Gov. Bobby Jindal is certainly loyal to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Jindal endorsed Perry in the GOP presidential race on Sept. 12, less than one month after Perry threw his Stetson into the ring. At the time, Perry was the frontrunner with 37 percent support — as much as Herman Cain, former Gov. Mitt Romney, and Rep. Ron Paul combined.
But what a difference a month makes. The night of Jindal's endorsement, Perry turned in the first of several maladroit debate appearances, and Tea Party types grabbed the smelling salts over the DREAM Act, a 10-year-old law signed by the governor which provides in-state college tuition for Texas residents regardless of whether they're in the country legally. In an Oct. 14 Zogby poll of more than 2,000 voters, Perry's support had collapsed to 7 percent — one point above Newt Gingrich and one point below Paul, down from 41 percent two months before.
Still, it wasn't enough to deter Jindal from playing Sancho Panza to Perry's Don Quixote. Jindal appeared on the Oct. 16 edition of Meet the Press to defend his friend, citing Perry's leadership during Hurricane Gustav and Ike, saying, "He is a leader. We now have a president who's a great speaker. We don't need just a great debater or a great speaker." Later, Jindal again drove home the message that Perry's debating ineptitude is irrelevant: "I think voters are going to look past a couple of debates. I think they're going to look past a couple of polls." — Kevin Allman