He's back. On Wednesday, less than three years after being released from federal prison, Louisiana Democrat Edwin Edwards told Bloomberg's Al Hunt he intends to run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is running for Senate. That roar you heard was the sound of political reporters packing their suitcases for extended stays in Baton Rouge. Other than the corruption charges that put him in the slammer, Edwards' four terms in the governor's mansion were defined by dramatic populist politics and brash public statements that drew constant comparisons to former Louisiana governor and senator Huey Long.
Prison hasn't seemed to change Edwards. Here are some of his best (or worst) hits:
On his 1983 opponent, then Republican Gov. David Treen: "He's so slow, it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes."
On whether he fears his phone was being tapped by law enforcement: "No—except by jealous husbands."
On his electoral prospects against Treen: "The only way I can lose this election is if I get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."
On similarities between he and his opponent, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke: "We're both wizards in the sheets."
On his fate: "The Chinese have a saying that if you sit by the river long enough, the dead body of your enemy will come floating down the river. I suppose the feds sat by the river long enough, and here comes my body."
On his womanizing, 1991: "Father Time has taken care of all that poppycock."
On his sex drive, 2012: "I don't need Viagra…Viagra needs me. Doesn't the Times-Picayune know they use my blood to make that stuff?"
On his new wife, Trina, who is 51 years his junior: "I learned something good to use Republicans for: sleep with them."
On whether it is fair to call him a womanizer: "I ride horses when I go to my ranch. That doesn't make me a cowboy."
On Trina (again): "I'm only as old as the woman I feel."
On the role of women in his administration: "The motto from here on out is up with skirts and down with pants."
On a claim he once slept with six women in one night: "No, it wasn't that way. [The author] was gone when the last one came in."
On his future—in 1991: "I don't have any skeletons in my closet. They're all out front. My closets have been raided so many times that there's nothing new, different, bad, or worse that can be said about me."
If Edwards does run, voters may be faced with a choice between Edwards, the convicted felon with a long, proud history of womanizing, and Tony Perkins, president of the social-conservative Family Research Council. Edwards hasn't formally filed paperwork yet, though. He told Bloomberg he wants to set up a super-PAC first.
Milton Wolf is a tea party Republican in Kansas challenging incumbent conservative GOP Sen. Pat Roberts because he believes Roberts is not sufficiently conservative. He has equated President Barack Obama's treatment of successful Americans to Hitler's treatment of Jews and gypsies. He has compared Obama to a "less despotic" Benito Mussolini. The catch: Milton Wolf is Obama's cousin.
In interviews with Fox News and other conservative outlets, Wolf insists he has the utmost respect for the president, with whom he shares a male ancestor, Thomas Creekmore McCurry—Obama's great-great-grandfather and Wolf’s great-grandfather. Although Wolf has only met the president once, he told Fox News three years ago his family is proud of what "Barack" has accomplished and wants to see him succeed. But more recent comments reveal a rhetorical extremism and rigid ideological opposition that would be at home within the most excessive circles of the far right.
This map of the location of US Navy ships during the 2012 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch, is the latest purported smoking gun in what Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called "the worst tragedy since 9/11." The implication: The White House was in a position to intervene while the attack was ongoing but, for some reason, chose not to. "Map Shows Dozens of U.S. Military Ships Stationed In North Africa Waters During Benghazi Attack," wrote Katie Pavlich at Town Hall, a headline that was picked up by the esteemed Fox Nation.
But that's not quite right. Most of the "dozens" of ships were nowhere near Benghazi, and the list includes many vessels that wouldn't do much good in a rescue situation. For instance, the Lewis and Clark is a cargo vessel, and it was somewhere off the coast of West Africa. The map features eight minesweepers and a tug boat in Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf, a very long way from Benghazi. The Laramie, an oiler, was off the coast of Yemen. Per the Navy, the nearest aircraft carrier was 128 hours away. Only a handful of ships were even in the same body of water as Benghazi, and given the small window in which the attack unfolded, mobilizing a destroyer from the Iranian coastline probably wasn't going to fix the problem.
Still, with Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state at the time, mulling a presidential bid, expect even more Benghazi "smoking guns" in the years ahead.
Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash, a Ron Paul acolyte and leading NSA critic whom I profiled for the magazine last fall, was supposed to be on the ropes. Amash was one of a handful of tea party congressmen to earn primary challenges from members of the party who believed they had gone too far in their obstructionism with little to show for it. In November, a group of former Amash donors publicly backed his challenger, Brian Ellis, arguing that the congressman "and others have effectively nullified the Republican majority in the U.S. House" by driving a wedge through the party.
But things are looking up for Amash, and by extension the political movement he refers to as "the Rebel Alliance." A new poll released this week from Basswood Research showed Amash with a 60–12 lead over Ellis. Most voters still hadn't heard of Ellis, but those who had overwhelmingly didn't like him. That might be a product of the $200,000 that the conservative Club for Growth, whose ads helped Amash win the seat in the first place, has already poured into television spots hammering Ellis.
Now, per the New York Times, Amash is about to get some more help: Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers-backed political operation, is launching a $230,000 ad buy to bolster the incumbent's credentials as an opponent of the Affordable Care Act. It's still early—the primary isn't until August. But Amash and his allies have thus far sent a firm message to his Republican critics: their money might better be spent elsewhere.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls Sochi, site of February's Winter Olympics, "the biggest construction site on the planet," and for good reason. Since being awarded the games in 2007, the subtropical Black Sea city has built 442 miles of fiber-optic cables, 200 miles of roads, 55 bridges, 13 train stations, nine hotels for media outlets, six post offices, five schools, a new airport, a $265 million ski jump, a bobsled track, a ski course, two Olympic villages, an 815-acre floating archipelago, and a partridge in a pear tree.
But one item on local residents' wish list was met with a pocket veto—a request to build a mosque for Sochi's 20,000 Muslim residents, many of whom have migrated to the city over the last decade to take jobs building the Olympic facilities.