Bobby Jindal enters race seeking mantle of 'outsider'
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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal launched his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination outside New Orleans on Wednesday, presenting himself as a rebel willing to upend the GOP establishment.

“Today’s Republican Party in Washington has been beaten into submission and is increasingly afraid to speak the truth,” Jindal said. “I’m running for president without permission from headquarters in Washington, D.C. But rest assured, I’m tanned, rested and ready for this fight.”

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The two-term governor took direct shots at some of his party colleagues who are also seeking the nomination in 2016, calling out former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by name.

“You’ve heard Jeb Bush say that we need to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general election,” Jindal said. “We’re going to help him do that.”

“[Bush] is saying that we need to hide our conservative ideals, but the truth is, if we go down that road again, we will lose again,” he continued, an apparent allusion to the losing presidential campaigns of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Meghan McCain shares story of miscarriage Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-Ariz.) in 2008, both of whom had been deemed electable by party insiders.

“Let’s do something new, let’s endorse our own principles for a change and boldly speak the truth without fear.”

Jindal also slammed the GOP field more broadly, saying “there are a lot of great talkers running for president already” but none that match his record of slashing government and defending conservative principles.

He is also the first-ever Indian-American candidate for president, though he often inveighs against the “hyphenation” of American identity, as he did in his launch speech.

The Louisiana governor faces a steep climb in his quest for the GOP nomination.

He’s the 13th Republican candidate to officially enter the race, although the field is expected to swell to 16 by next month.

Jindal’s first order of business will be to improve his standing in the polls enough to qualify for the upcoming GOP debates, the first two of which will be capped at 10 candidates based on national polling numbers.

He barely registers in national polls and currently sits in 15th place, according to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average.

The governor’s outsider bid will hinge on his performance in the Iowa caucuses, where he’ll be competing with several other candidates for the support of socially conservative voters.

Jindal is currently performing as dismally in Iowa as he is nationwide, buried in 14th place, according to the RCP average. 

However, he has emerged as a fierce critic of radical Islam and a conservative firebrand on the issue of religious freedom, which are important issues to the social conservatives who turn out in strong numbers for the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

“Christianity is under assault today in America,” Jindal said Wednesday. “I’m going to say this slowly so that even Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGeorge Takei: US has hit a new low under Trump Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, back protesters Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE can understand it. America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America, and it’s time we stopped trying to divide ourselves against each other.”

This story was updated at 7:58 p.m.