According to Jindal, he told Lee, "that's ridiculous," which prompted Lee to tell the bureaucrat that the rescue effort would go ahead and he or she could arrest both Lee and Jindal.
In Jindal's rebuttal to Pres. Obama's speech, and in recalling this story, Jindal specifically states that he was there at the time this was happening.
After Sheriff Lee told him about the permit and insurance requirements Jindal states:
"I told him, Sheriff, that's ridiculous. Before I knew it, he was yelling on the phone, 'Congressman Jindal's here and you can come and arrest him too!"
Except...it is NOT true. Jindal was NOT there at the time of the incident. He did not tell Harry Lee anything of the sort.
Jindal Admits Katrina Story Was False
By Zachary Roth - February 27, 2009, 12:39PM
But now, a Jindal spokeswoman has admitted to Politico that in reality, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later." The spokeswoman said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, was being interviewed about the incident at the time.
This is no minor difference. Jindal's presence in Lee's office during the crisis itself was a key element of the story's intended appeal, putting him at the center of the action during the maelstrom. Just as important, Jindal implied that his support for the sheriff helped ensure the rescue went ahead. But it turns out Jindal wasn't there at the key moment, and played no role in making the rescue happen.
There's a larger point here, though. The central anecdote of the GOP's prime-time response to President Obama's speech, intended to illustrate the threat of excessive government regulation, turns out to have been made up.
Why did Gov. Jindal fictionalize the real story and insert himself into it when he wasn't there? Are the Republicans so bereft of ideas that the only way to convince people that they are the party of solutions is to make up stories and hope people will believe that their fictions prove that they're anti-government heroes?
And why didn't Gov. Jindal think anyone would find out the truth? Telling the truth about that story would have made the point Jindal was going for. Finding out that he lied about his involvement brings everything else he said in his rebuttal into question.