Washington Times backs Bobby Jindal as McCain’s deputy

May 24th, 2008 - 9:22 pm ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 24 (IANS) As presumptive Republican nominee John McCain prepared to audition three potential running mates, a conservative US daily Saturday said Bobby Jindal, the first Indian-American US governor, was the best man for the job. “There are many things John McCain needs in a vice presidential candidate,” the Washington Times said. “The most obvious is a running mate who must be prepared to lead should the president be unable to. Other characteristics? Conservative. Youthful. Diverse.

“There is one name among those McCain is interviewing this weekend that fits the bill: Bobby Jindal,” it said in an editorial titled “Jindal for vice president?”

“The newly elected Louisiana governor is an exciting breath of fresh air to the national ranks of the Republican Party. At age 36, Jindal is our youngest governor and the first person of colour to serve as Louisiana governor since Reconstruction,” the daily said.

The Washington Times’ virtual endorsement of Jindal follows a report in the New York Times saying state Republican leaders across the US have given a tentative nod to Jindal, Florida governor Charlie Crist and former rival presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the trio he is meeting over the weekend at his at his Arizona ranch.

The New York Times cited party leaders as saying Jindal, Crist, and Romney shared several qualities that many Republican officials hoped for in a No.2 on the ticket. All are youthful and Washington outsiders, current or former state governors who would offer a balance to the age and 22-year Senate tenure of the 71-year-old McCain.

Many Republican party officials said they could support the three, but they also cited other possibilities, including Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, according to the daily.

But the Washington Times did not discuss the relative merits of others as it noted in its editorial: “A first-generation American (his parents are Indian immigrants), Jindal successfully won over Louisiana on a platform of change and ethics reform in the midst of Louisiana’s notorious reputation of corruption.

“Among his first acts as governor, Jindal issued an executive order on Transparency and Ethical Standards, and in less than three months he was able to pass a sweeping comprehensive ethics reform package in a special session.

“Jindal calls it ‘the first bold step toward a new Louisiana,’” the Times noted calling it, “Impressive. And among the many reasons that make this young conservative an attractive (and necessary) addition to the McCain ticket.”

Listing a litany of other Jindal achievements, the Times said: “His goals to reign in government spending mimic those of McCain, and Jindal supported making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Jindal also favours tough immigration reform - having voted for building a fence along the Mexican border (a position that helps to solidify McCain’s flip-flop on the issue).”

To critics’ suggestion that Jindal is too young, the Times asked: “We query, too young for what? As Jindal meets the constitution’s age requirement in addition to boasting an impressive, experienced and accomplished record as a public servant at the state and federal levels (since 1995.)”

In fact, Jindal has more executive and legislative experience than both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama combined, it said. “The question is whether he has the ability to step in as commander-in-chief at a moment’s notice. We have no doubt that he could.”

The daily noted that Jindal recently spoke with Jay Leno of the vice presidential consideration: “It’s flattering, but I like the job I’ve got now … [I]‘ve got the job I want.”

“Maybe so, but we hope McCain will ask and that Jindal will accept. The great people of Louisiana will understand,” the Washington Times concluded.

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