FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2013
Contact: Ryan Cross
Outrageous Remarks by LADEMO Chair Brings National Attention to Louisiana and Leads One Prominent Democrat to Switch Parties
Since Tuesday, there has been a media firestorm surrounding the outrageous remarks made by Senator Karen Carter Peterson on the Senate floor. As the week has unfolded, Sen. Peterson has run from camera crews, doubled-down and refused to apologize for calling Obamacare opponents racists and led one state senator to leave the Party.
Here is the timeline of events and the facts:
On Tuesday evening, in her closing statements, Senator Karen Carter Peterson said:
(Click here to watch the full video)
“It isn’t about the administration, and members, it shouldn’t be about this administration at the state level nor should it be about the federal administration when it comes to Obamacare, but in fact it is. And why is that? Why is that? I have talked to so many members both in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready for what it comes down to? It is not about how many federal dollars we can receive, it is not about that. You ready? It is about race. I know nobody wants to talk about that. It is about the race of this African-American President …”
The LAGOP issued a statement Wednesday morning requesting the Senator apologize for her inflammatory remarks. Click here to read that release.
The buzz quickly began and you can click here to read the early media reports from the National Review, Weekly Standard and the Washington Free Beacon.
On Wednesday evening, WBRZ camera crews waited for 4 hours at the State Capitol to speak with Senator Peterson and as she tried to slip out to her car, she ended up running back inside to avoid the camera crews.
Click here to watch the report by WBRZ from Wednesday night and see Sen. Peterson run from the cameras for yourself.
Governor Bobby Jindal told WBRZ’s Ryan Naquin, “I think it’s wrong to call people racists just because they disagree with President Obama, just because they disagree with Obamacare. There is a way to have that debate. There is a way to express your opinion without name calling without calling people a racist. I’d hope the Senator would apologize. I’d hope she’d go to the well and retract her comments.”
As the controversy continued to grow and media reports continued to surface, many concerned citizens called for Senator Peterson to apologize via social media. Nothing was heard from her all day and her office declined to comment.
Thursday afternoon national media attention continued to grow as Fox News, the National Review and The Weekly Standard all published articles calling attention to Senator Peterson’s comments.
When WBRZ tried again to get a comment from her as she left the Capitol, the Senator got in her car and drove away.
Click here to see the astonishing footage of Senator Peterson refusing to defend her own comments.
After avoiding cameras in Baton Rouge, Senator Peterson issued a statement in which she doubled-down on her unfortunate remarks and refused to apologize.
Click here to see her interview with a New Orleans TV station and here to read Senator Peterson’s official statement.
On Friday morning, after repeated denied requests, evasive tactics and doubling-down on her comments, LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere called on the Louisiana Democratic Party to ask Senator Peterson to step down. Click here to read Villere’s statement.
After Villere’s statement was released, Senator Peterson went on talk radio to further defend her comments saying, “I meant exactly what I said.”
Click here to read the transcript of her interview.
Governor Jindal responded again today to the comments made by Senator Peterson. He called the recent comments “pathetic” and emphasized that the people of Louisiana are “good-hearted.”
Governor Jindal: "Look, I think it is pathetic to try to reduce every issue down to race.
The reality is, when you listen to what the chairman of the Democratic Party here in Louisiana had to say; she said those that disagree with the President, especially those that disagree on the issue of Obamacare were motivated by race.
When you think about that she’s basically saying those of us that disagree with the implementation of Obamacare, the expansion of Medicaid in our state are racist.
I think that’s wrong. I think there are many, many people in Louisiana, in both political parties that disagree with Obamacare, that think it was poorly written, poorly conceived, poorly executed, don’t agree with this law. I don’t think they are racist.
I have seen, I have travelled the state, I have visited with many people in our state. They are goodhearted people, they are not racist.
I think it is wrong; I think they judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I think it is wrong to reduce this issue to race."
Now following multiple refusals to apologize and retract her statement, the consequences of Senator Peterson’s actions are beginning to catch up to her.
Today, Senator Elbert Guillory, a prominent Democrat, announced he was leaving the Democratic Party to join the LAGOP.
"The accusations of racism this week certainly helped push me over the edge. I thought that they were over the edge," Guillory said in an interview Friday. "It just showed me just how far out of tune I was, I am, with the Democrat Party."
Senator Guillory’s switch makes him Louisiana’s first black Republican State Senator since reconstruction.
Click here to read NOLA.com’s article on Sen. Guillory’s switch.
“I want to welcome Senator Guillory to the Republican Party,” said Roger Villere. “We are committed to working with him to reach new voters and spread the message that it is not about the color of your skin, rather the policy positions you take and the values you hold dear. It’s about doing what is best for Louisiana, not furthering a political agenda.”
Meanwhile, Senator Peterson did not comment on Senator Guillory’s switch. Instead, she continued to embarrass the state of Louisiana as she attracted national media attention from Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, The Five and Dr. Manny Alvarez.
Dr. Alvarez said, “Personally, I am outraged by Peterson’s comments – and I’m sure many opponents of the health care overhaul are as well. I am an American through and through. My roots are of Latino heritage – which I happen to be very proud of – and I will not tolerate being called a racist. I have cared for and treated minority patients throughout my career as a doctor.”
On The Five, host Greg Gutfield said:
“I’d like to know what rock Karen has been sleeping under for the last six years. Race is the only thing the left talks about. I mean, have you seen msnbc? Neither has the rest of the country, but anyway, every criticism of big government comes down to ‘they must be racist.’ That’s the easiest way to avoid confronting the failures of your own ideology. That avoidance allows your failures to fester which is why things are now dyer. In fact, President Obama isn’t facing opposition because of race, it’s incompetence.”
“Senator Peterson owes the people of Louisiana and her colleagues an apology,” said LAGOP Executive Director Jason Doré. “Her lack of leadership and inability to take part in civil, non-inflammatory discussions, are cause for her resignation as chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.”