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Romney raises money with Jindal amid VP speculation

BATON ROUGE, LA -– Mitt Romney’s campaign is tamping down speculation that a decision has been reached on a running mate, after a report today that the former Massachusetts Governor had made up his mind.

Eric Ferhnstrom, a top Romney aide, told reporters today “no decision has been made” on vice president. Ferhnstrom told the AP separately a decision could be reached this week.

The remarks occurred during a lunchtime fundraiser here in Baton Rouge, where Romney was joined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a buzzed-about Republican whom some consider to be on Romney’s shortlist.

This morning, the New York Times reported that people close to Romney say a decision had been made.  The report also speculated about how former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty may appeal to Romney.

But today’s fundraiser, at the City Club of Baton Rouge, marked Jindal’s debut at Romney’s side.  In remarks to guests, Jindal called President Obama “incompetent,” and described Obama’s politics as too liberal for the American people.

“This president, President Obama, he cannot run on his record, he can’t run on his political philosophy so he has to attack and distort Governor Romney’s record,” Jindal said, referring to what he described as the Obama campaign’s negative tactics.

Last week, the Romney campaign fielded attacks from the Obama team over questions about when Romney left the helm of the venture capital firm Bain Capital, kickstarting new discussions about venture capitalism, and the financial economy.

“I am thrilled he’s a successful businessman. You don’t want an unsuccessful businessman in the White House,” Jindal said.

About 40 donors attended today’s luncheon, at $50,000 a plate.  Guests ate Louisiana gulf shrimp and beef tenderloin. 

One guest, Andie Bollinger of Thibodaux, LA, later told reporters that Governor Romney told guests privately about his plans for a Romney presidency, though she didn’t elaborate.

“He’s a brilliant man,” Bollinger said of Romney.

Jindal, who supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry during the Republican primary, has recently become a more visible surrogate for Romney’s campaign, deploying sharp attacks on President Obama and defending conservative issues.

This weekend, Jindal addressed the Nebraska GOP convention, where he touted Gov. Romney’s business background and was met with applause when he said the U.S. Supreme Court made an “awful choice” upholding President Obama’s health care law.

Today Romney and Jindal arrived for the fundraiser only minutes apart, and about half an hour early.  Fehrnstrom said the two men met privately and spoke about education -- a focus for Jindal here in Louisiana -- but didn't discuss the vice presidency.