July 29th, 2009
02:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Vitter defends Southern influence in GOP, slams Voinovich

Vitter fired back at Voinovich Wednesday.
Vitter fired back at Voinovich Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana slammed fellow Republican George Voinovich Wednesday for saying the GOP's problems stem from the fact that it is "being taken over by Southerners," calling the Ohio senator "a moderate, really wishy-washy."

"I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values," Vitter told the Washington Times. "There are a lot of us from the South who hold those values, which I think the party is supposed to be about. We strayed from them in the past few years, and that's why we performed so badly in the national elections."

"[Voinovich is…] a moderate, really wishy-washy," he said.

Voinovich, who has decided not to run for re-election next year, told a newspaper in his home state that Southern dominance of the GOP was hurting the party elsewhere.

"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Voinovich told the Columbus Dispatch Monday. "It's the Southerners….

"They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr . . .' People hear them and say, 'These people, they're Southerners,'" he said. "The party's being taken over by Southerners. What the hell have they got to do with Ohio?"

DeMint and Coburn are both major critics of President Obama's health care reform plan. DeMint has emerged as a top target for Democrats, who have launched ads attacking the South Carolina senator for saying the defeat of the proposal would "break" the president.


Filed under: David Vitter • George Voinovich
soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. here we go

    love it, now they are at each others throats!!!! Maybe some of it is true, but seriously doubt that it represents "all southners". I travel to Alabama twice a year and find the people there quite nice. Every section of the country has its rednecks not just the south.. I think the comments are frustration on the party itself, it is lost and trying to find excuses why it is lost....

    July 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Mike in Oahu

    Southern Baptist/Evangelical influence is predominant amongst the Southern states and therefore greatly influences who they seat in their elections. It's not the politicians fault so much as its' the voters...thats who they pick.

    Gimme that old timey religion...

    July 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. PJ

    The last time I checked, Mr. Voinovich, people from the South still have the right to vote...at least until Obama, Pelosi, and Reid change it so we can't. Nobody is crowing about the West (left) Coast and the Northeast states taking over the Dem Party. Yes, the South still takes an underserved beating over racism....I know there will be a thousand posts to that effect. I do not think the Rodney King beating happened in Louisiana and I'm pretty sure there are no Harvard professors being arrested in Mississippi.

    July 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Luke Brown

    Americans get what Voinovich is saying.

    Southern senators have two political bases ... evangelicals and country clubbers. The message that works for both groups is to be against government and anything it tries to do (except cutting the taxes of the wealthy).

    These senators are ideologues, not problem-solvers. They are obstructionists, nothing more. The GOP is dead with them and dead without them.

    July 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. John C

    The GOP image problem is because they say one thing and do another as party, not individuals. They had complete control of Congress and the presidency and did they reduce Government size, reduce spending, make an amendment about gay marrage, challange abortion,balance the budget, put less government in your life? No, these are just what they say they are for to get votes. Given complet control they did nothing on any of these "values", Just empty talk.

    July 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Dennis

    Vitter comes from the third most corrupt state in Union. Other southern states follow right behind Louisiana. If southern politicians have lost their shine–it's more due to the corruption than obviously bad ideas. Afterall, Americans are accustomed to 'stupidly' politicians.
    The whole affair sings out the need for elimination of the two-party system. The more diverse we become as a nation–the more the need for a multiplicity of ideas to be represented in the political process.

    July 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. rolandotx2

    It's bad enough that Voinovich shot his mouth off but why does Vitter think he needs to chime in? Shut up and work together to keep the communists on the other side from completely tanking our country

    July 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. david

    First salvos in the Republican Civil War that we've all seen coming? "Errr, errr...."

    July 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. AC

    Hahaha, so moderate is a dirty word now too. Incredible.

    July 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    We've had just about enough lip out of that mouthy degenerate Vitter!

    July 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Melissa

    Vitter, I'm ashamed that you are a voice for Louisiana when you should be crawling back into the bayou that you came out of like a good little reptile. You obviously don't care about anyone but yourself, your party, and allowing the rich to get richer.

