Thursday, January 15, 2009

Prostitution fall-out? Jindal might not endorse Vitter

RollCall (sub. required):

While Louisiana Sen. David Vitter (R) can point to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) attendance at a recent fundraiser for his 2010 re-election race as evidence of the popular governor’s support, well-placed Republican insiders say that Jindal definitely is not yet in Vitter’s camp.

(Ea) Vitter, of course, is the former Rhodes Scolar, who was linked to a prostitute working for Deborah Palfrey. When the allegations first surfaced, Senator Vitter denied them, calling it "crass Louisiana politics" and "completely untrue".

He later apologized and confessed the "very serious sin" when his number appeared in the phone records of Palfrey's service.

So perhaps, it's understandable that Gov. Bobby Jindal, intent on changing the state's image on ethics, is reluctant to offer Vitter his support.

But political parties have been known to jealousy guard their own. Marianne Means reported that in 2007, upon his return to the Senate following the scandal's publicity, Vitter was welcomed with a standing ovation at a closed Republican Senate luncheon.

Will Jindal maintain his scrupulously clean image, or bow to national party interests? After all, as Republican Senator Sam Brownback commented, soon after the scandal:

"If you look at [Vitter's] actual crime itself and the discussion across the country -- and as a Republican -- this is bad.''