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Democratic Sen.: Obama Unpopular in the South Because It's 'Not Always Been the Friendliest Place for African-Americans

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Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., participates in a Senate race debate with fellow candidates Republican candidate and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said President Barack Obama is unpopular in Louisiana partially due to his race.

“I'll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” Landrieu told NBC News Thursday. “It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader."

Landrieu, who has been trailing Republican opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy in recent polls ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections, said women have also had to work harder to "present" themselves because it's "more of a conservative place."

She also pointed to Obama's energy policies, including his ban on offshore drilling, for his difficulties in Louisiana.

"We're a pro-production state. We wanna drill almost anywhere. People believe that it's an opportunity for Americans to become energy self-sufficient," Landrieu said.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted Landrieu's race comments as "remarkably divisive" and said she "appears to be living in a different century."

“Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity. That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana and I flatly reject it," Jindal said in a statement. “I can tell you firsthand that the people of Louisiana are willing to give everyone a fair hearing. The president’s policies, which Senator Landrieu largely supports, are unpopular in Louisiana, and the other 49 states, because they are ill-advised, liberal, and don't work out here in the real world. And, his administration has also proven to be incompetent. Trying to blame it on race is ridiculous.”

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