J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana addresses activists from America's political right at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Saturday.
WASHINGTON – Speaking before an audience of Republican activists Saturday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted the Obama administration over its response to the 2010 BP oil spill in the gulf, saying Obama officials “wasted precious time while that oil was coming in to our coast.”
The remarks came at the conclusion of his speech at CPAC, the annual gathering of Republican activists held here in Washington.
“They wasted precious time while that oil was coming in to our coast,” Jindal said. “They refused to listen to the people who lived along the coast that knew better than all the experts.”
Jindal – whose state was hit hardest by the spill – was a central figure in the recovery effort. His criticism, first expressed in his book, "Leadership and Crisis," represents a stinging rebuke of a Democratic administration with which he was partnered throughout the recovery effort.
“You’ve had a lot of speakers come up here and talk to you about the importance of this year’s election,” Jindal said, before adding that he wanted to offer “one more reason” why the election is important.
“What I saw and what I heard were people that were maybe very, very book smart, but had never run anything in the private sector,” Jindal continued.
“During our regular meetings and calls, the president would talk regularly about his “Nobel Prize-winning energy secretary.’ I’d begin to think that was part of his title,” Jindal said, refering to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “I didn’t understand what that had to do with stopping the oil from coming to our coast.”
(Chu won a Nobel Prize in 1997, for physics; Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.)
Jindal’s attack represents another expression of a complaint about an elite or out-of-touch White House that has marked many of the CPAC speeches throughout the three days here.
Much of Jindal’s speech prior to the remarks concerned privatizing and reforming public education in Louisiana, an effort which he said would involve expanding charter schools and scholarships, and cracking down on underperforming teachers.
“For the ineffective teachers that refuse to get better, maybe they should look into another profession. Maybe they don’t belong in the classroom anyway,” Jindal said.