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The Republican Hero’s Downfall: Where did Bobby Jindal go so wrong? March 9, 2009

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was praised by the Republican Party as the next Barack Obama. At 29 he was appointed assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, was elected to the U.S. House at 33, and governor at 36.  When he was selected to respond to Obama’s first address to Congress, then, Jindal appeared to have the world in the palm of his hands. But the address did not go as anyone had planned. In fact, it went so poorly that he was immediately compared to goofy Kenneth the page from NBC’s “30 Rock.” Members of his own party called him insane, childish, and a disaster. Having to defend his appearance, Jindal is now admitting that his delivery was atrocious, and is asking for people to focus on his ideas instead.

In order to determine where Bobby Jindal went so wrong, the following videos have been posted below. The first is an introduction to the Governor, as seen in a recent profile appearing on “60 Minutes.” The second is his speech responding to Obama. The third clip is a sample of some of the reviews of his national debut.

Discussion Questions:

1.  What aspect of Jindal’s speech do you think caused him the most trouble?  Or, in other words, which aspect was the most criticized?

2.  Were Republicans right to turn their back on Jindal?  What did they have to lose by embracing him, even after his remarks?

3.  Can Jindal be saved?  If you were in charge of “fixing” him, what might you do to repair his image?

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