Sen. David Vitter, 55, talks about his rescued dog, alligator hunting, and interning on Capitol Hill.
Q: You have a bunch of football helmets in your office, what are your teams?
A: I grew up in New Orleans with the Saints, of course. When they won the Super Bowl a few years ago, that was a dream come true. When I was a kid, they never came close. Never made the playoffs. And LSU, of course, is a big college team and they’ve won the national championship several times recently. Unfortunately, they just lost in an upset a few days ago to Wisconsin.
Q: You interned for the late Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Joe Moakley. Tell me what you learned from that experience.
A: I was in college, I was interested in government. It was a great opportunity to just observe things and see how the system worked. I actually interned there for two summers — the first summer, I was an unpaid intern and it was a very bipartisan summer because I crossed the street at night and worked for a paycheck as a busboy at the Republican Capitol Hill Club. And then the second summer, they invited back me for pay.
Many years later when I came to the House in a special election — so, I was sworn in on a typical day of voting — it just so happens that when I was standing in the speaker’s lobby waiting to be brought out to be sworn in, the first member I saw was Joe Moakley. I remember saying, “Joe, I hope you’re proud of having another alum be elected to the U.S. House.” I said “another” because [Massachusetts Democrat] Jim McGovern was a real staffer when I was an intern. I said, “Joe, you probably count Jim and me as plus one, minus one because we cancel each other’s votes out on a lot.”
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: Ranger, he’s absolutely a big part of the family. He’s our second rescue dog. Unfortunately, the first got hit by a car. We got them both from the same parish shelter. He’s mostly poodle and Shih Tzu and maybe some other things. My kids call him a “shitpoo.” Heck of a term.
Q: I hear your daughter had a going-off-to-college request. What was it?
A: A little over a year ago when [she and her twin sister] were getting ready to leave for college, Lise said, “Dad, before I leave, I want to have a father-daughter outing.” And that’s the sort of thing any parent waits to hear, loves to hear. So I said, “Great, you name it.” I would have guessed 100 things before what she said. Then she said, “I want to go alligator hunting.” She wouldn’t have even thought of it except that our son and I went a couple times before and I used to do a fundraiser every year that was an alligator hunt and she could never make it.
I got some tags. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that she figured out this could be like the best-ever conversation starter with boys at Georgetown.