Jindal slams Obama, but says America will overcome (Lead)

February 25th, 2009 - 11:06 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 25 (IANS) Louisiana’s Indian American governor Bobby Jindal, who may challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, has expressed doubts that the new Democratic president can rescue Americans from the economic storms.

Tapped by the Republican party to deliver its response to Obama’s first congressional address Tuesday night, Jindal criticised the president’s massive stimulus package but emphasised that the US economy can recover.

“To solve our current problems, Washington must lead,” Jindal said. “But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people, because we believe that Americans can do anything.”

Jindal has been a vocal critic of the $787 stimulus package, highlighting what he says is waste at a White House meeting with governors Monday.

Seen as a possible contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Jindal has announced plans to reject $100 million of stimulus funding for his state, saying it would require Louisiana to change its unemployment laws. Several other governors have expressed similar concerns.

“Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy,” Jindal said. “What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt.”

“Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It’s irresponsible,” he added.

However, Republicans are ready to work with the new president, Jindal said.

“So where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners,” he said. “And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.”

Jindal, who made history in 2007 when he was elected America’s first Indian-American governor at the age of 36 and became the youngest governor in office, also touched on his Indian background.

“As a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad,” Jindal said. “Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. And as we walked through the aisles, he would tell me: ‘Bobby, Americans can do anything.’ I still believe that to this day.”

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