Analyst: Romney would pick Jindal for cabinet post
Gov. Bobby Jindal would likely be offered and accept a Cabinet job if Republican Mitt Romney is elected president next month, political analyst Elliott Stonecipher said Monday.
Stonecipher, who has criticized Jindal on government openness and other issues, said a Cabinet job would be the best way for the governor to advance his own national political ambitions.
“I don’t see him turning down a cabinet position,” Stonecipher told the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
Jindal won a second term without a runoff last year.
Jindal was frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for Romney before the selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
In addition, Jindal has traveled nationally to campaign for Romney, which reinforces speculation that the governor’s ambitions are national, not statewide.
Stonecipher said that, just as Jindal was recently tapped to be chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association next year, GOP leaders would likely see to it that he land a spot in a Romney Cabinet.
In that job, he said, Jindal could campaign for himself simply by carrying out his official duties.
Stonecipher said such a move would make even more sense since there is a growing view nationally that he is an “anti-transparency” governor when it comes to health care and other decisions.
He said that issue and others make it less likely that Jindal would go to state voters again in 2014 by trying to oust U. S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., if she seeks a fourth term.
If President Barack Obama wins a second term, Stonecipher said, Jindal would be free to pursue any presidential plans without a Republican in the White House.
Asked if he wanted to comment, Jindal said in a prepared statement issued by his office that he would not consider a cabinet post in a Romney administration. “I consider being the governor of Louisiana to be more important and the best job there is,” according to the statement.
Stonecipher, who lives in Shreveport, called the Obama-Rommey race a dead heat. He said he expects it to remain that way until Nov. 6.
“I wouldn’t make a bet on this race in any circumstances,” he said.
While Obama and other Democrats have a stronger “ground game,” which includes get-out-the-vote efforts, Stonecipher said that can be balanced by more enthusiasm among Romney backers.
He said this year’s race is more like 2004, when polls showed that then President George W. Bush led Democrat John Kerry by 1.5 percentage points on Oct. 14, than 2008, when polls showed that Obama led Republican challenger John McCain by 7.2 percentage points at the same point.
Bush won a second term with 51 percent of the popular vote to 48 percent for Kerry and 1 percent for independent Ralph Nader.
Obama received 53 percent of the popular vote to 46 percent for McCain.
Stonecipher said poll watchers should study the results to see the percentage of Democrats, Republican and independents questioned, which has a major impact on any pre-election snapshot.
“Beware of polls that do not give you that information,” he said.
The political analyst said he expects Romney to carry Louisiana handily.