Video: Jindal on possible presidential run

  1. Transcript of: Jindal on possible presidential run

    MR. GREGORY: Before you go, your political future is something that's been speculated about. Here you were in November in Iowa , traveling there to raise some money all the way from Louisiana . And this is how the economists reported some of your recent activities:"Mr. Jindal 's recent fundraising forays to other states -- including Iowa , which every four years holds the crucial first presidential caucus -- have raised some eyebrows at home. His ambition is well known, and most people think he is laying the groundwork for a run at the presidency in 2012 ." Do you want to be president?

    GOV. JINDAL: I want to run for re-election to be governor of Louisiana in 2011 . I told the people of our state we have a once in a lifetime chance to change our state.

    MR. GREGORY: Hm.

    GOV. JINDAL: We just finished the longest presidential election in America 's history. I don't think our country needs another election. I think we need this president to be successful. We need to work with him. We need to, when we disagree with him, stand on principle.

    MR. GREGORY: So if, if you're re-elected in 2011 , will you serve out your term as governor in Louisiana ?

    GOV. JINDAL: It's my -- if the people of Louisiana will have me, I absolutely want to be governor for the next seven years. Now, that's up to the voters of Louisiana . We've got a lot of work to do at home. We've cut taxes, we've grown the economy, we've reformed ethics laws. We still have a lot of work to do.

    MR. GREGORY: So if you win, you will serve out your term.

    GOV. JINDAL: I want the people -- yeah, it's my intent to, to run for re-election. If they elect me to serve as governor, I will...

    MR. GREGORY: You're not ruling out a run for the presidency?

    GOV. JINDAL: What I'm saying is I'm running for re-election. I have no, no plans beyond that.

    MR. GREGORY: So your, your position, essentially, is that you're focused on doing the job that the people of Louisiana have sent you there to do.

    GOV. JINDAL: Absolutely.

    MR. GREGORY: All right. So just to show you, we save our tapes around here. There was another prominent politician who had something similar to say when he was on the program back in 2006 . Watch this.

    (Videotape, January 22, 2006 ):

    PRES. OBAMA: I'm not focused on running for higher office, I'm focused on doing the job that the people of Illinois just sent me to do.

    MR. TIM RUSSERT: So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008 ?

    PRES. OBAMA: I will not.

    MR. GREGORY: We'll be checking this tape closely.

    GOV. JINDAL: Keep it in your archives.

    MR. GREGORY: Governor Jindal , thank you very much.

updated 2/22/2009 10:59:12 PM ET 2009-02-23T03:59:12

With an eye toward the 2012 presidential contest, leading Republicans used this weekend's meeting of the National Governors Association to lay out divergent views of President Obama's stimulus plan — and competing visions of their party's future.

On one side were southern governors including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina. All three are outspoken critics of Obama's $787 billion plan to jolt the economy through investment in education, health care and transportation, and have said they are likely to reject some of the stimulus funding.

Jindal and Sanford are considered likely presidential candidates in 2012, but have demurred when asked about their future endeavors.

On the other side were the coastal moderates, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who have embraced Obama's stimulus plan as an important, if imperfect, means of bringing their states out of the grip of recession. Schwarzenegger, a native of Austria, is precluded by law from running for president, but Crist is thought to be a serious prospect.

In the middle is another likely 2012 contender, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has criticized the stimulus bill but nonetheless plans to accept the money for his state. Pawlenty, whom John McCain nearly chose as his running mate last year, speaks openly of the need for the GOP to modernize and attract more minorities and women while putting a conservative stamp on issues like health care and alternative energy.

Obama hosted the governors at the White House on Sunday night in his administration's first formal dinner. He said all governors, despite party affiliation, need to work with Washington to repair the economy.

Not present at the governor's meeting was Alaska's Sarah Palin, arguably the Republican party's biggest star. Palin, who joined McCain on the GOP ticket last year, is viewed as a top prospect for 2012 — but that doesn't mean other governors are standing by in the meantime.

Sanford, 48, the stimulus bill's most ardent opponent among governors, acknowledged Sunday that there "may not be much of a national appetite right now" for his strict anti-spending philosophy.

'Back to the basics'
In an interview, he said it was all part of his commitment to bedrock conservative values, which he believes are the key to a Republican resurgence.

"There's one school of thought that says the way you grow out of the wilderness is by expanding the tent, appeal to Hispanics, to women, use technology. I think the way you grow the tent is by going back to the basics of what brought you to town in the first place," Sanford said. "For Republicans, it's the larger conservative theme of walking the walk on taxes and spending."

Sanford insists that he wants Obama to succeed as president but won't rule out a run to replace him.

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"We all win if he wins, and we all fail if he fails," Sanford said. "Now that doesn't mean we don't have disagreements on policy. And if the plan he's working on is fundamentally flawed and will hurt people, I've got to speak up."

Jindal, at 37 one of the nation's youngest governors, echoed Sanford's view that the GOP failed by straying from core principles.

Video: Is Jindal’s stance ‘political posturing’? "Our Republican Party got fired with cause these last two election cycles. We became the party that defended spending, corruption that we never should've tolerated, and we stopped offering relevant solutions to the problems that Americans care about," Jindal told NBC's "Meet the Press. "I think now is the time and it's a great opportunity for Republican governors and other leaders to offer conservative-based solutions to the problems."

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Jindal said he plans to run for re-election in 2011 and doesn't believe the country is ready to consider another presidential race just yet. But he, too, refused to rule out a run.

'The Florida way'
Crist, 52, who campaigned with Obama in Florida to pass the stimulus, hinted that Republicans might be making a mistake by defining themselves in opposition to the plan.

"I'm a Florida Republican. And in the Florida way, we work together in a bipartisan fashion to do what's right for the people," Crist said on "Meet the Press." "You know, people run for office in order to try to help their constituents, the people of their state or their district or their country. ... So I'll take ideas from anybody. It really doesn't matter if they're a Republican, a Democrat or an independent."

Video: Crist: Stimulus will help Florida Crist said he is preparing for his state's legislative session in March and not thinking about what 2012 may bring.

Pawlenty, 48, said recent Republican setbacks have offered "an opportunity for a symphony or a chorus of voices" in party leadership.

In an interview, Pawlenty said he had originally been enthusiastic about Obama's proposed stimulus plan but was disillusioned by the end result.

"President Obama ran on the central premise he would end the old partisan politics. The first test of that was really quite a failure," Pawlenty said. "Instead of putting down his foot down with the Congressional leaders and bringing it back to traditional bread and butter stimulus, he let them have this meandering traditional spending bill."

While Pawlenty refused to say whether he'd be a presidential candidate in 2012, he also expressed frustration with the GOP for failing to present itself in a way that is appealing to a broader cross-section of voters.

"Whoever runs needs to bring a fresher voice and face to the party. I'm hopeful the party will recognize the need to present ourselves in a different way," he said.

Pawlenty also seemed to take a shot at Palin and one of her signature campaign themes when describing GOP failure to embrace a range of key issues, like alternative energy.

"'Drill, baby, drill' is a great slogan but it is not in and of itself an energy policy," Pawlenty said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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