Jindal’s future

JINDAL’S FUTURE…. There’s plenty of buzz in Republican circles about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s future, and the Louisiana Republican has stoked the fires with recent presidential hints and a trip to Iowa. It came as something of a surprise, then, that Jindal said today he’s not interested in the presidency.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, seen by many Republicans as the most promising standard-bearer for a remade party, said at a Richmond, Va press conference that he isn’t running for president in 2012.

At a news conference Wednesday with Bob McDonnell, Virginia’s 2009 Republican candidate for governor, Jindal was asked if he was interested in being president, AP reports.

His answer: “No.”

Jindal said he’s planning to run for reelection in 2011, something that would make pivoting to a national campaign logistically and politically tricky.

I’m sure that’s what Jindal said, and it’s likely he meant it. But I don’t really believe him.

Political leaders do this with some regularity. I distinctly remember Barack Obama, among others, saying in 2004 that he would not launch presidential campaigns in 2008. He did. Bill Clinton assured voters in 1990 that he wouldn’t run for president in 1992. He did. It’s not dishonesty; it’s the result of new and unexpected circumstances. Not only do voters tend to understand, I can’t think of a single recent political figure who’s been punished for this kind of reversal.

Opportunities arise. It happens. Making iron-clad pronouncements about one’s professional future are not only inherently difficult, they’re necessarily subject to change.

Indeed, the CNN piece on this concluded, “AP reports Jindal, whom many Republicans view as best positioned to transform the party’s image, did not rule out the possibility he may change his mind about a White House run.”

In other words, this afternoon’s reporting notwithstanding, don’t rule Jindal out just yet.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.