Houston: Louisiana's Indian American Governor Bobby Jindal, who was among the leading Republicans considered by Mitt Romney to be his running mate, has backed the eventual pick Paul Ryan, calling him a man the nation needs.
Jindal, who has been campaigning extensively for the former Massachusetts governor, however, ruled out taking up a cabinet position in a possible Romney administration.
Jindal was all praise for Wisconsin Congressman Ryan, who was declared the Republican Vice presidential contender for the November elections yesterday.
"Paul is a good friend and one of the smartest guys I served with in Congress... He has the courage of his convictions, which is what our nation needs," said Jindal.
Ryan is 42, a year older than Jindal, who is now in his second term as Louisiana's Governor.
In a statement, Jindal also said he was not interested in a cabinet post with a possible Romney administration.
"No, I would not consider a cabinet post. I consider being the governor of Louisiana to be more important and the best job there is," Jindal said.
"I have been traveling all over the country and been campaigning for and with Gov Romney because it is crucial that he wins, and that we make Barack Obama a one-term president. As for me, why would a guy with the best job in the world be looking for another one?"
Romney was regarded as one of the contenders shortlisted by Romney to be his Vice Presidential running mate.
Although he wasn't picked up finally, Jindal's time and prominence on the campaign trail for Romney can only benefit the Louisiana governor in his national political ambitions, said Pearson Cross, a political scientist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Cross said Jindal at 41 is young enough and would still have time for a White House bid, if he waits for eight years.
And if Romney does not win the 2012 battle, Jindal would be thrust to the front of the pack as a potential presidential contender in 2016, said Cross.
"This is one of those situations that doesn't have a downside for him, frankly... This would give him some time to make solid connections around Washington, D C. This would give him some time to solidify his fundraising operation," he said.
Tulane University political scientist Thomas Langston said comparing Jindal and Ryan on brain power may not do justice to Jindal, but Ryan has asserted real leadership within the Republican caucus.
"He has made a reputation for himself for being not just tough, but smart. That reputation may be a bit overstated; I'd bet he could not hold a candle to Jindal in a sheer braininess contest," he said.
First Published: Sunday, August 12, 2012, 18:42