Caroline Fayard, who is believed to be testing the waters before possibly challenging incumbent Gov. Bobby Jindal in the fall statewide elections, raised hackles across Louisiana after her appearance at a Washington Parish Democratic Party function March 24. Fayard's appearance went unremarked until the Washington Parish Daily News quoted part of her speech: "I hate Republicans. I hate Republicans. They are cruel and destructive. They eat their young. They don't think. They don't allow people to think. They are bullies."
The Louisiana GOP immediately jumped on Fayard's incendiary remarks, with state party chair Roger Villere Jr. demanding an apology from his Democratic counterpart Buddy Leach (he didn't get one).
In a March 28 interview with Gambit, Fayard said she didn't have notes from the speech, adding, "I spoke off the cuff, and I don't remember the exact context. I think it was a contextual issue. Chalk it up to my naivete in politics."
Fayard, who had an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor last year against Republican Jay Dardenne, previously worked for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton raised money for her campaign. Today, she says, "I'm conservative. I'm against the president [Barack Obama], but I don't need to see his birth certificate. ... I'm a pro-life conservative from Tickfaw, and a registered Democrat." She demurred when asked if she intended to run for governor, saying, "I don't know what I'm doing next."
Asked if she, as a self-identified conservative, would consider joining the exodus from the Democratic party — following Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the dozen or so high-profile Louisiana pols who've switched to the GOP in recent months — Fayard told Gambit, "I'm not an opportunist. I see myself as a conservative, and all I can tell you is that I see myself on the side of working families and middle-class people."
Apparently sensing both a campaign issue and a meme, the Louisiana Republican Party quickly printed up bumper stickers to give away on its website, lagop.com. The stickers feature a silhouette of an elephant and the words, "Caroline Fayard Hates Me."
None of this seemed to affect Fayard's possible candidacy. On March 30, Fox News' Greta van Susteren reported Fayard was in Washington, D.C., to meet with Martin O'Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, "to discuss her possible run" against Jindal. — Kevin Allman