COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized Gov. Nikki Haley's opponent on Friday during a South Carolina appearance, taking issue with him for serving as defense attorney for a sex offender.
Jindal said South Carolina voters have a clear choice for governor this year. The first, he said is his friend, Haley, whom he characterized as the successful governor of a state with the fastest growing economy on the east coast.
"On the other side they have a trial attorney who has made money from defending those who were convicted of domestic battery and also defending a sex offender," Jindal said of Haley's Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden.
Jindal, who is vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible presidential contender for 2016, defended an RGA ad that attacked Sheheen's work as a defense lawyer. The ad has been criticized by the South Carolina Bar Association.
"He chose to make money defending folks who committed some heinous crimes," Jindal said. "He made that choice. I think it is right to give the voters that information and let them make the choice."
Jindal said Haley has done a tremendous job of creating tens of thousands of new jobs, lowering the unemployment rate and cutting taxes. He said he hopes the people of South Carolina will allow her to serve another four years.
When asked if he intends to run for president in 2016, Jindal said it is too early to say.
"I am certainly thinking and praying about what I do next after I'm done being governor. We'll make that decision after November," said Jindal.
Jindal said America as a whole needs new leadership to cut government spending, create jobs and replace the Affordable Care Act. He said the Republican Party needs to show Americans how its policies will help them join the middle class.
"We need to be a party that stands for things and not just against things. We got to be a party offering positive specific solutions," said Jindal, who offered examples of school choice, an energy policy that creates jobs and a new affordable health care policy to help insure people, including those with pre-existing conditions.
Also speaking at the event were Haley and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott.
Editor's note: earlier published versions of this story contained several errors. The Associated Press reported erroneously state Sen. Vincent Sheheen's job. He is a defense attorney in private practice, not a public defender. The story also erroneously reported Jindal's position with the Republican Governors Association. He is the vice chairman of the RGA, not the chairman. Senator Lindsey Graham's first name was also misspelled in the story.