Louisiana visit recalls often-strained relationship between Obama, Jindal

President Obama will survey storm damage in Louisiana on Monday, just two years after an alleged confrontation with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) during the BP oil spill. 

The conservative Republican governor and prominent Mitt Romney surrogate has been loudly critical of Obama and his handling of Gulf Coast disasters.

Jindal caused a stir in his 2010 autobiography, Leadership and Crisis, which painted Obama as thin-skinned and image-obsessed in the aftermath of the BP spill. 

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Now, at the height of the campaign season, the two will meet again when Obama makes a Labor Day stop in Louisiana to survey damage from Hurricane Isaac, which battered the state last week.

Recalling Obama's first visit to Louisiana after the BP spill in his book, Jindal said that Obama took him aside on the airport tarmac for a harsh exchange in full view of the press corps. 

The president, Jindal wrote, complained about a letter requesting food stamps for victims of the disaster. 

"He was concerned about looking bad because of the letter," Jindal wrote. " 'Careful,' he said to me, 'this is going to get bad for everyone.' " 

Jindal went on to describe the interaction as a "press stunt," charging that Obama's staff told the media to watch the conversation. 

Some have guessed that Obama was angry at Jindal because the governor provided the food-stamp letter to the media and pushed the administration for a fast response. 

The White House declined at the time to confirm the incident, but defended Obama's actions on the oil spill when asked to respond to Jindal's version of events.

"The administration’s response was the largest response to an environmental disaster in our nation’s history," White House spokesman Adam Abrams said in a statement at the time. 

"From day one, President Obama has directed his administration to work with state and local governments to respond … and help Gulf communities recover." 

The alleged incident returned to headlines in January after another tarmac confrontation between Obama and a Republican governor — Jan Brewer of Arizona. 

In an interview on Fox News, Jindal said that news of the exchange "brought back memories." 

"I was amazed by two things," he said. "One, that [Obama] was mad about the wrong things, and secondly, that he was so thin-skinned. It was clearly a media stunt. 

"I wanted him to be president of the country and come down here and lead and instead he was playing political theatrics." 

Obama brushed off the incident with Brewer as GOP attention-seeking. 

"It’s always good publicity for a Republican if they’re in an argument with me," Obama told ABC News in an interview in January. 

Obama’s Monday trip to Louisiana comes just days after a similar visit from Romney, who flew to New Orleans after accepting the GOP presidential nomination in Tampa, Fla. Romney and Jindal toured flooded areas together. 

On Friday, Jindal insisted that neither visit is about politics. 

"There is no time for partisan politics in Louisiana at this time," Jindal told a press conference. "We are responding to a storm."

Jindal said he had invited both Obama and Romney and that “even outside of the hurricane, the president is always welcome in our state. I think it is an honor for the state to get a visit from the president of the United States." 

But Jindal was also an early critic of Obama's response to Hurricane Isaac. 

Early last week, Jindal said Obama's initial “emergency” disaster declaration for Louisiana was not enough to help local officials prepare for the Category 1 storm. 

In a letter dated Aug. 27, Jindal told Obama that only a full disaster declaration would provide for "reimbursement of expenses that the state is taking to prepare for the storm." 

"A core responsibility of the federal government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens when threatened," Jindal wrote. 

Jindal is hoping the federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs for the storm. Obama, meanwhile, approved disaster relief on the basis of a "standardized" federal-state split of 75 and 25 percent, respectively. 

"We've learned from past experiences that we need to push the federal bureaucracy," said Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin.

Full federal storm relief is rare but was authorized by Congress after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the president’s handling of Gulf disasters, including rebuilding efforts from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that are still ongoing.

"From January 2009, when [Obama] took office, this administration has provided $5 billion in funding to New Orleans and the surrounding areas in efforts to recover from that storm and prepare for other storms," said Carney.

This story was updated at 6:41 p.m.