Republican rising star Jindal to give response to Obama

February 12th, 2009 - 10:24 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 12 (IANS) Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Indian-American governor, is set to deliver the Republican response to Barack Obama’s Feb 24 joint address to Congress - the high-profile slot the rival party often gives to one of its rising stars.

“Jindal embodies what I have long said: the Republican Party must not be simply the party of ‘opposition,’ but the party of better solutions,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement Wednesday.

“His stewardship of the state of Louisiana, dedication to reforming government, and commitment to bringing forth new and innovative ideas make him a leader not just within the Republican Party, but in our nation as a whole,” he added.

Jindal, a former congressman and first term governor, was widely believed to be on then-Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s shortlist for vice president, and often served as a campaign surrogate on the Arizona senator’s behalf.

The 37-year-old son of Indian immigrants was also given a prime-time speaking slot at the Republican convention last September, though he ultimately decided not to attend the four-day event as Hurricane Gustav headed for landfall in his state.

An Ivy League grad, Rhodes Scholar, and the first non-white governor of Louisiana, Jindal has long been on the Republicans’ radar screen as a potential future leader and likely presidential candidate.

As the Republican party is launching full-scale efforts to appeal to non-white voters, Jindal has become one of the party’s most high-profile minorities.

Jindal, who became governor of Louisiana two years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state, has particularly drawn praise for spearheading the ongoing recovery efforts.

Though he is often mentioned as a likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential race, Jindal has said his current focus is on winning re-election in 2011.

The White House announced Tuesday Obama will deliver the annual presidential State of the Union address to both houses of Congress Feb 24.

In 2008, Democrats tapped Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius - then considered to be a possible vice presidential candidate - to give the rebuttal to former President George Bush’s final state of the Union Address.

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