Bobby Jindal SOTU

Then-Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers the GOP response to then-President Barack Obama's address to Congress in 2009. Jindal, then seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, was widely mocked for the speech.

“Good evening, and Happy Mardi Gras!”

That’s how then-37-year-old Bobby Jindal – a Republican wünderkind early in his first term as Louisiana governor – opened his response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2009.

The speech technically took place on Feb. 24, 2009, so it’s a couple of weeks until the official 10-year anniversary of what some have pinpointed as Jindal’s first major stumbling block on his rapid ascent through the GOP ranks.

But in honor of President Donald Trump's State of the Union this week and Georgia Democrat Stacy Abrams’ response that follows, here’s a look back at Jindal’s 2009 address.

It was supposed to be Jindal’s introduction to the masses – the type of platform that had catapulted Obama to the national spotlight when he spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and helped Obama secure a national party’s presidential nomination four years later.

Instead, Jindal’s performance was widely seen as a flop and subjected to bipartisan ridicule for its unusual and seemingly amateur delivery.

In the years since, Jindal has appeared on multiple “worst” SOTU responses lists.

Jindal, himself, would go on to describe in his 2010 autobiography “Leadership and Crisis” his view of what went wrong with the speech.

"Republican leaders in Washington knew me or had read good things about me, so they thought I would be a good choice to give the Republican Party response," he wrote. "Turns out they were wrong. I blew it."

But he added that he stood by the content of the speech. "I'm simply not very good at the 'showman' side of politics,” he wrote, describing himself as “teleprompter challenged.”

Jindal went on to seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, but dropped out of the race without being able to break through the crowded Republican field that ultimately ended with Trump’s election.

Rewatch the address below or view it here.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.