Jindal on whether he wants Obama to fail: It depends

The Louisiana governor, headlining a GOP fundraiser, gets in a few shots at the president.

Published March 25, 2009 6:00PM (EDT)

Wednesday night, for the second time in recent memory, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had to go up against prime-time coverage of President Obama. Don't worry for Jindal, though -- by all indications, he did much better than he had in his previous attempt.

Jindal wasn't really counter-programming Obama this time around; he was just headlining a big fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee that happeend to have been scheduled for a night when Obama decided to hold a press conference. But the coincidence naturally led to talk of the governor's response to the president's address to Congress. Jindal himself acknowledged this, and his previous performance, joking, "They're not allowed to show my speech at Gitmo anymore. They've banned that."

The governor also brought up, unbidden, a question that's been addressed to many Republicans after Rush Limbaugh answered it in the affirmative: Does he want the president to fail? Jindal's response to the question -- which he termed -- "the latest 'gotcha' game" -- was a qualified sort of "maybe."

"Make no mistake: Anything other than an immediate and compliant, 'Why no sir, I don't want the president to fail,' is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience or political obstructionism," Jindal said. "My answer to the question is very simple: 'Do you want the president to fail?' It depends on what he is trying to do."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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