BATON ROUGE - U.S. Senator David Vitter was unprepared when he was grilled on the state's big issues today, said Democratic critics. After announcing he was running for governor five months ago, he was short on specifics Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club.

"I'm not running for governor as a stepping stone or to cut ribbons or to get an appearance on Duck Dynasty," Vitter said.

The junior U.S. Senator opened up his remarks to the Press Club with a jab at Governor Jindal for his recent appearance on the cable TV show Duck Dynasty, last week.

Vitter pledged strong leadership if he's elected governor next year.

"I'm running for governor to take on the important issues and make the hard decisions and not avoid them," Vitter said.

But five months into his campaign, the Senator lacked any definitive answers on controversial issues like expanding Medicaid for the state's working poor, TOPS funding, or whether he is for or against Common Core standards for Louisiana schools.

"I definitely want to support standards, strong, stringent standards to compare our kids to others," Vitter said. "I also want to make sure we retain real autonomy."

Louisiana's Democratic Party chairwoman said she expected more substance from Vitter's appearance.

"If Louisiana is going to progress, we certainly expect that a current sitting U.S. Senator, running for governor or not, would have definitive answers on where we are and (where we're) going," said State Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans). "That was certainly disappointing."

Vitter said he'll cover the big issues in more detail at what he calls "leadership forums" to be held soon across the state.

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