Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Jindal Talked of 'Duck Dynasty' Flap in Sarasota

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Jindal Talked of 'Duck Dynasty' Flap in Sarasota

Article excerpt

Ratings of the reality show "Duck Dynasty" have been in a tailspin for most of the year, but that is not dissuading one major presidential aspirant from trying to use the show to build his bona fides with conservative Republicans in this region.

During a speech in Sarasota last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spent almost as much time promoting "Duck Dynasty" as he did the re-election of Gov. Rick Scott -- whose candidacy he was supposed to be advocating.

Jindal, who is considering running for president in 2016, cited the show frequently during a 30-minute speech that focused largely on his argument for "religious liberty."

"You may remember that several months ago, Phil Robertson of the 'Duck Dynasty' family got into a little trouble with the liberal media and liberal interest groups," Jindal told more than 700 people at a GOP rally near downtown Sarasota. "You may remember one of the first people to come to his defense was the governor of Louisiana."

Jindal went on to describe how much his children love the show, how the Robertsons are his friends and how he loves the show's family values messaging.

"And by the way, isn't it nice to watch a TV show where you don't have to cover up their eyes or ears every 30 seconds?" Jindal asked the crowd.

"Duck Dynasty," of course, became a national political topic last winter when GQ published an interview with Robertson in which he called homosexuality a sin. Cable channel A&E, under pressure from gay rights groups and others, suspended Robertson for the comments, but later reinstated him. "Duck Dynasty" supporters launched a petition calling the suspension is a violation of Robertson's freedom of expression.

"Duck Dynasty" last year was drawing as many as 11.7 million viewers. The show's most recently completed season saw that number drop to 3.8 million in August.

Jindal did not address his presidential ambitions during his speech, but outlined accomplishments that could become the core of a future campaign for the Republican nomination. Jindal talked up his support of a private school vouchers he's pushed, his opposition to Common Core education standards and his trimming the government payrolls in Louisiana. …

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