Washington Watch for Nov. 19, 2012

Landry backed by Levin

As the congressional runoff race between U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry continues through Dec. 8, both congressmen are continuing to tout new endorsements.

While Boustany, R-Lafayette, may have more recent endorsements, Landry, R-New Iberia, certainly has the most vocal in prominent national radio host and author Mark Levin, of New York.

“I am endorsing Congressman Landry because he is the conservative in this race,” Levin said. “Landry is a proactive conservative, and the other guy is trouble. Landry is a citizen-congressman looking out for the folks, and the other guy is all over the map.”

Boustany, meanwhile, had U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speak up on his behalf on Thursday. Issa, who chairs the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Boustany are among the few members of Congress who come from Lebanese heritage.

“I spend each and every day in Congress holding President Obama’s administration accountable for their actions and rooting out fraud in our federal government,” Issa stated. “I can think of few others as well-appointed to help me in my efforts than my friend Dr. Charles Boustany, and I whole heartily endorse him for re-election.”

Boustany and Landry are running against each other to represent southwestern Louisiana in the 3rd Congressional District because of redistricting. Louisiana is losing a seat in Congress because of a lack of population growth.

On Nov. 6, Boustany won nearly 45 percent of the vote compared to 30 percent for Landry in a field of five candidates. The only Democrat in the race, Ron Richard of Lake Charles, received 21.5 percent of the vote. Richard has since endorsed Boustany.

Boustany also is touting more bipartisan support, including from 13 mayors in the district, and the support of a variety of state legislators, ranging from House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, to state Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte.

Landry, on the other hand, is backed by various tea party groups and most of the Republican parish executive committees in the district.

Vitter seeks fair treatment for Slidell resident

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., sent a letter to the president of South Sudan seeking the fair treatment of Slidell resident Elton “Mark” McCabe, who has been detained for more than a month.

Vitter wrote to President Salva Kiir Mayardit urging him to ensure that McCabe would be granted due process as guaranteed by the laws of South Sudan, as well as by international law.

McCabe was detained by members of the South Sudanese National Security Service on Oct. 14, and although he awaits trial scheduled on Thursday, he has yet to be officially charged. McCabe has been working in the region developing clinics and Internet infrastructure.

“I’ve been working with the McCabe family, the U.S. Embassy and the State Department to get Mark released to the Embassy on humanitarian grounds,” Vitter said in a prepared statement. “While we’re working to make sure Mark receives due process and fair treatment, his health and safety are top priorities that my office will continue to focus on.”

Vitter’s letter complains about how McCabe was released on bail and immediately detained again.

“Such actions lend an air of political manipulation to this case, when it should be decided solely on the merits or complete lack thereof,” Vitter wrote. “To date, no evidence has been presented to substantiate the charges against him. His continued detention prevents access to medical treatment for a life-threatening condition which continues to worsen each day. An American physician has confirmed the gravity of Mr. McCabe’s condition.”

McCabe suffered a major heart attack 11 months ago.

Landrieu praises Jindal

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., found herself this week in the relatively rare situation of praising Gov. Bobby Jindal, even if it may have come in a backhanded way.

In this case, they were both in agreement over criticizing defeated GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney over the former Massachusetts governor’s comments about him losing to Obama because of “giving a lot of stuff” to groups like black people, Hispanics and young people.

Jindal said Romney was wrong and that the GOP needs to reach out to all voters. Landrieu agreed that both major political parties need to work with everyone and to do more to work with each other.

Landrieu started out with criticizing Romney for “divisive talk” but then she addressed Jindal, with whom she has had a strained relationship, especially in recent months over federal Medicaid funding.

“In addition, since I have been critical in recent times of Gov. Jindal’s failure to speak out and act on issues important to our state, I want to be quick today to compliment him on his strong rebuke of Gov. Romney’s misguided and divisive statements,” Landrieu stated. “Gov. Jindal is absolutely correct that both parties need to do a better job of focusing on 100 percent of the voters and promoting principled compromises that respect both majority rule and minority views.”

Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.com.