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Opponents cry hypocrisy over McAllister and Vitter scandals - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Opponents cry hypocrisy over McAllister and Vitter scandals

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SHREVEPORT, La -

There may be good news for in a poll for the so-called "Kissing Congressman" Vance McAllister.

A Glascock Group survey of more than a thousand voters in Louisiana's 5th District shows that barely half of those surveyed -- 51 percent -- say that his extra-marital problems will keep them from voting for him in November.

The poll also shows that almost half of voters -- 47% -- say McAllister can say or do something to restore their trust in him.

So far, all McAllister has done is lay low, reportedly in counseling, while top leaders in his own Republican party call for his resignation. That has some others crying hypocrisy, since there were no such calls for Sen. David Vitter seven years ago. One of those is Democrats is Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who some believe may run against Vitter for governor next year.

"They didn't ask for David Vitter's resignation on something much more egregious than what Mr. McAllister has done," Campbell complains. "So how can you ask him for his resignation and not ask Mr. Vitter for his resignation?"

Vitter was caught up in the DC Madam prostitution scandal when his number showed up in her records. He survived re-election three years later with nobody in GOP leadership condemning him. Why?

"The distinction with Vitter is that his character has been otherwise very consistent and that is why the great people of Louisiana will continue to look for him for leadership," says Louis Avallone, chairman of the Caddo Parish Republican Party.

Avallone says while Vitter had built a conservative record in the Louisiana and U.S. House, the newcomer McAllister does not, and therefore has no built-in trust.

Vitter has avoided questions about McAllister. But in a statement to the Monroe News-Star newspaper, he said in part, "My thoughts and prayers go out to (the families involved) and I wish them real and deep comfort and healing."

Of Vitter's strategy, Louisiana political writer Lou Gehrig Burnett says, "He's going to downplay it and he's not going to get involved in advising McAllister whether to stick it out or resign or anything else. He's going to kind of ride it out and hope it doesn't adversely affect his campaign that much."

By apologizing in front of the cameras with his supportive wife soon after the news broke, Burnett says Vitter handled his scandal better than McAllister has.

"To be hunkered down and out of site in this kind of situation -- I don't think that's a good way to handle it because all it does is create more intrigue and questions among constituents about what is going on," Gehrig says.

McAllister will reportedly come out of hiding next week when he returns to Washington after Easter recess. Meantime, the office manager, suspected by some of leaking the video of the married congressman in a long, romantic kiss with a staffer, has now resigned.

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