Monday, August 6, 2012

Romney's potential running mate: Bobby Jindal

By selecting Bobby Jindal as his vice presidential running mate, Mitt Romney would be reaching for history, much as John McCain did four years ago. The Louisiana governor — born Piyush Jindal — would be the first Indian American ever to run for the White House on a major party ticket.

But Jindal could not be more different from Sarah Palin, McCain’s pick, who was the first Republican woman nominated for the vice presidency.

While Palin was the antithesis of a policy wonk, Jindal, 41, is a former Rhodes scholar who made his name deep-diving into substantive issues like healthcare. At 24, he was appointed head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, beginning a pattern of firsts and youngests that have marked Jindal’s nearly two decades in public life.

Despite that contrast, however, Jindal could serve Romney in the same manner that Palin boosted McCain in 2008. He is likely to appeal to the social conservative base of the GOP more than the candidate topping the ticket. A convert to Roman Catholicism, Jindal steadfastly opposes same-sex marriage and legal abortion — without exception — supports prayer in the public schools and earns high marks from the National Rifle Assn.

His placement on the ticket could also serve as a one-man rejoinder to the image of the GOP as a province of the rich, white and privileged. Jindal is none of those things.


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