WASHINGTON — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal again found himself carrying the Republican mantle opposite a primetime appearance from President Barack Obama on Tuesday, saying Republicans must be ready to defy the president when they disagree with his policies.
He also joked about his widely panned response to Obama's address to Congress last month.
"We are now in the position of being the loyal opposition," Jindal said at a Republican congressional fundraising dinner that only by coincidence fell on the same night as Obama's news conference. "The right question to ask is not if we want the president to fail or succeed, but whether we want America to succeed."
Saying "the time for talking about the past is over," Jindal said Republicans have begun to find their voice after back-to-back elections losses — motivated by what he called historic Democratic spending excess.
Jindal is widely considered a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, but his televised response to Obama's speech at the Capitol last month was widely panned. Some compared his delivery to the late children's television host Mister Rogers and said the address could hurt Jindal's national potential.
At Tuesday's $2,500-per-plate dinner — which President George W. Bush headlined last year — Jindal opened his speech by poking fun of himself. He threatened to deliver a reprise of the earlier performance and then jokingly compared it to torture.
"They're not allowed to show my speech at Gitmo anymore," he said. "They've banned that."
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to get Republicans elected to Congress, said it raised more than $6 million at the event.