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Bobby Jindal is Connecticut governor’s favorite target

Dannel Malloy, the Democratic governor of Connecticut, apparently is not a fan of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Now Buzzfeed has chronicled how the incoming head of the Democratic Governors Association has habitually poked fun at Jindal’s presidential ambitions in the past year. Jindal is a former head of the Republican Governors Association and weighing a run for president in 2016.

“He must have been beaten up really bad on the playground. Really bad, I think,” Malloy joked to Buzzfeed about Jindal.

bobby jindal dannel malloy

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (AP photo)

Malloy says his feud with Jindal can largely be traced back to what was supposed to be a bi-partisan news conference at the White House last year. Jindal took the opportunity to slam President Barack Obama. Malloy and Jindal got into a back-and-forth at the mic, drawing national media attention.

Read more from Buzzfeed about how Jindal and Malloy have tangled since, and what Jindal’s advisers say about the feud.

MSNBC gives the rundown on Bobby Jindal’s workout routine

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he tries to work out every day — cardio, then some light weights.

We know this because MSNBC followed the possible presidential wannabee to Equinox gym in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday and talked to Jindal about his workout routine and snapped a photo of Jindal reading while on a stationary bike.

In a piece called “Bobby Jindal, exercise junkie” MSNBC’s reports:

The stationary bike is his cardio equipment of choice, Jindal said, arguing, “It’s better on the knees and it’s easier to read while I’m on the bike.” Indeed, Jindal spent his entire bike ride Wednesday buried in a newspaper. He said he considers the cardio portion of his routine a time where he can catch up on the news or read briefing papers.

Jindal doesn’t have a membership at Equinox, where memberships run well over $150 per month. He said he’s welcomed as a guest whenever he’s in town.

Read the entire 480-word piece on Jindal’s morning workout here, including his reaction to being spotted at the gym.

Bobby Jindal: Next president should want ‘to do something not just be somebody’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal didn’t mince words during an appearance on Fox News’ Fox & Friends Wednesday morning.

The next U.S. president should want “to do something not just be somebody,” Jindal told the hosts, taking a clear swipe at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who announced this week that he’s seeking the 2016 Republican nomination.

Jindal traveled to New York City this week for fundraising for his Believe Again super PAC and stopped by the Fox News studio to talk about his own possible presidential aspirations and the qualities he believes the next president should possess.

“I do tend to think our nominee, and I’ve been saying this for a while, should be a reform-minded, conservative governor, somebody who’s got a proven track record,” Jindal said.

Watch the full clip here.


Bobby Jindal forms ‘finance team-in-waiting’ for 2016 run

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is quietly assembling a finance team-in-waiting that will gear up if/when he decides to run for president in 2016, Politico reports. It includes a couple of familiar faces for those who follow Louisiana politics.

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Gov. Bobby Jindal (Advocate photo)

Longtime Jindal fundraising aide Allee Bautsch Grunewald will serve as campaign finance director, Politico reports based on unnamed sources. She has been part of Jindal’s campaign efforts since he served as a congressman. Her firm also has been working on fundraising efforts for Republican Scott Angelle’s campaign for governor this year.

Janice Knopp, a former National Republican Congressional Committee finance director, also would be on board as a fundraiser.

Politico reports that no final decision has been made to manage the campaign, though key Jindal adviser Timmy Teepell is seen as a front-runner for the job.

Teepell confirmed on Monday that Jindal won’t make a decision whether to seek the Republican nomination for president until after the legislative session ends June 11. Jindal has been traveling the country extensively in recent months, making frequent stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida.

Read the full report from Politico here.

Louisiana Capitol reporters put on 64th Gridiron this weekend

This weekend is when fans (or foes) of Louisiana politics can come together to laugh (or cry) over the state budget, our colorful politicians and even a certain governor’s possible presidential ambitions.

The Capitol Correspondents Association presents its 64th annual Gridiron Show on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28.

Reporters past and present will roast politicians and the state of Louisiana politics through songs and skits.

The event takes place at the Nicholson Post American Legion Hall, 151 S. Wooddale Blvd. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., curtain rises at 7:45 p.m.

Tickets are $25, and there are still some available.

Guests are welcome to bring party food, but there will be a cash bar.

Proceeds from the event help support scholarship programs for journalism students.

For details visit the Gridiron Facebook page, or email gridironshowbr[at]

$1.54 Louisiana cigarette tax proposed

State Rep. Harold Ritchie wants to raise the state cigarette tax to $1.54 per pack – a more than four-fold increase – as Louisiana  struggles to close a looming $1.6 billion state budget hole.

The current tax is 36 cents per pack – the third lowest in the nation. Ritchie, a smoker, has prefiled both a proposed constitutional amendment and a separate statutory law change  to hike the tax to the national average of $1.54.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote of approval by the Legislature, and then submission to the voters for approval. A constitutional amendment would be veto proof by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who opposes tax increases. The statutory change requires a simple majority for passage but would be subject to Jindal’s veto pen.

