Since George W. Bush (approval rating: 28%) is in Louisiana tonight to help raise money for John Neely Kennedy’s Senate campaign, Ryan (at the Daily Kingfish) and I thought it appropriate to pose a series of questions for Mr. Kennedy.

Ryan’s questions:

1. You ran for re-election to the State Treasurer post last fall saying that the “job was not yet done.” Is it done now that you’re running for Senate, a mere 6 months later?

2. In 2004, when you ran for the Senate, you were in favor of stem cell research, affirmative action, and minimum wage hikes. The Republican Party is opposed to these things. Have you flip-flopped?

3. In 2004, you stated that President Bush’s policies were “cold” and “mean.” Do you still believe that?

4. Do you approve of Sinator Vitter’s extracurricular activities? After all, you are using him as a host for your fundraiser tonight.

5. You recently endorsed Woody Jenkins for Congress in LA-06. Do you agree with his stated beliefs that we should abolish the Departments of Energy, Education, Housing and Urban Development and Commerce?

My questions:
1. Do you support proposals that would allow the government to negotiate prices for prescription medications with pharmaceutical companies?

2. Please explain why you felt it appropriate to use public tax dollars to promote your name and whether or not you believe Joe McPherson’s bill was appropriate.

Context: Kudos to the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

A Fellow Democrat Introduced Legislation To Stop Kennedy From Politically Capitalizing On State Programs. “Public officials should not be using taxpayers’ dollars to promote themselves, Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, said Wednesday. The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee approved two bills that he said would end the practice. Senate Bill 77 would prohibit spending public money on commercial or public service advertising that contains the name of a public official.” (Robert Morgan, “Bills Restrict Ads Bought With Taxes,” Daily Town Talk, April 19, 2001)

• The Bill Was Named After Kennedy

“That’s a (state Treasurer) John Kennedy bill. Last year there was a specific appropriation to basically allow an elected official to get on TV and promote himself,’ McPherson said.” (Robert Morgan, “Bills Restrict Ads Bought With Taxes,” Daily Town Talk, April 19, 2001)

“The author called his legislation the John Kennedy bill, not for the late president but for the
incumbent state treasurer. By whatever name, the bill prohibits public officials from using
taxpayer dollars on media campaigns to tout state programs.” (“Notes And Quotes From The
Legislature,” The Associated Press, April 19, 2001)

“The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Sen. Joe McPherson’s bill Wednesday and sent it on to the full Senate. Last year, Kennedy was getting free publicity in television advertisements promoting the return of unclaimed property to rightful owners, McPherson said, contending the treasurer was promoting himself at the same time.” (“Notes And Quotes From The Legislature,” The Associated Press, April 19, 2001)

‘“We had that program years before former Gov. Buddy Roemer ever heard of John Kennedy,’ [Democrat State Senator Joe] McPherson said.” (“Notes And Quotes From The Legislature,” The Associated Press, April 19, 2001)

3. How do you respond to the accusations from Republicans that you have cost the State over $1.4 million?

Again, kudos to the opposition research team at the NRSC (how embarrassing!):

• Kennedy’s Department Lost Louisiana $1.4 Million Because Of Inefficiency. “[State Treasurer Ken] Duncan said Kennedy’s office also took too long to deposit tax payments in the
bank, and the delays cost the state $1.4 million a year in lost interest. ‘The average deposit takes eight days, and sometimes it takes 15 to 25 days in peak (tax season),’ Duncan said, pointing to a critical legislative auditor’s report on the subject. Duncan said most other states deposit tax revenue in a day or two.” (Randy McClain, “Treasurer Race Hinges On Trust,” The [Baton Rouge] Advocate, October 12, 1999)

4. Do you support Senator McCain’s notion of a 50-100 year presence in Iraq?

5. Why should Louisianans relinquish their seniority in the Senate and a seat on the appropriations committee in order to elect a freshman member of the minority party?

And just in time, the DSCC puts this out:

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