Sen. Kennedy uses viral attention to talk tax reform

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - U.S. Senator John Kennedy did not mince words when describing the now former federal judge nominee, Matthew Petersen. "He's never been in a courtroom before and no disrespect, but just because you've seen My Cousin Vinny, you're not qualified to be a federal judge," said Kennedy.

Petersen withdrew his name after a video of Kennedy grilling him on basic aspects of judgeship during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing went viral. Petersen was unable to adequately define common legal terms and told the senator he had never presided over a bench or jury trial. President Donald Trump nominated Petersen. Kennedy says Trump called him over the weekend to thank the senator for his thorough vetting of all nominees. According to Kennedy, it was Trump's staff who picked Petersen.

The President isn't the only one who took notice of Kennedy's performance. The video, posted by a democratic senator, captured headlines around the nation. "I'm amazed at John Kennedy's capacity to grab headlines where ever he is," said political analyst, Jim Engster.

Engster believes Kennedy capitalized on the spotlight now focused in his direction. Monday, the senator made rounds on television promoting the Republican tax reform plan. "I think it's a solid bill. I understand that our Democratic friends don't agree with it, but their view is that tax policy has absolutely nothing to do with economic output. If you really truly believe that, then you must have been in the quad throwing the frisbee during Econ. 101," said Kennedy.

However, Engster says Kennedy may use the attention for a long-term goal that could have very little to do with Washington. "He's 66-years-old, so he has a disadvantage, so he's not likely to be the recipient of a lot of tenure as U.S. senator. He's got the clock working against him. That's why it's quite possible he'll run for governor," said Engster.

Kennedy has not actually remarked on whether or not he plans to run for Governor of Louisiana.

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