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Let the gamesmanship begin: Cassidy issues challenge to Landrieu

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy said Thursday that if Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu wants him to debate more, then she has to campaign campaign around the state with President Barack Obama.

At a campaign stop in Baton Rouge, Cassidy was surrounded by pro-lifers.

"I have 100 percent from [Louisiana] Right to Life and Senator Landrieu has a zero,” he said.

Baton Rouge was also among Landrieu's campaign stops.

"I've got a fighting chance to win this race, and I'm going to do everything I can now that Washington issues have been decided,” Landrieu said with students standing behind her at the Baton Rouge Community College.

Landrieu continues to challenge Cassidy to six debates before the Dec. 6 runoff.

"I'm going to take this fight straight to Bill Cassidy. Bill Cassidy is hiding, he is afraid to face the voters, but we're going to do everything we can to get people in our state focused on the real issues,” she said.

Cassidy said he will be there Dec. 1 for the FOX 8/Raycom Media statewide debate. He said he would do an additional debate for each time Landrieu “barnstorms” the state with the president.

“She's hiding, she's hiding from her relationship with Barack Obama. ...We'll agree to a debate, and frankly if she wants to add another reveal to the people of Louisiana, her closeness to the president, if she wants to add another, because on policy there is no difference,” Cassidy said.

UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak, Ph.D., said Cassidy's challenge is just that - a challenge.

"Obviously, it's a non-starter. This is about political gamesmanship,” said Chervenak.

Cassidy continues to slam Landrieu, saying she has voted 97 percent of the time with the president. In turn, Landrieu said Cassidy voted for more than 97 percent of the bills the president signed into law in the 113th Congress.

Cassidy was asked about that.

"Does that mean that when I voted over 50 times to repeal and replace Obamacare the president was really with me, or when I opposed executive amnesty the president is with me? The absurdity of that statement should be easily revealed by you,” he said.

And despite Landrieu's call for Cassidy to abandon tying her to the president, Cassidy is not switching gears.

“We have to speak to what the people are interested in, we continue to point out that she would vote for Obamacare tomorrow,” he said.

Even though control of the U.S. Senate has already been decided, Cassidy said if he is elected, Republicans would be one vote closer to having the votes necessary to override a presidential veto of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"I put us one vote closer to overriding a veto. Don't you think some of those Democrats who run for election in 2016 will be thinking twice whether they're going to put their electoral chances in defending an unpopular law?” he said.

“Republicans are going to need 60 votes in the senate to really get action," said Chervenak. "I don't think anybody really believes that Obamacare is going to be repealed. Does it need to be repaired and fixed? Yes, certain provisions do, but at this point it looks less likely that it's going to be repealed.”

Cassidy received Gov. Bobby Jindal's endorsement this week. He was asked whether Jindal, whose approval rating has dropped significantly, would help his campaign.

"Why wouldn't it?" Cassidy replied.

“They're two peas in a pod,” said Landrieu.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.


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