One of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu's greatest assets in her difficult reelection battle is her family legacy, and a folksy new ad featuring her father shows that she intends to remind voters of her deep political roots.
Landrieu's father, former New Orleans Mayor Maurice "Moon" Landrieu, is revered in Louisiana's black community for integrating the city's workforce and opening contracting jobs to blacks while in office in the 1970s. When his son Mitch Landrieu was elected New Orleans mayor in 2010, he became the first white mayor of the majority-black city since his father left office in 1978. (He was recently reelected for a second term).
Among Mary Landrieu's chief challenges when voters go to the poll in November will be to boost turnout among black voters, who make up 31% of Louisiana's electorate and remain deeply loyal to President Obama, while winning a sizable share of voters who are unhappy with the administration's performance. Landrieu's new ad straddles that line, delicately reminding voters of the Landrieu family dynasty while highlighting areas in which Landrieu has veered away from the administration, most recently with her push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
"When you have nine children, you're bound to have one who's hardheaded," Moon Landrieu, 83, says to the camera in the ad as the senator sits next to him in the home where she grew up.
"Dad, you're one to talk," Landrieu interjects.
"I know how BP felt when Mary fought to get billions for Louisiana," Moon Landrieu continues, alluding to the cleanup after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, "and when she took on the president to approve the Keystone pipeline."
The former New Orleans mayor adds that, with her daughter as the new chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, "those other senators better get ready."
Noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had included Landrieu among a list of leaders who were banned from traveling to Russia, Moon Landrieu whispers to the camera in closing, "And now you know why Putin won't let her into Russia," as his daughter shakes her head.
The ad is the latest of several from Landrieu's campaign that points to areas in which she has distanced herself from the administration and highlights her position heading the energy committee as a boon for Louisiana.
Her first spot last fall focused on her efforts to "fix" the president's healthcare law. A second energy-focused ad last month featured a news clip in which Landrieu said the "administration's policies are simply wrong when it comes to oil and gas production in this nation."
Landrieu's chief opponent, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, has disputed her claims that she is indispensable to Louisiana. He has noted that the administration delayed a decision on approving the pipeline despite an effort by Landrieu to organize a group of senators to send the White House a letter pressing for approval.
After her effort to secure a vote on the pipeline failed in the Senate last week because of a partisan standoff, Cassidy's spokesman scoffed that Landrieu's "PR machine screams about how vital her role will be for Louisiana's energy economy, but so far it's only been vital for promoting herself."