Her comments came after an NBC reporter asked the senator why Obama has such low approval ratings in Louisiana. Landrieu’s first response was that the president’s energy policies are deeply disliked by residents of the oil and gas-rich state.
She then added, “I’ll be very, very honest with you. 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.”
Landrieu is in a tight re-election battle with Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy. Tea Party favorite Rob Maness is polling in a distant third place.
Landrieu is sometimes seen as a conservative Democrat, and works tirelessly on behalf of oil and gas interests.
Republicans claimed to take offense and put their own spin on the comments.
According to the Washington Post, Cassidy said the opposition to Obama has more to do with policy than race. Maness said, “Quite frankly, Sen. Landrieu owes the people of Louisiana an apology for relegating them to nothing but racists and sexists.”
State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere called the remarks “insulting to me and to every other Louisianian.” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called the comment “a major insult” to the people of the state.