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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Bobby Jindal offers GOP candidates advice on 2012

By Chris Cillizza

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. AP Photo

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal won't run for president in 2012 but he's got plenty of advice for the men and women who will.

"Be for a coherent set of ideas and policies that put the country on the path to long term economic growth," said Jindal in a Monday sitdown with the Fix. "It is not going to be enough to run a campaign saying President Obama is not doing a good job."

Jindal added that with Republicans in control of the House now and with a realistic shot of winning the Senate majority in 2012, it's imperative that the party's presidential nominee make clear on the campaign trail what he or she would do in office.

"If Republicans do win the White House in 2012, if they are not specific they are not going to have the mandate to get things passed," he said.

Jindal insisted that the party's 2012 presidential nomination was absolutely worth having and argued that President Obama had done himself considerable damage by not thinking bigger on policy matters.

"He has hurt himself by playing it politically safe," said Jindal, adding that he was amazed at how "modest" Obama was in his budget proposal -- refusing to go after major entitlement programs or work to slash the country's debt.

(This "safe" line may be an emerging Republican attack against the President. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell called President Obama's budget "timid" at a reporter roundtable on Monday.)

"For a President who has been so bold, ambitious and purporting to be transformational, here was an opportunity to step up to the plate," said Jindal of Obama's budget, adding that the President, instead, made the "politically expedient move".

Still, Jindal, like many Republican leaders of late, admitted that Obama is far from easy to beat, noting that the incumbent is still "charismatic, smart and articulate" and will have a "ton of money" and no serious primary opponent.

He noted, too, that Republicans still have much to prove to voters and the country in spite of their sweeping victories last fall. "The party's on probation," he said. "Voters are willing to give you a chance. If you don't follow through it's a pretty short probationary period."

Jindal offered little in the way of handicapping of individual candidates in -- or soon to be in -- the 2012 presidential contest, saying only that it was "extremely common" that he talked with governors and former governors about policy matters and "things we have done in Louisiana". (The vast majority of potential GOP presidential candidates are, of course, sitting or former governors.)

Jindal did note that a governor or a "business executive" would be his preferred nominee in 2012; "I'd like to see someone who has experience balancing the budget, producing against measurable outcomes and making tough decisions," he said.

Jindal was dismissive of talk that he could wind up on the 2012 national ticket as vice president, saying that it is "obnoxious to speculate" on the prospect, adding: "I want to be the governor of Louisiana."

By Chris Cillizza  | March 1, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012, Republican Party  
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