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May 11. 2013 10:21PM

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at Manchester fundraiser


Ray Pinard, from Deerfield, left, and Christopher Connelly, from Bedford, talk with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), during a reception hosted by NH Senate President Peter Bragdon on Friday at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
MANCHESTER - Welcome to New Hampshire, Gov. Jindal. Will we be seeing you again soon? There was a great deal of curiosity before and after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's appearance and brief remarks during a fundraiser on Friday.

He has been pegged as a possible candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, a label he knows is likely to stick until he gives a definitive answer regarding any interest he has in being a candidate.

"Anybody who's thinking about 2016 needs to have their head examined," Jindal said after the reception.

Jindal said he's not being coy, just pragmatic. Only six months have passed since the general election, which Jindal considers as an example of change needed within the Republican Party if it plans to someday retake the presidency.

"We don't need to be focused on 2016 right now. Let's focus on the debate. Let's win the debate," Jindal said.

"A majority of the American people thinks the federal government should be doing less and they still voted for President Obama.

"That shows we've got work to do as a party," he said.

Jindal said it's also too early. For now, he Jindal said he is focused more on the two jobs he already has as governor of Louisiana and chairman of the Republican Governors Association. But he's considered to be enough of a potential presidential candidate that C-Span covered his appearance Friday as part of the network's "Road to the White House."

Jindal spoke for about 20 minutes, covering a range of topics and expanding a bit on an earlier call he made about the GOP needing to "stop being the stupid party."

He also spoke at length about education reform.

"In Louisiana, and what I believe works elsewhere, are two very simple things. Let the dollars follow the kids so you have choice in competition and secondly, measure and reward great teachers," he said.

"You can make progress quickly.

"Anybody that tells you you've got to make incremental progress or wait, that's not enough because these kids only grow up once. For too long the solutions have been the same-old, same-old solutions - just more money, more bureaucracy. It's not that complicated."

Jindal was invited by Republican Senate Majority Committee to speak at the Radisson Hotel downtown.

Senate President Peter Bragdon said he was pleased with the turnout and amount of money Jindal's appearance generated for Senate Republicans.

"People who were here seemed to enjoy the message that they heard," Bragdon said. "I think the message he presents is one that will resonate well in New Hampshire if he decides to come back."

After his remarks, Jindal stuck around the hotel ballroom, shaking hands and chatting with the GOP donors who attended.

He also took a few more questions, including another round about his thoughts on being considered a potential candidate.

"We've got to win the debate of ideas. We don't need splintering into different groups or thinking about the 2016 election," Jindal said.

"We just had a presidential election that many thought we should have won based on the economic data and based on the objective facts. The reality is we spent too much time talking about the faults of the other side instead of making a positive case." he said.

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