Bobby Jindal: The GOP's Rising Star?

Morley Safer Profiles Louisiana's Gov., Who Some Think May Run For The White House One Day

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But much of his Indian heritage didn't stick. In high school, he converted from his parents' Hindu faith to Catholicism, and he rejected their political party as well.

"I grew up in a time when there weren't a whole lot of Republicans in this state. But I identified with President Reagan. He was, I thought, a very successful president," he explained.

Jindal went to Brown University where he studied biology, trying to fulfill his parents' dream to become a doctor. He was admitted to Harvard Medical School and Yale Law, but declined both. Instead he accepted a Rhodes Scholarship, and by the ripe old age of 24 he was running the Louisiana healthcare system.

The editor of the New Orleans Times Picayune, Jim Amoss, took notice. "Clearly, an ambitious and very clever young man," Amoss remembered.

"A young man in a hurry," Safer remarked.

"But he's also a young man who, by nature, is cautious. There is not a touch of recklessness about him," Amoss said.

Jindal first ran for governor at the age of 31, but lost a close race. Then he was elected twice to Congress. In 2007, he ran for governor again, and won big.

Amoss says he did it by convincing even rural Cajun voters that he was one of them. The rallying cry was "Bubbas for Bobby."

"That seems a huge reach for people like that to vote for somebody as, quote, unquote, 'exotic' as Bobby Jindal," Safer said.

"He shares, in many ways, the conservative values of people in north Louisiana and then, the other big factor that I think played in north Louisiana, as well as south Louisiana, is Katrina," Amoss explained.

Hurricane Katrina and the bungled state and federal response more than anything else set the stage for change in Louisiana. Jindal took 60 Minutes to the still devastated Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

"Anybody watching what happened in 2005 should come away with the distinct conclusion we should never allow that to happen again," Jindal told Safer.

"You talk about bureaucratic indifference. You think that's particular to any party?" Safer asked.

"No, but I don't think as Americans we should accept anything other than excellence in our government. Look, I'm a Republican. I don't think government's the answer to every problem. But that doesn't mean we should accept incompetence," he said.

But where he seems to be making the biggest waves is in ethics reform. Just weeks after taking office he forced through several bills that among other things called for far more transparency in the financial dealings of politicians.

It was a radical break with a tradition established in the 1930s by that powerful and massively corrupt governor, Huey Long.

Long built the towering state Capitol building as a monument to himself. More recently, Governor Edwin Edwards boasted that the only way he'd be voted out of office was to be "caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

Edwards now resides in the slammer, convicted of racketeering. Jindal says the non-stop party is finally over. It's time for the nerds to take over.