Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has offered a separate vote on keystone XL if the Republicans allow passage of a bipartisan energy bill. Polls show that most Americans support Keystone XL, arguing that it will increase energy independence and create jobs. Environmentalists who are opposed to the pipeline, on the other hand, emphasize the risk of spills and emissions linked to climate change
Sen. Landrieu's criticism of the Republicans is a result of their wish to vote on several amendments to the energy bill. Since Sen. Reid is opposed to the amendments, Republicans are expected to stop the bill and thus causing Sen. Reid to withdraw his offer of a vote on the Keystone pipeline. Sen. Landrieu said: "My question to my Republican friends is: 'Do you want to build the Keystone pipeline or do you want an issue to talk about?' I think they want an issue to talk about. You've heard a lot about amendments, amendments, amendments. Are we going to vote to build the Keystone pipeline?"
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is not merciful in its criticism of Sen. Landrieu. In a press release, they blame her for the Keystone XL, arguing that it illustrates "just how ineffective and powerless she is." Landrieu is, according to the press release, responsible for the outcome because she has supported Sen. Reid as a leader and made clear that they are "a team" NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen said: "Mary Landrieu has been telling anyone who will listen how influential she is after being named Chairman of the Energy Committee, but it turns out that Landrieu isn't influential at all. Democrats like Mary Landrieu who stand loyally by Harry Reid's side are responsible for this failed Keystone outcome that hurts middle-class families and workers throughout the country."
Keystone compromise or not, there is no doubt that Sen. Landrieu is facing a tough reelection this November. While one of her opponents, Col. Rob Maness, is far behind her in the polls, but he has now released his first TV commercial and a corresponding radio commercial entitled "Gator" and "Tough," respectively. So far, Maness has raised almost $1 million dollars from 15,000 unique donors.
Maness is the only non-politician running for Senate in Louisiana. His campaign manager Michael D. Byrne said: "Col. Maness has now visited all 64 parishes across Louisiana and met with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who agree that neither party is representing our interests. Consequently, the electorate is gravitating to Col. Maness, the only non-politicians in the race, because they recognize that he is the real deal and truly one of us."
Concerning the commercials, Maness said: "My team and I decided to mix it up a bit. Louisianians really are getting tired of the same old political ads flooding our TV sets and interrupting our favorite programs like Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, and -- especially in the fall -- Tigers and Saints football." The reason why they chose the alligator metaphor is, according to Maness, that alligators, essential to Louisiana's economy, "appear to be dangerous animals that lie in wait to devour whatever they can" to the rest of the country. Maness compared them to liberal politicians who "are willing to destroy every last vestige of our liberties and independence."
Whether “gator” and “tough” commercials make a bite into Landrieu’s and the leading Republican candidate, Bill Cassidy’s leads, remains to be seen. However, this will be his first real opportunity to get his name, face, and his politics out to a large audience.