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Jindal targets GOP establishment: 'America doesn't need two liberal parties'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dismisses the idea of limiting the number of Republican primary debates as a push for a less-conservative GOP presidential candidate.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to reporters Monday in Washington.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, lagging in early polls ranking potential Republican presidential candidates, criticized GOP officials for their plan to limit the number of primary debates, saying it targets conservatives.

Distressed by the damage party leaders felt the 20 Republican primary debates caused in 2012, the Republican National Committee has announced a plan to hold just nine debates in the upcoming presidential election cycle. 

Speaking at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters, Governor Jindal said there was this “idealistic belief that if we could just have fewer debates, if we could have a gentler, kinder nominating process that would be good for the party and good for the nominee.” He added that, “Well you know what, democracy is messy and the donors, the political leaders, the establishment, the pundits, they don’t get to pick our nominee.”

“A longer nominating process and a tougher nominating process didn’t seem to hurt then-Senator Obama when he was running against Senator Clinton,” he said.

Jindal, who said he would make a final decision on whether to run for president in “the next few months” charged that some Republicans supporting fewer debates were doing so in an effort to have the party nominate a less-conservative candidate.

“Some of those who are wringing their hands about the nominating process, what they really mean and they don’t say this outright, is well we just need less conservative voters, we need less conservative candidates, and I think that is nonsense. I think the reality is that America doesn’t need two liberal parties,” Jindal said. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was the subject of some not-so-veiled criticism by Jindal for his support of Common Core educational standards for grades K-12. “It seems to me that it makes no sense to believe that folks in D.C. know better than parents, than teachers, than local leaders,” Jindal said of Common Core. 

When asked how Bush’s position on Common Core would affect his electability, Jindal said, “If Governor Bush were to decide to become a candidate, I am sure that he would be happy to make the case for his views to the electorate, whether it is on Common Core or other issues.”

Jindal pointedly added, “As for me ... I am for the repeal, getting it out of our classrooms but also making sure there is not another iteration of more federal intrusion, involvement into our local classrooms.”

In RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Bush currently leads the 12 person field of Republican presidential hopefuls, with support of 16.4 percent of those polled. Jindal ranks tenth  in the field with support of 2.8 percent of those polled.  

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