Adding Jindal to the Republican presidential ticket would bring to Romney’s fold neither a swing state nor a major ethnic minority. But such political considerations are not foremost in Romney’s mind. He has said he is only interested in choosing a candidate who would make a good president.
As he constantly points out, Romney is a conservative businessman, not a politician. He amassed a fortune of more than $200 million not by making cynical political calculations but by looking for the best — often novel — opportunities and by hiring people based on character, competence, and quality.
Jindal qualifies on all counts — and has an inspiring life story that epitomizes the American dream.
Jindal’s mother Raj was three months pregnant with him when his parents came to this country from Punjab, India in 1971. The daughter of a bank manager, Raj had a scholarship to study for a doctorate in nuclear physics at Louisiana State University.
The family was poor and had no car. But Jindal’s mother read to him each night. His father, Amar, had a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and eventually got a job with a railroad. He reminded his son almost daily how lucky they were to live in America. Amar was disappointed if his son earned only As in school. He had to bring home A-pluses.
Jindal’s name is Piyush Jindal, but at the age of four, he decided to take the nickname Bobby — after the youngest son in the TV series “The Brady Bunch.”
“Every day after school, I’d come home and I’d watch ‘The Brady Bunch,’” Jindal explains. “And I identified with Bobby, you know? He was about my age, and ‘Bobby’ stuck.”
As a teenager, Jindal competed in tennis tournaments and started a computer newsletter, a retail candy business, and a mail-order software company.
Jindal attended Brown University, where he led the College Republicans and graduated with honors in biology and public policy. He became an intern on the staff of Rep. Jim McCrery, a Republican from Louisiana. After days of performing menial duties, Jindal approached his boss.
“Congressman, I really appreciate the opportunity to be here in Washington and to be one of your interns,” Jindal said, according to McCrery. “For the last few days, I’ve been in the back office doing the filing and sorting and all of those things, and I don’t mind doing that, but I was just wondering, while I’m here, if you could give me an assignment.”
Impressed at Jindal’s pluck, McCrery said, “Write a paper on Medicare and how you solve it.”
Two weeks later, Jindal submitted the paper.
“I read it, and it was excellent,” McCrery says. “For him to grasp as well as he did the Medicare program in such a short period of time was nothing short of amazing.”
Jindal accepted a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University, where he studied public health policy.
Like Romney, Jindal’s first job entailed making companies run more efficiently. For a year and a half, he worked for McKinsey & Co., a leading management consulting firm.
In 1996 at the age of 24, Jindal was named secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the state’s largest agency. Jindal cut millions of dollars in waste and fraud. He found that Louisiana was paying lump sums to hospitals at the beginning of the year based on how many Medicaid patients they estimated they would treat. The state rarely checked to see if they had actually treated that number. State-financed clinics that employed a dozen people had no patients.
Jindal went on to be president of the University of Louisiana System. In 2001, President George W. Bush named him assistant secretary of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
After an unsuccessful run at Louisiana governor, Jindal was elected a congressman in 2004 and re-elected two years later. He was the second person of Indian extraction to serve in Congress.
In 2007, Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana and was sworn in on Jan. 14, 2008. Last October, he won re-election with 66 percent of the total vote.
As governor, Jindal has tightened ethics rules, fought government regulation, and six times reduced taxes, including the largest income tax cut in the state’s history. Under Jindal, the state’s credit rating improved. Previously near the bottom of the Better Government Association’s integrity index, Louisiana now ranks fifth in the country.
Read more on Newsmax.com: Bobby Jindal Rising as Romney’s VP Choice
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