From NBC's Claire Luke
WASHINGTON -- Since Rush Limbaugh said he wants President Obama to fail, Republicans have been asked repeatedly if they share the sentiment.
Last night, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, unprompted, offered his answer.
"It depends on what he's trying to do," Jindal told a crowd of about 1,200 Republicans at the National Building Museum, gathered for a fundraiser for the National Republican Campaign Committee, which supports GOP candidates running for Congress. Jindal spoke just minutes before President Obama took to the podium for his nationally televised prime-time news conference.
Answering yes to the question of wanting Obama to fail seems like treason, Jindal said, adding that Democrats wanted to see President Bush fail.
If the president does what Jindal agrees with -- like cutting earmarks -- then he said he wishes Obama success. But if the president, as Jindal perceives, keeps the United States indebted to China, taxes Americans to fund abortions in foreign countries, taxes private businesses or allows public union elections, then, Jindal said, Republicans should want Obama to fail in those measures.
"We are loyal to the United States, but we don't have to be loyal to every policy," he stated. "We can't allow policies like those of European socialism."
He added that opposition, as he sees it, is a healthy exercise for democracy.
Jindal warned against the continued Republican "navel gazing," but said that the party's mistake was in shifting away from conservative values, whereby both parties seemed to be wanting bigger government. He added that he thinks the GOP is beginning to find its way, and it needs to worry more about fixing the country rather than mistakes of the past.
There was some red meat for the partisan crowd, as the governor charged that Democrats are the experts at wasting money, and echoed Minority Leader John Boehner's point that Americans are witnessing the greatest expansion of government ever. He added he believes both parties want to do what is best for the country, but Democrats' priorities are misplaced.
He also took his shots at Obama. "I don't know about you, but this doesn't look like the Barack Obama we met on the campaign trail," Jindal said, per Roll Call. "I don't know about you, but I liked that guy a lot better."
Jindal reiterated, however, that Republicans need to argue for tangible solutions, not just philosophies, and noted that the party needs to own issues like healthcare, education and energy.
He argued that health care, for example, needs to be provided for everyone. He called the current system broken.
"We can do better," he said.
On education, he said, "We need to ensure every child has this."
He argued that there needs to be a clean energy push, but unlike Democrats, he said, Republicans would utilize every energy source available.
Jindal then pivoted, countering Democrats' charge that Republicans are nothing more than the "Party of no."
"We are the party of yes," he said.
The NRCC said it took in more than $6 million from last night's event, $1 million more than officials say they were expecting.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in Washington next week, when he headlines a fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.