Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) arrived at the Hawkeye Restaurant in Keokuk about 45 minutes early for his town hall meeting Tuesday night. He spent part of his extra time going table to table, greeting locals as they enjoyed their dinners, just what you would expect from someone running for President to do while in Iowa.
Jindal is getting used to these interactions as he is attempting what some journalists in Iowa refer to as the "Full Grassley." Longtime US Senator Chuck Grassley holds a town hall meeting in every county in Iowa each year. Governor Terry Branstad has also made a point to visit each county every calendar year.
Jindal said he's about halfway through the state, following a swing through southeast Iowa. He said what he is hearing is that people are ready for a change.
"I think voters want a 'do-er', not a talker," said Jindal. "Senators give great speeches. They've got big bladders (and) they do filabusters, but nothing changes. Everybody talks about things, (but) we have actually done things. Six years in a row, (Louisiana is) the most pro-life state in the nation. We've cut our budget, not only 26%, 30,000 fewer state bureaucrats. We are a top 10 state when it comes to job creation."
Jindal is trailing badly in the polls, sometimes failing to reach 1%. But he is not letting the numbers define his campaign. Instead, he is asking Iowans to believe in America again and to believe that he is the candidate who can change the direction of the country. Jindal says Iowans are hungry for his message.
"They feel like the political establishment has let them down," said Jindal. "Whoever they vote for, nothing seems to change. They want term limits, they want elected leaders who live under the same rules as the rest of us. They want to grow the American economy, not the government. I think folks are very worried that they and their kids are going to be able to find good paying jobs and join the middle class."
While in Keokuk, Jindal spoke to about 50 people for more than an hour. The event featured a stump speech and a lengthy question and answer session.
Jindal said day 1 of his administration would feature two actions.
"On that first day as President, (I) would reign in the EPA," said Jindal. "All of these regulations, whether they are trying to regulate water in our backyards or the power plants, they are killing jobs. For folks here who want good paying jobs in Iowa and in America, just reigning in those regulations would be a huge benefit. Secondly, I would issue an executive order protecting religious liberty, saying the government should not be discriminating against Christians or others who have a traditional view of marriage."
Jindal also pledged to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, repeal and replace Obamacare with his own plan, push for Congressional term limits and complete the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.
The Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for February 1, 2016.