Governors swamp the Sunday shows, and try to wedge their way into 2016
With the National Governor's Association holding its annual meeting in Washington this weekend, the Sunday shows were stocked with state executives, some of whom were clearly auditoning for a part in all the drama leading up to 2016.
The most conspicuous was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who appeared on "Meet the Press" alongside Massachusetts' Democratic governor Deval Patrick.
Asked about the president's second term, Jindal rattled off his some highlights from his own second term in Louisiana, and cited his accomplishments again, when asked about criticism from the Washington Post's Plum Line blog that Jindal's proposed changes are "cosmetic" and that his policies are essentially "right wing."
"When you look at the policies, if you want to call them right wing, I think these are good policies for Louisiana, good for America," Jindal said, mentioning his educational reforms, and his push to close loopholes in the state's tax code.
Jindal is trying to work his way back into the top tier, after a subpar State of the Union rebuttal in 2009 stunted his national possibilities, and he has taken a leading role in trying to recast the Republican brand in the wake of Mitt Romney's lackluster November. Jindal recently told Republicans that they can't be the "stupid party," and said on Sunday that the Republican Party is not "the party of big government, big Wall Street, big banks."
"Governor, he sounds like he's running, doesn't he?" Gregory asked Patrick, who has also been mentioned as a 2016 possibility but seemed less eager to tout his accomplishments.
"Sounds like it to me," said Patrick.
"Nobody should be thinking about 2106," Jindal said when Gregory asked directly if he was considering it. "Let's win the debate and then we'll win the election."
On "Fox News Sunday," the question of 2016 didn't come up directly, but Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who some conservatives have urged to go national, contrasted his tough approach to public sector unions with Washington's inability to tackle entitlement reform. Walker also explained why he's among the Republican governors--including Jindal and most of the other 2016 prospectives--who has declined to expand Medicaid under the president's new health care law.
"I won't criticize them, be they Republicans or Democrats, because every state is different," Walker said of the governors who have expanded Medicaid under the law. "In our case we reduced the number of uninsured, we reduced the number of people on Medicaid, and we actually saved a little bit of money."
On "Face the Nation," guest host Major Garrett made an unsubtle attempt to break some 2016 news.
"What's your beef with Governor Christie?" he asked Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who has been punching up at the better-known Christie for the better part of a year.
"I think I was asked what I think about Governor Christie's innovations in government, and my response was, 'What innovations?'" O'Malley recalled. "The unemployment rate is higher now in New Jersey, one of the highest in the country. His actions have led to the downgrade of their bond rating in a lot of the municipalities. And I just don't see where there's' a comeback happening in New Jersey. If anything, they've fallen back, and that's not effective governance."
Christie, who was a late arrival to the weekend meeting and currently towers over the second-tier of Republicans vying for 2016, was conspicuous in his absense on Sunday morning.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo was absent too; he avoids the Sunday shows as a rule, and only attends the governors' meetings when they're held close to home.