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RLC 2014: Jindal, Duck Dynasty's Robertson Among La. Headliners

Update 4:30 p.m.

One of the Republican Party's biggest national meetings arrived in New Orleans this week. Along with the food, the Republican Leadership Conference had plenty of local flourishes, including speeches from Gov. Bobby Jindal and Monroe's own Phil Robertson. Highlights through Friday's events below:


Elephants in the room at the May 29-31 event, held at the Hilton Riverside, include Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Sen. Ted Cruz.


On Saturday, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is Sen. Mary Landrieu's best-funded challenger in the fall elections, is scheduled to speak. 


Louisiana Republican Party chairman Roger Villere formally endorsed Cassidy, picking the doctor from Baton Rouge over other challengers to Landrieu from the right:





Before all that, there was Bobby, Rob and Robertson.


Core of Jindal

With any hopes for 2016 riding on his performance at high-profile gatherings like this one, Jindal's Thursday night speech was much-watched by the GOP faithful. The gov pegged his most withering criticism to the Common Core education standards, likely trying to burnish the conservative education policy bonafides he picked up after passing Louisiana's voucher-focused school reforms through the legislature several years ago.


"Let me be very clear," the gov said after stating that he is "against the Common Core." "I'm for standards and I'm for our kids learning and our kids being able to compete but it seems to me that there is something fundamentally wrong when the bureaucrats, when the federal government especially, thinks they know best and they don't need to listen to parents."


Jindal's speech earned much applause. Press, however, were quick to point out that Jindal once supported Common Core, and worked with other governors to develop the standards. The Huffington Post has a handy timeline detailing the "evolution" of Jindal's position.


Fetch a Palin
With Louisiana's Senate race a big focus of both national parties, the fight for the seat currently held by Mary Landrieu was also in the spotlight. State Rep. Paul Hollis, who is running to unseat Landrieu, got nine minutes of podium time:


No political circus would be complete without sideshows, and as ever the Tea Party was happy to provide. Col. Rob Maness, another challenger from the right, got some surprise star power when former Alaska Gov. and Veep candidate Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance to introduce him. Palin endorsed Maness in the race earlier this month, and the joint appearance seemed to cement the political match.



After Palin introduced Maness, she was off to hold water for another Louisiana personality.


Phil's Drill

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was already A&E famous before December. But ever since his thoughts on black people and gay people closed out the 2013 cycle of cable controversies, Robertson's beard has been making appearances in political circles.


With pens and thumbs drawn, the media types gathered at the RLC were ready for more vitirol to manufacture another firestorm when Robertson took the podium. After an introduction from Palin, Robertson told the Republican Party to "get Godly," and opined the "evil" coming from the White House. 


But when it came to race, Robertson was more conciliatory than in past appearances.


"There is one race on this planet," he said. "It's called the human race. Therefore, you have no right to color-code anyone."


Here's video of some of his remarks, via America Bridge 21st Century:

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