Jindal: Ryan ‘has the courage of his convictions’
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had been considered a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, praised the Republican presidential candidate's choice Saturday of Paul Ryan for the GOP ticket.
"Paul is a good friend and one of the smartest guys I served with in Congress. He has the courage of his convictions, which is what our nation needs," Jindal, a former U.S. House member, said in a statement about the Wisconsin congressman.
For several months, Jindal appeared to be auditioning for the VP slot. He made appearances on national TV news shows and in states around the country, attacking President Barack Obama for what he called failed policies and touting Romney's ability to improve the nation's economy.
This week, he was on a Romney bus tour around Colorado. But by Saturday, when Ryan was announced, Jindal was back in Baton Rouge.
A spokesman for the Louisiana governor, Kyle Plotkin, wouldn't answer questions about whether Jindal was disappointed he wasn't chosen. But he did issue a statement from Jindal saying he's not interested in a cabinet post with a possible Romney administration.
"No, I would not consider a cabinet post. I consider being the governor of Louisiana to be more important and the best job there is," Jindal said.
"I have been traveling all over the country and been campaigning for and with Gov. Romney because it is crucial that he wins, and that we make Barack Obama a one-term president. As for me — why would a guy with the best job in the world be looking for another one?"
Although he wasn't chosen as a running mate, Jindal's time and prominence on the campaign trail for Romney can only benefit the Louisiana governor in his national political ambitions, said Pearson Cross, a political scientist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Jindal, 41, is young enough that even if he has to wait eight years, Cross said, he still has time to seek the White House. If Romney doesn't win, Cross said Jindal moves to the front of the pack as a potential presidential contender in 2016.
"This is one of those situations that doesn't have a downside for him, frankly," Cross said. "This would give him some time to make solid connections around Washington, D.C. This would give him some time to solidify his fundraising operation."
Jindal almost seemed prescient about the possibility of Romney tapping Ryan for his running mate. In a speech one week earlier to the Red State Gathering in Florida, Jindal suggested the Wisconsin congressman for the job.
"As an example, I think picking somebody like a Paul Ryan would send a very powerful message this administration was serious about tackling Medicare reform, entitlement reform, shrinking the size of government and doing so in a courageous way," Jindal said at the prominent GOP event.
Since June, Jindal has traveled to Colorado, Illinois, Utah, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Florida to support Romney, attending fundraisers, making speeches and shaking hands with voters. He's expected to continue the busy travel schedule for Romney's campaign until the November election.
The chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, Roger Villere, also praised Ryan's selection and said the Romney-Ryan ticket has "what it takes to get America back on track."
"Paul Ryan has a record of being a bold conservative who challenges the status quo," Villere said in a statement.
Earlier in the campaign, Jindal had endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the Republican nomination.