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September 25, 2008

Confederate official appears in Kennedy ad

It’s not every day that a former Cabinet member of the Confederacy is cited in a congressional campaign ad.

But the latest ad from Louisiana state treasurer John Kennedy (R), intended to attack his opponent’s liberalism, references Judah Benjamin, a former Louisiana senator who later became a leading government official for the Confederacy. 

The ad, titled “Museum,” says that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is more liberal than every senator to represent Louisiana — including Benjamin. At the beginning, a narrator mentions Benjamin’s name as a gallery of former Louisiana senators appears on screen.

“Mary Landrieu. Liberal. Historically liberal,” a narrator says in the ad.

Benjamin served in the Senate from 1853-1861. He resigned from Congress after Louisiana seceded from the United States, and became the first Attorney General of the Confederacy.  After the war, he never returned to the United States — he escaped to England where he worked as an attorney.

Kennedy spokesman Lenny Alcivar declined to comment on whether it was unusual for Kennedy to include a Confederate politician who was exiled from the United States in his campaign ad.

“What’s unusual is that Mary Landrieu is the most liberal United States senator that Louisiana has ever seen,” Alcivar said.