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Jindal sees 2012 contest between "very different visions of America"

Jamie Novogrod/NBC News

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks with a Romney supporter in Coral Springs, Fla. Saturday.

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Stumping for Mitt Romney in southern Florida Saturday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal cast the presidential election in stark terms, hammering President Obama over a vision of America that he said pits people against each other and diminishes the contributions of individuals to the national economy.

“It was ‘Hope and Change’ four years ago,” Jindal said, referring to Obama’s 2008 campaign.  “Now it’s ‘Divide and Blame.’  Everything is somebody else’s fault.”


 Jindal, who is speculated to be on Romney’s vice presidential short list, delivered the remarks from the bed of a pickup truck parked outside a newly opened Republican “victory” office here in this suburb north of Fort Lauderdale.

The visit marked just one of several high-profile events this weekend, as top Romney supporters blitzed key swing states while the candidate continues his foreign trip. 

Others rumored to be on the short list – including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman – also held events Saturday.

Asked during an interview with NBC News Saturday whether the activity constitutes a nationwide weekend try-out, Jindal demurred. 

“No, our role continues to be to remind voters what the important issues are in this election,” he said.

Jindal, who supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry during the Republican Primary, has since defined himself as a disciplined flag-bearer for Romney who pounces readily on Obama.  He would not comment on speculation over whom Romney might choose as a running mate.

“This election is not about Joe Biden,” Jindal told NBC News.  “I think this election is really about the two guys running at the top of the ticket with their very, very different visions of America,” he added.

Speaking from the pickup truck to about 150 Romney supporters and local volunteers, Jindal called Obama a “good family man” before attacking the President over his “you didn’t build that” statement earlier this month.

The Obama campaign asserts the statement was merely a reference to how private business and public infrastructure are interconnected.

“How many times have we heard this?” Jindal told the crowd, drawing a parallel to another set of remarks by the President in June. “You remember a few weeks before that, he said, well, the private sector is doing just ‘fine?’  It’s the public sector we’ve got to worry about?”

 “I think it’s appropriate to point out that this President has very, very liberal views,” Jindal said later during his interview.  “He says them, and then when his campaign aides realize that they don’t poll well, they don’t test well in focus groups, they come out and try to apologize for them, or take them back.”

Before Jindal arrived, about a dozen volunteers worked a phone bank inside the office, calling voters with prepared questions measuring approval of the President.

 One volunteer, Rose Criscuola, of Margate, Fla., said they were calling listed Democrats in an effort to identify swing voters.  She reached several Obama supporters.

But next to her, another volunteer, John Scarpulla, also of Margate, said he reached one such swing voter. 

Scarpulla, a retired taxi owner from Queens, New York, complained between calls about the national debt.  He said he himself is a registered Democrat, though the last Democrat he supported for President was Bill Clinton.

Asked why he hasn’t changed his party affiliation, Scarpulla said he’s “too lazy.”

 “Actually,” he added, “I don’t change it because when I get a call from Democrats, I give them a piece of my mind.”

Jindal attended area fundraisers before and after his visit to the Republican victory office.