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Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune) (Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune

Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune) (Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune

( – A political forum Wednesday (Nov. 11) at Southern University, a historically black college in Baton Rouge, did not look to be a particularly comfortable stop for gubernatorial candidate David Vitter.

Vitter is a Republican, and African-Americans tend to vote overwhelming for Democrats. Recent polls show his Democratic opponent, John Bel Edwards, getting 95 percent support from black voters.

Added to that, the U.S. senator has been under fire from the New Orleans NAACP for what it says is racially tinged ad that warns that Edwards would release “dangerous thugs” into safe communities.

But Vitter showed up at the school for a rare solo forum appearance after Edwards declined the invitation. Edwards, who holds a substantial lead over Vitter in recent polls, attended what his campaign described as a meet-and-greet that had been scheduled before the Southern invitation was issued.

Vitter used the opportunity to tell the crowd, estimated at between 250 and 500 people, many of whom are members of Southern’s famous Human Jukebox Marching Band, that he played clarinet alongside Wynton Marsalis in high school. He spoke of the importance of listening, of “working with you” and pledged to “build a team that represents the best of all of Louisiana.”

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