LA Gov. Jindal stumps for Rubio in Tampa

10/13/10 Kate Bradshaw
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Today two key endorsements in the race for Florida’s open US Senate seat hit the airwaves – one was predictable, the other, not so much. On the heels of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement that he’s backing non-party candidate Charlie Crist over Democrat Kendrick Meek, a Republican governor from another gulf state stumped for Rubio in Tampa today.

The gulf oil disaster was once only a boon for Democrats, who generally oppose offshore oil drilling. But Republicans like Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal are using the environmental catastrophe to demonstrate their own political points. And here’s how.

Before an audience of a few dozen sweaty tea partiers at a Republican Party of Hillsborough rally this afternoon, Jindal makes the case for smaller government, social conservatism, and Marco Rubio.

Rubio, meanwhile, gives practically the same speech he delivered at Ferg’s in St. Petersburg on Friday and Benedetto’s in Land O Lakes a week prior to that. It’s one that touts the United States as the greatest country on earth using his own life story.

The crowd eats it up, and some shout back in exuberant support. He encourages them for the most part, save for one instance. When Rubio asserts that his main opponents have to conduct campaigns on the offensive because they espouse policies Rubio calls disastrous, he ignores that shouts of one supporter.

If you didn’t hear that last part, that’s an unidentified supporter asking, “what about the death panels?” He’s referring to a tea party catch phrase used to scare people into opposing the health care overhaul Congress passed in March. The so-called “death panels” were debunked well before the reform even passed, but Democrats will tell you that the fact that the concept still lingers on the right shows how misinformed many tea partiers really are. Rubio will debate his two biggest challengers, US Representative Marco Rubio and Governor Charlie Crist, at a television studio in Tampa Friday.

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