Entries in Louisiana (14)


2012 Elections Are Finally Over: Boustany Defeats Landry in Louisiana Runoff

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The 2012 elections are finally over.

GOP Rep. Charles Boustany defeated his GOP rival, freshman tea-partier Rep. Jeff Landry, in a runoff in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District Saturday night.

Fittingly, the last race of 2012 was a redistricting battle between two members of the same party — one that ended in a runoff more than a month after Election Day. It did not affect Democrats’ net gain of eight House seats in 2012.

The four-term congressman Boustany was expected to win, having topped the multi-way field on Nov. 6 with just less than 45 percent of the vote. Landry collected 30 percent, while Democrat Ron Richard collected 22 percent. Richard later endorsed Boustany.

Landry, a member of the House Tea Party Caucus who voted against last year’s deal to raise the debt limit, was supported by conservative Sen. Jim DeMint and the tea-party group FreedomWorks.

The two congressmen had split southern Louisiana for one term before the state lost one seat in 2010′s redistricting, but the new 3rd District included far more of Boustany’s old 7th District than Landry’s old 3rd.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Visit Louisiana in Isaac’s Wake

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will visit Louisiana on Monday to assess the damage in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, the White House announced Friday.

“Our hearts are obviously with all the folks who are down in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. Our prayers are with those who’ve lost loved ones. And I’ve directed the federal government to keep doing everything that it can to help our partners at the state and local level. As a country, we stand united with our fellow Americans in their hour of need,” the president told troops at Fort Bliss Friday.

The White House announced the upcoming trip just hours before newly-minted GOP nominee Mitt Romney visited New Orleans to survey the aftermath of the storm.

In a last-minute change of plans, Romney traveled Friday to Louisiana where he met with the state's Gov. Bobby Jindal and observed the damage caused by the storm. He had initially planned to rally in Virginia with his running mate, Paul Ryan.

“I’m here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what’s going here,” Romney told Jindal. “So that people around the country know that people down here need help.”

Romney spent 45-minutes in a closed-door meeting with Jindal, Sen. David Vitter and other local officials before emerging and meeting with several locals who appeared to be displaced after the storm.

According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the decision for the president to travel to Louisiana was made prior to Romney’s announcement about his trip Friday.

Asked about Romney’s visit, Carney said, “I think that it’s always important to draw attention to the fact that individuals and families and business owners are profoundly affected by storms like Isaac, and that’s an important thing to do.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Visits Storm-Ravaged Area, Meets with Officials in Louisiana

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(KENNER, La.) -- Mitt Romney traveled Friday in the storm-ravaged state of Louisiana, meeting with Gov. Bobby Jindal and surveying damage caused by Hurricane Isaac.

“I’m here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what’s going here,” Romney told Jindal. “So that people around the country know that people down here need help.”

Romney, staff members, the National Guard and a small group of press traveled in high water vehicles through flooded regions in Jefferson Parish, one of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Isaac, passing submerged gas stations and flooded homes. The motorcade passed a sign on a home that read, “Where is our levee protection,” as well as people who watched Romney pass from small boats in the floodwaters that would usually be front lawns.

Romney asked Jindal about the number of people in shelters as well as where the bulk of the water was coming from -- rivers, the sky or tidal surges -- but their conversation took place out of earshot of reporters.

Then Romney spent 45-minutes in a closed-door meeting with Jindal, Sen. David Vitter and other local officials before emerging and meeting with several women who were standing in a parking lot barefoot in t-shirts and shorts.

Jodie Chiarello, 42 of Jean Lafitte, was one of the women who spoke with Romney and said she had told him, “I lost everything.”

“He said that he was going to do the best that he could for us.” Chiarello, a Republican who declined to say who she was voting for, said she was pleased Romney visited to be “supportive.”

“He’s good, he’ll do the best for us, he has our best interests at heart,” she said of the candidate, adding that he was different than she’d expected.

“I thought he’d be more like a politician, but it was more understanding and caring,” she said. “He was caring.”

Romney told the women that FEMA could point them in the direction of shelters.

During a September debate, Romney was asked what he thought should be done with FEMA, which has come under funding issues in the past year. Asked if he agreed with those who say states should take on more of role in federal disaster relief, Romney said, “Absolutely.”

“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states that’s the right direction,” he said. “And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector that’s even better. Instead of thinking in the federal budget what we should cut, we should ask ourselves the opposite question, what should we keep. We should take all of what we are doing at the federal level and say what are things we are doing that we don’t have to do, and those things we’ve gotta stop doing.”

Romney, who announced his visit to the region earlier Friday, has been weighing a trip here all week. President Obama announced later that afternoon that he will travel to Louisiana on Monday.

Asked whether he thought it was inappropriate for Romney to have visited the region before the President, Romney senior adviser Stuart Stevens said he did not.

