The former governor of Florida will not be in Buckhead until tomorrow, so he was not on hand to watch Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal address the RedState Gathering this afternoon.
But as Jindal fights for attention in a crowded field of insurgent Republicans running for president, he took direct aim at "establishment" Republican Jeb Bush, in front of a friendly crowd of conservative activists. Said Jindal:
"Jeb Bush says that we need to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election. I disagree with that, and let me translate that for you.
"That is the establishment saying we need to hide our conservative beliefs and try to get the left and the media to like us. I’m here to tell you if we try to do that again we will lose again, and we will deserve to lose again."
But Jindal would not take on the race's other polling front-runner. Asked during a session with reporters about Donald Trump leaving the door open for a third-party bid:
"I think that the party donors, the party leaders need to take a deep breath. Put down the strong products, get away from the window ledges. Reality is this: the voters will decide who the nominee is and they’ll decide who the president is.
"Anybody who tries to clear the field, anybody who tries to pick our nominee – it’s going to backfire. There’ll be a backlash against them. ...
"In terms of a third-party candidacy, I don’t think he’d do that. Obviously, it wouldn’t be good to do that. But again, party leaders, party donors just need to relax."
Jindal's speech was heavily on biography, with his father's journey from India and hard work as an immigrant, and his record as governor cutting the state government and, most recently, banning Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood.
With apologies for saying so in Georgia, Jindal threw out a Jimmy Carter riff as related to President Barack Obama:
"I used to go around saying he was the worst president since Jimmy Carter. After President Obama’s re-election, I apologized. That was disrespectful to the president. So I publicly apologized to Jimmy Carter."
Bobby Jindal quick hits
Biggest applause line: “Folks who want to come to America should come legally, should learn English, should adopt our values and roll up their sleeves and get to work..”
Sharpest jab at a Democrat: “Let me say this slowly so even Hillary Clinton can understand this. The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.”
Sharpest jab at a Republican: Bush was the only foe he named, but he could have been talking about any number of Republicans here: "We’ve got a lot of great talkers running for president. The problem is, we’ve got a great talker in the White House already. If great talk was enough, we’d be on Easy Street."
Check out the rest of our recent RedState stories:
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