Jindal 'can't speak to' Romney's 'ObamaCare' joke

"I can't speak to the governor's sense of humor," Jindal said on a conference call with reporters Thursday when asked about Romney's comment.

Jindal also avoided a question about the political impact of Romney's "47 percent" comments.

"I'm not going to be one of these political pundits," Jindal said before launching into a long attack on Obama's economic record.

"The American dream is not to be dependent on a government program; that's a nightmare," he said.

The Romney campaign organized the call to highlight new figures released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office that said 6 million uninsured people will have to pay a penalty under the healthcare law's individual mandate.

The mandate — the centerpiece of the landmark Supreme Court case over the Affordable Care Act — requires most taxpayers to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. CBO said 6 million people will be subject to the penalty, up from 4 million in previous estimates.

"The new CBO report shows yet another broken promise from the Obama White House," Jindal said, agruing the mandate penalty is a tax on low-income families.

Jindal rejected the idea that Romney himself might be vulnerable on the issue because his Massachusetts healthcare law also included a mandate. The Massachusetts law, like Obama's, imposes a tax penalty on many people who do not buy insurance, with exemptions for the poorest households.

Romney has consistently said the mandate worked in Massachusetts but should not have been applied at the federal level, Jindal said, adding that it "should have been, by the way, struck down by the court."

— This post was updated at 5:46 p.m.