POLITICS

Republicans Offended After Mary Landrieu Says Race Hurts Obama In South

NEW ORLEANS -- Republicans trying to win a competitive Senate seat in Louisiana are professing outrage after Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Democratic incumbent, said race has hurt President Barack Obama in the South.

Landrieu told NBC's Chuck Todd on Thursday that Obama had a hard time in Louisiana because "the South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans."

"It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader," she said.

Her comments mirror those of Democrats across the south, who are focusing on racial issues in ads in an effort to shore up their base ahead of Tuesday's election. In Louisiana, Landrieu supporters have run radio ads targeting black voters that reference Ferguson, Missouri, and the senator has repeatedly referenced black poverty in debates.

Republicans, including Landrieu's opponents Rep. Bill Cassidy and Col. Rob Maness, immediately seized on her remarks.

"Senator Landrieu’s comments are remarkably divisive. She appears to be living in a different century," tweeted Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). "That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana and I flatly reject it."

Jindal's comments aside, Obama's approval rating in the state is starkly divided by race. Seventeen percent of Louisiana whites approve of the job he is doing, compared to 76 percent of non-whites.

HuffPost's Pollster average, which combines all publicly available polling, shows Landrieu trailing Cassidy by 5 percentage points.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

  • Iowa Senate
    Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) appears to be<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gop-iowa-poll_n_5899544" target="_blank">
    Tom Williams via Getty Images
    Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) appears to be picking up momentum in her bid to turn retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's (D) seat from blue to red. The Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley, has continued to suffer from the backlash over his comments about Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) background as a farmer. Democrats, however, think they can paint Ernst as extreme by highlighting her comments about the minimum wage, nullification of federal laws, Medicaid recipients, personhood legislation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Alaska Senate
    U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D) has worked to show he is <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mark-begich-alaska_n_5694287" targ
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D) has worked to show he is independent from President Barack Obama's administration as he battles former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan, a Republican. The senator has opposed Obama's strategies to combat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and to expand background checks on gun sales. He has also disassociated himself from his party by remaining open to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Republicans, on the other hand, have worked to tie Begich to the president, who is deeply unpopular in the state.
  • Colorado Senate
    Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are locked in one of the closest races on this year's Senate map.

Democr
    Mark Udall (Kent Nishimura via Getty Images)
    Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are locked in one of the closest races on this year's Senate map. Democrats have put Gardner on the defensive over his past support for personhood legislation, which would give legal rights to fetuses from the moment of fertilization. Republicans have continuously hit Udall over the Affordable Care Act, his energy policies and national security issues.
  • Arkansas Senate
    Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is now the slight favorite in his race against Sen. Mark Pryor, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/
    Mark Pryor (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
    Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is now the slight favorite in his race against Sen. Mark Pryor, the only Democratic member of his state's congressional delegation. The dialogue between the two candidates has moved from the farm bill and food stamps to the minimum wage and funding for pediatric research to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision.
  • Kansas Senate
    The surprise race of this cycle is in Kansas, where Sen. Pat Roberts (R) may be edged out by independent Greg Orman, who insi
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The surprise race of this cycle is in Kansas, where Sen. Pat Roberts (R) may be edged out by independent Greg Orman, who insists he's disenchanted with both parties. Republicans are scrambling to paint Orman as a Democrat in disguise, but Roberts is still experiencing the fallout from a New York Times report that revealed that he doesn't maintain a permanent home in the state.
  • New Hampshire Senate
    Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is fighting for re-election against former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Democrats have done everythin
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is fighting for re-election against former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). Democrats have done everything they can to ridicule Brown's candidacy, but President Barack Obama's unpopularity in the Granite State, as in other states, may hurt Shaheen on Nov. 4.
  • Louisiana Senate
    Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is a political survivor, having won her last three Senate races by narrow margins. 

She'll <a href="h
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is a political survivor, having won her last three Senate races by narrow margins. She'll need another miracle if the nonpartisan primary on Nov. 4. goes to a Dec. 6. runoff, as all of the GOP's energy will presumably be focused on putting Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) over the top, especially if control of Congress' upper chamber hinges on this race. Landrieu would need to significantly boost turnout in cities such as New Orleans to eke out a runoff win. Her brother is the mayor of New Orleans, though, so that could help.
  • North Carolina Senate
    Sen. Kay Hagan (D) has so far held on against a challenge from North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R). Republicans have
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sen. Kay Hagan (D) has so far held on against a challenge from North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R). Republicans have gone from being gleeful with expectations that they would take the seat to glum, as Democrats have worked to tar Tillis with the actions of the state legislature over which he presided. Republicans have called Hagan ineffectual, while Democrats have consistently highlighted Tillis' record on education spending, voting rights and abortion rights.
  • Kentucky Senate
    One of the Democratic Party's pickup opportunities is in Kentucky, but that possibility seems to be receding as Kentucky Secr
    Win McNamee via Getty Images
    One of the Democratic Party's pickup opportunities is in Kentucky, but that possibility seems to be receding as Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) has been dropping off in the polls against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R). While McConnell's campaign has run ads touting his work on behalf of constituents and accused Grimes of being too close to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Grimes has distanced herself from others in her party. Though McConnell remains unpopular in the state, Grimes would need heavy turnout to surpass him.
  • Georgia Senate
    The second of the Democrats' two pickup opportunities in red states is in Georgia, where nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn an
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The second of the Democrats' two pickup opportunities in red states is in Georgia, where nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn and businessman David Perdue (R) both hope to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R). Both candidates have well-known surnames: Nunn's father is popular former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), while Perdue's cousin is former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R). Democrats think they can turn the state purple with the help of groups like the New Georgia Project, led by Georgia state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), which has collected tens of thousands of voter registration applications.