We continue to bring you one on one interviews with the 2016 presidential candidates. IPR’s Pat Blank sat down with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal following his appearance at the Black Hawk County GOP Lincoln Dinner in Waterloo on Sunday, August 9th.
Here is their conversation
It is a crowded field of GOP candidates, how are you distinguishing yourself from the rest?
Jindal: “A couple of things: one, I think we’ve got a lot of great talkers running for president. We’ve got a great talker in the White House today who’s never run anything. We need a doer, not a talker. Secondly, I’ve been telling folks we need to embrace our own principles. Jeb Bush says we’ve got to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election. To me what that means is the establishment is saying hide your conservative beliefs, try to get the left to like you. That never works. If we do that again we will lose the election and we will deserve to lose the election. So, secondly, I’m actually advocating we embrace our principles. Let’s secure the border, let’s grow the private sector economy, not the government economy, let’s invest in the military, let’s stand with our allies like Israel, let’s stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. These two things, doer not a talker and embracing our principles set me apart from the other candidates.
Fox News recently held a debate that was limited to the top 10 in the polls and then the “also rans”. If you were giving advice or had a chance to weigh in what would you have done, what would you have said?
Jindal: we’re happy to debate anybody anywhere, anytime, but what we’re choosing to do is spend our time here in Iowa. We’ve committed to going to all of the 99 counties, we’re getting a great response, and we’re getting more and more people to show up at our town halls. I stick around unless the last question is answered and the last person leaves. I know there are a lot of candidates who will say outrageous things to get on a national stage or get more attention. I don’t think that’s how you win this election. I think you win this election by talking directly to voters, listening to them and taking their questions. There’s a saying in Louisiana, you go hunting where the ducks are. The voters are here, this is where the election will be won.
We’re asking the candidates about key issues in the campaign such as immigration. You differ from the rest of the pack on that issue as evidenced by some of your television ads.
Jindal: Again, a couple weeks ago, Jeb doubled down on amnesty. I disagree with that, I think we need to secure the border, I don’t think we need a thousand page bill to do that. Secondly, I think we need to insist folks who want to come here should adopt our values, should learn English, and should roll up their sleeves and get to work. I am not for hyphenated Americans. I think we are all Americans, we’re not Asian Americans or African Americans or rich or poor Americans, not like the left tries to divide us. We are proudly a melting pot. We shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of Europe. I feel very strongly that folks who come here should come here legally adopt our values and become a part of the American melting pot.
Before you announced your candidacy, you held a town meeting in Cedar Falls with the Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security and you talked at length about the nuclear deal with Iran which has since passed in Congress on July 14th.
Jindal : There is still a chance for the Congress to do the right thing and reject this bad deal. Look all you need to know about this deal is Israel hated it, Syria loved it when it was announced, so our friends hated it, our enemies loved it. A good deal with Iran would cause them to lay down their arms and recognized Israel’s right to exist. This deal doesn’t do that. A good deal would have said anywhere, anytime inspections, no enriched uranium, no plutonium, no pathway to a plutonium bomb, would have said they have to cut off all ties to Hamas, Hezbollah and all terrorist groups and release our prisoners. Instead they are going to get tens of billions of dollars to support terrorist activities. Even the President admits that this money is likely to end up going to some bad places. But the President says we can’t put pressure on them because we need to borrow money from China, so we can’t force China to help us with tougher sanctions. That’s what happens when you try and negotiate from a position of weakness, we need to negotiate from a position of strength.
What are one or two words that come to mind when you think of Iowa?
Jindal: If I had to pick one word, it’s friendly. The folks here have been very welcoming, Look even the folks who don’t agree with you on everything. I’ve had folks come and wait in line for hours at town halls to tell me why they agree or disagree, very respectful, very welcoming and they want you to have a good experience in their state.