Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) had a really tough time with reporters today, who peppered him with questions about a former aide, Brent Furer, who recently resigned as a result of 2008 criminal charges for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend with a knife.
Vitter’s been staying out of the public eye since the charges surfaced a couple weeks ago — along with the revelation that Vitter had not only kept Furer on his staff, but had reportedly also tapped him to handle women’s issues. But today Vitter made a public appearance to formally file his reelection papers. And he did not get a free pass from the press.
The Louisiana Democrats sent us this transcript, from a tracker video that they are currently processing to put online:
QUESTION: Senator, the Congressman mentioned what he termed as your indiscretion and also the problems with your former aide and his criminal charges. How do you expect to respond to that as it undoubtedly will come up on the campaign trail?
DV: Well I have responded to that, number 1. Number 2, the fact that Charlie is so focused on, in the latter case, an ex-employee, something that happened two years ago, I think, just shows how weak a position he’s in, and I think it’s going to absolutely come across that way to the voters.
QUESTION: You say this happened two years ago, I mean, he just resigned and you let him stay on the staff since the events happened in 2008, so it wasn’t two years ago.
DV: Well, the event was two years ago, the discipline he got in the office was two years ago..
QUESTION: Why’d you let him…what kind of discipline did he get in the office?
QUESTION: Senator, why was he assigned to women’s issues even after you knew about the arrest?
DV: Uh, he was not.
QUESTION: He was not assigned to women’s issues?
And the local media noticed it. As the Times-Picayune reports: “Vitter declined to directly answer questions about the incident, except to refute media reports that Furer was assigned to handle women’s issues in his office.”
You can say this for Louisiana: Not even an event as routine as candidate filing day goes by without something bizarre happening.
Late Update: Here’s video of Vitter’s appearance today. It’s not quite as raucous as we’d expected — or hoped — but, well, here it is: