For the record, Garret Graves said it wasn’t the tequila talking when he took a swipe at former Gov. Edwin Edwards on Twitter.
Graves, a Republican, and Edwards, a Democrat, are running against each other in the 6th Congressional District. Graves most recently worked as coastal adviser to Gov. Bobby Jindal. Edwards was governor for four terms.
In Louisiana, Edwards is a political legend. He was in the Governor’s Mansion so long that he’s probably still adjusting to sleeping on a different mattress. From political highs, he endured the lows of spending time in prison, emerging to embark on a new chapter that includes embracing fatherhood in his mid-80s.
Edwards was — and still is — the king of the political smackdowns. Only Edwards could coolly compare himself to former Klansman David Duke, saying both were wizards under the sheets. Only Edwards could dismiss a political rival as so slow “it takes him an hour and a half to watch ‘60 Minutes.’ ” Only Edwards could turn his wit on himself, recently telling a New York reporter: “With me, the people know the butter might be rancid, but it’s going to be spread on their side of the bread.”
In other words, it takes gutsy stealth to rattle this political lion’s cage. But rattle the cage Graves did, launching a post-Fourth-of-July fireworks show in a so-far sleepy race. The election isn’t until November.
Graves said he was stone-cold sober at 2:23 p.m. on July 25 when he pulled up his Twitter feed, saw a reporter’s post about how cute the 6th District candidates’ children are and decided to poke a stick at the glib Cajun prince.
“Oh, come on. Our kids are so much cuter than Trina #tilDecember,” Graves tweeted.
Trina is Edwin Edwards’ third wife. She’s blonde and beautiful. She’s 51 years younger than her 86-year-old husband. They have a 1-year-old son named Eli.
Graves and his wife appear to be more matched in age. They have three children: Ralston, 9; Calla, 7; and Kulshan, 4.
At first, Edwards seemed puzzled by Graves’ tweet. He responded: “I’m confused? Are you saying my wife isn’t cute or my kid isn’t cute?” Trina Edwards just seemed offended. “A true southern gentleman you are not, sir!” she tweeted Graves.
For the record, Graves said he was pointing to the large generation gap between Edwin and Trina Edwards. His inference was that Trina Edwards could easily be Edwin Edwards’ daughter or granddaughter — and that, apparently, she isn’t cute by Graves family standards.
Edwards accused Graves of tweeting while intoxicated although he softened his hashtag criticism by complimenting Graves’ children. “#yourtweetsarentmakingsense #gohomegarretyouredrunk Ps ... I still think your kids are beautiful,” Edwards tweeted.
“I hadn’t had a sip of alcohol,” a harried-sounding Graves said recently from the campaign trail.
The back-and-forth on Twitter continued:
Graves: “Very sorry. Did not intend to confuse you. Apparently, someone has signed you up to run for Congress.”
Graves: “The runoff is in December.”
Edwards: “ahhhhhh...but it’s over in November for you! ;)”
Whether Edwards was behind the wheel on those tweets is unclear. Word on the street is that he doesn’t embrace social media. And would someone who soon will be 87 embrace the sideways smiley face and add a wink? It seems doubtful.
Edwards declined to talk about the Twitter feud. Graves said it was just lighthearted teasing.
“If you can’t have a sense of humor and be a real person in this state, then you’re not a human being,” Graves said.
Michelle Milhollon covers the State Capitol for The Advocate.