Aug. 22– COLUMBUS — Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal dished up political red meat Friday to 3,600 conservative activists at an Americans for Prosperity summit as billionaire industrialist David Koch watched from a front row seat.
Bush and Jindal called for regulatory reform, a federal balanced budget amendment, a repeal of Obamacare and more items on the to-do list pushed by Americans for Prosperity and David Koch and his brother, Charles.
Jindal and Bush were the first of five Republican presidential contenders slated to speak at the two-day conference in downtownColumbus.
Bush delivered an 18-minute speech that was politely received.
“The world is a lot more dangerous today than it was the day Barack Obama got elected president,” said Bush, who pledged to strengthen ties with traditional allies and make enemies of America “twitch.” “The world has been turned upside down because of the lack of American leadership. I promise you, if I’m elected president of the United States I will restore the traditional role of the United States as a leader for peace and security.”
Jindal, meanwhile, delivered hard line rhetoric on immigration.
“Let me tell you something: I am done with the hyphenated Americans,” Jindal said to huge applause. “…We are all Americans, united as one. I think it is reasonable to tell folks if you want to come to our country, come legally, learn English, adopt our values and when you get here, roll up your sleeves and get to work. We have got to insist on assimilation. Make no mistake about it immigration without assimilation — that’s not immigration. Immigration without assimilation is invasion.”
In his 26-minute speech, Jindal put himself forth as an experienced executive, more qualified than other GOP candidates.
“I don’t have a famous last name, my daddy wasn’t president, I don’t have my own reality TV show, I’m not the best speaker, I’m not the best looking candidate. But I am ready on the first day. The reason that’s important: our next commander in chief will be across the table from Putin, from an ayatollah. He better not need a Teleprompter,” Jindal said.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded in 2004 by the Koch brothers, advocates against collective bargaining rights, Obamacare, global warming regulations, and increases in the federal minimum wage.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who expanded Medicaid under Obamacare for 500,000 working poor, was not invited to the summit. But U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R- Urbana, received an AFP award from David Koch, who said Jordan has a nearly perfect lifetime score on AFP’s report card.
Thousands of union members rallied and marched against AFP earlier in the day.
“We need to stop playing by the rules that have been laid down by corporate CEOs. And we call on the politicians to stop kowtowing to groups like Americans for Prosperity, this includes any politician who is over there talking to Americans for Prosperity today and tomorrow, this includes our Sen. Rob Portman,” said Tim Burga, of the Ohio AFL-CIO, at the rally.
This week, AFP launched a $1.4 million TV ad campaign in Ohio, criticizing former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland who is running against Portman for U.S. Senate next year. The group also dropped $1.2 million on ads in New Hampshire.
These August ad buys put Americans for Prosperity — it expects to spend at least $225 million this year and next — on early offense in two states that will be important for both the presidential contest and in helping Republicans hold the Senate.
“They’re trying to use their billions to buy control of America’s government and economic system. They’re doing that by buying politicians who are willing to support their agenda, including Rob Portman,” Strickland said. He added that AFP is worried Portman could lose his senate seat. “So they’re spending their millions to prop him up — or more accurately, to tear me down.”
Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.
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