MAQUOKETA, Iowa – Rick Perry got a little help on the campaign trail on Tuesday from a fellow governor, Louisiana Republican Bobby Jindal, who testified to a crowd about Perry’s economic success in Texas.
“There are going to be a lot of people running for president who can give a great speech and a lot of people who have come out of Washington, D.C. I'm here to help support Rick Perry because I think we've got to elect somebody who’s actually run his state before,” Jindal said, reviewing a list of ways that he said Perry created a strong economic climate in Texas.
Jindal endorsed Perry in September and was his first high-profile supporter. Perry often jokes on the campaign trail that he and Jindal are competing to create jobs in their home states. Throughout Tuesday’s event at the Decker Hotel, which drew about 70 people, the two repeatedly referred to each other by their first names.
The two governors have worked together in the past, particularly during natural disasters that threatened the coastline. To prove a point about Perry’s leadership skills, Jindal recounted the time Perry sent state planes to help evacuate Lousiana hospitals before Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
“Rick didn't once tell me, 'Did you fill out the paperwork?' ” Jindal said as he accused the federal government of being more concerned with procedure than practicality.
At one point, as Perry was telling a woman that his 20 percent flat-tax plan eliminated the standard deduction, Jindal gently corrected him from his chair off to the side of the room.
‘Rick, you would actually keep your standard deduction in your flat tax,” Jindal said.
“Thank you for correcting me on that, not that I ever make a mistake,” Perry joked. “It’s always good to have Bobby here to correct me.”
Perry focused heavily on energy during his own speech. Instead of attacking fellow candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, as he has in the past, he accused President Obama of catering to his “radical left-wing base.”
Perry urged the president to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project to bring oil from Canada to refineries in Texas. Backing the pipeline – which would anger environmental activists who say it could pollute groundwater along its route – “is more important than your political future,” Perry said, addressing Obama.