“A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”
Remember that? The West Point honor code that our new governor spent the entire fall using as a cudgel against David Vitter?
Yeah, about that – earlier today we noted that Edwards, speaking yesterday to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s annual meeting, took credit for getting a commitment from President Obama for some $100 million in federal dollars to improve Interstate 10 through downtown Baton Rouge, and that he’d gotten that commitment by taking Obama to the eastern foot of the I-10 bridge in Baton Rouge where the highway is only one lane. But as we noted, the achievement had been won by Louisiana’s congressional delegation – specifically Garret Graves and Steve Scalise – through insertion of needed language in the FAST Act, passed earlier this month.
But it’s even worse than that. Because no sooner did published reports of the Edwards speech and his claims surface but his compatriot in Wednesday night’s tour of the interstate, Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden, surfaced to dispute that it was even Edwards who brought up the need for the highway improvement.
Contrary to what Gov. John Bel Edwards reportedly told the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry at the group’s annual meeting, Mayor Kip Holden says he was the one who pointed out a problematic bottleneck on Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge to President Barack Obama during his visit on Thursday—not the governor.
“With all due respect to the governor, he did not mention that … the only person who talked to the president about the interstate was me,” Holden tells Daily Report, “and he’s taking 100% credit for it.”
Wait. There’s so much more…
The Associated Press quoted the governor as saying: “I said, ‘This is the only place in the United States of America where there’s one travel lane on a major interstate.’ He didn’t know that before.” The Advocate, meanwhile, quoted Edwards as saying: “He didn’t know that before, and had I not taken advantage of the opportunity, he wouldn’t have known it today.”
Edwards stands by his comments, according to a statement from his office provided to Daily Report.
“The governor stands by his remarks,” reads the statement. “He appreciated the president letting him, and others, discuss the traffic problems along I-10. The president and his staff followed up with the governor the very next morning, and we’re looking forward to continuing these conversations with our federal partners. As long as the job gets done right, the governor isn’t concerned with who gets credit.”
We can vouch for the quote. Edwards said it. And staffers for members of the Louisiana congressional delegation we talked to today also took issue with the claim by Edwards, noting that the federal government has been perfectly well aware for years about the one-lane issue at I-10 in downtown Baton Rouge and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who has been to Baton Rouge on several occasions, has seen it; so at least contextually what Edwards said was patently false.
As for his not caring about the credit, that dog won’t hunt. We’ll have video to show you soon of Edwards’ speech, and there is no way anyone can see his demeanor and tone while saying “He didn’t know that before, and had I not taken advantage of the opportunity, he wouldn’t have known it today” and not recognize how desperately the governor was to show that audience, few of whom supported him, the worth his affiliation with the president conveys to them.
That the whole thing was a lie…well, that’s not awesome.
We’re not finished…
According to the official White House transcript from Obama’s address at McKinley High School, the president said: “I know that your mayor was talking about how the interstate here narrows, and we may need to do something about it to relieve some traffic.”
Holden points to the transcript as evidence that he was the one who raised the interstate issues with Obama, and says he was surprised and upset with the governor’s comments at the LABI annual meeting on Thursday.
Just so, but it’s fair to point out that in that transcript Obama also makes mention that he’s in New Orleans rather than Baton Rouge, so there is that.
Now for the punchline…
“That’s what blew me away, because that’s what I talked about. For him to just act like I didn’t say anything about the interstate and he was the one to bring it to his attention … No you weren’t, man, and I’ll take a polygraph test,” Holden says. “I don’t want to get into a pissing contest. All I want him to do is tell the whole story.”
It appears we’re in for a long four years. The new governor appears not only grossly incapable of telling the truth but lacks so much as the stature to get others to assist in his lies.