TIME 2016 Election

Asked About Christie, Bobby Jindal Says Next Election Can’t Be About ‘Personalities’

Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivers the keynote address during Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington on June 21, 2014. Molly Riley—AP

Amidst 2016 rivalry, the governor of Louisiana stops short of criticizing the New Jersey governor directly

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal looks and acts a lot like a presidential candidate these days, with a policy-focused agenda and clear strategy for distinguishing him from some of his Republican rivals.

Before a fundraiser Sunday for a local politician in Franklin, Tenn., TIME asked Jindal about the stylistic differences between him and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who made news over the weekend by dodging national policy questions. “Rather than focus on what other people may or may not be doing, I’ll just say I’ve always been a policy guy,” Jindal responded.

“The next big elections can’t be ones about personalities or just about slogans,” Jindal continued, in an apparent reference to Christie’s persona. “I think it’s incumbent upon our Republican Party to earn our way back to the majority. Let’s provide those specific answers.”

Jindal, who is known as a studious wonk, recently founded a policy group, called America Next, in an effort to win “the war of ideas” for conservatives. “When I did the 100 pages [of policy when I first ran for governor] the political consultants said it was a foolish thing to do,” Jindal said. “Who knows, but it’s just the way I am. I can’t imagine engaging in the political process without getting into the specifics, and I think people deserve that.”

This is not the first time that Jindal has made public comments about Christie, or found himself positioned as a rival. In 2012, Jindal and Christie were locked in a contentious behind-the-scenes battle to lead the Republican Governors Association—a fight Christie won. After Christie was bogged-down in the Bridge-gate scandal, Jindal minimized Christie’s leadership role, arguing on CNN in February “no one governor is more important than the other.”

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