“I’ve never heard that being a factor in this at all. The convention’s over, this is happening. Now it’s not as disruptive because it’s not in the middle of the storm. And it’s important to see it and show support for the people. Get a briefing from the Governor,” said Stevens. “I think that it helps draw attention to these people, and their plight, and the situation, it’s a way for him to brief governor Romney and I think it’s going to take an hour and a half.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, asked earlier what a private citizen like Romney can accomplish on a visit like the one he made today, said that “it’s always important to draw attention to the fact that individuals and families and business owners are profoundly affected by storms like Isaac, and that’s an important thing to do.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Confirms Secret Meeting with Newt Gingrich Last Week

Charles Dharapa-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Reports that Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich met secretly in New Orleans the day before the Louisiana primary were confirmed Thursday.

On Thursday in a radio interview, Romney seemed to play down the importance of the meeting between himself and Gingrich, saying that the meeting brought about "nothing new" or "exciting."  

A source close to the Gingrich campaign, which earlier this week scaled back and laid off staffers, confirmed the meeting happened early Friday morning at around 6:30 a.m. at Romney’s hotel in the French Quarter district of New Orleans. Gingrich was staying at a hotel about 30 minutes away from Romney’s hotel and met with him before heading to the southern part of Louisiana to campaign in Port Fourchon.

Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told ABC News that he was not the source of other reports that the two candidates had met; however, “Newt does speak to Santorum and Romney on a regular basis.”

Romney is the clear front-runner in the Republican race and holds a commanding delegate lead. Gingrich has stayed in the race even though he could never maintain spurts of momentum heading into the Iowa caucus and after a big win in South Carolina. Any sort of agreement between the men would be a turn of events. Gingrich has blamed negative advertising both from the Romney campaign and a super PAC that supports Romney for hurting his candidacy. Still, Gingrich has pledged to take his candidacy to the Republican candidacy in Tampa, Florida, later this year. Gingrich has finished fourth in 13 of the last 27 Republican primary contests.

A financial backer of Gingrich, Nevada casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, recently said he still supports Gingrich, but thinks the former House speaker has reached the “end of his line.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Owes Americans an Apology, Romney Says

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SHREVEPORT, La). -- Mitt Romney said Friday that President Obama owes Americans an apology for the policies he’s implemented that have led to high deficits and poor job growth.

“He’s been out there trying to take credit for his policies,” said Romney, standing in front of an oil rig in Shreveport. “Actually I think he’s confused -- it’s his policies that have caused a lot of our problems. He shouldn’t be trying to take credit, he should be pointing out he made some big mistakes.”

“I’m reminded of another tour he took at the beginning of his administration. He went around the Middle East and apologized for America,” he said. “You know instead of apologizing for America he should have stood up and said that as the president of the United States we all take credit for the greatness of this country.”

Romney has long criticized Obama for “apologizing for America,” even naming his book, No Apology, vowing that if he is president he will never apologize for America.

“This is a president who has some apologizing to do and it’s not to the people overseas for America, it’s to the people in America for his policies.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Throws Romney Campaign Gaffe to the Alligators

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(HOUMA, La.) -- Mitt Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch problem came up against a toy alligator in the hands of Newt Gingrich at a campaign stop Thursday.

The Republican presidential candidate was horsing around with a toy alligator head when he was handed an Etch-A-Sketch. Gingrich put it in the alligator’s mouth and moved the mouth up and down in a chomping motion.

“There’s Louisiana treatment of an Etch-A-Sketch!” Gingrich said to the cameras amid plenty of references to Romney’s communication director’s gaffe -- by both attendees and Gingrich himself. Romney’s top aide, in answering a question about the fall campaign,  said, “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You kind of shake it up and restart all over again,” raising questions about Romney’s trustworthiness to carry the conservative banner. Gingrich thanked the aide for “telling the truth.”

"You can’t have a child’s toy for president,” Gingrich told the crowd.

Children’s toys aside, Gingrich also took the opportunity to hit Romney on gas prices. He said while calling into a radio show he was asked why Gov. Romney kept the gas tax high in Massachusetts.  Gingrich quoted the former Massachuestts governor as saying, "People ought to get used to high prices of gasoline.”

The blogosphere buzzed Thursday with the news, reported by the Quincy Patriot Ledger, that in 2006  Romney said high gasoline prices “are probably here to stay.” Gingrich has been running his campaign on a $2.50 gas price promise. Gingrich also hit simultaneously at President Obama for not fully authorizing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would move oil from Canada to Texas, and Rick Santorum for voting to fund the Bridge to Nowhere, which would have connected minuscule Gravina Island to Ketchikan, Alaska, when he was in Congress.

“Today, the president announced he was going to open up half of the Keystone pipeline. That’s right -- this is the pipeline to nowhere,” Gingrich said. "Obama is going to match Santorum’s Bridge to Nowhere with a Pipeline to Nowhere."

Gingrich continues to campaign in Louisiana through Friday but will not hold an election night party, according to his spokesman.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pro-Romney Super PAC Spends Big in Ill., La., Miss. and Ala.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If you’re a voter in an upcoming primary state, chances are you’ll see a lot of pro-Romney super PAC ads.

