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Bobby Jindal featured in NYT story on fantasy football.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal often talks up the benefits of gubernatorial experience.

In a New York Times story out today on politicians and fantasy football leagues, Jindal says it’s another instance where governors are just better.

Here’s what the Times offers on Jindal’s views on fantasy sports leagues:

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana plays in two fantasy football leagues, one with his staff and the other with his son’s baseball team. Asked what he thought of the Capitol Hill fantasy leagues, Mr. Jindal, who has expressed interest in running for president, said, “Governors make better presidents, and that rule also applies to fantasy football commissioners.”

Read the full article and see what members of Congress say about fantasy football here.

Poll: David Vitter is early frontrunner for governor in 2015

Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter leads a new poll out on the Louisiana governor’s race.

But the poll, conducted by the Baton Rouge-based Southern Media and Opinion Research, also finds that Vitter is the most polarizing figure in a hypothetical match-up against fellow Republicans Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.

According to the poll, the governor’s race — nearly a year out — would end up in a runoff between Vitter and Edwards.

“Vitter receives an 80 percent positive job performance from his Republican base,” the SMOR report notes. “Vitter’s 67 percent job approval rating from white voters contributes to his strong poll numbers projecting him as the early favorite to succeed as Louisiana’s next governor.”

When asked to rate the favorability of the four candidates tested, about 52.2 percent of the survey’s respondents had a positive view of Vitter. About 40.4 percent said they find him unfavorable.

Dardenne was rated most favorably at  58.1 percent. Angelle, a member of the Public Service Commission, suffers from a lack of name recognition.

The statewide poll, conducted Dec. 9-11, is based on telephone interviews (landline and cellphone) of 600 likely Louisiana voters. It was funded by private subscribers, according to SMOR.

The margin of error is +/- 4 percent.

The poll surveyed participants on a variety of Louisiana political topics:

About 52.6 percent of respondents said they support Medicaid expansion through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s job approval rating is about 41 percent.

President Barack Obama’s job approval in Louisiana is about 38.9 percent.

According to the poll’s findings, the top issues for the next governor are education, economic development and health care.

As for the state’s budget woes, the poll found that half of respondents say the state should increase corporate income taxes, and 48.5 percent agreed the state should do away with tax exemptions that favor certain businesses. About 46.6 percent said they would be OK with across-the-board cuts to state agencies.

Prayer rally organizers distance event from AFA’s positions

Organizers of The Response prayer rally that will be held next month and feature Gov. Bobby Jindal appear to be distancing the event from the controversial views of the event’s main sponsor, the American Family Association.

AFA’s involvement has sparked a backlash among students, faculty and others because of the group’s controversial positions against same-sex marriage and other gay rights. A prayer guide that was posted on the event’s website sought to tie Hurricane Katrina to an increase in support for gay marriage and abortion.

According to the key organizers of the event, AFA has no involvement in the programming or staging of the prayer rally.

“They have no input,” said Doug Stringer, a Texas-based faith leader who is serving as spokesman of the event.

Speaking to The Advocate on Friday, Stringer, founder of Somebody Cares and Turning Point Ministries International, stressed that the rally is a day of prayer and won’t be political, despite Jindal’s involvment.

“At the end of the day, everyone has the right to say what they want,” Stringer said. “From my perspective, there’s going to be no preachers pontificating and no politicians’ stump speeches.”

“It will not be about preachers or politicians using it as a platform for their own agenda,” he said.

He said he hasn’t yet finalized the list of speakers but he’s looking to mostly “nameless and faceless” people to lead the day’s events.

The American Family Association, which had talked to The Advocate earlier in the week, released a statement from AFA President Tim Wildmon Thursday similarly seeking to highlight prayer as the focus of the event.

“As our nation faces unprecedented crises—culturally, socially, and financially—‘The Response Louisiana’ is a call for worshippers in Louisiana and around the country to come together in unity for prayer and fasting. This event has one purpose and one purpose only:  to approach God in humility and pray for his mercy, grace and guidance for our nation, which has lost its moral foundation and is suffering from a crisis of faith. It’s so encouraging to see Christians from across denominational and cultural backgrounds join in this time of prayer, and we truly believe God will be faithful to His Word. AFA is pleased to announce this event on our Louisiana radio stations in hopes that even more Christians will commit themselves to taking part in this event.”

The Advocate first reported, members of Jindal’s political team were involved in the organization of the prayer rally and the selection of LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center as the site for it.

Jindal is eyeing a run for president in 2016. The same event was held in Texas just before Gov. Rick Perry ran for president. But Stringer denied that the event has a whiff of politics.

