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Southern panel considering candidates for president

Langston University President Kent Smith also has been nominated to become president of the Southern University System.

Smith’s nomination wasn’t included in records provided to The Advocate this week by mistake.

The brief nomination email from Jason Scott notes that Smith is a Louisiana native who has degrees from Southern University.

Southern’s presidential search committee is meeting today to discuss candidates.

Two others have been nominated for the job, while one complete application has been submitted.

Nominees also would have to submit the required information to be formally considered under the search committee’s adopted process.

UPDATE: Here’s the story from today’s board meeting.

NYC Democrats plan fundraiser for Mary Landrieu featuring Hillary Clinton

Prominent Democratic advocates Sarah and Victor Kovner will host cocktails with Hillary Clinton in New York on Dec. 1 to raise money for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who’s in danger of losing her seat in a heated Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy.

The Kovners’ Manhattan penthouse has been used for fundraisers for other Democrats in the past, including President Barack Obama.

The event honoring Landrieu will set donors back $1,000 to $12,600.

Here are some details on the Kovners from a news release announcing their support for Christine Quinn’s unsuccessful run for NYC mayor:

“Victor Kovner, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, previously served as New York City Corporations Counsel, under Mayor David Dinkins. Sarah Kovner, was a member of the New York Women for Hillary Council, served as the Deputy Director of the New York State Clinton-Gore campaign and was a special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services throughout the Clinton administration. She also serves on the board of a number of progressive groups, including NARAL Pro Choice New York and Alliance for Justice. They rank among the top bundlers for President Obama.”

Bobby Jindal’s heading back to Iowa next month, newspaper reports

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be back in Iowa next month to headline the Polk County GOP Holiday Victory Party in Des Moines on Dec. 16, according to The Des Moines Register.

It will be his fourth trip to Iowa this year.

Jindal has been in Florida this week for the Republican Governors Association annual meeting.

Over the weekend, he was in Washington, D.C., for an appearance on Meet The Press.

During that interview, Jindal said he will make a decision whether to run for president in the “first half” of 2015.

“We are praying about this, but the bottom line is let’s restore the American dream for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Rasmussen poll: More than half of Louisiana voters disapprove of Bobby Jindal

A new Rasmussen Reports poll says 54 percent of Louisiana voters disapprove of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s job performance, and respondents here also are more critical of the federal Affordable Care Act than voters nationwide.

The survey’s findings released Thursday focus primarily on Louisiana’s heated U.S. Senate race, which will be decided in a Dec. 6 runoff, but also offer insight into Louisiana voters’ views in other areas.

Only 35 percent of voters view the federal health care law favorably, while 60 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of it. About 58 percent of Louisiana voters disapprove President Barack Obama’s job performance, while 40 percent approve — also below the national average.

Meanwhile, Louisiana voters are significantly more favorable to the Keystone XL pipeline than the nation as a whole.

The release from conservative-leaning Rasmussen also notes: “Voters also continue to complain about the performance of GOP Governor Bobby Jindal.”

In September, the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling of North Carolina reported low approval of Jindal in Louisiana.

The PPP poll put Jindal’s job approval rating at 34 percent — up slightly from the 32 percent the same polling outfit found over the summer. About 68 percent of respondents said Jindal, who is weighing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, definitely should not run for president in 2016.

Rasmussen’s poll actually puts Jindal’s approval higher at 43 percent, with 15 percent saying they “strongly approve.” A USA Today/Suffolk University poll also found Jindal’s favorability at 43 percent in October.

Jindal has consistently said he doesn’t care about polls.

“I don’t care at all about poll numbers,” he said during an appearance on Meet The Press this weekend. “I never have. The reality is, I was elected in Louisiana to make generational changes.”

On the U.S. Senate race, Rasmussen’s poll puts Republican Bill Cassidy with a 15-point lead over Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu — 56 percent to 41 percent, two weeks out from Election Day.

Read more about the poll and its findings here.

Mary Landrieu’s latest ad: Bill Cassidy is ‘not cool’

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s latest TV ad is again attacking Republican Bill Cassidy  — this time declaring Cassidy “not cool.”

The ad includes footage from a Google Hangout that Cassidy held with young professionals last year. It shows clips of him as he jokes about his grey hair and sips on Diet Coke, while a narrator takes aim at Cassidy’s votes against increases in the minimum wage and equal pay legislation.

It also says Cassidy “even said we should close some Louisiana colleges and turn them into prisons.” (Here’s the full background on that.)

But the message the Landrieu campaign is trying to get across is loud and clear — Cassidy isn’t cool, but Landrieu, who helped an LSU fan perform a kegstand in front of reporters while tailgating before an LSU game, is.

It’s just the latest in Louisiana’s bitter battle for the U.S. Senate. (Both candidates have been called out by fact checkers for misleading campaign ads.)

After the Nov. 4 primary, Landrieu, who is in jeopardy of losing her Senate seat after three terms, launched a similarly personal attack that called Cassidy “nearly incoherent.” It spliced together several flubs that Cassidy made during a 9-minute speech to the Republican Leadership Conference in May.

