Posted: Nov 1, 2010 10:43 PM by MIKE MAGNOLI
Updated: Nov 2, 2010 6:10 AM
Tomorrow is Election Day, polls open in just eight hours. Tonight, we follow incumbent Senator David Vitter on the campaign trail. Last night, we followed his Democratic challenger Charlie Melancon who's trying to keep Vitter from a second term. Mike Magnoli spent some time with Senator Vitter.
This is the David Vitter that David Vitter wants you to see: Sticking strictly to the issues and strongly opposing President Obama's agenda.
"One of the biggest problems with the healthcare bill is that the money is moving in the wrong direction."
Our day with the Vitter campaign begins at a local radio station. The topic is healthcare:
"I am for all out repeal, but that won't happen until after President Obama is out of office."
After the morning show segment, the senator wants to stop for a cup of coffee- he says he'll pop into the closest place. But the impromptu refreshment is also a chance for him to shake a few hands and one customer wants to tell the senator what *he* thinks about politics in Washington.
"Honestly, I'd like to see more of what the Obama adminstration set out to do," the man tells Vitter.
"Well then I'm not for you, but this is a free country," Vitter replies.
Next stop: "Good to be with you, nice to meet you."
Here's the senator at a conference on veteran's affairs. The senator co-sponsored a bill that made families of soldiers killed in action eligible for more money from the government. During his 6 years in the senate he has also focused on benefits for retirees from the armed service: This is not a campaign stop as much as an update on how things are progressing in washington--
By the way, this story is being shot during the last full week of the campaign. This is the day before the tv debates and while ad campaigns from Congressmen Charlie Melancon are putting a lot of focus on the senator's personal history. On this day though, Senator Vitter isn't asked and doesn't volunteer anything about the scandals that follow him. But outside the veteran's meeting, we ask the senator about Gov. Bobby Jindal- a prominent figure for the Republicans; Jindal has traveled all over the country campaigning for GOP candidates, but he hasn't endorsed anyone in Louisiana.
"He's made a choice not to endorse anyone in Louisiana and travel the country but that has nothing to do with me."
And what about the commercials...as it happens David Vitter will be reviewing a script for a new ad when he gets back to the car.
"Do you think the ads turn voters off?"
Vitter answers, "I hope mine don't because mine are focused on the issues that separate me from my opponent, the clear differences."
"What's your favorite ad from this season?"
"I don't watch too much tv, I don't know...I guess one that shows me talking with people all over the state in various settings, at a barber shop at a horse farm, just speaking from the heart."
"You are so far ahead in the polls...how does that make you feel?," we ask
Vitter answers, "I certainly don't focus on that and we running this campaign hard."
Reporter's Note: For part of the day I was allowed to ride in the car with Senator Vitter, but could not record. In our off camera conversations, the senator was polite but seemed guarded- as you heard him say he is running hard and staying on book.