He said politicians are a good avenue for bringing attention to the event and he would similarly partner with Democrats if asked.

“It’s not what you think it’s going to be,” Stringer said. “We need to see America turn back to the Lord. This is our response to a need to call to prayer.”

He said he knows some will oppose — and likely protest — the rally, but he believes they will benefit from the prayer that takes place.

“I can respect and honor those who may disagree with me, as long as they show respect and honor to us as well,” he said.

Bobby Jindal weighs in on Sony hack

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says the recent hacking of Sony is an attack on the United States and that President Barack Obama and Congress should “take a stand to protect our liberty here.”

Sony scrapped plans for a Christmas day release of its new movie The Interview amid concerns over North Korean hacker threats.

“Are we really going to let terrorists and thugs, likely the North Korean dictator in this instance, determine what movies we watch?” Jindal said in a statement. “I have no idea if this movie is worth seeing or not and I do not care.  We must not allow terrorists to have this kind of control over our daily lives and impinge upon the freedoms that so many fought to give us.”

It oddly puts him in the same boat as Obama, who said during a press briefing today, that Sony was wrong in pulling the plug on the movie.

Obama said the United States will act on the cyberattack without providing details.

“We will respond, we will respond proportionally, and in a place and time that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at this press conference,” he said.

Here’s Jindal’s full statement:

“The recent Sony hack is not a cyber attack on Hollywood – it is an attack on America. It is an attack on freedom and represents a serious danger to U.S. national security. Are we really going to let terrorists and thugs, likely the North Korean dictator in this instance, determine what movies we watch?  I have no idea if this movie is worth seeing or not and I do not care.  We must not allow terrorists to have this kind of control over our daily lives and impinge upon the freedoms that so many fought to give us.

The President and Congress must take a stand to protect our liberty here.  Freedom of speech is a core principle of democracy – it defines America. We must protect it at all costs.”

Bobby Jindal’s Cuba position puts him on Marco Rubio’s side in rift with Rand Paul

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky are sparring over Cuba.

Rubio and Paul are both potential contenders for the GOP’s nomination for president in 2016. Both were in Louisiana recently to campaign for U.S. Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy’s effort to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

When it comes to the U.S.’s new Cuba policy, their positions drastically differ, and they are specifically calling each other out over those positions.

Paul generally sides with President Barack Obama’s plan to end a 50-year-old embargo and normalize relations with Cuba. Rubio opposes it.

“Like many people who have been opining, (Paul) has no idea what he’s talking about,” Rubio said Thursday on The Kelly File on FoxNews.

Paul fired back via Twitter this morning, saying Rubio “is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat.”

So where does that leave Louisiana’s own potential 2016 hopeful? No one has directly dragged Gov. Bobby Jindal into this fight, but his position on the Cuba announcement is more closely aligned with Rubio’s.

Following the president’s announcement this week, Jindal said “ruthless dictators” like Cuba’s Raul  and Fidel Castro see Obama as an “easy mark.”

“This is just one more sign that shows the president has no strategy for leading on an international stage,” Jindal said in the written statement. “His policy of appeasement toward Cuba and other threats is endangering national security and the American people.”

It continues:

“The U.S. should be a beacon and fearless advocate for freedom and democracy – instead, the President is validating the Castro way of governing and only allowing the brothers to tighten their grip on the island. Congress should do everything it can to stop the President’s plan of appeasement toward Cuba. We must be willing to stand for freedom around the globe. The safety of the American people depends on it.”

Clintons’ travel tab includes thousands charged to Mary Landrieu campaign, Politico reports

Bill and Hillary Clinton each made trips to Louisiana this election season to campaign for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s — ultimately, unsuccessful — re-election bid. The former president was the featured guest at events in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and the former Secretary of State held events in New Orleans and New York City to benefit Landrieu.

Landrieu was just one of several candidates for which the duo hit the campaign trail this election cycle. Politico.com looked into the travel tab across the board and found campaigns and political committees spent more than $1.5 million on private jets to fly in the Clintons during the midterm elections.

That includes $21,801 charged to Landrieu’s campaign one weekend, Politico reports.

Read Politico’s full analysis here.

Bobby Jindal speaking at event for MS Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is speaking at an event in support of Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves in Gulfport, Mississippi, Thursday night.

According to Jindal’s office, he’ll be returning to Baton Rouge after the event.

Reeves, a Republican who previously served as Mississippi’s state treasurer, is in his first term as lieutenant governor and is running for re-election next year.

