Obama defends likely rival Jindal in La.

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NEW ORLEANS | President Obama on Thursday praised Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal after a crowd here booed the Republican, who is considered a future challenger for the White House.

“No, no, Bobby’s doing a good job,” Mr. Obama said when a large portion of the crowd booed the mention of the governor’s name.

Mr. Obama noted that he and Mr. Jindal have political differences, but praised the young governor to the crowd of a couple thousand at New Orleans University.

“This person’s working hard on behalf of the state,” Mr. Obama said. “You got to give people credit for working hard.”

The president told Mr. Jindal from the podium, “Bobby, if it makes you feel any better, I get that all the time.”

Mr. Jindal delivered the Republican response to Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address in January, in a nationally televised performance that was widely panned.

Nonetheless, the 38-year-old Indian-American is a fresh face with the policy background to compete on the national level, and he remains a top prospect for the Republican Party to run for president in 2012 or 2016.

After introducing Mr. Jindal, the president introduced a few other officials. When he came to New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, a Democrat, a good portion of the crowd booed again.

This time all the president could do was remark, “It’s a feisty crowd here.”

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