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Bobby Jindal says he'll decide on a presidential run after midterms

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) says his decision won't hinge on polls or fundraising, but instead will be determined by the questions, 'Do I think I can make a difference, do I think I have something unique to offer?'

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Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal says he’s thinking and praying about running for president in 2016, and will make his decision after the November elections. His name barely registered a blip in a new CNN/ORC poll of GOP presidential possibles in New Hampshire, but that won’t be a factor in his decision, he says.

“If I were to decide to run for 2016, it would have nothing to do with polls or fundraising,” he told reporters at a Monitor breakfast Tuesday. Rather, his decisionmaking process would be much like the ones he used in deciding to run in other races – for Louisiana governor in 2003 (he lost), for the US House in 2004 (he won), and again for the governorship in 2007 (he won and was overwhelmingly reelected in 2011).

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The determining questions, he said, are, “Do I think I can make a difference, do I think I have something unique to offer?”

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The youngest governor at the time in the United States when he was elected, the Indian-American is big on policy papers. At his last breakfast with the Monitor, in April, the former Rhodes scholar with a background in health care laid out his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

This time, he came equipped with a glossy 47-page brochure on energy policy that promotes America as the world’s greatest energy producer. Gushing information like an oil rig, he said the US has more oil, natural gas, and coal than any other nation – and pointed to its technology and clean energy potential.

But he blasted the Obama administration for what he sees as getting in the way of US energy production. He called the administration “science deniers” – a twist on the usual phrase that the White House uses for those who don’t recognize man-made climate change.

He accused the administration of continuing to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast – despite the State Department finding that the pipeline would have no material impact on the environment. He also cited carbon-emission regulations that he said would export jobs in carbon-heavy industries to other countries, causing emissions there to increase.

Governor Jindal said he does believe the globe is warming and he thinks human activity plays a role in that. But how big that role is should be “left to scientists” to litigate.

Jindal, who is vice chair of the Republican Governors Association, also weighed in on races in the midterm elections. He was optimistic that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) would win – despite conservative policies that are leading to a revolt among some GOP voters in Kansas. Particularly worrisome to voters in this red state are tax cuts that have contributed to seriously reduced revenues. Internal polling shows his race tied, but Jindal expressed confidence in a win, saying the country needs “bold” leaders like Governor Brownback who will use political capital to shrink government.

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In his own backyard, “we absolutely have to beat Mary Landrieu," he said. "She is out of touch with Louisiana voters." The incumbent Democratic senator is in danger of losing her seat this fall, perhaps tipping control of the Senate to Republicans. He blamed her for not being able to influence President Obama to OK the Keystone pipeline, despite her position as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Back on his possible presidential bid, he touted the progress that Louisiana has made while he’s been governor: becoming a state where more people are coming than going; boasting an economy that’s growing at twice the rate of the nation; creating more than 50,000 jobs.

It might make a voter wonder, if things are so good in Louisiana, why sack the senator?