- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal expressed surprise Friday at how emotional Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy became during their February public dust-up about President Barack Obama’s proposal for a $10.10 an hour national minimum wage, saying it showed “a lack of temperament.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Republican, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, said he wasn’t surprised that “a liberal governor would defend a failing liberal president.” However, Jindal said he was taken aback when Malloy took to a microphone at a bipartisan news conference outside the White House and chided Jindal for saying Obama’s proposal was akin to waving the white flag of surrender.

Malloy called Jindal’s comments “the most partisan statement we heard all weekend.” Both had just attended a meeting with Obama and a group of fellow governors. Malloy later appeared on national television and called it “ultimately ridiculous” that the U.S. is becoming a minimum wage society.

“Your governor lost his cool. It showed a lack of temperament to lead,” Jindal said Friday. “But from what I’ve learned up here, I guess that’s not uncommon.”

Jindal appeared at a home in West Hartford to headline a private fundraiser for the Connecticut Republican Party and to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, who he said understands that Malloy’s “failed policies” are the reason why Connecticut’s economy remains weak.

Asked Thursday night about Jindal’s planned visit to Connecticut, Malloy took aim at Jindal’s record in Louisiana.

“Let me remind you, Louisiana - one of the poorer states, one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, one of the most polluted states in the nation - this is the poster child for Tom Foley and his policies,” Malloy said.

After hearing of Malloy’s comments, Jindal accused the Democrat of trying to distract attention from Connecticut’s slow economic growth rate and slow recovery of jobs lost during the recession.

“We’ve got more people working than ever before,” he said of Louisiana. “Our economy is growing twice as fast as the national economy.”

Jindal said he doesn’t philosophically oppose minimum wage increases, saying he voted for one as a member of Congress. Rather, he said it appeared to him that Obama was “waving the white flag of surrender” when he called for a higher national minimum wage.

“He’s given up,” Jindal said. “The best he can aspire to is a minimum wage economy.”

While Malloy contends Foley opposes Connecticut’s new law that increases the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, Foley reiterated Friday that he supports it. Foley has said if he were governor, he would have pushed for a tiered approach, where teenage workers and apprentices would earn less. Foley also denied Malloy’s accusations that he believes Connecticut should not have an earned income tax credit program or mandatory paid sick days.

“I’ve spoken generally about a generation of a legislature putting mandates on businesses that increase their costs and make them less competitive,” he said. “We need to stop doing that. But I’m not talking about repealing what’s already been passed. He’s trying to make it sound like I’m going to take these things away. I’m not.”

Jindal is not the only Republican governor who has clashed with Malloy and is now campaigning for Foley. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has made several visits to Connecticut on Foley’s behalf.

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