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|Jindal's seat in 'the Indian room'|
Commonly referred to by the media as John McCain's ranch, the McCain spread in Phoenix, Ariz., was acquired by the senator's wife's family in the early 1960s.
McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, spent her childhood there.
Built in 1951, the McCain ranch house is no outhouse by any means.
It entails some 8,300 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 5 ½ baths.
It's valued at more than $900,000. The property tax bill on the home and 2.16 acres it sits on tops more than $12,000 annually.
Those figures are dated, too.
Three bricks from the Hanoi Hilton, the prison camp where McCain was held for five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, rest near the entrance of the senator's favorite room in the home, "the Indian room." The bottle that christened the USS John S. McCain destroyer can be found in "the Indian room," too, along with Native American dolls and pottery the senator's children made.
According to published reports, McCain and his wife don't talk politics in "the Indian room." They discuss their children.
It's not known if Sen. McCain entertained Gov. Bobby Jindal in "the Indian room" when McCain hosted Jindal for what was dubbed as a casual Memorial Day weekend retreat. We know barbeque was served, but that's about it.
That's it because little has been said on what the Louisiana governor and the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president talked about at the McCain ranch.
We could assume they bantered about, discussing the weather, the cactuses and the Diamondbacks, Arizona's professional baseball team. They may have talked a little football. LSU kicks off the 2008 season in three months, you know.
Something tells us, though, that Jindal and McCain did more than engage in small chit-chat.
While the company line was Jindal took McCain up on his offer to spend the weekend in Arizona to discuss issues important to Louisiana, that doesn't pass the smell test in this corner.
Instead, it would be within reason to assume Jindal was there to undergo a different kind of test, a litmus one, if you will, to determine how a Vice President Jindal would fit, or work out, in a McCain administration.
At the very least, we could say McCain sized up the 36-year-old governor, who is widely popular these days among Republicans of literally every stripe, including hard-core conservatives, or the so-called Religious Right.
The country clubbers, or moderate Republicans, appreciate Jindal's record on cutting taxes for business and industry. Income tax cuts for individuals, which Jindal supports, too, look pretty good to country clubbers as well.
Hard-core conservatives like his positions on social issues. Every one of them.
The latter would serve McCain well, for he has never been the most popular fellow on the block in the eyes of the hard-cores. They've never cared for him, and they're reluctantly supporting him now because there exist the possibility that Barack Obama could become president. They can't stomach the thought of that.
Yet, the attribute that most likely raises Jindal's stock in the McCain camp would concern Jindal's baggage, or lack thereof.
In laymen's terms, Jindal is clean, meaning there aren't any skeletons in his closet that we know about or suspect at this time.
That's more than we can say about Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Jr., who, according to one McCain operative, is the other candidate—besides Jindal—who McCain is seriously considering tapping as his running mate.
Unlike Jindal, Crist has baggage, including questions about his sexuality and allegations that he fathered a child out of wedlock. He denies both charges, of course.
Any hint of homosexuality or an illegitimate child, though, will sink Crist from the get-go, especially among the faithful followers of the so-called Religious Right.
That brings us back to Jindal.
If Jindal plays his cards right, he will be spending more time at the McCain ranch.
Who knows, he may be allowed to take a seat in "the Indian room."