A congressman hoping to replace Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) come November is getting criticism for comparing the Senate majority leader to a plantation owner — from his Tea Party challenger.
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told E&E Daily in an interview at a McDonald’s that President Obama “wouldn’t get his agenda through if [Landrieu] wasn’t there supporting Harry Reid.”
Reid “runs the Senate like a plantation,” Cassidy said. “So instead of the world’s greatest deliberative body, it is his personal, sort of, ‘It goes if I say it does, if not it stops.’ Senator Landrieu’s first vote for him to be re-elected means that every other wish for a pro-oil and gas jobs bill is dead. Reid will never allow a pro-oil and gas jobs bill.”
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee press secretary Justin Barasky seized on the comments. “Imagining reaction if a dem senate candidate likened mcconnell to a plantation owner the way Bill Cassidy just did to Harry Reid,” Barasky tweeted.
When she was in the Senate, Hillary Clinton told an audience at a Harlem church that House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other GOP leaders were running the lower chamber “like a plantation.”
Rob Maness, an Air Force veteran endorsed by Sarah Palin, called on Cassidy to apologize.
“Congressman Cassidy may not realize this but the language he used included a term that is incredibly offensive to many Americans and he should immediately apologize,” Maness said in a statement. “It’s this type of over-the-top, out-of-bounds ignorance that drives so many people away from the Republican Party.”
“We need to be better than that,” he added. “We need to be the party of thoughtful ideas and common-sense reforms – not extreme rhetoric and ignorant comments. We all make mistakes and when we do, we should have the fortitude to own up to them.”
Cassidy didn’t back down in a statement, saying, “I wish there was as much offense taken by Harry Reid running the Senate dictatorially, not allowing any votes which he does not personally approve of and the result of which he does not endorse.”
“Any other interpretation of my remarks is a false controversy designed to distract attention from policies which are demonstrably crushing jobs and taking our country in the wrong direction,” he added.
Reid responded to the comments after a policy luncheon today on the Hill.
“With all the things going on in America today, that’s fairly insensitive. That’s really insensitive, very insensitive,” Reid told reporters. “And if there were ever a statement that deserved an apology, this is it, big time. I mean, has he been taking lessons from Donald Sterling? Where’d he get this?”