Republican Admits to 'Serious Sin in My Past'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - A Republican senator has been caught in the "D.C. Madam" snare.

Sen. David Vitter's telephone number was listed in the records kept by Deborah Jeane Palfrey - the woman accused of running a prostitution ring. Palfrey insists it was a legitimate escort service. On Monday, she posted her clients' telephone numbers - but no names -- online.

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said in a statement released to the Associated Press on Monday.

"Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

Vitter, 46, was elected to the Senate in 2004 - the first Louisiana Republican to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction. He previously served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Vitter recently helped lead the conservative effort to kill the immigration "reform" bill. He also supports the Marriage Protection Amendment.

"As the parents of four children, my wife Wendy and I get up every day dedicated to securing a truly bright future for all of us in Louisiana," his website says.

According to ABC News, Palfrey's clients included prominent business executives, NASA officials and military officers, but they have so far not been named publicly.

Randal Tobias, a senior State Department official, resigned several months ago after ABC News asked him about his use of the escort service.

'What a joke'

A website dedicated to New Orleans news and information,, offered readers a chance to vent about Vitter.

"What's your reaction to the senator's admission? Will it affect his ability to represent Louisiana? Are you satisfied with his apology?" the website asked.

Reaction was mostly unfavorable:

"Here is a guy who preached about New Orleans being sinful. What a joke," wrote one reader. "As I've said in the past all men in congress get drunk with power. The only thing that would surprise me is if Mary Landrieu or Pelosi were buying boy toys."

"I want govt. out of my wallet an out of my bedroom, regardless of political party," wrote another reader.

"Soliciting sex is illegal in DC. Vitter therefore broke the law. Are Republicans ready to reelect a criminal to office in 2010? Because Vitter broke the law, he should resign. This is really a huge disgrace, and we cannot afford any more bad press in Louisiana," said another angry constituent.

"His bible thumping family value gravy train has derailed."

One reader mentioned press reports in 2004 in which Vitter (running for the Senate at the time) publicly denied allegations that he had an 11-month affair with a known prostitute.

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