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Defeat, don't demonise Obama: Jindal tells Republicans

June 18, 2011 18:04 IST
Bobby Jindal, the Indian American Governor of Louisiana, has advised Republicans to refrain from demonising Barack Obama, saying it was absolutely crucial to defeat the President but "foolish" to hate him.

Jindal, 40, chose a Republican conference in New Orleans to caution conservative activists that they ought not to demonise the president in the fashion some liberals did President George Bush during his eight-year presidency. "We must not mimic their shallow approach," said the Republican leader, who is up for re-election this fall, reported Politico.

The soft-spoken Governor, who is widely believed to have national ambitions, reminded the audience of the "shrill, absurd and negative rhetoric" by the leftists against Bush to press his point that the conservatives should not employ the same tactics against Obama. Jindal said he neither had doubt over Obama's patriotism, nor did he want to return to the queries over whether he was born in America, but he had serious reservations over his policies.

"I don't question where's he from, I question where President Obama is going," said Jindal. "I've got no doubt that President Obama loves this country," he said, but added that what the incumbent "thinks is best for this country is in reality a complete disaster". Jindal also urged conservatives to channel their disdain for the incumbent, Politico said. "Hating President Obama is foolish, but defeating President Obama is absolutely crucial," he said.

In an interview following his speech, Jindal also made it clear that as Americans it was the duty of Republicans to respect the office of the president and even said it was not right to be "distracted by ad hominem attacks".

"We as Republicans are Americans first -- we have to have respect for the office of the president. We need to be serious about this debate; it's an important debate about the future of our country. We can't be distracted by ad hominem attacks," he said.

"I think it's hypocritical to say, well, it's not patriotic when they do that to President Bush but it's ok for our side to it to President Obama," he added. However, the Governor was evasive as always about his national intentions and over questions of a possible presidential run in 2016.

"I've got the job I want," he reiterated his earlier position, and when asked specifically about 2016, he just chose to say, "I'm running for re-election as governor of Louisiana."

On the chatter in political circles, especially from his opponents, about his eventual move from Louisiana for the national stage, Jindal characterised it as "wishful thinking" and said, "They're just hoping they don't have to keep fighting me."

However, he reacted with gratitude to the recent comments by the Republican Speaker of the House in Louisiana that he would support an eventual Jindal presidential bid.  "Louisiana likes to take pride in their sons and daughters, no matter what party," he said, calling comments such as that from the speaker as "flattering."

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