Friday, April 21, 2006
By Michelle Krupa and Frank Donze
Making their final appeal to voters before Saturday's primary, the seven top candidates for New Orleans mayor stuck to their campaign scripts Thursday night in a remarkably low-key and cordial debate.
One of the few moments of rancor came courtesy of (former City Council President Peggy) Wilson. Asked about comments she has made throughout the campaign that some have considered divisive and racially inflammatory, Wilson dodged the question and instead defended her frequent allegations of widespread corruption in the administration of former Mayor Marc Morial, who she often has noted was supported by Landrieu.
"What I received today is an example of divisive, is the threat of a lawsuit from someone representing Marc Morial, and I'm wondering, Mitch, if you're part of a tag team here, the Mitch-Morial tag team, who has tried to intimidate me from saying things that are the truth on this panel," she said, waving what she said is a letter that she got Thursday from Morial's lawyers.
Pressed about her use of phrases such as "welfare queens" to describe the kind of people she believes should not be allowed to return to New Orleans, Wilson maintained that the words have nothing to do with race.
"That's not a racial term, it's a behavior term," she said. "It refers to how people behave."