In television ad, Obama makes a pitch for Democratic House candidate from Louisiana

Monday, October 4, 2010

Obama makes a TV pitch for House candidate in La.

WASHINGTON — In a new TV ad, President Barack Obama tells voters in a mostly Democratic congressional district in Louisiana that they need the party’s candidate in the House as much as he does.

The ad on behalf of state Rep. Cedric Richmond runs in opposition to incumbent Republican Rep. Joseph Cao, the nation’s first Vietnamese-American congressman. Low turnout and the corruption indictment of then-Rep. William Jefferson — he was later convicted — helped Cao score an unlikely victory in the New Orleans-area district in 2008.

In a statement Monday responding to the ad by Obama, Cao invoked ethics: “No one apparently told the president that Cedric Richmond had his law license suspended for lying to the voters.”

In 2008, Richmond’s law license was suspended for six months after he was found to have falsely documented his residency in a city council race.

Obama tells voters in the ad that “New Orleans needs Cedric Richmond in Congress, and so do I.” It first aired Sunday during the New Orleans Saints’ game against the Carolina Panthers.

Cao has voted with Obama at times, including for an expansion of children’s health insurance and for new financial institution regulations. The president has previously offered kind words for Cao.

When Obama endorsed Richmond last month, Cao expressed disappointment, vowed to continue working with the president and hinted at Democrats’ corruption.

“We can’t afford party games or to move back to the old corrupt politics that exacerbated the disasters we are still surviving,” Cao said in his statement, referring to the continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Obama lost Louisiana to Republican John McCain in the 2008 election and Republicans in the state are making opposition to his policies a major part of their campaigns. The New Orleans district is an exception; Obama carried it, and it is almost 60 percent black. Democrats argue that they have a good chance of taking back the seat.

(This version CORRECTS reference to Richmond, not Richardson.)

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