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Rediff.com  » News » Bobby Jindal set to create history again

Bobby Jindal set to create history again

August 22, 2008 12:08 IST

He may not become the running mate for Senator John McCain eventually, but Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is once again set to create history.
 
After becoming the first ever Indian American to be elected Governor last year, Jindal has been given a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention at prime time, making him the first Indian American to speak at the political convention of a major party.

Bobby Jindal elected Louisiana governor


 
The Republican National Convention will take place between September 1 and 4 in the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. On the penultimate day of the convention, Jindal will speak at prime time along with McCain's wife Cindy, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, US Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Meg Whitman, National co-chair for McCain 2008 and former president and CEO of e-Bay, Carly Fiorina, Victory '08 chairman for the RNC and former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co, and the GOP's vice presidential nominee.
 
Jindal will be among 10 current and former Republican governors, five current and former US Senators besides the likes of businesswomen Whitman and Fiorina, who will make up the roster of speakers at the convention. The overall theme of the convention is 'Country First,' which the party said, "reflects John McCain's remarkable record of leadership and service to America."

The Bobby Jindal Story


 
McCain 2008 Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker said, "Our convention will showcase a cross-section of leaders who will highlight John McCain's long commitment to putting our country first -- before self-interest or politics."
 
"The speakers will address John McCain's unmatched record of service and sacrifice for America, and his vision for moving our nation forward to keep us safe and get our economy back on track," she said.
 
Hzelbaker said their remarks would echo the themes that have been selected for each of the Convention's four days—Service, Reform, Prosperity and Peace. Jindal will speak on the theme of Prosperity.

Interview with Bobby Jindal


 
Kicking off the convention on Monday, September 1, will be former Democratic vice presidential nominee and now Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, who has become one of McCain's strongest supporters, followed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vice President Richard Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush and President George W Bush.
 
Two others who challenged McCain for the nomination  -- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas will also be speaking, with Brownback speaking on the final day before McCain takes to the podium and accepts the Party's nomination.

 Bobby Jindal is India Abroad Person of the Year


 
Republican party sources told rediff.com that while it is unlikely that Jindal will be McCain's vice presidential nominee, he nonetheless remains "a strong voice on behalf of Senator McCain." The sources added that Jindal's appearances in recent weeks on some of the popular Sunday television talk shows were a clear indication of this "to appeal to the conservative wing of the party."
 
For the past month, Jindal, whose name has been floated as a possible vice presidential candidate by the likes of popular talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, conservative columnist Willian Kristol and erstwhile House Speaker New Gingrich, has been featured on these Sunday TV shows. He has constantly refuted rumours that he has been vetted for the vice presidency by McCain, but has made some strong arguments on behalf of McCain and taken some hefty swipes at presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Bobby Jindal for Vice-President?


 
Appearing on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' when asked if he would like to be vice president, Jindal reiterated his oft-repeated spiel that 'No, I've got the job that I want.

"I'm voting for Senator McCain. I'll certainly do what I can to help him get elected. I'll do it as governor of Louisiana," he asserted.
 
When host David Gregory asked, "So if he asked you to be on his ticket, you would say no? Jindal replied, "He's not going to ask. We've already said in private and public ….we've got the job that we want."
 
"I don't want to be vice president, I'm not going to be the nominee," he said, adding, when Gregory asked if he was ruling himself out, "I'm going to be governor, hopefully, for two terms."

McCain's invitation to Jindal 'strategic'


 
When the host persisted and said, "Little bit of window still open there," Jindal protested, "No, no. No window's open. Let me make that clear, no window's open."
 
Jindal continued to praise McCain'as strong response to Russia's invasion of Georgia.

"Senator McCain has again shown that he has the judgment, the experience we need during these uncertain times. Just as he was right to call for the surge in Iraq before it was popular, he had called -- even last year he had said we should look at excluding Russia from the G-8."
 
"He said when he looked in (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin's eyes, he saw KGB very early on," he added.

Bobby Jindal rules out bid for vice presidency


 
In his appearance on ABC's 'This Week', Jindal had spoken about McCain's strong response to the Russian invasion, saying, "This is another example that in these uncertain times we need experienced leadership. We need someone like Senator McCain, who will take a stronger view, a more experienced view when it comes to international security and protecting America's interests."
 
On Iraq, he said, "Senator Obama would have a lot more credibility if now he admits that the surge has actually worked. There's nothing about saying that he was wrong about it."

McCain closes in on Obama in race to White House


 
But what has warmed the hearts of the McCain campaign has been Jindal's defense of McCain's pro-life record, which has long been suspect by conservatives, and the campaign sources have said the remarks by a strong anti-abortion right-wing conservative like Jindal, who doesn't condone abortion even in cases of rape and incest, have certainly helped.
 
On 'Meet the Press,' Jindal said, "The bottom line is this: Senator McCain has a pro-life record. He said he will have a pro-life administration."
 
"You know, last night, Senator Obama had a chance in a church in California to talk about abortion. He said he opposes late-term abortions. His voting record says different. He's always voted for those things. I wish he would just say honestly he's pro-choice, he's not a pro-life candidate," Jindal argued. "With Senator McCain, we know he's pro-life."
 
Sources admitted that Jindal being courted by the McCain campaign to speak out on behalf of McCain and being given a prime time speaking slot at the convention are all part of a strategic and deliberate policy.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC