Considered one of the front-runners as Mitt Romney's possible running mate, Bobby Jindal may have to put his vice presidential aspirations on hold because of a slip of the tongue. On Friday, the Republican governor of Louisiana misspoke and referred to the president's health-care plan as Obamneycare.
The gaffe occurred while Jindal was on a conference call with a fellow GOP governor, Bob McDonnell of Virginia. Here's the direct quote: There's only one candidate, Governor Romney, who's committed that he will repeal the Obamney -- the Obamacare tax increase. He will repeal Obamacare as soon as he's elected. So to me, the choice going forward is very clear.
McDonnell has also been in the conversation as a possible vice presidential candidate, as noted by Politico, so it is a bit of a shame Jindal's slip happened while the two were on the phone. Voters were unable to see McDonnell as he may have grinned and even danced around the room a bit, knowing his fellow Republican might have just ceded his spot on the ticket.
Jindal could not have chosen a worse time for his miscue. Anyone who has left his or her home over the past few days knows that there is not a more hot-button issue than the health-care plan that was declared more or less constitutional by a 5-4 vote of the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. With both the Democratic and Republican parties blasting each other over the issue, Jindal's gaffe has taken on extra significance.
Obamneycare is a term coined by the ex-governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. As a former candidate for the Republican Party's presidential nomination this year, Pawlenty struck a chord when he originally used the term because of the sensitive area it broached. Romney has spoken out against the individual mandate in U.S. President Barack Obama's health-care plan even though just a few years ago, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney declared that is exactly what his state needed.
The controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act, which the Democrats enacted in March 2010, is expected to be one of the main themes of Romney's campaign. From that standpoint, it is not a leap to suggest Republican Party leaders probably don't want their one of their own reminding voters of the similarity -- real or perceived -- between so-called Obamacare and so-called Romneycare.
Jindal has been one of the GOP's most outspoken critics of the Supreme Court's decision to keep most of Obamacare intact, as reported by Politico. He even vowed to keep the health-care act out of Louisiana.
We are not going to start implementing Obamacare, Jindal said. We have not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars, we are not implementing the exchanges, we don't think it makes sense to implement Obamacare in Louisiana. ... We are committed to working to elect Governor Romney to repeal Obamacare.
Or did he mean to say Obamneycare?