NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — He's no "Democrat Lite."
Bobby Jindal may have had his political stock hurt by a "cheesy" speech back in 2009, but the Louisiana governor seemed to be getting his mojo back six years later as he stoked the Republican base Thursday night.
"We don't need to be cheaper liberal Democrats," Jindal told the crowd at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference. "We need to be principled conservatives."
Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. The 42nd annual CPAC, which runs until Feb. 28, features most of the potential Republican candidates for president, from Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina to Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. (Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Jindal hammered familiar GOP talking points: repeal Obamacare, repeal Common Core, fight the Islamic State aggressively.
He also played populist notes as he decried big government bureaucrats.
"They think we're not smart enough to buy our own insurance, they think we're not smart enough to buy guns, and if you live in New York City, they think we're not smart enough to buy a Big Gulp," Jindal said.
That's also what the Common Core debate boils down to, Jindal said.
Of teachers' unions, Jindal said, "They said, 'Poor parents don't have a clue when it comes to making choices for their kids.'"
Jindal shared the story of his young son, forced to take a Common Core math class in which he was supposed to explain why all of his answers to basic math problems were correct.
"For every single answer he wrote, 'Just because it is.'"
Jindal said he tried to work through the problems the way Common Core standards demanded — and he couldn't do it.
Jindal also hammered President Barack Obama for his weakening America's standing on the international stage.
"We must win the war against radical Islamic terrorism," Jindal said. "President Obama has shown himself incapaable of being our commander-in-chief. He says, 'We are not at war with Islam.' Well certainly we're not at war with Islam, but we are at war with radical Islam."
Jindal affirmed his belief that the Islamic State is a bunch of "barbarians" and defended his call for Muslim clerics to say that Islamic State fighters "are going straight to Hell, exactly where they belong."
While Jindal's calls for strong action against the Islamic State drew strong applause, his brightest moments in the CPAC audience's eyes may have been when he called for American assimilation, drawing on his own background as the son of immigrant parents.
"We used to be the melting pot," Jindal said. "Now the politically correct crowd says we're a salad bowl."
As the audience stood and clapped, Jindal kept going.
"By the way, I am tired of hyphenated Americans," Jindal said. "We're not African-Americans and Indian-Americans and—" at this point Jindal was temporarily drowned out by cheers. "We're all Americans."
[sharequote align="center"]"I am tired of hyphenated Americans. We're not African-Americans and Indian-Americans...We're all Americans."[/sharequote]
As he explores the possibility of a 2016 presidential run, Jindal said his hope is that his children are able to say the same prayer that his parents led him in during his youth: "Thank God that you are blessed to be born in the greatest country in the history of the entire world: the United States of America."
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