NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A photo of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s birth certificate was published by a newspaper on Saturday even though there is no doubt the Indian American Republican was born in the United States.
Jindal, who is not running for president in 2012 but is mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate, released the certificate to prove a newspaper editorial wrong.
Jindal was born in the United States to Indian immigrant parents who held green cards at the time.
The flap started when Jindal said last month that he would sign a state bill, if it reached his desk, that would require candidates for federal office on the Louisiana ballot to show proof of birth in the U.S.
The bill was a response to doubts about President Barack Obama’s Hawaii birth raised by possible Republican presidential candidates such as businessman Donald Trump. Obama recently released his full birth certificate to squelch the doubts.
After Jindal endorsed the Louisiana “birther” bill, the Baton Rouge daily newspaper, The Advocate, on April 22 published a critical editorial.
“Piyush Amrit Jindal is the last man in America who should give his blessing to a birther bill,” the editorial said.
Jindal’s office angrily responded that the newspaper had got the governor’s middle name wrong. “Amrit,” was the name of an ancient Middle East city, Jindal’s office said, and not his middle name.
Jindal offered to release his birth certificate to prove it. The Advocate received the birth certificate, apologized for use of an “incorrect middle name” and removed “Amrit” from the online version of the editorial.
Asked about the incident, The Advocate Executive Editor Carl Redman told Reuters, “I think the point of the editorial was that the Indian American governor of Louisiana should not be worried about people’s origins and birthplaces. That’s one of the great things about this country.”
But the incident lived on when the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Saturday ran a photo of the birth certificate and a long article about the details of his parents’ entry into the United States.
The birth certificate shows his name as only “Piyush Jindal” with no middle name. Jindal has long used the first name “Bobby.”
Jindal’s spokesman confirmed on Saturday the details in the article of his parents’ arrival in the United States. They came on green cards secured by Jindal’s engineer father, Amar Jindal, based on a 1965 law that allowed people with “exceptional ability in the sciences or arts” to enter the U.S. Jindal’s mother Raj got a spouse green card.
Amar Jindal now works for a large engineering firm that has offices in Louisiana and around the country. Raj Jindal, who hold masters degrees in physics and nuclear engineering from Louisiana State University, is director of information technology in the Louisiana Department of Labor.
Bernie Pinsonat, a Baton Rouge political analyst and pollster, said the whole saga could confuse some people.
“I have no idea why he did this (release the certificate) except maybe he thinks he’ll get some popularity points nationally,” Pinsonat said. “Nobody in Louisiana doubts that he was born in the United States.”
Editing by Greg McCune