Friday, February 27, 2009

Busted

Gov. Bobby Jindal gets caught in a lie.

Remember that story Bobby Jindal told in his big speech Tuesday night — about how during Katrina, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a local sheriff who was battling government red tape to try to rescue stranded victims?

Turns out it wasn’t actually, you know, true.

In the last few days, first Daily Kos, and then TPMmuckraker, raised serious questions about the story, based in part on the fact that no news reports we could find place Jindal in the affected area at the specific time at issue.

Jindal had described being in the office of Sheriff Harry Lee “during Katrina,” and hearing him yelling into the phone at a government bureaucrat who was refusing to let him send volunteer boats out to rescue stranded storm victims, because they didn’t have the necessary permits. Jindal said he told Lee, “that’s ridiculous,” prompting Lee to tell the bureaucrat that the rescue effort would go ahead and he or she could arrest both Lee and Jindal.

But now, a Jindal spokeswoman has admitted to Politico that in reality, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone “days later.” The spokeswoman said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, was being interviewed about the incident at the time.

So not only is the story at best enhanced for dramatic purposes, even if it’s true, all the story does is point out how ineptly the Bush administration responded to Hurricane Katrina. That’s not exactly a talking point for someone who wants to become the next Republican president.

Putting it altogether, Mr. Jindal’s audition for the national stage sucked on so many levels: bad production values, lousy acting, and an unbelievable story line. And you know he’s in trouble when he makes Sarah Palin’s debut look good by comparison.