Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gov. Bobby Jindal Is Finding His Candidate's Groove

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gov. Bobby Jindal Is Finding His Candidate's Groove

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON

This town can get pretty wound up when a politician misbehaves.

Given some of the reactions to Bobby Jindal's off-script remarks Monday, you'd think he'd been caught with a mirror on his shoe in the ladies' restroom.

No, it was much worse than that.

Hide the children. He defied protocol!

In town for the National Governors Association winter meeting, Mr. Jindal joined other state chief executives in front of the White House after a meeting with the president. Taking the microphone, Mr. Jindal said among other things that "the Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy," and the president is "waving the white flag of surrender."

It's a wonder no one fainted.

According to those who follow closely every little thing, the governors were in town to share blankies and not hurt feelings. They were supposed to be bipartisan-ish and leave the spleen venting to Congress. Bobby didn't get the memo.

His comments prompted a faux-angry rejoinder from Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, who called Mr. Jindal's remarks "the most partisan statement that we've had all weekend," - and Mr. Jindal's white flag comment "the most insane statement I've ever heard." (Really? Even wackier than you-can-keep-your-insurance-if- you-like-it?)

A smiling Bobby Jindal took the microphone again, adding that if his earlier comments were the most partisan thing Mr. Malloy had heard, "I want to make sure that he hears a more partisan statement."

And so it went.

It should be mentioned that there were plenty of smiles all around and no one seemed to be reaching for their Valium. But Mr. Jindal seemed to be having a really good time - comfortable in his bravura, not to mention being in such close proximity to the White House, his hoped-for future home.

Of course, he's running for president in 2016. He hasn't said so, but he clearly is. His actions speak far louder than his words.

Given this obvious fact, Mr. Jindal can't start too soon demonstrating his older, wiser more experienced persona.

He has to be aggressive to convince the Republican base that he's a stand-up guy willing to jump in the ring with Apollo Creed. OK, so maybe with Dannel Malloy.

This isn't such an easy sell for the slightly built Rhodes scholar who became the nation's youngest governor. And though Mr. Jindal is a Catholic convert - and he speaks with the natural lilt of his birth state of Louisiana - he is not visually "one of us" in the way some Republicans have demonstrated they're most comfortable. …

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