By Laura Tillman/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal expressed nothing but praise for each other Wednesday just before Jindal gave the keynote speech at a fundraiser for the Mississippi Republican Party.
“When I was elected governor last year, the first call I got was from Bobby Jindal, congratulating me and letting me know he was there, if I needed his help to call on him, and that’s exactly that we’ve done, is call on him,” said Bryant, who was elected in 2011.
Bryant told reporters during a press conference that he looked to Jindal’s work as governor in Louisiana as he’s crafted his own policy. He went on to say Jindal was a mentor and he enjoyed sharing good news with him. Bryant said while they’re friends, they’re also competitors, though even that was meant as a compliment.
Jindal used the occasion to shower Bryant with praise, congratulating him on bringing new jobs to Mississippi.
“Phil’s been a great friend and a great governor,” Jindal said.
Bryant was visibly pleased, smiling broadly as he listened to Jindal’s compliments.
Both Republican governors have taken strong stances against Medicaid expansion. Jindal said each has asked President Barack Obama for meetings on the issue but have received no response.
Asked if he was going to run for president, Jindal, now in his second term, said it was too early to think about that.
“As a Republican, I’d say that anyone who is considering running for president needs to have their head examined,” Jindal said. “We as a party need to be focused on winning the debate.”
Jindal added that his top priority in Louisiana was to eliminate the state’s income tax.