Ritchie got some  support Tuesday from the Louisiana Budget Project for a big increase in the cigarette tax – in fact a few pennies more than the one the Bogalusa Democrat is pushing.

“If there ever was a time to raise the cigarette tax it is now, when Louisiana desperately needs new revenue and smokers need extra encouragement to quit,” Budget Project director Jan Moller said in a news release accompanying the group’s latest report.

The Budget Project said raising the tax by $1.25 a pack would generate $230 million that could be used “to stave off state budget cuts.”

“More importantly, it would help encourage 46,000 adults to quit smoking and keep 36,700 teenagers from taking up the habit. That would lead to $1.57 billion in long-term health care savings, including more than $500 million for Medicaid.”

The Budget Project  monitors and reports on public policy and how it affects Louisiana’s low- to moderate-income families.

Moller said some “policymakers” may be tempted to pass a much smaller tax “to simply raise revenue.”  But to take that approach would be a “lost opportunity to improve public health,” he said.

“If policymakers want to create long-term health care savings and save lives in addition to helping the state budget, they should support a $1.25 a pack increase.”

Cigarette smoking in Louisiana costs taxpayers almost $700 million per year, the Budget Project reported, the equivalent of $403 for every household.

The Budget Project report also said that smoking adds $523 million per year in Medicaid costs, $88 million in LSU public-private partnership hospital costs and $85 million in costs for state employee and retiree health benefits.

The group noted that private sector businesses also incure higher health insurance costs and lost productivity because of smoking.

Obamacare must go, Bill Cassidy and other Republican U.S. senators say on its 5th birthday

Washington — The Affordable Care Act has not solved the problems of health insurance cost and coverage it was supposed to address, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Monday on the fifth anniversary of the day Democratic President Barack Obama signed the bill into law.

Not only that, the ACA is antithetical to Republican principles, Cassidy said at a news conference with four other Republicans also elected to the Senate in 2014.

“It tends to coerce the American people,” he said. “It is full of penalties, mandates and the occasional bribe, trying to force the American people to submit their liberty to the will of a bureaucrat.”

Many people buying insurance in the individual market have seen their premiums and deductibles skyrocket as a result of the ACA, known as Obamacare, Cassidy said. And there are still 30 million Americans without health insurance, he said.

“It’s time to cut the line, repeal Obamacare and tie on a new fly,” said Sen. Steve Daines, of Montana, reeling out a fishing metaphor.

The senators said they and their Republican colleagues are working on alternatives to the ACA. Obama would be expected to veto such a proposal if it passes the Republican-controlled Congress, and the Republican majority is not large enough to override a veto. But the Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on a challenge to a key section of the ACA, and if the court guts the law, that could change the dynamic, the senators said.

David Vitter predicts 10 or more Republicans will seek 2016 nomination

U.S. Sen. David Vitter said he wasn’t surprised by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement Monday that he’s running for president in 2016. Vitter, a candidate for governor this year, expects 10 or more Republicans will ultimately jump into the race.

“A lot of people are going to be in the race,” Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, told reporters Monday.

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U.S. Sen. David Vitter (Advocate photo)

Vitter said he is friends with Cruz and sees him as a strong conservative.

In a speech at Liberty University on Monday, the Texas senator became the first major contender to step forward as a candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016. Shortly thereafter, an adviser to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has been flirting with a run of his own, told the Associated Press that Jindal won’t make a decision until after the legislative session ends June 11. He had been telling reporters since January that he would make the decision in a “couple of months,” but he has, at times, also just said that his decision would come some time in the “first half” of the year.

Jindal and several other potential 2016 hopefuls met with influential Republican donors in Florida this weekend. Jindal also traveled to Memphis to speak to the Tennessee GOP on Friday.

LSU’s F. King Alexander talks budget cut impact, plans

LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and “five of the most influential” members of the LSU Board of Supervisors recently met with Gov. Bobby Jindal to stress the devastating impact that deep cuts to higher education funding would have on the university.

Alexander, who has emerged as one of the key voices in the fight against the potential state budget cuts, spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday. He gave several examples of what the worst-case scenario, based on Jindal’s budget recommendation, would mean.

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LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander addresses the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, March 23. (Advocate photo)

“This budget reduction is so large we’d have to furlough everybody for the entire year,” Alexander said. “We want people to know what this may feel like at the end of the day.”

He said that he and the LSU Board members had asked the governor to call a special session to give schools more certainty as they prepare for the coming school year. Ultimately, there is no plan for a special session, though, because there’s no exact plan with how to navigate the state’s $1.6 billion funding shortfall.

The LSU board is appointed by Jindal (except for one student member).

“We’ve heard all kinds of plans,” Alexander said.

Alexander will speak to the Rotary Club on Wednesday. Read more about Alexander’s role in advocating against deep cuts to higher education funding here.

David Vitter to speak at Southern University

Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who is running for governor, is scheduled to speak April 1 at Southern University.

He was invited by the Southern College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and will speak in the atrium of Higgins Hall on the Baton Rouge campus Dean William Arp said in a press release. Vitter will speak at 11 a.m.

Arp said the university is not using its fund to pay for Vitter’s visit.