.

Melancon said the plan costs too much and does little for middle-class Louisiana families.

Vitter likewise opposed the measure, saying it would inject the government into decisions that should be left to doctors and their patients.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Health Care: Pushed to allow re-importation of Rx drugs from Canada

Vitter succeeded in passing an amendment that bars the use of federal funds to stop people from bringing prescription drugs into the country from Canada. In his 2004 campaign, Vitter pledged to push for re-importation, which would allow buying cheaper drugs from abroad.

Vitter also worked across the aisle with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to prevent insurance companies from denying women mammograms. A government medical task force recommended that women in their 40s do not routinely need mammograms.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Health Care: Opposes SCHIP; it subsidizes wealthy states

The SCHIP bill reauthorized the State Children's Health Insurance Program for the next five years, funding it with a 62-cent federal tax on cigarettes. It removed a five-year waiting period, and loosened citizenship requirements.

Melancon voted for the measure, trying to debunk claims by opponents that it would amount to government-run insurance, health care for illegal immigrants or coverage for high-income families. "Making sure children have health insurance is not only the right thing to do, it's also much more cost-effective for taxpayers than leaving them uninsured and using the emergency room as a primary-care provider," Melancon said.

Vitter opposed the bill, saying it was disproportionately skewed toward states such as New York, which has higher incomes for eligibility than Louisiana, he said. In New York, the program's cutoff for a family of four is $88,200. Louisiana taxpayers shouldn't subsidize those states, Vitter said. "It just makes no sense to me," he said.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Immigration: TV ad: Melancon puts out a welcome sign for illegal aliens

The Hispanic community in New Orleans says they feel humiliated when it comes to a television ad created by Senator David Vitter's campaign, which says: "Charlie Melancon, thanks to him we might as well put out a welcome sign for illegal aliens."

Many in the Hispanic community are calling it demeaning, dehumanizing, and degrading. Those in attendance are particularly angry that the Senator has targeted one group of people. ABC26 News called Vitter's campaign, but no one has responded.

Source: WGNO ABC26 News coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Louisiana Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Louisiana Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by David Vitter.
Click here for a profile of David Vitter.
David Vitter on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare
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Page last updated: Dec 02, 2010