Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal kicked off his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination with an anti-Washington message calling for the GOP to present a staunchly conservative alternative to Democrats.
In a speech at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana, the second-term governor and former Congressman argued that his record of reducing the state government workforce and cutting the state budget showed he could succeed in tackling big problems in the federal government.
“The guy in the White House today is a great talker, and we have a bunch of great talkers running for President,” he said. “We’ve had enough of talkers, it’s time for a doer. I’m not running for president to be somebody, I’m running for President to do something.”
Earlier in the day, the second-term governor officially announced his campaign with a Facebook video showing hidden camera footage of Jindal and his wife breaking the news to their three kids and a brief statement on his campaign website.
Jindal is currently coming in last place in a 15-person Republican field, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. That’s below the important 10-candidate cutoff to appear in upcoming Republican presidential debates.
But his speech was indifferent to these challenges, showing a muscular — if sometimes vague — outreach to conservative voters with calls to reduce the national debt, reform Social Security and Medicare, institute term limits in Congress, repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and secure the border.
Jindal took shots at two frontrunners, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“You’ve heard Jeb Bush say that we need to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election — we’re going to help him do that,” he said, referencing Bush’s argument that he would avoid taking stands that might hurt him as nominee. “What Jeb Bush is saying that we need to hide our conservative ideals. But the truth is, if we go down that road again, we will lose again.”
He also took multiple slams at Clinton, arguing that she wants to grow the size of government, does not respect religious liberty and wants to divide Americans “by ethnicity, by gender, and by economic status.”
In what may have been a reference to his uphill climb to the nomination, Jindal quoted Richard Nixon’s informal slogan from his successful 1968 campaign, which came after losing a presidential campaign to John Kennedy in 1960 and spending years in the political wilderness.
“In case it’s not clear by now, I’m running for President without permission from headquarters in Washington D.C.,” he said. “But rest assured — I’m tanned, rested, and ready for this fight.”
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