WASHINGTON — A day after the Republican Party of Louisiana told U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu she should cancel a New Orleans fundraiser featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Landrieu said the state should always welcome the nation’s president or vice president.
Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere criticized Landrieu for hosting Biden, who recently led the task force that created President Barack Obama’s recent gun control proposals.
Villere accused the administration of wanting to violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“Sen. Landrieu’s plan to hold an event in Louisiana featuring ‘gun-grabbin’’ Joe Biden is a slap in the face to every Louisiana citizen who believes in the U.S. Constitution,” Villere said in the prepared statement. “I call on Sen. Landrieu to cancel this event and to inform Mr. Biden that he is not welcome in Louisiana, where we still support the rule of law.”
The statements showed the Republican Party is already launching attacks against Landrieu, D-La., in advance of her 2014 re-election bid.
Republican U.S. Reps. Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, and John Fleming, of Minden, are among those considering an election challenge.
Landrieu said she has helped host both Republican and Democratic presidents and vice presidents over the years.
“I am always honored, and I think the Louisiana people are always honored, to have a president or vice president visit,” Landrieu said Wednesday, before declining further comment on the matter.
But Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson had a stronger response to Villere’s criticisms.
“It would be a sad day for such a respected and distinguished person as Vice President Joe Biden to feel unwelcome in our state, particularly after all this administration has done to help the people of Louisiana,” Peterson said in a prepared response.
“After just leaving our nation’s capitol to witness real, meaningful coming together of both political parties to honor our form of government, it is sad that the Louisiana GOP chair would be this inhospitable and completely wrong on so many points ... and we wonder why things don’t get done in Washington,” she added.
Biden is scheduled to attend a fundraiser Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street in New Orleans.
Obama and Biden are requesting universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
Landrieu, who has touted her support of Second Amendment rights, has expressed openness to backing initial gun control measures, but she has not yet specified which ones.
“That said, last month’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn., has become all too familiar,” Landrieu said last week. “We must find a way to balance our Second Amendment rights with the challenges of mental illness, criminal behavior and the safety of our schools and communities.”