But political observers who’ve watched Jindal up close for years say it’s become increasingly fuzzy where his governing ends and his presidential ambitions begin — whether the 41-year-old policy wonk’s plans are aimed at Louisiana’s problems or future GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
“You don’t get any argument from anybody down here that Jindal’s running for president – it’s just an accepted fact, like the sun rising in the East,” said Bob Mann, a former aide to Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Sen. John Breaux who’s now a professor at Louisiana State University. “There’s an overriding sense among insiders here … that most of the higher-profile initiatives that he’s embarking on here are all with the national audience in mind.”
Jindal’s bold policy proposals in Louisiana come at the same time he’s raising his profile nationally, both through his new post as head of the Republican Governors Association and his frequent commentary on the future of the Republican party. He turned heads last month when he warned the GOP needs to “stop being the stupid party.”