Jindal courts religious right as GOP field gets active

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: May 10, 2014 - 7:01 PM
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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he doesn’t know if he’s running for president. His schedule suggests otherwise.

Bobby Jindal, Rhodes scholar, conservative intellectual and Louisiana governor, travels this weekend to Lynchburg, Va.-based Liberty University to give a commencement address at the conservative Christian school founded by the late Jerry Falwell.

The visit is part of an increasingly crowded travel schedule for the Louisiana politician who is eyeing a 2016 presidential bid. Jindal was in Washington last month talking about his own prescription for health care — starting with repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

He insists that Republicans need to offer substantive ideas to counter the Democratic initiatives they complain about. Jindal has formed a new think tank America Next to support and distribute those ideas including prescriptions for new national energy and education policies.

Jindal is also trying to establish an emotional connection with a core group of GOP voters around his conversion to Christianity and his belief in religious freedom. He gave a speech at the Reagan Library a few months ago stating that religious values are under attack in the United States. That is likely to be the theme of his Liberty address, which supporters expect to be broadcast at least in part by C-SPAN and by Christian broadcast outlets.Influential pastors from South Carolina and Iowa are attending the event this weekend and will meet privately with Jindal, according to people familiar with Jindal’s schedule. Some of the pastors have committed in the past to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who is also considering a 2016 race. When asked by reporters recently whether he is running for president, Jindal answered. “I don’t know.”

rubio in new Hampshire to test the waters

Sen. Marco Rubio accused Democrats of threatening the American dream as he campaigned across New Hampshire, appearing in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state for the first time in 18 months.

On Friay, the Florida Republican also jabbed at former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, considered the overwhelming favorite to win the next Democratic nomination if she chooses to run, in a speech to hundreds of Republicans gathered along the state’s seacoast. “They’re threatening to nominate someone now who wants to take us to the past — to an era that’s gone and never coming back,” Rubio, told the Rockingham County Republican Committee, a reference to Clinton.

The appearance marks the clearest sign yet of Rubio’s interest in a 2016 presidential bid.

RNC wants to control primary debates

The Republican National Committee on Friday took steps to end free-for-all presidential debates and vowed to punish potential contenders who participate in rogue forums.

As he opened the party’s meeting in Memphis, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the national committee can’t control everything in politics. “But we have an important mission,” he said. ”

As he spoke, reports circulated that Americans for Prosperity plans to escalate its nationwide TV advertising, improve voter data collection and strengthen its 31-state ground game.

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  • GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida spoke to a group of GOP activists at the Rockingham County Republican Committee’s Freedom Founders Dinner on Friday.

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