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Bobby Jindal Makes It Official: He's Running for President

Bobby Jindal Makes It Official: He's Running for President


The Louisiana governor is one more far-right, antigay candidate in the field.

Another far-right, antigay candidate has officially joined the list of those seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"My name is Bobby Jindal. I am running for president of the greatest country in the world -- the United States of America," he told an enthusiastic crowd this evening in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, The New York Times reports.

Jindal, 44, is well-known for his opposition to marriage equality and LGBT rights generally. He also believes those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds are being persecuted. In May he issued an executive order barring the state from penalizing any person, business, or organization that "acts in accordance with his religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman." The order came after state legislators killed a bill that would have accomplished the same goal.

In his announcement speech, Jindal focused primarily on economic issues, particularly his belief that the private sector serves citizens better than government does. But he did say, "Christianity is under assault in America."

He also stated his opposition to many of President Obama's ideas and those of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. "This president and his apprentice-in-waiting, Hillary Clinton, are leading America down the path to destruction," he said, according to a transcript posted by Time magazine. "Economically, culturally, and internationally." He claimed that Clinton is "trying to divide us by ethnicity, by gender, and by economic status."

Some Republicans, he said, have "tried to appease the left, to make the media like us better, to talk in politically correct language. ... Every Republican will say they will fight to protect the unborn, repeal Obamacare, secure the border, and destroy ISIS. I won't simply talk about these things, I will do these things."

He did not mention LGBT issues, but his record is clear. He has denounced the fixes to "religious freedom" laws in Arkansas and Indiana to allay concerns that they would facilitate discrimination, writing in a New York Times op-ed, "Large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty." He has called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage nationwide. At various events he has shared the stage with antigay activists from the American Family Association and other right-wing groups. On becoming governor in 2008, he let lapse a nondiscrimination order issued by his predecessor, which had barred state agencies and contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, among other characteristics.

Louisiana currently has no law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and its ban on same-sex marriage is one of the few that has been upheld by a federal court. But marriage equality could come to the state soon, depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules.

Jindal, the son of immigrants from India, was brought up as a Hindu but is a convert to Roman Catholicism. Before becoming governor, he served in Congress and worked in the George W. Bush administration.

His chance of becoming the Republican nominee is slim, according to pollsters and consultants. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released two days ago, he was tied for last (with Rick Santorum and George Pataki) among 16 Republican candidates, with fewer than 1 percent of those polled calling him their top presidential pick. He is also unpopular in his home state, which is experiencing major financial problems.

"I don't think anybody in Louisiana thinks he can win," Roy Fletcher, a Republican political consultant who worked for John McCain's presidential campaign in 2000, told the Times. "It's a real, real long shot."

But if he can mobilize social conservatives, he may have a better shot, other observers said. "Anybody who writes off Bobby Jindal could end up with egg on his face," conservative columnist Quin Hillyer told the paper. "I am not predicting a Jindal win. I'm just saying it's crazy to rule it out.

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