WASHINGTON -- "You mean I'm not white?"
That was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's joking response to a white-washed portrait of himself that went viral on Twitter last week, depicting the Indian-American Republican with pale skin.
"I'm shocked at this revelation," Jindal told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Monday. "The left is obsessed with race."
NOTE: The portrait above is not Jindal's official portrait.
The portrait spat erupted last week when a liberal blogger in Louisiana circulated a picture of the image, on loan from a constituent. Jindal's chief-of-staff accused the blogger of "race-baiting" -- and Jindal himself echoed the criticism.
"The left is devoid of ideas, and this is, unfortunately, what they've resorted to - name calling, attacking, dividing people by the color of their skin," he said. "This is nonsense. We're all Americans."
Jindal, who is likely to seek the Republican presidential nomination and is staking out a position on the right side of the GOP field, obliquely criticized leaders in Republican establishment who have urged the GOP to temper their conservative positions in hopes of winning the general election.
He warned Republicans against turning into what he referred to last week as: "cheap Democrats" or "Democrat Lite Republicans."
"A lot of the folks who are complaining about the process are really complaining that they don't want somebody who is too conservative, who really wants to repeal Obamacare and all the taxes in it, who really wants to get rid of Common Core to win the nomination," Jindal told reporters. "I'm glad it's not the donors and the political class. I'm glad it's the voters who get to decide."
Jindal also questioned new rules enacted by the Republican National Committee designed to bring order to the presidential nominating process and the number of debates.
"Democracy is messy. And the donors, the political leaders, the establishment, the pundits -- they don't get to pick out nominee," Jindal argued. "They may not like the fact that we have a deep bench, we have a number of qualified candidates."
He passed on several opportunities to criticize former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, another potential White House contender and Common Core enthusiast whose stance is at odds with Jindal's efforts to repeal Common Core.
"If Republican voters want to vote for a candidate who supports Common Core, I suspect they'll have that option or several options," Jindal said. "Do we trust bureaucrats, or do we trust parents? I trust parents."