Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal may have luckily escaped the embarrassment that Sarah Palin is facing this week after the former Alaska governor admitted that she was duped into taking part a satirical TV show debuting this weekend.
Jindal political advisers say that he was invited multiple times last year to take part in a TV show but they declined because the pitches set off alarms.
Now it's likely that the show was "Who is America?" a new show from British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen that is expected to premiere on Showtime on Sunday. The premium cable network began teasing the latest mock-interview show over the weekend, prompting the public admission from Palin that she had been "duped" into taking part.
"The producer's pitch was so lame and suspect that we declined," Gail Gitcho, a senior adviser to Jindal's campaign, wrote on Twitter this week. "(Kyle Plotkin) even said at the time, 'This sounds like an Ali G set up.' Now we are heroes and need capes."
Plotkin, who was also a senior adviser to Jindal's campaign, previously was Jindal's chief of staff in the governor's office.
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News began churning this week about a new show from Cohen, who is known for his satirical characters Borat and Ali G and for mockingly interviewing high-profile subjects over the years in disguise and under the guise of serious sit-downs.
In two separate emails sent to Jindal's advisers earlier this year and shared with The Advocate on Wednesday, reps from CBS/Showtime pitched an opportunity for Jindal to be on a show with the working title of "Modern American Icons" that would feature "sit down interviews with some of the most distinguished leaders from the worlds of science, politics, business, and the arts."
"The hope is to engage a young audience on the issues and ideas that are shaping our world, with the goal of inspiring them to be the leaders of tomorrow," the rep wrote in one email.
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The emails, flowing with compliments to Jindal, do not include any details about who would interview the former governor but note that the "groundbreaking" program would air as a six-part series on Showtime. They also offered to fly Jindal first class and cover all travel and accommodations in either Los Angeles or Washington, D.C.
"As one of America’s most influential and fascinating leaders, we’d be thrilled to feature Gov. Jindal on the program," the pitch continued. "He is someone who has demonstrated consistent leadership through seemingly volatile times, and our hope is his experience and wisdom will prove very insightful. He has overcome so many obstacles along his road to becoming the first Indian governor of any state in our country, and feel his perspective will be well-received by a diverse and younger audience."
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Neither email named any other participants, but both described others who had already taken part -- "multiple Presidential candidates, former Governors, current and former members of the House and Senate, a four-star U.S. Army General, a former Attorney General, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a pioneering scientist from the Human Genome Project, and legends from the worlds of media and technology."
In a lengthy Facebook post, Palin, who was the vice presidential running mate to Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain against Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, wrote that she joins "a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive (sic), sick 'humor'" of Cohen.
Palin, who left public office in 2009, said in the post that "this 'legit opportunity' to honor American Vets and contribute to a 'legit Showtime historical documentary' was requested of me via a speakers bureau."
Since Palin came forward, others have emerged as people who will be featured on the show, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is seen in video clips posted online autographing a "waterboard kit" for the show.
Jindal was Louisiana's governor from 2008 to 2016. He suspended his presidential campaign November 17, 2015, after failing to gain traction in polls on the crowded Republican primary field ahead of the 2016 election that President Donald Trump ultimately won. He now works for a global investment firm, writes monthly policy columns for the Wall Street Journal and is a paid speaker.
Often listed among up-and-coming rising stars in the GOP and compared to Palin's seemingly meteoritic rise, Jindal famously called on the Republican Party to "stop being the stupid party" in 2013 -- just a few years after Palin's turn as the unsuccessful vice presidential running mate to John McCain in the 2008 presidential race.