The Fine Print
Before Rep. Vance McAllister won a special election last month to represent Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, the 39-year-old businessman had not only never run for public office, but never stepped foot in the nation’s capital.
But today, as he settles into an office on Capitol Hill that once belonged to President Gerald Ford, he tells “The Fine Print” he hopes to rise above the partisan squabble that contributed to the lowest approval ratings ever for Congress.
“It just seems like there's a lot of bickering, a lot of arguing, a lot about partisanship, whether it's right of wrong,” said McAllister, a Republican. “People are just tired of seeing all the fighting they want to see things happening and moving forward.”
Part of rising above the partisanship, McAllister said, includes giving Obama the respect he deserves as the president of the United States.
“I pray for him every day and hope he makes the right decisions and has the right convictions, but I know his convictions are true to himself, they're just not true to what we believe,” he said. “I'll never be one that you'll see tear down or say blasphemous stuff about our president because he deserves the respect of the office that he holds, but we can agree to disagree all the time.”
McAllister’s unlikely win last month over Republican state Sen. Neil Riser, who had the backing of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was bolstered by the endorsement of “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson.
McAllister points out that he was friends with the “Duck Dynasty” family, who live in his district, long before their TV reality show made them famous. But he says their recent stardom helped his campaign.
“I think it validated me a little bit more and gave people a little bit more, people that are already swayed to me. It just really just told them you know what, he must be a pretty good old boy if Fred and Willie and Jeb and Jason are all behind him,” he said.
With the campaign behind him, McAllister said he’s looking to find compromises to avoid another potential government shutdown and improve the Affordable Care Act – calling recent efforts to repeal the health care law “unrealistic.”
“Until we have the numbers in the Senate or a different president it's never going to be repealed,” he said. “The way to move government forward is, you don’t always get what you want, but you take the cards that you're dealt with and you play the best hand you got.”
For more of the interview with McAllister, and to hear his plans to keep making Sunday breakfast for his family, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”
ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, Hank Disselkamp, and Vicki Vennell contributed to this episode.