Break out the kilts and strike up the Irish band: Gov. Bobby Jindal is headed to the holy grail of the presidential race.
Before announcing his White House run in 2012, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich withstood jokes about his many marriages at the PLUS Company’s annual Wild Irish breakfast in Nashua, N.H. Now it is Jindal’s turn to be roasted while dining on a green concoction and listening to bagpipes in a state that reels in White House hopefuls with its early primary.
“We try to pick prominent national figures. It really is a good-spirited event,” said Cynthia Andreola, marketing and communications director for the PLUS Company, on Thursday.
The governor will be in New Hampshire on March 14 to attend the breakfast and deliver a speech at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. Just days before his New Hampshire trip, Jindal will welcome legislators back to the State Capitol in Baton Rouge for this year’s regular session.
The coming weeks are busy ones for Jindal. His calendar includes:
- An Illinois Republican Party fundraiser in Chicago on Feb. 25. Tickets start at $150.
- The Conservative Political Action Conference scheduled March 6-8 in Washington, D.C.
- The opening of the 2014 legislative session in Baton Rouge on March 10.
- Breakfast and the leadership conference in New Hampshire on March 14.
- The 2014 Republican Leadership Conference scheduled May 29-31 in New Orleans.
New Hampshire attracts possible presidential candidates because it hosts the first of the national primaries. The Iowa caucuses also are a draw because of their earlier start in the political calendar.
Jindal has said he is uncertain what he will be doing in 2016.
However, he launched a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group last fall to generate solutions on national problems. Jindal’s America Next is run by a former campaign aide to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
For the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference, Jindal is the keynote speaker.
Other confirmed speakers include Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y.; and former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton. Bolton was Romney’s foreign policy adviser for the 2012 presidential campaign.
The PLUS Company’s breakfast will be a few days ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. But pots of gold will be on the tables. Irish music will be played during coffee service. Something green will be on the breakfast buffet.
The company is a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities. The breakfast itself raises money for that cause. Tickets are $85. The breakfast is a roast with jabs thrown.
Andreola said volunteers draw up a short list of speakers. The chosen honorees generally are in the news or have a presidential ring to them.
“We were very, very pleased to hear him accept,” she said of Jindal’s attendance.
In his own state, Jindal has struggled to please the disabled community.
He vetoed funding last year that would have shortened the waiting list for families awaiting the state’s assistance with in-home services.
This year, Jindal is proposing additional dollars in the state spending plan so about 2,500 more people can get those services.
Andreola said her organization was unaware of Jindal’s difficulties at home in Louisiana. She said she hopes the breakfast inspires him.