BATON ROUGE, La. — As Gov. Bobby Jindal began a weeklong, multistate tour to support his new book “Leadership and Crisis,” the Republican reiterated Monday that he doesn’t intend to run for president in 2012.
The book has renewed speculation of Jindal’s national political ambitions, as Republicans look for leaders to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama.
The governor stays mum on his future plans in the writings. But in an interview with The Associated Press, Jindal said his sights are firmly set on a re-election campaign in Louisiana, not the White House.
“I’m not being coy at all. I’m not running for president in 2012. Period. No ifs, ands or buts, no caveats. I am running for re-election in 2011, next year,” he said. “We have made great progress in Louisiana, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
He also shot down one of the latest political rumors around the Louisiana Capitol, that he might be leaving within the coming months to lead the Republican National Committee rather than deal with the state’s budget troubles and an expected testy legislative session. Jindal said he’s not going to work for the RNC.
Jindal said he wrote the book because he has policy ideas he wants to share with the nation and concerns about the future of the country.
“I think the country’s at an inflection point. I’m very concerned about the country we leave behind for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “I think this was an important time to speak out about the direction our country is taking and the alternative and the ability to turn this around.”
Jindal, who’s been in the governor’s office since 2008, also said he thinks Louisiana’s experiences with energy policy, education changes and disaster response — coping with four powerful hurricanes and a disastrous oil spill in the last five years — can be of help to the rest of the nation.
The book is part autobiography and part conservative policy points. It charts the rise of the 39-year-old son of Indian immigrants to the governor’s office, while also criticizing the Obama administration, national Democrats and the “intellectual elite.”
Throughout the pages, Jindal describes his vision for the GOP on policies including health care, immigration and terrorism. He criticizes what he calls a sense of entitlement held by many members of Congress, and he writes that Republicans have often become “Democrats Lite,” supporting large spending proposals because of fear they’ll be seen as uncaring for the needy.
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