July 17th, 2007
02:28 PM ET
11 years ago

Vitter, back on the Hill, keeps low profile

Vitter tried to keep a low profile Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. David Vitter returned from a week-long absence from Congress Tuesday, a day after he made a public apology for "a serious sin" as investigators probe an alleged prostitution ring that operated in the nation's capital.

Vitter, a conservative Republican, last week vanished from public view after his phone number turned up among those kept by a reputed "DC Madam" in records that have become part of her upcoming criminal trial.

Tuesday morning, Vitter did not visit his Senate office, where the media had camped out in anticipation of his return. He also was not seen at a residential address near the Supreme Court building.

He eventually emerged at a scheduled Senate hearing taking place near his office building. He arrived nearly 30 minutes late for the start of the panel, which heard testimony regarding commercial airline service to outlying parts of the U.S.

At first, only CNN and a local camera crew had learned of his whereabouts. But as word spread among media outlets, Senate officials had to urge order among the gaggle of newspaper writers, photographers and other television crews which began making noisy entrances to record Vitter's return.

The senator left the hearing early, and tried to ignore shouted questions and camera lights in the hallway. He then turned and stopped.

Vitter referred to comments he made Monday evening in his hometown, then said, "I look forward today to be back at work, really focused on a lot of important issues for the people of Louisiana. I'll leave it at that."

Vitter apologized privately to his fellow Republican senators at their weekly policy lunch Tuesday, senators who attended the lunch said.

One senator described his apology as "humble" and "short and to the point." The senator said Vitter was met with a great deal of "empathy" by the senators in the room.

- CNN's Paul Courson and Ted Barrett 

Filed under: David Vitter
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Connie

    His wife should know, if you live in a glass house don't throw stones. She should have kept her comments to herself regarding the Clintons. It's payback time!!

    July 17, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    I'm sure President Clinton wanted to resume his normal life as well, but the hypocritical do-gooders on the right never left him alone (they still bring it up!). I say that these walking contradictions be harrassed continually and get a taste of their humble pie!

    July 17, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. Ace Miller


    Nothing funnier than watching Larry Flynt show up the David Vitters, Bill Bennetts, Jerry Falwells, Rush Limbaughs and Ted Haggards of the world. Note #1 to sanctimonious hypocrites: Put thine own houses in order before throwing stones (or something like that); #2 keep your values off my body (or something like that).

    July 17, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Anon Amouse

    Glenn Grenwald already said everything a thinking human could say. Check out the quote from his wife...
    One of the most revealing stories ever written about Vitter was this lengthy profile by Mary Jacoby in Salon as Vitter's election to the Senate in 2004 appeared certain. This is how Jacoby described Vitter and his campaign:
    A family-values far-right conservative named David Vitter appears headed for victory on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana. . . . He presents himself as a morally righteous, clean-cut family man, and his wife and three young children have become virtual campaign props. . . .
    As for his background, she noted:
    In Congress, Vitter became a reliable vote for the extreme right, earning a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in 2002. He vowed to outlaw abortion in almost all cases, even when pregnancy results from rape or incest; his only exception was to save the life of the mother. And - with an eye on the governor's office - he continued the crusade against gambling that he'd started in 1993 with the ethics complaint against Gov. Edwin Edwards.
    But most amazing of all is this charming incident that occurred back in 1999, when Bill Clinton's adultery was on the mind of every good, righteous, Southern Republican Christian Values Voter:
    As Vitter geared up in 2002 to run for governor, his bitter race against Treen came back to haunt him. A Treen supporter, local Republican Party official Vincent Bruno, blurted out on a radio show that he believed Vitter had once had an extramarital affair.
    The Louisiana Weekly newspaper followed up. Bruno told the paper that the young woman had contacted the Treen campaign in 1999 because she was upset that Vitter was portraying himself as a family-values conservative and trotting out his wife and children for campaign photo ops. Bruno, who declined to comment for this story, and John Treen interviewed the woman, who said she had worked under the name "Leah."
    But after nearly a year of regular paid assignations with Vitter, the lawmaker asked her to divulge her real name, according to Treen, citing the account he said she gave him. Her name was Wendy Cortez, Treen said. She said Vitter's response was electric. "He said, 'Oh, my God! I can't see you anymore," John Treen told me, citing the woman's account to him and noting that Vitter's wife is also named Wendy. And Wendy Vitter does not appear to be the indulgent type.
    Asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband if she learned he'd had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton and Bob Livingston's wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

    July 17, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Yay for Greenwald! I love the context that he provides which is shockingly absent from MSM coverage of this issue.

    As for Vitter? Who does he think he is slinking back into DC with his head down and his tail between his legs. Does he think that just because God has forgiven him that it somehow absolves him of engaging in ILLEGAL activities?? Does he somehow think that if he is quiet, no one will mention this inconvienent little fact? I hope they give this guy what he deserves.

    July 17, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. M Muthuswamy Lafayette LA

    well...although I feel the personal lives of politicians is just that...personal. It is a distraction to important policy making. However..it is ironic that a right wing politico who lampooned President Clinto would be in a similar situation. Don't throw stones when you live in a glass house.

    July 17, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Ron Smith. Albany, NY

    Here we go again. What else is new? another disgusted, shameless, so-called conservative, family value, hypocrite GOP.

    July 17, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Sue Filutze Idaho Falls, Id

    You mean he didn't take to the floor to give one of his "Moral Values" speeches? What a shame.

    July 17, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Damian Brumley, Montgomery, Louisiana

    As a lifelong Louisiana citizen, I can't say i'm suprised. Typicaly those whom rail against sin are it's worst offendors or lack the courage to act on their desires. Take, Jimmy Swaggart for example, while damning everyone to hell fire he was in the company of hookers like Mr. Vitter. Mr. Vitter carres not that he is a hypocrit or that he has for years lied to the people of Louisiana, he will not resign and the republican party won't let him at least till Bobby Jindal wins the governership because his own power and that of the republicans in Louisiana will not take a back seat to the citizens of Louisiana. He will not resign and the republicans will back him just like they did the child molester from florida, which was after a Louisiana boy. Wasn't it Vitter the boy complained to and then it was burried by republican leadeership and Vitter. To say these people have no shame it the naked pursuit of power is an understatement.

    July 17, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. John

    The DC Madam has been accused of providing clients with fantasy partners and since David Vitter participated in the cover-up of the Florida child molester, I just wonder what his fantasy was all about? I am astonished that this worm of a man could ever show his face in public again!

    July 17, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Mrs. America

    Well, let the guy get on with his work. He has to live with himself knowing he made Larry Flynt a hero. If Vitter has the audacity to ever degrade gays and people who beleive in personal choice, or if he starts harping on "family values" (whatever he means by that, who knows anymore), ol' Larry will be right on his tail, as will the rest of the media at this point, I'm sure. Vitter's life as he knew it is over. Maybe he can learn from his "mistake" (of being a hypocrite)and still be a worthy public servant, if there is such a thing.

    July 17, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. Luis, Miami Florida

    So let me get this right, Newt Grinwich just admitted to having an affair, David Vitter doing prostitutes… Foley was after the boys in congress…all while they were after Clinton… as I remember all so mighty, so morally correct…People, when somebody is running for office and start claiming high moral ground watch out!!! FAMILY VALUES run the opposite way.

    It has to be so scary to be a republican, having to pander to the “conservatives” and then been human is a conflict of interest.… Like Rush Limbaugh preaching against drugs and then taking drugs by the fist full…

    I wonder who is next…let’s see, General Peter Pace admitting to having a homosexual affair will be outstanding in its capacity….

    July 17, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  13. Mark , Harbor City, CA

    The other commenters have stated the obvious. Vitter deserves a Gold Medal for Hypocrite of the Decade. I honestly wouldn't have cared 'what he did' in his private life until the news reminded me he ran on a strict family values platform. The Religion Right (an oxymoron anyway) are the biggest offenders to curtailing the rights of their fellow citizens. Look at Jerry Falwell, The Catholic Priest scandal, Newt Gingrich's affair (and he voted for impeachment of Clinton!!). It's an absolute joke how these liars present themselves. Of course he used DC and New Orleans escorts. Vitters name is all over the records!

    July 17, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. Brad, Columbia, SC

    I take no pleasure in witnessing the agony, embarassment, or shame of other people.

    That being said... in the case of Sen. Vitter, the fact cannot be avoided that this guy sold himself to the people of Louisiana as the very opposite of the type of man he's turned out to be. As far as I'm concerned, his mandate to represent those citizens is forfeit.

    Politicians like Vitter, whose fiery rhetoric about values, family, faith, and moral absolutism seem to leave no room at all for second chances or forgiveness, should hold themselves to their own standard.

    July 18, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  15. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    Hey Vitt, if you want to be a moral dirtbag, that is between you and your family. Keep your hands off of legislation telling others how to lead their sex lives.

    July 18, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  16. Chris, Homestead FL

    No, David needs to go. He committed a crime. You can be a public servant if you're a criminal. He really should go to jail, but I guess resigning in disgrace would be alright. If you citizens allow him to keep his job, you're saying it's OK to be a criminal political leader. Hmm, I guess that sums up most of them. But seriously, don't cry resignation if there are robbers and murders who serve as public servants if you aren't going to cry about prostitution.

    July 18, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    If this had been a democrat, they would be screaming for his resignation. But since he's a republican, then Jesus wipes the slate clean and a vote for George is saved.

    It would be funny/sad if they didn't actually beleive this stuff.

    July 18, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Al Sportz, Buffalo, NY

    All your comments are very good, I think I will add mine too, do we know if the prostitute was male or female? Did we all assume it is a female? From the way I see, most republicans are against gays but like them on the side hush...hush, any one disagree?

    July 19, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |