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How Bad Was Jindal?

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 26, 2009; 8:10 AM

"Oh God."

That is what Chris Matthews was caught muttering when Bobby Jindal walked toward the cameras.

Not very professional.

But not very far off from what others--including many conservatives--are saying about the non-SOTU non-response by the governor of Louisiana.

Whatever Jindal had to say--and I'm glad his immigrant father saved enough money to pay for his delivery--he was so oddly paced and awkward that he created an indelible image--and not a flattering one for a rising Republican star.

Following a presidential address to Congress by speaking from an empty room almost guarantees that you'll fall flat. Tim Kaine was among the Democrats who belly-flopped in the Bush years. But Jindal risks becoming a punchline.

Many conservatives are cringing. Laura Ingraham, on her radio show, said Jindal gestured with only one hand and was "very off-putting . . . A wonderful human being, I like him very much, but he is a horrible speaker."

As for Matthews, Politico reported on his statement on "Hardball": "I was taken aback by that peculiar stagecraft, the walking from somewhere in the back of this narrow hall, this winding staircase looming there, the odd anti-bellum look of the scene. Was this some mimicking of a president walking along the state floor to the East Room?"

More on Obama's big speech in a moment, but let's take a look at the Bobby-bashing.

"The reviews were swift and scathing: Off-putting. Amateurish. Disastrous.

"And those were fellow Republicans reacting to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal," says the L.A. Times.

In the New Republic, Eve Fairbanks flashes back to her childhood:


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