Let me admit something before I begin here… I am a big fan of Governor Bobby Jindal. I don’t agree with everything he says and does, but by and large I agree with the Governor of Louisiana on most things. A little over a year ago I wrote that Bobby Jindal was my preferred choice (even though I love Rand Paul and Ted Cruz too), and that hasn’t changed. If the election were tomorrow, my pick would still be Bobby Jindal.
On Sunday Governor Jindal appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd who asked him straight on about whether or not the Governor planned on running for President in 2016. Governor Jindal demurred, saying that his family was “praying about this.” However, he also took the time to lay out a very convincing argument for why the nation would do well to have him be the next President.
Beyond Governor Jindal’s own arguments – let me remind you of why he is likely the most experienced and qualified candidate (for either party) that will be running in 2016.
Bobby Jindal (R-LA) was born in Baton Rouge, LA and graduated with a double major from Brown University at age 20. He was accepted into Harvard Medical and Yale Law, but chose instead to study at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his M.Litt. degree in political science with a focus on health policy and his graduate thesis was titled, “A needs based approach to healthcare.” At age 24 he began his career in politics.
At age 24, he was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. During his time as Secretary, Louisiana’s Medicaid program went from being bankrupt with a $400 million deficit into surpluses totaling $220 million.
In 1999 at age 28, he became the youngest ever President of the University of Louisiana system. In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Jindal as the assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Jindal served in the House of Representatives from 2005 – 2008, and then in 2008 was elected Governor of Louisiana. He was reelected in 2012 and will be completing his second term as Governor in time for the next Presidential election in 2016.
That is one heck of a resume. He’s also a strong social conservative who stands for our freedom of religion, traditional marriage and against abortion. But wait there’s more… listen to what Jindal tells Chuck Todd.
CHUCK TODD: All right. I’m going to ask you about your own presidential ambitions. A majority in Louisiana disapprove of your job as governor. Why is that a launching pad to Iowa and New Hampshire?
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: Chuck, I don’t care at all about poll numbers. I never have. The reality is, I was elected in Louisiana to make generational changes. Look at what we’ve done in Louisiana. So now, we’ve cut our state budget 26%, cut the number of state employees 34%.
We’ve got the best private-sector economy in a generation. Our economy has grown twice as fast as the national economy. More people working than ever before at a higher income than ever before. We transformed the charity house. That’s, like, the third rail in Louisiana politics.
Statewide school of choice, so our children have the opportunity to get a great education. If I were to run, and I haven’t made that decision, if I were to run for president, it’s because I believe in our country. The American dream is at jeopardy. This president has defined the American dream as more dependence on the government. We need to restore the American dream. So it’s more about opportunity and growth and not redistribution.
CHUCK TODD: But very quickly, one part of your record, you now have nearly a billion dollar hole in your budget. Every midyear review, your deficit has grown. You did a big tax cut at the beginning of your term as governor. Revenues haven’t followed.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: That’s not actually true, Chuck. The billion dollars is if you assume we grow government next year. Our budget’s been balanced every year. We’ve never raised taxes. I’ve had eight credit upgrades in three of the major credit rating agencies. Best credit ratings in decades in our state. We’ve actually balanced our budget every single year without running deficits, without raising taxes.
CHUCK TODD: Well, you constitutionally have to balance your budget.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: And we need to do that in D.C. as well. But my point is, we’ve actually made the tough choices. Unlike D.C., we cut our spending $9 billion. I’m not talking about cutting growth. We cut our budget by $9 billion. So we’ve actually balanced our budget and we’ve done it by growing the private sector.
We’ve got, right now in Louisiana, we’ve got more than 80,000 jobs, more than $50 billion in private investment coming into our state. We actually, our economy’s doing so well, when I was elected, our worry was we were losing our sons and daughters. Today, our biggest challenge is filling all these great jobs.
CHUCK TODD: Governor Bobby Jindal, I will have to leave it there. You’re going to decide when, by the 1st of the year?
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: First half of next year. We are praying about this. But bottom line is let’s restore the American dream for our children and grandchildren.
CHUCK TODD: Governor, thanks for coming back to Meet the Press. Coming up, President Obama says, “Election? What election?” The Democrats’ midterm losses not only haven’t stopped him, they seemed to have energized him. How will Republicans respond?
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