LOS ANGELES—Louisiana Sen. David Vitter reportedly has about a 15-point lead on his Democratic opponent, Charlie Melancon, going into the November elections—so the fact that Melancon's campaign committee has put together an ad focusing on Vitter's "family values" hypocrisy isn't likely to win Melancon the election. What's noteworthy, however, is that in discussing Vitter's employment of prostitutes in D.C. and New Orleans, the ad quotes directly from a Hustler interview with Wendy Cortez, who can count Vitter among her former clients.
"He went in, took a shower, spoke very little to me at first," the ad quotes Cortez as having told a Hustler Magazine interviewer. "He did his thing. He wasn't there 15, 20 minutes at that. I was $300... It was always really weird because usually, people would leave their condoms in the trash can. He would take his condom with him. Not two months into it, I asked him, I said, 'So you're our local representative, huh?' He said, 'That's my job. Let's just leave that out of this. That's business; this is personal.'"
Leaving aside the implication that Vitter is a premature ejaculator, the ad, titled "Forgotten Crimes," takes the senator to task for having been "caught up with prostitution scandals in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans," and charging that Vitter had been "let off the hook."
"David Vitter won election to the U.S. Senate as a proud family-values politician," the ad says. "But under the surface, Vitter was battling his own demons."
"In July, 2007, Vitter's phone number appeared in phone records belonging to the D.C. Madam," a longer version of the ad continues. "The day after the D.C. Madam's phone records were released, Vitter issued a 75 word statement and then disappeared. After a week in seclusion, Vitter stood before the press with his wife beside him. Vitter admitted to what he called a 'serious sin.' He spoke for five minutes and took no questions. ... During [the D.C. Madam's] trial, his attorney stated that Vitter would plead the Fifth Amendment but Vitter was never called to testify. Even without his testimony, the D.C. Madam was convicted. Weeks later, she took her own life. A week after her suicide, the Senate Ethics Committee decided against launching an investigation into Vitter's use of her escort service... Vitter was excused from testifying by federal judges, and his colleagues in the Senate dropped their ethics investigation only a week after the D.C. Madam's suicide."
Larry Flynt himself was asked about the ad during a CNN interview Sunday night with correspondent Don Lemon, and Flynt was quick to point out that it was Hustler that outed Vitter in the first place, both as to the D.C. Madam as well as his philandering in New Orleans.
"This guy was like the Energizer Bunny at the same time he was going around about abstinence, you know," Flynt told Lemon. "I mean, he was probably one of the biggest philanderers in the Senate. So, I'm often accused when I expose people like him, just doing it to expose his sex life. Nothing can be further from the truth. What I'm exposing is the hypocrisy."
After noting that his standing award of $1 million to anyone who can come forward to say they've had sex with a high-ranking government official is still being offered, Flynt hinted at future political revelations to come.
"We know we've got a gay senator, you know," Flynt told Lemon, who'd asked if Flynt would reveal some of the tips he'd received. "We'd just like to see him come out of the closet. And I think we'll be exposing that in the next few months if he doesn't. And I've got a really great story, a very high-ranking Republican talking to a woman on a cell phone, and we have the tape where he said—oh, she mentioned family values to him. He said, 'Oh, family values, that’s crap; I just talk about that on television.' Well, we felt, boy, this is a real doozie."
Of course, the right wing is doing its best to try to spin the story against either CNN or Flynt.
"None of the allegations have ever been proven in a court of law and Vitter has never been charged with a crime, yet, the title of the commercial is 'Forgotten Crimes,'" noted conservative Louisiana radio personality Jeff Crouere. "Since the ad included charges that have not been proven, even the liberal network CNN labeled the commercial as a 'stretch.' Even more disturbing is that the Melancon campaign used video footage from a Hustler Magazine interview with Wendy Cortez. This marks the first time that sleaze merchant Larry Flynt and his magazine have been featured in a mainstream political commercial. This is embarrassing for any political campaign and marks a new low for Louisiana politics, which is quite an achievement considering our state's sordid political history. ... Unless new information that verifies some of the unsubstantiated charges against Vitter emerges, this desperate attack will not work and may even backfire on the underdog Democrat."
Flynt, however, dismisses such criticism.
"We exposed what a phony Vitter is," he told AVN. "At the same time he was promoting his abstinence agenda, we discovered he was the 'Energizer Bunny' with prostitutes from Washington, D.C., to Louisiana. Hypocrisy does not belong in the Senate and if this advertisement can serve the purpose of defeating him, I will be pleased."
Pictured: Larry Flynt (L) and Charlie Melancon (R)