February 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Some GOP govs hope today’s WH visit isn’t their last

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the nation's Republican governors meet Monday evening for an annual gala here in the nation's capital, this year's two gubernatorial elections and next year's 36 contests top their agenda. Not on the front burner, but already in the front of their minds: the next race for the White House.

Sunday night, the Republican governors joined their Democratic counterparts for a black-tie dinner at the White House. They were back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Monday morning to talk with President Barack Obama about the stimulus package. Some of the Republican governors in attendance may be looking for a lengthier White House stay after the next presidential election.

Among those who may harbor national aspirations is Bobby Jindal. Tomorrow night, the Louisiana governor gives the GOP response following President Obama's prime time address to the nation in front of a joint session of Congress. Jindal, who’s up for re-election in 2011, told Meet the Press Sunday he had no plans beyond that. The 37-year-old Jindal, the nation's first elected governor of Indian descent, is considered a boy wonder by some in the Republican Party, and was seen as a possible running mate for John McCain last summer.

Jindal's one of a number of conservative Republican governors who continues to speak out against portions of the $787 billion stimulus package that the President signed into last last week. "I think there could have been a very different stimulus bill written,"said Jindal, speaking to reporters outside the White House after meeting with the president.

South Carolina's Mark Sanford is another Republican governor who may have his eye on the White House whose criticism of the president’s plan has included a comparison of stimulus job creation goals to “Soviet grain quotas.”

"I think it's a real mistake in a variety of different levels," Sanford said Monday.

But a different tone from two other Republican governors who may want to make a bid for the GOP presidential nomination. Discussing the stimulus, Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty says "I don't like the bill but it is now the law." And Florida Gov. Charlie Crist talks in even more bipartisan terms, saying "the stimulus will be a three year roll out, and that's good in my opinion."

Other Republican governors meeting here in Washington who may want to put their hat in the presidential ring include Indiana's Mitch Daniels, Utah's John Huntsman, and Mississippi's Haley Barbour.

“The stimulus bill gave the Republican Party an issue to rally around - the need for fiscal responsibility,” said CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. “Many Republican voters are going to look kindly on the handful of governors who rejected some of the funding in this bill.”

Missing from all the action is a GOP governor who just may be the darling of social conservatives: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate in last year's presidential election, is back home, working with state lawmakers who are in session.

Besides the current crop of governors, keep on eye on Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, two former Republican Governors who made a bid for the GOP nomination in 2008 and may want to take another stab at presidential politics. They'll be in Washington later this week when the annual Conservative Political Action Conference meets, and activists discuss how the Republican Party can take back Congress and win back the White House.

“The race for the GOP nomination began the day after the election,” Preston said. “Every event, including this week’s gathering of Republican governors and the Conservative Political Action Committee conference, should be viewed through a 2012 lens.”

Filed under: 2012
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Justin

    Would you guys stop talking about this pud?

    February 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. Jackie in Dallas

    What Palin is doing is trying to fight the paying of taxes on per diem charges she should never have charged the people of Alaska! I can't imagine even those of her own party would welcome her whining, "poor, poor, pitiful me, the big bad media was out to get me" repeatedly. She's whining her way out of a position in national politics, because anyone in politics with brains knows that the media as a whole is a non-partisan "gotcha" machine...it is their JOB. As for the Republicans who are griping about the stimulus bill...stay home if you aren't happy. Turn down the money, and then watch as the angry crowds gather outside your mansions they put you in.

    February 23, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Jackie in Dallas

    And before anyone can jump on the "non-partisan" comment...I meant that there are enough media that reflect both ends of the political spectrum that everyone gets pretty battered at one time or another.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. CAW in MD

    If what we've seen over the past few weeks is what Bobby Jindal has to offer to the nation, then perhaps he should consider not running. Obama is getting slammed by everybody for not talking enough happy talk about the economy. I submit that the Republican party in general, and the governors who don't want to take part of the stimulus money in particular, are just as much part of the problem. Obama hit the nail on the head today - the "wasteful" part of the bill amounts to less than 5% of the bill, but that's all that we hear about. It's a collective effort to get this country out of this economic situation - it's time the Republicans like Bobby Jindal started pulling their weight.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Had It

    Sanford better hurry and get back there. Friends in SC say he's out next time. Jindal? He'll probably get re-elected.

    February 23, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Angie

    Well if the repubs would stop trying to force President Obama to overlook them and reach across the aisle to the Dems they won't feel so left out. But the only thing they can do is cry and whine. they don't seem to come up with any new ideas.

    February 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. No Republican Governor For Prez

    Haley Barbour will NEVER be elected President ... to much of a Good Ole Boy image also has partisan baggage as head of the RNC.

