CBS’s Smith Asks Gov. Jindal About McCain’s ‘Verbal Gaffes’

Harry Smith and Bobby Jindal, CBS In a interview with Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith asked: "...you have been an advocate for Senator McCain. He's committed a number of verbal gaffes over the last couple of weeks and the last couple of months. What does that tell you? Are they just mis-speaking -- is he just mis-speaking, or is it -- read something more?"

Smith asked no such question about Barack Obama being wrong about the success of the troop surge, but Jindal pointed out that fact in his reply:

Well look, there's no doubt that Senator Obama's an extremely gifted speaker. But when you look on taking the right positions. For example, I thought it was an excellent interview with Katie and Senator Obama, I think he had a great chance to say, that Senator Obama had a great chance to say he was just wrong on the surge. Senator McCain was right, even before the administration had agreed to this. Senator McCain rightfully saw that the surge would help to produce the kinds of security gains that Katie so rightfully described that are allowing us now to begin to withdraw troops, maybe even more aggressively than was thought possible a few months ago. That will allow us to redeploy troops to Afghanistan. So, to me, certainly, I want to say that Senator Obama is a great speaker, but I think on getting these core positions right, I think Senator McCain was right about the surge.

The rest of the brief interview consisted entirely of Smith pressing Jindal on rumors of the Louisiana governor being a possible vice presidential running mate for McCain:

...rumors are swirling that Senator John McCain is about to choose his running mate for vice president. One of those people on the short list is Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana...Yeah, well I know John McCain is heading your way. There's not much reason for him to campaign in Louisiana, he has about a 20-point lead in the polls. If he's coming to visit is he coming to ask you to be his running mate?...Well, let me ask you this, let me ask you this though, if he offered you the job, would you turn it down?...Okay. Governor, thanks so much and if Senator McCain offers you the job, we'll roll this tape back...

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:11AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Back here in the United States, rumors are swirling that Senator John McCain is about to choose his running mate for vice president. One of those people on the short list is Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana. He joins us from Baton Rouge. Good morning, Governor.

BOBBY JINDAL: Good morning, Harry. Thank you for having me on the air this morning.

SMITH: Yeah, well I know John McCain is heading your way. There's not much reason for him to campaign in Louisiana, he has about a 20-point lead in the polls. If he's coming to visit is he coming to ask you to be his running mate?

JINDAL: Well, a couple of things. One, we haven't confirmed -- we haven't heard it confirmed yet that he is coming. We welcome him. The Speaker was here this past weekend. We welcome all of our national leaders to come see Louisiana's ongoing reconstruction efforts. We hope Senator Obama will come as well. But secondly, look, I've got the job that I want. I'm proud. I'm happy to be governor of Louisiana. I've said privately and publicly that I'm going to help support Senator McCain, but I think I can best do that as governor of Louisiana. We've got a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild our state and I want to be a part of doing that.

SMITH: Well, let me ask you this, let me ask you this though, if he offered you the job, would you turn it down?

JINDAL: He's not going to offer it to me. We've made it clear in private and publicly, every conversation that I've got the job that I want, and the way I want to help him get elected is by being governor of Louisiana. I've supported him, I think he'll be a great president. I think his positions on national security, cutting taxes, and on energy production are more in line with the majority view of Louisianans, as well as American voters.

SMITH: Let me ask you this, you have been an advocate for Senator McCain. He's committed a number of verbal gaffes over the last couple of weeks and the last couple of months. What does that tell you? Are they just mis-speaking -- is he just mis-speaking, or is it -- read something more?

JINDAL: Well look, there's no doubt that Senator Obama's an extremely gifted speaker. But when you look on taking the right positions. For example, I thought it was an excellent interview with Katie and Senator Obama, I think he had a great chance to say, that Senator Obama had a great chance to say he was just wrong on the surge. Senator McCain was right, even before the administration had agreed to this. Senator McCain rightfully saw that the surge would help to produce the kinds of security gains that Katie so rightfully described that are allowing us now to begin to withdraw troops, maybe even more aggressively than was thought possible a few months ago. That will allow us to redeploy troops to Afghanistan. So, to me, certainly, I want to say that Senator Obama is a great speaker, but I think on getting these core positions right, I think Senator McCain was right about the surge.

SMITH: Okay. Governor, thanks so much and if Senator McCain offers you the job, we'll roll this tape back and say you know-

JINDAL: Well, thank you, Harry. And I invite you and others to come to Louisiana as well. We're thrilled to host them and others as well.

SMITH: Alright, thanks so much. Take care.

JINDAL: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC