By Brian MacQuarrie Globe Staff
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising Republican star who stumped for Mitt Romney repeatedly on the campaign trail, assailed the failed presidential candidate for his remarks to donors on Wednesday that President Obama was reelected because of “gifts” to minorities, young people, and women.
“I think that’s absolutely wrong,” Jindal said later Wednesday at a news conference in Las Vegas at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. “We have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent.“
Jindal’s reference to 53 percent was a criticism of Romney’s secretly recorded statement at a Florida fund-raiser in May that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government assistance and do not take personal responsibility for their lives.
The Louisiana governor, an Indian-American who is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2016, said that Republicans “need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education.”
He added, “I absolutely reject that notion, that description” of Obama’s winning strategy, which Romney made in a conference call that reporters heard. “I think that’s absolutely wrong.”
The election, Jindal said, showed that “if we’re going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions.”
The criticism from Jindal, who is the incoming president of the GOP governors association, was echoed by Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who was sitting with Jindal on a panel when the Louisiana chief executive made his comments.
The Republican Party is not “just for people who are currently not dependent on the government,” Walker told CNN. “It’s for all Americans.”Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.