He recently called for Mississippi to scrap the Common Core education standards — a move that could cost the state $100 million and years of work, according to The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. Jindal, since turning against Common Core himself, has been a frequent critic of the education standards.

Jindal’s appearance at an event supporting Reeves at this point means he’s staking an early position in what could become one of the more interesting races in Mississippi’s 2015 election. Some political observers are speculating that other Republicans — ranging from those far on the tea party side to those more closely aligned with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant — are considering challenging Reeves, who is closely tied to former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. A key Jindal ally, Timmy Teepell, is a former adviser to Barbour at the Republican National Committee.

Black voters made up a slightly bigger share of the Dec. 6 runoff vote than the Nov. 4 primary tally, but the partisan divide holds to give Republican Bill Cassidy an easy win over Democrat Mary Landrieu

Black voters — the most solidly Democratic constituency in the state — made up a slightly bigger share of the turnout for the Dec. 6 runoff election than they did in the Nov. 4 open primary, but it wasn’t enough to change the partisan divide in the electorate, dooming Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu to defeat.

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, consolidated Republican support to cruise to a  a 56-44  win in the head-to-head Dec. 6 match-up.

Overall, the percentage of all registered voters participating in the Dec. 6 election declined to 43.6 percent, down from 51.5 percent Nov. 4, the Louisiana secretary of state reports.

Louisiana records registration by race, and the voting results show that turnout among white voters was 45.5 percent on Dec. 6, compared to 54.8 percent on Nov. 4, and among black voters was 42.2 percent on Dec. 6, compared to 47 percent in the primary. Black voters made up 30.3 percent off the Dec. 6 electorate, slightly more than their 28.8 percent share of all Nov. 4 voters. Black voters account for 31.4 percent of all registered voters in the state.

The registration and turnout statistics don’t reveal whom a given voter or group of voters voted for. Exit polling, in which voters are asked whom they favored as they leave the polls, supply information for that. There was no widespread exit polling conducted in December, but exit surveys in the November primary indicated Landrieu received about 94 percent of the black vote, and just 18 percent of the white vote — a losing combination.

Cassidy’s runoff percentage ballooned from 41 percent on Nov. 4. He essentially matched the total Republican share of the vote in the Senate race Nov. 4, with retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, of Madisonville, taking 14 percent then, and minor candidate Thomas Clements drawing 1 percent. Four other candidates — three Democrats and a Libertarian — finished further up the track. Landrieu’s percentage edged up by two points to 44 on Dec. 6,  close to the combined Democratic share of the primary vote.

Karen Carter Peterson weighs in on Bobby Jindal’s prayer rally

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, a New Orleans Democrat who chairs the state Democratic Party, has released a statement on plans for a prayer rally featuring Gov. Bobby Jindal at LSU next month.

The Advocate has reported on the planning of the event, dubbed “The Response,” and the backlash it has sparked due to the American Family Association’s involvement.

In her statement, Peterson refers to the event as a “political rally.”

“The use of our flagship university as a backdrop for this thinly-veiled political gathering is a mistake,” she said. “An event so clearly designed to salvage the governor’s dim presidential prospects with out-of-state ideologues should not take place at our flagship publicly-funded institution.”

Jindal, his administration and The Response organizers have defended the event as apolitical and strictly religious.

“Let’s be clear about what this is. This is an opportunity for people across denominational lines to come together to pray,” Jindal said during a New Orleans appearance on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “It’s not a political event, it’s a religious event.”

David Lane, a Christian conservative political activist who is helping organize the prayer rally, told The Advocate earlier this week that he isn’t bothered by plans for a protest of the event.

“If they feel like that’s what they need to do, then they’re going to protest fasting and prayer,” he said. “I don’t know why anyone would want to protest that, but that’s their right.

Louisiana’s incoming 5th, 6th District U.S. Reps. start naming top aides

Louisiana’s newly-elected Republican congressmen are lining up their respective staffs.

Garret Graves, who was elected earlier this month to represent the Baton Rouge-centered 6th District, has named Louisiana Department of Economic Development federal programs director Paul Sawyer as his chief of staff, according to a news release. Sawyer is leaving his post at LED for the job with Graves. He previously served as chief of staff for former 6th District Congressman Richard Baker.

Kevin Roig, who managed Graves’ campaign, will serve as deputy chief of staff and communications director.

In Louisiana’s 5th District, The News Star has reported that NOLA.com legislative reporter Cole Avery, who started at the publication in August after previously working at The News Star, has been named communications director for Congressman-elect Ralph Abraham. Avery covered the 5th District race for NOLA.com this election cycle and confirmed the new job via Twitter.