Monday, 14 April 2014 13:58

McAllister clues, Phone cameras, Hallway and Mrs. Peacock

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ClueSince the Congressman Vance McAllister kissing bomb went off last week, the nation's attention has been on Monroe, Louisiana and the fifth congressional district. While there is no question what happened - McAllister was caught on camera kissing Mrs. Peacock - there are many remaining questions with only few clues.  

For instance, we do not yet know for certain who dunnit--used what appears to be a smart phone to video the security screen.  Nor do we know the motivation for the camera shooting, nor details regarding the release of the video. 

 Obviously, for now, the Congressman also might have his curiosities but even he, based upon his aborted FBI probe, is uncertain about the facts. 

Last week, Bayoubuzz interviewed Greg Hilburn about some of these details.  The reporter, for the Monroe News Star, who has been breaking many of the stories related to this controversy provided some of the details: 

Sabludowsky: Let me ask you a question, Greg. The husband of Mrs. Peacock, is anything going on there? Is he filing a lawsuit? Has anybody talked to him in more detail?

Hilburn: He has not filed a lawsuit that I'm aware of, other than for divorce, maybe. He has said that the congressman has wrecked his life. He loved his wife, he's heartbroken, and he can't believe it. He's now saying that he's not going to give any more interviews. We have seen politicians survive and thrive. Senator Vitter is right now the front runner in the Gubernatorial election. The difference is that the people who survive, from Bill Clinton to Sen. Vitter, had their party rally behind them rather than abandoning them. In this case, McAllister doesn't have the infrastructure behind him to gird his seat. So I don't know.

Chehardy: From a political standpoint, it's critical for him to get out in front of the public and press and expressed his remorse. He needs to try to begin to make amends in that way. What we don't know is what's going on back home. I don't mean the district; I mean the family home. We don't know what his wife's and children's attitude is. What he has to do, if he wants to have a chance of political survival, is to get out in front of the press and take that beating. He's going to have to do it. He has to start the apology tour; start going around the district, to churches, and start meeting with people. If he doesn't do any of that, I have to agree with Jim. I don't know that district the way he does, but certainly, if he doesn't do that, he has no chance of being reelected. As far as what the politicians are saying about him, I think he's discounting that. They didn't support when he ran. He was elected despite them. Their input is therefore not critical to him. What the public thinks is critical. That's why he needs to get out there and start that mea culpa tour; that's the only chance he has.

Hilburn: Although Sen. Vitter apologized, he wouldn't speak to media again. He didn't go on a tour. That was it. For years after, and still to some extent today, he did not go to editorial boards or gatherings where there might be someone asking him about the case. He did apologize, but he said that he was not going to speak of it again.

Sabludowsky: Even worse than that, he says that he has talked about it! The only thing he said was that he had sinned. But he hasn't told us what the sin is about. What about Mr. Robertson from Duck Dynasty? He and his wife were up in Congress during the swearing-in. Is he going to go on tour with the congressman?

Hilburn: I don't think he's going to go on tour. I've talked to Willie Robertson and the oldest brother, Al Robertson. Neither had a comment at this time. Congressman McAllister said that he had talked to Willie and that Willie had told him that he needed to settle his private life privately. That's it.

Sabludowsky: I read a tweet saying that somebody reported that Mr. Peacock had been close friends with and a contributor to the congressman. Mr. Peacock had apparently  made a statement that the congressman was the least religious person that he knew. Have you read that? Can you provide some information about that for us?

Hilburn: We did report it. I didn't write that particular story. That was a CNN story, but we ran the story with the quotes. He did say that when he asked Vance McAllister what these commercials with  him in church were. Mr. Peacock asked, "When did you become religious?," and McAllister's answer was supposedly, "When I needed the votes." That's Mr. Peacock's story. I know that the two families were close friends who often did things together. It's a terribly sad situation.

Sabludowsky: Lawrence or Jim, do you have any questions about the facts that everyone are interested in?

Brown: It's not a simple story. It's somewhat complicated. Our friend Butch Aswell, who's from Ruston, a political columnist, tried to sum it up today in a column. He brought up the Peacock relationship with McAllister and who actually did the video and why. This is more complicated than the Vitter situation, so the story has legs. I'm looking at, the insider Washington publication. The lead story now is "How to Survive a Scandal." They are doing in Washington exactly what we're doing down here. Unfortunately for McAllister, this story is not going away. It has a long way to go. I'm sure we'll be talking about this in other Google Hangout for some time to come.

Chehardy: My comment at this point is that everything that can be bad about this story, is, in fact, bad. As I said earlier, this was not in print. You have the video, the worst of all. There's nothing left to the imagination when you see that video. That's his biggest problem. Maybe that's what causing the great cry for him to step down. I'm sure a lot of people in the district are extremely disappointed. It's not just that he kissed someone; you get to watch it! You get to be a voyeur. A picture is worth a thousand words. I don't care how good of a writer you are; there's absolutely no way that the written word can outdo watching the video. That's his big problem, and to survive politically, he has to address it in some way at some point.

Sabludowsky: We all agree with you there. Greg, let me ask you this, any facts about how this story actually came about? We're not sure who took the video. It was a few months ago. This video has been around. It showed up in a small newspaper in Ouachita. An hour later, it was reported by a blogger, and then you got it. I know you can't reveal sources, but it sounds to me like this thing was planned. The release of it was planned.

Hilburn: The story that accompanied the video was very detailed and very well done. It was clear that the reporter who wrote it had been working on it for quite a while. Probably for days. As far as the timing of the release, I read somewhere "How could something from a small weekly newspaper catch on so quickly?" These days, it doesn't matter whether you're a small weekly newspaper or just some individual. If you have something that powerful, it picks up so fast on the Internet. I'm not surprised that it lit fire so fast across the country.

Sabludowsky: What about the fact that it was subdued or kept under ground for three to four months?

Hilburn: The minister who accuses the staff member of leaking the video said that she had taken it and was in a quandary of what to do about it. If it was Ms. Gordon, I don't know what motive she had and what she was thinking. If it wasn't, who knows? The minister said that he'll go to court if he has to - he doesn't want to - and produce witnesses. We see now that the congressman doesn't want anybody in court. He backed off the FBI investigation on Wednesday. He told me on Monday and Tuesday that this investigation was important because it was a grave breach in the security of a federal office.

Sabludowsky: I've heard that before during the Mary Landrieu situation down here in New Orleans with the telephones. Any other questions from anyone?

Bayoubuzz Staff

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