Bobby Jindal, the Indian-American Louisiana governor and a rising star in the Republican party, is laying the groundwork for a likely presidential run in 2016 and taking up higher-profile initiatives with the national audience in mind, a media report said on Monday.
Jindal, 41, who was re-elected governor in 2011, passed a sweeping school voucher plan, rejected the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare and proposed scrapping the state income tax.
Political observers who have watched Jindal up close for years say it's become increasingly fuzzy where his governing ends and his presidential ambitions begin -- whether the policy wonk's plans are aimed at Louisiana's problems or future GOP (Republican) voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"You don't get any argument from anybody down here that Jindal's running for president -- it's just an accepted fact, like the sun rising in the East," said Bob Mann, who was an aide to former Democrat governor Kathleen Blanco and former senator John Breaux, and is now a professor at Louisiana State University.
"There's an overriding sense among insiders here that most of the higher-profile initiatives that he's embarking on here are all with the national audience in mind."
Jindal's bold policy proposals in Louisiana come at the same time he's raising his profile nationally, both through his new post as head of the Republican Governors Association and his frequent commentary on the future of the Republican party, said Politico, an influential media site focusing on American politics.
He turned heads last month when he warned the GOP needs to "stop being the stupid party".
After first getting elected in 2007, Jindal kept his policy agenda relatively tame: His hallmark first-term accomplishments were an ethics reform package and a workforce development program. Both were big parts of his campaign platform and enjoyed wide support in the legislature.
But after being re-elected with two-thirds of the vote, Jindal has been bolder about proposing larger-scale legislation, much of which has drawn national attention.
Jindal had blasted President Barack Obama for what he described as doubling down on failed policies from the past while outlining his shortsighted vision for the future in his State of the Union Address. Jindal alleged the speech reflected the increasing role of the government and diminishing growth of the private sector.