US: Jindal defends Romney visit to Louisiana
Mitt Romney has visited an emergency centre in hurricane-damaged Louisiana, a day after accepting the Republican nomination for US president.
Washington: As Mitt Romney visited Louisiana`s storm-ravaged coast, the state`s Indian-American Governor Bobby Jindal said he had invited both the Republican presidential nominee and President Barack Obama and there was nothing political about it.
The newly minted Republican presidential candidate had called to express concern about the damage Hurricane Isaac caused to the state and he told Romney that he is "welcome to come here and see for himself”, Jindal said at a news conference in the state capital of Baton Rouge on Friday.
The governor said he also extended the same invitation to Obama, according to The Times-Picayune.
"The President of the United States is always welcome in Louisiana," Jindal was quoted as saying. He declined to say where Obama would be going, deferring those questions to the White House for response.
"I don`t want to get ahead of the White House for security reasons," Jindal said. "We are not talking politics."
"It is an honour for the state to get a visit from the President of the United States" and Romney in a four-day period.
Romney, meanwhile, skipped a planned post-convention rally in Virginia and headed to Louisiana to survey the damage. Hours later, White House announced Obama will visit the State on Monday.
However, White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted the President`s trip to Louisiana was in the works before Romney headed there.
Romney on Friday toured flooding in southern Jefferson Parish, particularly the small town of Lafitte that had been inundated with water.
"I`m here to learn and obviously to draw some attention to what`s going on here," Romney said. "So that people around the country know that people down here need help."
Politico cited a senior Romney campaign adviser Stuart Stevens as saying they took steps to ensure they weren`t disrupting the storm response. He also insisted that Romney wasn`t politicising the hurricane by visiting Louisiana.
Obama, who was in Fort Bliss, Texas, on Friday to mark the second anniversary of the end of the combat mission in Iraq, said: "Our hearts are obviously with all the folks who are down in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac."