Republican Rob Maness, who is also running and is the Tea Party favorite, has been nipping at Cassidy’s heels ever since the campaign began.
But Cassidy has created some of his own problems. He has refused to commit to participating in three debates with Landrieu and Maness in New Orleans, Monroe, and Alexandria.
His refusal to do so has not gone unnoticed by state and national news media. But, the worse was yet to come. In an article published by Environment and Energy News last week, he compared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to a plantation owner.
The reaction was swift and negative. Maness, a member of his own party, called on Cassidy to apologize for his “ignorant comment.” That was only the beginning of Cassidy’s predicament.
His comment went viral and was published and commented on by the national news media.
Politico had this comment: “The reference could be especially fraught in Louisiana, where one in three people is African-American – the second-highest percentage of any state in the country. The gaffe could help galvanize some to turn out for Landrieu.”
Maness said, “Congressman Cassidy may not realize this, but the language he used included a term that is incredibly offensive to many Americans, and he should immediately apologize.”
Reid said, “With all the things going on in America today, that's really insensitive. If there were ever a statement that deserved an apology, this is it big time.”
Cassidy stood by his comments, telling The Hill newspaper the critics’ interpretations were creating “a false controversy.”
The Louisiana Democratic Party was quick to pounce saying in a statement:
“This type of insensitive statement is inconsistent with the positive ideals necessary to move this state and this nation forward. To compare the U.S. Senate to one of the greatest atrocities in our nation’s history is not only offensive to every single person who is a descendant of a slave, but to every American with any decency.”
It went on to say: “If a millionaire like Congressman Cassidy can’t understand why comparing himself to a slave is wrong, how will he be able to relate to the millions of Louisiana residents who don’t make close to the $200,000 a year he currently earns.”
“The sad thing is,” one local politico said, “is that many Louisianians see nothing wrong with his statement and actually agree with him.”