22 Edwin Edwards quotes that capture his self-confidence and sharp wit

Edwin Edwards, who died Monday at the age 93, has been in public life since being elected to the Crowley City Council in 1954 at the age of 27. He went on to serve in the state Senate before being elected to Congress in 1965. He became governor, for the first time, in May 1972. He ended up serving four terms, ending in 1996.

Throughout his political career – and afterwards – he was known for self-confidence and a rapier wit.

Edwin Edwards, Louisiana populist who served 4 terms as governor and 8 years in prison, dies at 93

He dominated state politics for 25 years with bayou charm, razor-sharp mind, quick wit

Here are some Edwards quotes jotted down by reporters with The Advocate and The Times-Picayune over the years:

  • “For as long as any of us can remember, Louisiana has been dominated by the mediocre and unprincipled.” (on campaign trail in 1970)
  • “We can’t have a philosophy where Black people are supposed to go to college and get a better education and then go back to pick cotton.” (on campaign trail in 1970)
  • John McKeithen is a “lame duck governor who doesn’t want the new administration to do well. It’ll make him look bad.” (on campaign trail in 1971, his first run for governor)
  • “It was illegal for them to give, but not for me to receive.” (1974, when asked about receiving illegal campaign contributions)
  • “We are being led by a governor whose only answer to unemployment is to buy a $350,000 jet.” (During 1982 legislative session when asked about then Gov. Dave Treen.)
  • “Dave Treen is so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.” (During 1983 campaign debate with then incumbent Gov. Dave Treen)
  • “I could not lose unless I was caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.” (Night before 1983 election)
  • “I did Paris with the Gov.” (Bumper sticker in 1984 after hosting a trip to Paris for supporters)
  • “Some politicians like to kiss babies. I like to kiss the baby’s mommas.” (1987 gubernatorial campaign)
  • “The only place where David Duke and I are alike is we are both wizards under the sheets.” (During 1991 gubernatorial campaign against David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan)
  • “While David Duke was burning crosses and scaring people, I was building hospitals to heal them.” (1991, during gubernatorial debate)
  • “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.” (Bumper sticker in 1991 race for governor against David Duke, a white supremacist)
  • “People say I’ve had brushes with the law. that’s not true. I’ve had brushes with overzealous prosecutors.” (1999)
  • “There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘If you wait by the river long enough, you will see the bodies of your dead enemies float by.’ I suppose the feds sat by the river long enough, so here comes my body.” (On steps of the federal courthouse in Baton Rouge after his 2000 racketeering trial)
  • “I did not do anything wrong as a governor, even if you accept the verdict as it is, it doesn’t indicate that.” (After Edwards was found guilty on 17 of 26 counts in 2000)
  • “I will be a model prisoner as I was a model citizen.” (2002 upon entering federal prison)
  • “I give blood for them to make Viagra.” (at 2011 celebration upon his release from prison)
  • “I think he makes a good governor for California, Minnesota, Florida – all those places where people keep putting up all that money, concerned about who the governor of Louisiana is.” (2011 about Bobby Jindal’s interest in running for president)
  • “I assume history will record some of the things I did wrong or they think I did wrong. But responsible, interested people will look at the record, and whatever they say can’t erase the record.” (2014 campaign for 6th Congressional District seat)
  • “Well, I’ll wake up and have breakfast.” (2014 when asked about his future plans on the night he lost 6th District runoff)
  • “If you want to live a long life, don’t hold a grudge.” (2019)
Watch Edwin Edwards' epic debate showdown with David Duke: '20 years of hate and hurt'

It was 1991, and the eyes of America were on Louisiana – and not in a good way.

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