Thursday, March 09, 2006


Wilson "Robo Calls" New Orleans

ALSO: GOP, Alliance endorsements go out; Will Butler show at forum tonight?

By Frank Donze

Staff writer

The first "robo-calls" of the mayoral campaign debuted this week.

The first examples of the popular tactic, launched Tuesday by both Mayor Ray Nagin and former City Councilwoman Peggy Wilson, are upbeat.

Wilson's call, voiced by a male speaker, plays heavily on her GOP credentials, citing the endorsement she picked up this week from the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee.

"Now we are asking all Republicans to unify behind Peggy Wilson," the caller says, "just like we did for (U.S. Sen.) David Vitter and (U.S. Rep.) Bobby Jindal. To win, Republicans must join together behind the leading conservative, Peggy Wilson."

The message mentions Wilson's signature economic development issue -- making post-Katrina New Orleans a tax-free zone for the next five to seven years -- and closes with one of her campaign catchphrases: "Let's make New Orleans colorblind, not colorbound."

The slogan echoes Wilson's long-standing criticism of City Hall set-aside programs, designed to direct a percentage of government contracting to minority- and women-owned businesses.

A news release issued by the Wilson campaign said she elaborated on her position Monday when she spoke to the Republican committee, calling for "opportunity for all and preference for none."

Nagin, who speaks on his own behalf in his message, describes a post-Katrina New Orleans on the mend.

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