    July 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Butch Dillon

    Now that Vitter has chosen to place himself front and center before the people of America, let's take the opportunity to ask him a few questions about marital fidelity. It doesn't matter how many questions he's asked, as long as we can resolve his wishy-washy stance on the marital vows he took in front of his god. And let's try to gain an understanding about why he only admitted his illicit affairs after he was outed. George Voicnivich seems to be supporting a position that benefits the American people while Mr. Vitter's engagement was for the benefit of his own member.

    July 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. xargaw

    The fact that Senator Vitter is still a Senator is an embarrassment to the body of Senate. This man talking about values of any kind is an insult. He is proof how far the Senate has fallen and, yet, he continues to hold his seat. Add that to what we are learning about the C-Street gang and it isn't any wonder why the country is in such a mess with these self-serving cretins in charge.

    July 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Luke Brown

    Earth to GOP: Unless you have completely abandoned your family values shtick, I would suggest someone other than Vitter as your national spokesman.

    July 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Justine

    Voinovich, Snowe, and Hutchison are the only sane Republicans. And two of them are leaving. Should be fun.

    July 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Fool me once shame on u, fool me twice err...

    "I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values,"

    Values you can believe in – they come in handy when a Democrat takes office huh!

    Sen. Voinovich, teach these southerners who are stealing your party a lesson; vote with the Democrats on health reform and all other future bills before you retire. Yea, that should teach them something.

    July 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Pat

    For you liberals who are about to jump on and try to link conservative values to social conservatives read this: A conservative is a fiscal conservative, believes in sound money, believes in individual and economic liberty, strictly interprets the Constitution, believes in the rule of law and believes in a strong national defense. It has no correlation to race, creed or sexual preference. Conservatism is about freedom.

    July 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Horacio Guerra

    The Republicans are the party of no progress, no solutions, hatred and if you paid ANY attention to the Sotomayor hearings the party of racism. This nation, if not the entire world, is on the verge of total collapse thanks to the Bush/Cheney era and all their supporting brethen. Wall Street, Insurance Companies, Bank CEO's, Hospitals, Pharmacuetical Companies and the AMA are all in cohoots with these evildoers. They'll lie, cheat, and steal to keep their status quo i.e. their bonuses, multi homes/cars, above average helth care and jobs. Enough is enough. The Grahams, Sessions, Palins, Buchanons, Limbaughs along with the entire FOX News anchors need to be sent to Afganasthan and be embedded-DEEPLY- with the troops.

    July 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. The Joker

    Let's see... which of the two has more credibility?

    George Voiovich was arguably the best mayor Cleveland has had in modern times, he was a very good governor of Ohio, and he has been a good Senator for the citizens of Ohio. He has always been a man of honor and integrity.

    David Vitter was involved in a prostitution scandal.

    Enough said.

    July 29, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Scott the Independent

    I guess next they'll be raising the confederate flag............

    July 29, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. brad

    I would like Vitter to explain more about how they strayed away from the core values. What values are those? I think Voinovich is correct. But he should add the far right christian involvement as well.

    July 29, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. B

    It”s not just about the South senator, it is about the GOPs total lack of talent, ideas, policy, creativity, and true understanding of CURRENT American attitudes about ISSUES that concern this country!

    It is about trying to win at any cost with a bunch of angry Old white men that should retire.

    July 29, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. J

    Voinovich says:
    Southern man better keep your head
    Don't forget what your good book said
    Southern change gonna come at last
    Now your crosses are burning fast

    Vitter:
    A southern man don't need him around anyhow

    July 29, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Angela

    Vitter thinks that the GOP lost that last election so badly because they weren't conservative enough? REALLY??

    2012 is going to be a Democratic sweep.

    July 29, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Tom McCarey

    Standing on the sideline quite enjoying the trainwreck that is the Republican party. No dissension allowed appears to be the GOP's party drawl. Let them continue the self-evisceration. Btw, is it true New Hampshire's very own Sen. Gregg has been taking elocution lessons from Foghorn Leghorn?

    July 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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