On Wednesday, the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future reported big purchases of TV time in Tuesday’s primary states of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as Illinois and Louisiana, which hold primaries on March 20 and March 24, respectively.

It was once unthinkable, according to conventional wisdom, that the Republican primary would stay competitive long enough for a heated battle over the heavily Democratic Illinois. However, Restore Our Future is spending more money there than in any other upcoming state -- likely because ads in the Chicago media market are expensive.

Restore Our Future reported new spending of $901,438 in Illinois, $425,165 in Louisiana, $680,385 in Alabama, and $581,183 in Mississippi.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bobby Jindal Joins Rick Perry on Iowa Bus Tour

U.S. Congress(MAQUOKETA, Iowa) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry was joined by a fellow Southern governor in Iowa Tuesday as Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal traveled to the state to campaign with the presidential candidate he endorsed in September.  

“The reality is there are going to be a lot of people running for president who can give a great speech, and a lot of people who come out of Washington, D.C., and I’m here to help support Rick Perry because I think we’ve got to elect somebody who’s actually run his state,” Jindal said at a meet and greet at the Decker Hotel.  

Jindal, whose state borders Texas, listed the reasons he supports Perry and recounted the assistance Perry offered to Louisiana during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, saying the Texas governor presented an evacuation plan to him before any federal agency.

“The reason I can stand here and tell you that we can support Rick Perry to be our next president of the United States,” Jindal said. “He is a governor that has led. He will not need on the job training.”

Jindal not only heaped praise on the Texas governor, but he also threw Perry a lifeline when the Texas governor stumbled in explaining a portion of his tax plan.

A voter asked Perry if the standard deduction would still exist if someone opts to use his proposed 20 percent flat tax, and after Perry mistakenly responded no, Jindal chimed in, reminding the Texas governor the standard deduction would still be in place.

“Thank you for correcting me on that governor, not that I ever make a mistake,” Perry joked. “But it’s always good to have Bobby here to correct me.”

Perry spent a good portion of his speech chastising the EPA and expounding upon his energy plans.  Though he did not name any of his rivals by name, he criticized those working for K Street and Wall Street, a theme he introduced Monday, and also noted that he doesn’t understand the difference between a consultant and lobbyist, a direct jab at Newt Gingrich.

Jindal will join Perry at each of his events in Iowa Tuesday and Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Fleming Says He Has Only $200K to Feed His Family

Fleming [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans have decried the president's proposal to increase taxes for the wealthiest citizens, saying the move could hurt small businesses and the economy.

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., a physician and business owner, has become a lightening rod for criticism after he went on news shows to lobby against raising taxes.  He said President Obama's proposed tax increase, including the "Buffett Rule" which will raise taxes for some individuals with more than $1 million in income, is a job killer.

Fleming said "most small businesses in this country today are taxed at the individual level as Corporation LLC.  So whatever is cut out of those earnings is money taken out of capital for reinvestment for creating more jobs and opening up more locations," he said.

Fleming has a $6.3 million gross annual income, but his net income is about $600,000, he told MSNBC this week.  Fleming's net worth is $9.5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' research based on his personal financial disclosures.  Fleming, however, is not included in Roll Call's list of the 50 richest members of Congress.

"You can see his worth even in Congress is well above the average," Michael Beckel, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told ABC News.

Some liberal bloggers have criticized the Congressman, saying that many American families are struggling to get by on a fraction of what he takes home.

"What happens is, in my own case -- my own LLCs -- the income flows to my personal tax return, whatever is left over after taxes are paid, I feed my family on the one hand and on the other hand I reinvest in my business," Rep. Fleming said.  "By the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment."

Beckel said spending $200,000 to support his wife and four adult children is a "sizeable safety net" at $33,333 a person.

"Most Americans don't budget $200,000 a year to feed their family.  That would be a luxury that most Americans would have to put on their table," Beckel said.  In Louisiana, where Fleming resides, the cost of living is below the national average.

Rep. Fleming did not return a request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Louisiana Rep. Richmond: Let BP Drill Again in the Gulf

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Word that BP is seeking to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico presents a challenge for the Obama administration, which is seeking to increase domestic oil production even as the Justice Department mulls possible criminal charges against the company in connection with an accident investigation that’s still ongoing.

But on Rep. Cedric Richmond -- a Democrat who represents New Orleans in Congress -- tells ABC News it’s important not to “penalize BP for the incident” by denying the company the right to drill, provided the company goes through the proper permitting process.”

“They should be able to drill, as long as they follow the same rules that everybody else is following,” Richmond, D-La., said. “We don't want to penalize BP for the incident. We want them to, of course, make citizens whole that were affected, and we'll never forget that we lost 11 lives in that incident.

“So we don't want a repeat of it, which is why the permitting process has been revamped and they're making sure that the safeguards are in place so we don't have another Horizon accident. … If BP can make it through that then I think they should be allowed to drill.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday denied reports in the British press that BP has already reached a deal with the U.S. government to resume drilling. But he made clear that BP will be allowed to resume operations in the Gulf if and when the company shows that it will be able to comply with new regulations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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