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A scary pledge

Jindal: I'll do for America what I've done for Louisiana



  At the Oct. 28 GOP presidential debate in Boulder, Colorado, Gov. Bobby Jindal was once again relegated to the early "undercard" debate due to his low poll numbers, where he faced off with three other marginal candidates: former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and current South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. The debate, which aired on the cable network CNBC, focused on finance, and moderator John Harwood came out swinging at Jindal's fiscal policies.

  "When you came into office with a budget surplus in the state of Louisiana," Harwood began. "Now, years later, the state legislature faces a $1.6 billion budget gap, and a Republican state treasurer [John Kennedy] called one of your approaches to that problem 'nonsense on a stick' ... Are you going to do for the federal budget what you did for the Louisiana budget?"

  "Absolutely, John," Jindal replied, adding, "We've cut our budget 26 percent."

  "Governor," Harwood said, "if you cut spending and cut government so much, why does your legislature have such a big deficit?"

  "John, our budget is balanced. We balanced our budget every year for eight years," Jindal told him — omitting the fact that Louisiana is legally required to have a balanced budget. "Yeah, we had to cut spending. You know what? We privatized or closed nine of our 10 charity hospitals. We did statewide school choice."

  The debate wasn't all about finance. Moderators wasted time by asking which three smartphone apps the candidates used most, and — for some reason — if the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. Jindal replied he still uses a BlackBerry ("I may be the last person in this audience without an iPhone") and endorsed the idea of a Super Bowl holiday because of his belief that the New Orleans Saints would be winning another one. "Drew Brees and his wife, great role models, great Christians," Jindal said. "So, yes, it should be a holiday."

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