In the fight of her political life, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu took the gloves off on day 1 of the runoff election between her and Republican candidate Bill Cassidy. Fewer than 24 hours later, the attack Landrieu launched went horribly wrong.
The day after neither candidate reached the 50 percent plus 1 vote threshold, Sen. Landrieu held a press conference where she slammed her opponent as absent during the devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Standing in front of a VA Medical Center construction site, Landrieu called Cassidy “wishy-washy, unreliable, undependable, not sure who he is, not sure who he was and not sure who he wants to be.”
Landrieu then proceeded to ask, “When this hospital needed a champion to build and rebuild, literally out of the rubble of Katrina and Rita, where was Sen. Landrieu? Standing here and fighting. Where was Bill?”
She even tweeted, “When the New Orleans #VA hospital needed to be rebuilt out of the rubble of Katrina & Rita, #WhereWasBill?” with a link to a press coverage of her news conference.
— Mary Landrieu (@MaryLandrieu) November 6, 2014
The attack was an odd one to make, considering Cassidy wasn’t involved in politics at the time. He wasn’t elected to Louisiana’s state Senate until 2006 and Congress until 2008, while hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the state in 2005.
The next day, Rep. Bill Cassidy told Louisianans where he was. At the time of Katrina and Rita, Cassidy was a medical doctor in Baton Rogue, he wrote on Twitter. Moreover, immediately after Katrina hit, Cassidy took the initiative in setting up a makeshift emergency hospital in an abandoned K-Mart to administer aid and care for victims.
Cassidy tweeted a response to Landrieu with a link to a news story on his activities, answering: “Mary Landrieu wants to know where I was during Hurricane Katrina? Setting up a surge hospital for refugees.”