Vitter’s words come back to haunt him

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter will probably emerge from seclusion soon and return to Washington to fight for his political career, a colleague of the first-term Republican said Friday.

When Vitter does, he is sure to be confronted with his past remarks about the sanctity of marriage, the importance of fidelity and the need for high ethical standards among office holders.

In a statement last Monday night, Vitter apologized for committing a “very serious sin in my past,” acknowledging that his Washington phone number was among those called several years ago by an escort service that prosecutors say was a prostitution operation. Telephone records show that the service called Vitter’s number five times from 1999 to 2001, while he was a U.S. House member.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told reporters Friday that, based on e-mail exchanges with Vitter, he expects his colleague to return to the Capitol by Tuesday. Vitter, 46, missed votes on Iraq policy matters on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

DeMint said of Vitter’s admission: “It’s a huge moral failure that reflects on the whole body. And for that he’s very sorry.”

Several GOP colleagues in Washington and Louisiana have rallied to Vitter’s side, saying politicians deserve forgiveness when they err and repent. Some opponents have accused him of hypocrisy, noting that his career is built largely on an image as someone more ethical than the average politician.

Vitter, a married father of four, last month urged colleagues to devote more federal spending to programs urging sexual abstinence among teens. The best way to avert teen pregnancy, he wrote, is “by teaching teenagers that saving sex until marriage and remaining faithful afterwards is the best choice for health and happiness.”

In a June 2006 Senate speech supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage, Vitter said it was “well overdue that we in the Senate focus on nurturing, upholding, preserving and protecting such a fundamental social institution as traditional marriage.”

On Friday night, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who ran the escort service and whose phone records led to Vitter’s problems, said she was “disgusted at the hypocrisy” of the senator’s comments about gay marriage.

“How dare someone dictate one thing and practice another, and in the process deny so many in this country the opportunity for happiness,” said Palfrey. “In particular, I’m talking about dictating what constitutes a family. What constitutes a family is love, pure and simple.”

A lengthy 1999 profile of Vitter in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans was headlined, “Straight arrow aims for Congress.”

Several lawmakers including Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., publicly accused Vitter of hypocrisy this week. Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt reveled in his role in unearthing Vitter’s phone records, saying, “I’m only exposing the hypocrisy.”

Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, said Friday he had tried to get in touch with Vitter without success. Villere said he’d been inundated with e-mails from Republicans, most of them supporting Vitter. A “vocal minority” is voicing opposition, he said.

Also Friday, people close to Vitter confirmed that he sent an e-mail to supporters earlier this week saying: “I … deeply apologize again for letting you and others down. … Our family will be fine, though we certainly appreciate your continuing thoughts and prayers.”

Vitter, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar, moved rapidly from the Louisiana legislature to the U.S. House and then the Senate, thanks largely to his repeated attacks on what he portrayed as ethical shortcomings of his opponents. He assailed their junkets, ties to casino gambling and use of a tax-paid scholarship program.

The 1999 Times-Picayune profile called him “the boyish-looking, straight-laced freshman state representative” who was “sometimes lampooned as a Boy Scout in adult life.” It said he hammered everyone “who didn’t pass Vitter’s ethical muster. Along the way, he made some powerful enemies. … Even some of Vitter’s fellow Republicans privately groused that he was a grandstander.”

Vitter’s allies say they will try to help him regain some of his luster.

“The past conduct that Sen. Vitter has acknowledged and taken responsibility for is serious and disappointing,” Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., said in a statement Friday, “but it does not define the whole of the man, and it is not irredeemable.”


Associated Press reporters Kevin McGill in New Orleans and Pete Yost in Washington contributed to this report.


  1. Sandra Price

    Are we going back to the Salem Trials? Do we bring people into court for having sex with someone they are not married to? Do we stop there?

    Rob, you know he can’t be fired without a trial. How far do you want to take this? Our courts will be tied up for 200 years for trying to indict on social issues. If Vitter needs to be impeached, let his voters handle it. Show me where our Senators and Congressmen are held to these social issues?

    We know Christians are often hypocrites. Let the voters send them home and learn not to put any of these Christian hypocrites back in office.

    This morning the Catholic Church has to pay Six Hundred Million dollars for the sexual actions of their own Priests. Do we learn a message fron this? I don’t expect any American to vote for or even respect a God-less candidate yet. We may have to eventually do it just to get back to our natural rights. Of course, many voters don’t even know what they are…..

  2. Rick Fuller

    Gomer’s gone back to D.C.?

    Doesn’t he know that the brothel has been closed?

    **rolls eyes**

  3. mojibyrd

    This is not the America I once knew..

    So we have an alcoholic president, not to mention a pathological liar, cheat, crook, and decider guy, a vice president who also liked to frequent the advice and pleasure of the DC Madam’s ladies, plus an untold number of senators and other politicians who’s sexual habits are too vulgar even for playboy and we wonder why america is in the state of trouble it is in…wonder no more the men running the show are obviously thinking with the wrong head.

    Impeach Bush Now

  4. Rob Kezelis

    it is not a moral issue, it is a legal issue. HE BROKE THE LAW. Period. So long as these neocon conservatives try to legislate morality for the rest of us, and make certain acts illegal, they deserve to bear the full brunt of the laws they sought and passed.

    As a law breaker, he should not be allowed to serve in the senate any longer.

    Of course, the alternative would be to stop the silly charade of pushing so called family values legislation and leave the rest of us Americans the hell alone. Somehow, I guess they just can’t stop themselves.

  5. bryan mcclellan

    Good point Rob, in their zeal to tell us how holy we should be,they have stained those who keep their spirituality close to the vest and not on their sleeves.To forgive is said to be divine,but to forget and not hold accountable is just plain idiotic. Fry the heretic already and lets move on with stopping the war and this administration of deviant hucksters. I’m perfectly happy to leave the moral majorities fate in the hands of our man FLYNT.

  6. Jenifer D.

    Vitter isn’t sorry………..
    That creep isn’t sorry for what he did; he’s just sorry he got caught. He’s going to be even sorrier when his wife divorces him and takes custody of the children, plus every bit of cash he’s got.

  7. SEAL

    The real question is: Does government have the right to legislate the private sexual conduct of the individual?

    The Supreme Court says no! A couple of years ago when they tested the law prohibiting gays from engaging in sex they got a big suprise. Lawrence v Texas shot a great big hole in the armor of laws exclusively designed to restrict private sexual conduct to an arbitrary standard. The high Court’s recent decision went far beyond nullifying sodomy laws. It established the “right to privacy” of consensual sexual conduct among adults.

    Juxtaposed with the First Amendment, the decision effectively provides sex the protection of freedom of private expression at the very least and certainly protects it from any legal restrictions based solely upon religious principles. But more significant, Lawrence underscores the Forth Amendment right of privacy and due process and the Fourteenth Amendment right of equal protection under the law. Considering that Congress and the respective States are constitutionally proscribed from instituting any laws abridging these rights, the door is now open to challenge many existing “victimless” sex crimes such as consensual S/M activity or prostitution and local ordinances that only serve to criminalize such activities as swinging, pornography, and lap dancing.

    Freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion.

    Morals should play a part in our lawmaking, to be sure, but only the morals upon which we can ALL agree. Morality is not the exclusive province of religion. If it were, that would only create the problem of which religion. As a nation, we draw upon differentiated sources to inspire our laws and it’s no coincidence that many religious ideals are, also, enforceable law. However, any one brand of religion cannot be the guiding influence in government and the decisions that affect ALL members of a society. Because we are such a diverse nation, there are certain issues that must be left to a more subjective nature when dealing with morals. Our laws must be made in an objective manner, discriminating against no one, and only serving as rules and establishing punishment if those rules are broken.

    “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
    *George Washington*

    Civil rights are insular and may not be abdicated to the preference of a moral majority if we are truly to have individual liberty. In Lawrence, the court held that the constitution’s definition of liberty includes the right of adults to conduct consensual personal relationships “in the confines of their homes and their own private lives.” And it underlined that that is true even when those relationships’ “overt expression” is through “intimate conduct.” In short, liberty includes the liberty to have sexual relations according to ones own conscience.

    It is time for people and politics to stop being bullied by religious demagogues. There is no basis whatsoever for thinking that sexuality is exclusively a religious concern or that any one religious ideology should set the standards for all of humanity. Sex may be a human concern – even an obsession — but it cannot be foisted off onto any God if we are to truly have freedom of thought and expression because religion relies on obedience to faith, e.g. denial of free thought or expression. And, it’s especially dangerous when arguments about sex provide safe cover for denying the rights of the individual by paradoxically seeking special consideration in law for any one moral ideology.

    Religion and law are two separate entities and must be treated as such by the people and their government, not allowing one to influence the other. Not every American owns a Bible or believes in the teachings of Judeo-Christian religions, so it is not fair and equitable to impose those beliefs upon members of a society who don’t share the same beliefs. It is, in fact, constitutionally prohibited in the United States of America.

  8. JudyB

    Vitter has always been an outspoken advocate of fidelity, morality, and self control. He had no problem publicly pointing his finger at those who he deemed immoral nor in trying to legislate morality. However, it turns out Vitter did have a major problem when it came to practicing what he was preaching…and now, he has been exposed for his hypocrisy. It seems the self righteous Vitter
    has been known to use the service of call girls to soothe the ache he often got in one of his heads. So, he has now publicly appologized, saying he is truly sorry for his sins of the past. I of course believe him! Who wouldn’t be sorry??? I’d be TRULY sorry too if I had just been exposed as another phoney hypocrite Senator caught breaking the law. Just think, it might cost him his prestigious powerful job and it has already cost him to lose his phoney cover of a spotless reputation…oh yes, I believe he’s sorry alright…for being caught & exposed. I personally do not care that he had sex outside of his marriage, his wife can deal with that..but, I am sick and tired of all the phoney two faced hypocrite liars that run this country ignoring the laws that they make and break on a daily basis. I say go sic’um Flint… maybe you can scare some them out of hiding..I’ll just set back and eagerly wait on the results!

  9. gene

    Rant, rant, and rant some more. Be careful over-ranting has been proven to cause “constipation” among other things.
    Still it (ranting) does act like a release valve and God knows (I) need to release my steam at times or was that just a “fart”.

    I want judge Mr. V but I do know this, he is going to pay by having to show his face again….Ouch!!!! of course thats assuming he has a conscious that works.

    Its his wife and children that will also pay….socially and emotionally for years to come.

    So (Mr. V) was it worth it? How many times can you say “NO” in one minute, I bet he would set a new record, you think.

  10. SEAL

    I doubt Vitter’s stepford wife will abandon him. Those people have this pray together and it will be OK mentality. He said he had admitted it to her long ago [4-5 years I think] and they went through marriage counselling by the church. So, all he has to do is show up in the senate with no comment and the “base” will forgive him before the next election which is 2010 for him. He is from the most corrupt state in the nation. I don’t believe you can be elected in Loosiany unless there is something wrong with you.