    Sarah Palin will NEVER be elected President ... too divisive ... too right wing and not smart enough.

    Bob Jindal won't get the nationwide redneck vote and I'm not talking about the pretend, weekend rednecks. He's too dark for their tastes.

    Huckabee had his shot this year and blew it. He'll be out of circulation by the next election and will come across as a right winger.

    Charle Crist won't be "Republican" enough to win the primary.

    Schwartznegger wasn't born in the USA.

    February 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Matthew, Detroit

    I think this is actually a bad sign of future times.

    I believe it is important that the President speak with and work with

    the Nations governors. He especially would benefit from being told

    how it is to govern as the central leader and figure head.

    That said, I hope it is not a sign of continuous Federal funding to the

    states. They need to balance their budgets just like a business.

    MICHIGAN is the worst state for balance a budget. They are collecting fees 3-5 years out and spending ALL the money today. Bankrupting their own system.

    February 23, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Proud American

    I think it will be the last for republicans. Morons.

    February 23, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. MJ

    I hope Jindal and Sanford will try to run for President. If they do we will remember them for not willing to help their state. And another thing was both showed up for the gala at the WH yesterday. What a hock of crap for them.

    February 23, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Nicole

    Jindal can't be much...he came in second to Sarah Palin for McCains running mate. He's got to be another looooooser! Typical Republican.

    February 23, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. Zach

    Mention booze and every GOP will come a runnin!

    February 23, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. Flex

    The Republican's fix for the economy = continue the Iraq war, and build a Wal-Mart every 10 miles, because it would create jobs that pay $6. an hour.

    February 23, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. Mari


    Mark, what I want to know and the Media HAS NOT ASKED THE GOP THIS QUESTION, IS:


    February 23, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. SC

    Palin said media is on the "search and destroy mission" to destroy her. Palin, you have nothing precious the media should covet. All they have to do is doing a few more interviews like what you did with Katie Couric. That should suffice to destroy you. They don't even have to waste their time to search you.

    February 23, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. knock knock RJ

    Would you call Bobby for Tech support?

    February 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Gov Jindal would do good to learn from the number and category of oscar awards won by the "slum dog millionaire" crew. That's if he watches movies.

    February 23, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. payback

    .....Riddle me this Batman. what in the hell has bobby jindal, done for louisiana. LATELY? Has he improved their employement , education, and deficit problems........Also, What state has FOUR-EYES and can't see? And has a governor, who should trade in his suit and tie.....for his robe and hood, he has hanging in his closet........

    February 23, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. carlos

    A none white running for President as a Republican; I don't think the GOP neither it's electorate will have matured that much in 4 yrs. Good luck Bobby, don't cry your ass when they kick you back to Louisiana.

    February 23, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. Lesley

    It is obvious that the Repubs don't give a hoot about the American taxpayers, the economy, or anything else except getting their party back into the WH. Party first is their main concern. They want to go back to the Bush policies of trickle down economics in spite of the fact that that clearly drove our economy into a spiral, starting with Reagan. They are hung up on ideology and can't see reality. I hope that they lose more ground in the 2010 races. I hope that the American people wake up and see the Repubs, especially these posturing governors, for what they really are. Soviet grain quotos? Where were these governors during the Bush years when the Republican House spent this country out of control?

    February 23, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Joe Blow

    There's nothing wrong with a little hope. Mark Sanford can forget about it. He isn't even well liked by his own party in his home state. Can you believe this pretentious prick called and requested the local military base redirect the air traffic of military jets the low country of South Carolina, so that the air travel would not creat enoise and disturb the picnic he was hosting on a Saturday afternoon. Romney, Huckabee, Jindal and Palin can all fuggedaboutit as well.

    February 23, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. gl, Pittsburgh

    Governor Sarah Palin- glad she wasn't their.

    February 23, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. cnnnewser

    Jindal is just another attack dog republican.
    He will not be elected for president...ever.

    February 23, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. tigerakabj

    And that is why they will continue to lose. They want the White House at any cost, to heck with America and the problems we have TODAY. They still think 2006 and 2008 were flukes and that America isn't watching their obstruction of getting things done.

    People are still breathing a sigh of relief that they made it out of the last 8 years alive. They certainly don't trust a Republican to be dog catcher, much less president.

    They better be careful b/c, at the rate they are going, there may not be a Republican party come 2012 (especially when Obama starts the war tribunals on Bush).

    February 23, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  25. Natasha in Tally

    Give me a break. If any states needs a bailout its LO, and this was before the recession!!! Bobby Jindel had my attend, and I am a democrat, until he starting sounding stupid. NEXT!!! Of course people without a job need unemployment benefits....what an idiot.

    February 23, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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