ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is suggesting Jeb Bush is out of step with Republican principles in the party’s presidential race.
Bush departs from some conservative Republicans with his policies on immigration and education. The former Florida governor has said GOP presidential candidates should be willing to “lose the primary to win the general” election.
Jindal told The Associated Press on Monday that’s another way of saying Republicans should hide their beliefs in an effort to be more appealing to the media and Democratic voters.
“We have tried that … we have lost.” Jindal said. “We need to embrace our principles.”
Jindal’s comments came during a three-day campaign swing through New Hampshire, host of the first presidential primary. He’s struggling to gain traction in the big pack of candidates and part of his strategy centers on courting the religious wing of the Republican Party. Unlike in Iowa, religious conservatives do not make up a large part of the Republican voting bloc in New Hampshire.
Jindal said he’ll make headway here by sticking to Republican principles and promoting his record as a two-term governor. Voters, Jindal said, want candidates who are honest and say what they really believe.
While Bush was the only Republican candidate Jindal mentioned by name, he did say the country needs a president with executive experience — a popular line for several governors seeking the nomination.
“We don’t just need a talker … we’ve got a first-term senator in the White House who needed on-the-job training,” he said. “We can’t afford more of that.”
Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky are all running for president while serving their first Senate terms, as did Barack Obama on his way to the White House.
When asked, Jindal said he disagrees with businessman Donald Trump’s recent comments that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, but declined to criticize Trump or his presidential candidacy further.