The first bit of rapid response among Republican presidential hopefuls came hours before the start of Monday’s “tea party” debate in Tampa, as Rick Perry answered Tim Pawlenty’s endorsement of Mitt Romney by announcing the support of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Jindal, once seen as a rising GOP star, said in a statement that Perry’s “record on job creation simply cannot be beat.”
“The 1 million jobs he’s helped create as governor is a stark contrast to the 2.4 million jobs lost on President Obama’s watch,” said Jindal. “Rick Perry will bring our country more than hope – he’ll get America working again.”
Jindal, first elected in 2007, is running for a second term this fall and faces no serious Democratic challenger. He was tapped for the GOP response to Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in 2009, delivering a performance that was widely panned.
Still, Jindal is seen as one of the party’s brightest minds. He assumed a leadership post in the Republican Governors Association in January, just as Perry became the organization’s chairman.
Pawlenty, himself a former RGA vice chairman, announced his support for Romney on Monday morning, declaring he was “alone among the contenders” in possessing “the unique qualifications to confront and master our severe economic predicament.”
Both men are expected to be chief surrogates for the respective campaigns at tonight’s debate.