Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a convert to Catholicism from Hinduism, may not have high enough poll numbers to be in the main debate, but he gave it all he had in the preliminary CNN Republican debate, held prior to the main debate on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party movement and president of Citizens for Self-Governance, issued the statement following the event, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, with the former POTUS’ Air Force One as a backdrop:
“Tonight’s first debate was clarifying as to each candidates’ strength with lots of good exchanges between the candidates. Very good control of the floor by Jake Tapper. Good questions from Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash.
“Gov. Jindal comes out on top, by a long way. He came off as much more personable than we have seen before. His knowledge and genuine passion came through. This was his night for sure.
“Santorum neither gained nor lost ground, and for him that’s a big loss. This might be nearing the end of his campaign.
“Sen. Graham made it clear why he’d be a good Secretary of Defense. His incessant focus on the issue and his deep knowledge make him a good prospect. But President…not likely.
“Gov. Pataki demonstrated that he’s out of touch with the Republican electorate and should stay retired. He’s the biggest loser of the night. Perhaps impossible to go below zero…but he might. Next to drop out?”
Several of the candidates have said strong things about Planned Parenthood tonight (more from the big debate later), but here’s a sampling of Jindal’s broadsides against the baby-parts brokers, courtesy of a rush transcript provided by CNN:
We have got the majority; what good has it done us? See, they said they were going to stop amnesty. They said they were going to repeal ObamaCare. They didn’t do either. Now they’re not even willing to fight to defund Planned Parenthood. They’ve already — [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell has already waved the white flag of defeat.
And this exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham:
Listen to what you’ve heard. You — you basically heard a Senate Republican say, “We can’t defund Planned Parenthood, despite these barbaric videos.”
GRAHAM: Are you going to shut the government down?
JINDAL: “We can’t — we can’t…
GRAHAM: Are you going to shut the government…
JINDAL: “… we can’t get rid of Obamacare” — Lindsey, let me answer this question now. I wish the Senate Republicans had half the fight in them the Senate Democrats did.
Look, President Obama didn’t give up on Obamacare when they lost the Senate election in Massachusetts. I want my side to follow the Constitution. They broke the Constitution, they broke the law, but they forced Obamacare down our throats, even when they didn’t have 60 votes.
I wish Republicans in D.C. had half the fight of the Senate Democrats to get rid of Obamacare, to defund Planned Parenthood.
If we can’t defund Planned Parenthood now, if we can’t stand for innocent human life after these barbaric videos, it is time to be done with the Republican Party.
We defunded them in Louisiana. Let’s defund them in D.C.
And then he came back to it at the end:
JINDAL: Jake [to Tapper], I’m a doer, not a talker. Look, the idea of America is slipping away from us.
If you want somebody who is going to manage the slow decline of this country, makes incremental changes, vote for somebody else. If you want to vote for somebody who understands what is at stake — Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts across this country, and the Senate Republicans have already given up, even without a fight.
Jindal then headed to the spin room (as seen above) and avoided the post-debate grip-and-grin — which included Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former California governor who has just been named as the successor to Donald Trump as host of “The Apprentice.”
In the main debate, which is still ongoing as I type, Planned Parenthood was again an issue, with Carly Fiorina landing a contained but emotional gut punch. (Click here to see what Carly Fiorina said on the issue in the main debate).
Here’s a clip of the two practicing Catholics in the debate — Jindal and Sen. Rick Santorum — discussing the topic of the day, Donald Trump:
And CNN’s highlight reel of the best moments from the “undercard” debate:
Image: CNN screenshot