After the blowup over the fact the former Clinton spin doctor had conducted a hostile interview of Peter Schweizer over his book about the corrupt Clinton Foundation while failing to disclose that he was a donor to it, you would think that conservatives and Republicans would be through with George Stephanopoulos. Sen. Mike Lee was one of several GOP figures who announced they were finished with the This Week host, and it would seem a no-brainer that denying ABC their presence would be a good way to force Stephanopoulos out as the anchor of ABC’s Sunday news show.
That would entail a bit more discipline than we’re going to see out of the current crop of Republican politicians, and presidential contenders in particular. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal was one of three long-shot hopefuls showing up on Stephanopoulos’ air yesterday, and in Jindal’s case he waded through a bevy of typical Democrat talking points disguised as questions in an effort to inject life into his nascent presidential bid (which Republican primary voters Jindal and his people expected would actually be watching Stephanopoulos is a worthwhile question). A transcript follows…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Another Republican looking hard at the race, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He joins us right now.
And, Governor, thank you for joining us.
You heard Ben Carson on Rand Paul. You’re even tougher on Senator Paul this week, saying it’s impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam.
If that’s the case, will you refuse to support Rand Paul if he’s your party’s nominee?
BOBBY JINDAL (R), GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA: George, thank you for joining me this morning. Look, I don’t think it’s going to come to that. I don’t he will be our party’s nominee.
I wasn’t surprised to hear a presidential candidate want to continue the failed foreign policies of President Obama. I was just surprised that it was a Republican. Listen to what he said. He said that ISIS exists because of foreign policy hawks in the Republican Party.
George, that’s nonsense. ISIS is evil. ISIS exists because of radical Islam, radical Islam. It’s radical Islamic terrorism. Nobody in America is to blame for the existence of ISIS. That is reckless. That is almost bizarre rhetoric coming from somebody who’s auditioning to be commander in chief.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And what you do to defeat them right now?
JINDAL: Well, look, right now, we need a — first of all, we need a commander in chief who’s honest with us and tells us the real enemy that we face. We’ve got a president who, for some reason, doesn’t want to even say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” And we need to identify the enemy. We need to do everything we can to hunt them down and kill them. We need to take the political handcuffs off of our military advisers.
The president, for example, right now has gone to Congress, saying give me the authorization to use military force with a three-year deadline, with a ban on ground troops. That’s ridiculous. Let’s not tell the enemy what we will or will not do. Let’s provide arms to the Kurds. Let’s show our allies in the region we’re serious about defeating this enemy.
This president with his failed red line with Assad, for example, in Syria, I think, discouraged Sunni allies in the region that want to help us.
If we are serious about getting rid of ISIS, destroying their ability to hold ground in Syria and Iraq, destroying their ability to build the so-called caliphate, one, we stop their ability to recruit. But second, I think we encourage other allies that want to work with us, that want to help us wipe out this enemy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rand Paul’s team his back pretty hard at you this week, calling you a flip-flopper on Common Core, saying you’ve cratered your state’s economy and budget. You’re response?
JINDAL: Well, look, we have cut our budget — we measure our success by the success of our people, not the success of government. George, we’ve cut our budget 26 percent, over 30,000 fewer state government employees. Our economy has grown twice as fast as the national economy, three times as fast. Job creation, look, I think the senator is a little sensitive.
The reality is, we’ve already had a one term senator from the Democratic Party who wanted to retreat from the war, that wanted to project American weakness. We don’t need to replace him with a one-term Republican senator that also wants to project that same weakness. All around the world, because we’re trying to lead from behind, you see Iran on the march, more influence in Iraq, in Syria and Lebanon. You see Russia on the march, more in eastern Ukraine. You see China on the rise in Asia. This is what happens when America tries to retreat from the world.
We need peace through strength. All that weakness does is provoke our enemies. We’re not going to defeat evil through weakness. Unfortunately, Senator Paul doesn’t seem to understand that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you said you’re going to decide about your own run next month, but I wonder if you’re being overtaken by events. The field continues to grow every single day. You just don’t seem to be getting any traction. The latest poll out of Iowa, Bloomberg poll, has you tied for 14th. Is it too late?
JINDAL: No. George, a couple of things. On the Republican side, this will be an earned nomination, unlike the Democratic side, this is not a coronation.
I think voters want a big change. I think they want a candidate who is going to go to Washington, they want a president who is going to make not only a Republican president, but somebody who is going to go in there and rescue the American dream from becoming the European nightmare.
President Obama is drowning us in debt, more spending, more government dependence, more regulations, more taxes, that’s not the American dream. We need a president who will make big changes — I’m the only potential candidate that’s offered detailed policies. For example, on health care, foreign policy, energy, education.
Every Republican says they want to get rid Obamacare. We’re the only one offering detailed ideas about how do you actually do that?
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what do you make when you see someone with no governing experience like Dr. Ben Carson doing so well right now, doing so well in the polls, what does that tell you about what GOP primary voters are looking for?
JINDAL: Well, George, a couple of things, I’m still biased towards governors, especially vis-a-vis senators and others. I think that those that have run something either than the private sector over their states, we are better qualified. We’ve had now two terms of a president who needed on the job training, we can’t afford that again.
But the great thing is that this will ultimately be up to the voters. I think that in this election, at least on the Republican side, they’re not going to commit to like. They’re going to want to kick the tires. We have had — I think every politician says this is the most important election of our lifetime, this really is. I think voters want someone who can not just give a good talk, say good one-liner, they want somebody who can actually govern and can make big changes.
George, if we don’t shrink the size of the federal government, it’s going to overtake our economy. We have done that in Louisiana. We understand that as a government continues to grow, our people in the real world continue to suffer. Their incomes aren’t rising, we don’t see the real growth rate that we really deserve as a country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor, it sure sounds to me like you’re ready to get in. Thank you for joining us this morning.
JINDAL: Thank you, George.