Joel Vlmanay, general manager of WDSU, told Gambit the report, written by TPM's Caitlin McNeal, was untrue. "It's a commercial-free debate," Vilmanay said. "And we wouldn't run an ad of that nature either during or adjacent to a debate." He said no one from Talking Points Memo ever called the station to confirm Gumbo PAC's report.
Gumbo PAC is headed by Trey Ourso, a Baton Rouge political consultant who served as head of the state Democratic Party more than a decade ago. He told Gambit that the TPM report had it wrong and that he never stated the ad would appear during the debate, but that he hadn't seen TPM's story.
The ad from the anti-Vitter Gumbo PAC closes with the camera panning to a crying baby wearing a diaper, noting that it "would be a crying shame for Louisiana" if Vitter were elected governor. One of the tantalizing yet unconfirmed sub-plots of Vitter's prostitution scandal was a diaper fetish.
When asked about the significance of the diaper by TPM, the PAC's director, Trey Ourso, said merely that they chose to use the baby because it would be a "crying shame" if Vitter is elected governor.
In 2007, Vitter confessed to an unspecified "very serious sin" after his phone number was found among the records of the so-called "D.C. Madam." Around that time, Jeanette Maier, known as the "Canal Street Madam," claimed Vitter had also used her services. Local blogger Mark Moseley, citing unnamed sources, wrote that Vitter's sexual habits included diaper play:
We're talking about, among other things, Diaper Fetishism. That's right folks, according to a trusted inside source, Vitter was well known among other Canal Street Brothel patrons to like diapers as well as other bizarre "fetishes".
Eight years later, no proof ever has been proffered regarding the rumor, but images of Vitter in a diaper have become memes on some left-leaning websites and blogs (including Talking Points Memo), and detractors have slapped him with the nickname "Diaper Dave." While Vitter's prostitution scandal has been brought up in the current gubernatorial race, references to the unproven diaper story (which was contradicted by Maier herself) have largely been left to the Internet, not campaign advertising.