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2016 campaign checklist: Jindal

Wednesday - 1/22/2014, 3:00pm  ET

MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A look at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "I don't know what I'm going to be doing in 2016." October 2013.

Book: Yes. But hardcover "Leadership and Crisis" from 2010 is dated. No set plans for another book, inner circle says. But his moves toward managed-care privatization in health care and school vouchers in education could anchor another vanity-policy tome.

Iowa: Yes, summer 2013 visit, then flew with Iowa governor to governors' association meeting in Milwaukee. In Iowa seven times in 2012.

New Hampshire: Yes, headlined state GOP fundraiser in May, two visits in 2012.

South Carolina: Yes, attended August fundraiser for Gov. Nikki Haley, then back in September for Republican Governors Association fundraising.

Foreign travel: Rarely, but that may be changing. January 2014 trade and investment mission to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, first time overseas as governor. Traveled to Canada in August 2013 to speak to Oilmen's Business Forum Luncheon about his support of the Keystone XL Pipeline. A few trips while in Congress, 2004-2008.

Meet the money: Yes, met leading GOP donors in New York City. Among prospective candidates who visited Iowa GOP donor Bruce Rastetter's farm in August 2013 for annual fundraiser for the governor.

Networking: Campaigned for GOP in 2013 Virginia governor's race. Speeches to Republican and conservative groups in Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York, Alabama and Indiana in the fall about Justice Department lawsuit against Louisiana's school voucher program. December speech in Philadelphia about energy policy. Americans for Prosperity conference in Orlando in August. Spoke at 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference and opened Virginia Republican convention in May. Aspen Institute and GOP governors' meeting in the summer. In January 2013, headlined winter meeting of Republican National Committee in Charlotte, N.C., where he suggested Republicans "stop being the stupid party." Has close ties with social conservatives.

Hog the TV: No, only occasional Sunday news show appearances since 2012 election.

Do something: Set an example for effective disaster response in several hurricanes and the Gulf oil spill (but unlike New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, trashed the Obama administration). Privatized a major chunk of Louisiana's Medicaid program and most of the university-run public hospital system. Signed statewide voucher program that covers private school tuition for certain students. Signed abortion restrictions, a science education law that some academics say amounts to back-door promotion of creationism and fought liberalization of state's adoption law, keeping it impossible for gay couples to adopt jointly.

Take a stand: Stands for "fundamental shifting (of) the size and focus of government" and has record on privatization to show he means it. Happy to carry social conservative banner while demonstrating curious mind on policy issues, at the risk of making him look seriously wonky.

Baggage: Pesky state governance issues. Had to scrap ambitious plan to replace Louisiana's corporate and personal income taxes with higher sales taxes. THAT speech: No doubt critics will be happy to dredge up video of disastrous GOP response to Barack Obama's first presidential address to Congress in 2009, a prime showcase that went awry when Jindal delivered a dud.

Deflection: The first Indian-American governor in the United States helped banish that memory with funny, well-delivered speech to media elite at 2013 Gridiron dinner, which included this self-deprecating reference to his own prospects for a presidential run: "What chance does a skinny guy with a dark complexion have of being elected president?" Low approval ratings in home state. Biggest accomplishments have some holes critics can pounce on: a troublesome audit pointing to lack of accountability and performance standards in voucher schools; the Jindal administration's award of a $200 million Medicaid contract came under investigation by state and federal grand juries.

Shadow campaign: Created Washington-based nonprofit, America Next, in October 2013 to push his policy ideas nationally. For executive director, he tapped Jill Neunaber, who worked on Romney's presidential campaign in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. His media consulting shop is OnMessage, based in Alexandria, Va., where campaign strategist Curt Anderson has had a long relationship with him. Timmy Teepell, a former campaign chief of staff for Jindal, has been made a partner.

Social media: Active on Twitter and on Facebook, where he lists among favorite books, "John Henry Newman: A Biography," about recently canonized British cardinal and sage. Also favors James Bond movies.


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