Vitter: "I believe I received forgiveness from God"

The embattled Louisiana Republican denies some of the charges against him and says he's "eager to continue" in the Senate.

Published July 16, 2007 10:41PM (EDT)

David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana, has been all but in hiding since revelations that he was a client of the "D.C. Madam." But at a press conference today, on his way back to Washington, he made it clear that he won't be slinking away for good.

"I'm not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again," Vitter said. "That might sell newspapers, but it wouldn't serve my family or my constituents well at all because we all have a lot of important work to do for Louisiana ... From here, I'll go directly to the airport and to Washington for votes, because I'm eager to continue my work in the U.S. Senate to help move Louisiana forward."

Vitter's wife, Wendy, was by his side as he said that he believes that he "received forgiveness from God."

"I know I did from Wendy," Vitter said, "and we put it behind us."

Wendy Vitter agreed.

"Like all marriages, ours is not perfect," she said. "None of us are. But we choose to work together as a family. When David and I dealt with this privately years ago, I forgave David. I made the decision to love him and to recommit to our marriage. To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me. David is my best friend."

Particularly astute readers may note that this is, to put it lightly, a different tone from the one she struck in an interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2000. Reprinted in Salon in 2004, one key quote from that interview was bouncing all over the Internet last week:

"Asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband if she learned he'd had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton and Bob Livingston's wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: 'I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me.'"

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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