On Obama’s first trip to Louisiana after the disaster, the governor describes how the president took him aside on the tarmac after arriving to complain about a letter that Jindal had sent to the administration requesting authorization for food stamps for those who had lost their jobs because of the spill.Maybe, just maybe, Jindal needed to say what he did because he was concerned about the economic impact of the Obama's moratorium. Jindal certainly wasn't the only one concerned. Democratic strategist James Carville was screaming, "we're dying down here" at the time. Was he facing political pressure?
As Jindal describes it, the letter was entirely routine, yet Obama was angry and concerned about looking bad.
"Careful," he quotes the president as warning him, "this is going to get bad for everyone."
Nearby on the tarmac, Jindal recalls, then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was chewing out his own chief of staff, Timmy Teepell.
“If you have a problem pick up the f——n’ phone,” Jindal quotes Emanuel telling Teepell.
The governor asserts that the White House had tipped off reporters to watch the exchange on the New Orleans tarmac that Sunday in May and deemed it a “press stunt” that symbolized what’s wrong with Washington.
“Political posturing becomes more important than reality,” he writes.
What might explain why Obama and Emanuel were so angry at Jindal is that the governor released his food stamp request the previous day to the media and indicated that he wanted a response by the close of business Monday.
And after Obama instituted a moratorium on offshore drilling, Jindal recounts that the president dismissed his concerns about the economic impact of the ban.
“I understand you need to say all of this, I know you need to say this, that you are facing political pressure,” Jindal quotes Obama telling him. When the governor said he was concerned about people losing their jobs, he said the president cited national polls showing that people supported the ban.
“The human element seemed invisible to the White House,” he writes.
Politico reports Jindal believes the administration's response was a metaphor for a more fundamental problem in the administration, "they're not connected to the reality on the ground." Case in point: health care QED