Cassidy consistently has lambasted Landrieu’s claim that she has “clout” in D.C., noting she hasn’t been able to move legislation like the Keystone XL pipeline bill through Congress, while also claiming she’s a close ally of President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. His campaign has taken an analysis that showed Landrieu supported Obama’s positions on legislation 97 percent of the time and turned that into a campaign slogan of sorts. It’s repeated in campaign ads and at rallies.

In his latest ad, which was released earlier this week, Cassidy blasts Obama’s plan to take executive action on immigration and prevent the deportation of some people currently in the country illegally.

“We must stop Obama,” Cassidy says over ominous music in the ad, before finishing with “Remember: Mary Landrieu, Barack Obama, 97 percent.”

Rob Maness: Impeach Barack Obama if he acts on immigration

Retired Col. Rob Maness, a tea party-backed Republican who came in third in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate primary this month says President Barack Obama should be impeached if he uses an executive order to act on immigration. reports Maness, who has since endorsed and appeared at events with Republican Bill Cassidy who’s in the Dec. 6 runoff against Democrat U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, made the comments to Newsmax TV in a video posted Tuesday.
“If he chooses to take an unconstitutional action, there really is not much other remedy in the Constitution other than the pathway of impeachment,” Maness said. “And somehow, a president must be held accountable, regardless of what party he or she is in, and that’s the remedy that is available to the Congress.”
Obama is expectedl to announce Thursday plans to side-step Congress and order action on immigration that would prevent some deportations.

Bobby Jindal: Competition for GOP presidential nomination is ‘great’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told in Florida on Wednesday that his decision whether or not to run for president in 2016 “would not be based who’s in, who’s out, it would not be based on polls, it would not be based on fundraising.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal  (June 2014 photo by The Advocate's RICHARD ALAN HANNON)

Gov. Bobby Jindal
(June 2014 photo by The Advocate’s RICHARD ALAN HANNON)

Jindal is in Boca Raton for the Republican Governors Association annual meeting.

In an interview with the DC-based political publication after he participated in a panel discussion with other potential 2016 hopefuls, Jindal repeated a familiar talking point about attempting to restore the American dream.

“For me, it would have to be, do I have a unique contribution to make based on my experiences, based on how we need to restore the American dream,” Jindal told Politico about weighing a presidential run.

He said he’s not worried about the tight GOP field, which could include several of his fellow Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, among other names frequently mentioned in GOP circles, like U.S. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.

“I think competition is great,” Jindal told Politico. “It would be good for our party, good for our country and good for our nominee, as well. What I don’t like is the idea of party insiders or the establishment in D.C. are going to somehow pick our nominee. Let the voters decide.”

Read the full Politico article based off its interview with Jindal here.

New members of Congress from Louisiana missing out on orientation

Two new U.S. Representatives from Louisiana won’t exactly be getting the traditional newbie welcome to Congress.

Louisiana, with election dates that don’t exactly match up to the rest of the nation, will hold its runoff on Dec. 6, and the state’s open 5th and 6th Congressional District races won’t be decided until then.

But new member orientation has already wrapped up this week.

That means two future members of Congress from Louisiana have just missed out on the week-long orientation/training sessions (which, in addition to actual training on how bills become laws and general ethics, includes the ever-important class photo on the Capitol steps and office selection ritual). And it’s too bad, because RollCall reported that this year’s office-selection process included a back flip and bald-head rubbing.

The National Journal checked in with GOP front-runners in the districts — Ralph Abraham of the 5th and Garret Graves of the 6th — to make sure, and neither made the trip to participate in new member orientation. Abraham and Graves face Democrats Jamie Mayo in the 5th and Edwin Edwards in the 6th in two weeks, though both districts heavily lean Republican.

Mary Landrieu campaign relocates in Jefferson Parish

With two weeks left in a heated runoff, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Jefferson Parish field office has moved less than two miles away from where it previously had been operating this election cycle.

The Landrieu campaign has relocated from a space at 808 N. Causeway to an office building at 2901 N. Causeway.

A spokesman said the new office is better suited for the campaign’s needs.

Landrieu faces Republican Bill Cassidy in the Dec. 6 runoff.


Steve Scalise defends male-dominated House leadership



U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, on Wednesday defended the slate of newly-appointed standing committee chairs, following a backlash over the lack of women represented.

The House GOP majority on Tuesday announced white men would chair 20 of 21 standing committees, with a coveted chairmanship going to just one woman.

“It does not look like a very diverse group there,” said host Joe Scarborough said to Scalise during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Scalise said that House Republicans have “a lot of women in our leadership team.”

“Obviously, we have a number of other women who are very talented that are part of our conference leadership,” Scalise said. “If you look at this new class, such a great new diverse group of members with great backgrounds too.”

Scalise also addressed the potential for a government shutdown, amid President Barack Obama’s threat of executive action on immigration, saying he thinks that a shutdown should be avoided.

“What the president’s doing is trying to create a very divisive atmosphere, not just in Washington but in the country,” Scalise said. “The president really is going to be setting this tone.”

He said that leaders have been contemplating alternatives to a shutdown, but wouldn’t go into specifics.

“We’ve got a lot of creative ideas,” he said.

And he offered these words of advice for Obama: Call former President Bill Clinton.

“Bill Clinton worked with Republicans, and actually got the economy moving again and balanced the budget,” he said.

Watch the video of Scalise on Morning Joe here.