Mitch Landrieu blasts GOP Senate candidate in Nevada for Katrina remarks

By Michelle Krupa, The Times-Picayune

If you diss New Orleans or question the propriety of aid flowing to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, expect a tongue lashing from Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Mitch Landrieu at National Press Club.jpgNew Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks last month at the National Press Club in Washington.

The most battered target to date had been Chris Myers, the Fox Sports commentator and former New Orleanian who sustained Landrieu’s wrath — and publicly apologized — for lauding victims of recent flooding in Tennessee as “people (who) weren’t standing on a rooftop trying to blame the government.”

The mayor was at it again Wednesday, issuing a stinging retort to Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-backed Nevada Republican who hopes to unseat Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

Las Vegas Sun reporter Jon Ralston last week dug up an interview Angle gave in 2005 to conservative KLAV radio in which she said she would have voted against emergency legislation to provide quick aid to disaster victims. Angle at the time was mounting an ultimately failed campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I think government needs to live within its means,” Angle told the station. “I would like to go and join my voice with (Republican U.S. Rep.) Mike Pence and others, who when the $62 billion came out to be spent on Katrina relief, he said wait a minute, I’m voting no, and the reason is because I want to know where it’s going, what it’s going to be spent on, and who’s going to be spending it. So I’d like to join my voice there.”

Listen to an audio clip of the interview.

Landrieu, a Democrat whose sister is Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, on Wednesday issued this scathing rebuttal to Angle’s 5-year-old statement:

“When I heard Sharron Angle’s comments about how she would have opposed helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, I honestly wondered aloud how anyone like this could actually be serious about wanting to serve in the United States Senate.

“After Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on Louisiana’s coast, Democrats and Republicans put politics aside to work together to bring relief to their fellow Americans and rebuild a devastated New Orleans. In fact, every single U.S. Senator agreed to forgo their partisan differences and support emergency aid to the victims of that horrific tragedy.

“Not Sharron Angle. Instead she spoke out against helping the people of Louisiana and proved once again that her agenda is simply too extreme and dangerous not only for Nevadans, but for all Americans – especially those suffering in the Gulf Coast. Sharron Angle said that she would have stood alone on the floor of the U.S. Senate – speaking on behalf of Nevadans — to oppose any relief to alleviate the massive human suffering following one of the greatest natural disasters in American history.

“However, her callousness didn’t end there. Following the massive BP oil spill that devastated our economy and environment, Sharron Angle actually called the $20 billion private victims compensation fund a ‘slush fund’, and even advocated LESS regulation of big oil as a solution to the problem.

“From her indifference to the suffering after Hurricane Katrina to siding with foreign oil companies like BP over her fellow Americans, Sharron Angle has proven that she is simply too extreme and dangerous to serve in the United States Senate.”

The statement was issued by Todd Ragusa, a political consultant who served as spokesman for Landrieu’s 2010 mayoral campaign and transition. Ragusa does not work at City Hall.