Vitter, Edwards square off in fiery exchange at Press Club event

Vitter, Edwards square off in fiery exchange at Press Club event

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Republican David Vitter concedes in a new ad that he failed his family. It's in response to an ad from Democrat John Bel Edwards accusing Vitter of putting prostitutes before patriots.

On Monday, Vitter's camp released an ad in which he says, "Fifteen years ago, I failed my family but found forgiveness and love."

It's the first time Vitter or his camp has addressed the years-old sex scandal in the campaign.

"Clearly in their minds they think John Bel Edwards' attacks have done damage to their candidate, and he has to address it, Vitter on camera," FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said.

Vitter also discussed the issue before the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, saying, "That was the most serious mistake of my life, clearly. But it's also the aftermath of that, how I heal with my family, how I learned from that and grew, it was the single most positive experience of my life."

"This issue isn't just family and it isn't just forgiveness. His performance of his public duties were compromised, as well," Edwards told the Press Club.

The Edwards camp is running an ad saying Vitter missed a Congressional vote in 2001 concerning veterans because he was on the phone with a prostitute. Edwards says he felt forced into bringing the issue into the campaign.

"I am a patient man, but after weeks and weeks and weeks of negative ads that are just flat out false, filled with lies and distortions about me and my record, I decided it was time to fight back," Edwards said.

Vitter contends, "John Bel's new ad has been called despicable and gutter by many unbiased sources, that's just what they've said in the last few days. I think that is enormously different than me talking about issues, talking about support of the president, talking about support of his policies."

Much of Monday's event was spent with the men attacking each other instead of discussing the issues. Mike Sherman says the candidates are off message.

"What we saw today was two candidates who intensely dislike each other who are making the issue of integrity one of the fault line upon which this election will be decided," Sherman said.

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