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Bobby Jindal On The Oregon Shooting, Hurricane Preparedness, and Judicial Confirmations

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The audio:

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The transcript:

HH: Terrible story out of Oregon at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. At least 13 people have been killed, at least 20 other people were wounded by a shooter who is now dead. We will bring you updates as we learn of them. I am joined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, also a candidate for president. Governor Jindal, I do not believe you’ve had a mass shooting in Louisiana of this sort during your time as governor, have you?

BJ: No, Hugh, but we did have the tragic shooting at the Lafayette movie theater, but not on this magnitude. Obviously, any loss of life is tragic, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, the parents. This is just an awful, awful day. I know the details are still trickling in. We did have that incident in the Lafayette theater, but not of this magnitude. But again, our thoughts and prayers are with those families in Oregon.

HH: Some of the early reports have the shooter asking about people’s religion. That doesn’t tell us much, and it’s always, I don’t like to speculate, because the story is always wrong at the beginning. But it seems as though the killers fall into two groups – ideological and just plain schizophrenic crazy. On either case, what is your response as a presidential candidate? In the second debate I saw you at two weeks ago tonight, on the second debate, I asked Jeb Bush what he meant when he said we have to get into the mental backgrounds of people when they have guns. And then Ted Cruz talked about that. What’s Bobby Jindal think about this issue?

BJ: So first off, thank you for moderating that debate. There was such a rush afterwards, I didn’t get a chance to come and personally thank you. I think you all did a great job, and I enjoyed being in the debate at the Reagan Library. A couple of things, and in general, and I want to be very careful. I mean, obviously, there will be a time to talk politics and talk about what happened with the shooting. In general, I’ll tell you what I think about what should be done with mental health records and the issues of gun ownership and gun laws. But I do want to give space and respect to the families that are grieving in Oregon. But in general, this is what I believe. Look, I’m not for additional restrictions on law abiding citizens. What we’ve done in Louisiana, and this is endorsed by the NRA, we passed a law a few years ago that made sure that the mental health records of those that for example have been forcefully admitted into a mental hospital, those that have been through a process, whether it’s a judicial process or another process, that those records are entered into their national background check system, because there are folks that are, under our current laws, you know, if they didn’t do that process, if a court has decided that they’re not supposed to have guns, they’re not allowed to buy those guns. And we did that law to make sure those records were entered into the system. What I’m not for, too many times politicians try to use these tragic events as an excuse to pursue their agendas when it comes to gun control. I’m not for restrictions on law abiding Americans’ right to have guns. I think we’ve got to be very careful. There needs to be a due process. There needs to be, and in this case, there is. We passed a law to make sure those records would be entered into the national background check system.

HH: Now one of the questions becomes what sort of trigger of a mental health block would there be? Simple use of antidepressants? Would it have to be a diagnosis of a particular form of mental illness? Did the Louisiana law get into those specifics?

BJ: Well, this was basically, look, the national, there’s already a national requirement. What we were doing is making sure those records were entered in the system so the information was there, so that the restrictions were done nationally. And what we were doing was adding and making sure the records were available to the system. But to answer your question, the way that is works is no, it’s not just simply if you have a prescription, or if you’ve, and I think there’s a lot of confusion about this. It’s not simply, and it shouldn’t be, if you simply sought help from a doctor. There has to be a process. And so for example, you know, if somebody is involuntarily committed at a mental health institution, or a court otherwise goes through a process where they decide that somebody is not fit for, and there is a process where a person has a right to assert their rights. And there is a review process, there’s an appeal process. There has to be respect for due process. So it’s not as casual as simply saying well, if you happen to take this medicine, or if you sought this health care, but there is a process where family members, medical professionals, and that again, that was the national requirement. Our law simply said when that happens, those records will be entered into the system.

HH: All right, now I want to change subjects, because I also want to respect the people who are grieving, and we don’t know much. I will continue to report breaking news as it occurs. Something has happened. I’m in D.C. today, Governor, and of course, whenever it rains in D.C., they panic. And when it snows, they faint, but as you know. But right now, there’s a hurricane that may or may not come here. It’s a category 4 – Joaquin, in the central Bahamas. You’ve done this. What do people, ought they to do when there’s a chance, maybe 10-20%, that it could come this way?

BJ: Well, several, you’re right, we have done this. My first year as governor, we did the largest evacuation in the country’s history, reduced…1.9 million people, moved to safety, and included hospitals, nursing homes, etc. And we’ve done it, unfortunately, several times with smaller hurricanes. Here is what folks, I think, need to know. One, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Don’t look at those track models and assume it’s not coming. What that means is don’t wait for the weather forecasters to say it’s on top of you. Go out now and make sure you’ve got at least 72 hours’ worth, maybe longer, worth of food, bottled water, batteries for your radios or whatever, you know, whatever you might need, prescriptions, if you need to get them refilled. It is very important that you know what important documents or whatever other special items you would take if you had to evacuate. I’m not saying you should just go and evacuate now, but if you had to evacuate, know what you would take with you. If you have somebody in your family, or your friends that are medically vulnerable or have special needs, make sure you anticipate that. Secondly, get an evacuation plan now. And remember, everybody’s going to be trying to evac. If the order comes to your area, and if everybody’s trying to go at the same time, don’t assume you can just pick up the phone and call a hotel in a nearby state. Don’t assume you can just get on the highways. Everybody will be trying to leave at once. That means the roads, the transit systems will be jammed with people. Ideally, if you’ve got a friend, or if you’ve got somewhere you can go out of harm’s way, identify that ahead of time and know where you’d go if you had to go there. Third, you’ve got to pay attention to the updates. You know, sometimes, especially if you’re going into a weekend, these things can change tracks quickly. They can move quickly. You can’t leave work Friday afternoon thinking everything is fine. Make sure you’re regularly going online. And I hope this is all much ado about nothing. I hope that everybody, you know, if you do all these preparations and it turns out you didn’t need to, I’d much rather people be safe rather than sorry. I’d much rather have people say look, I wish I didn’t buy all that bottled water or that non-perishable food or whatever. But just, you know, Hugh, you have to think through what would you do if you didn’t have power for a little while? What would you do if you couldn’t get out of your home for a little while and folks couldn’t get to you, or you couldn’t just call 911? So hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. And don’t wait. When they tell you it’s coming, if you try to go to the grocery store and buy water, it’ll be too late at that point. If you try…

HH: Now Governor, I’ve got to ask you.

BJ: Try to arrange transportation. Don’t wait until the storm’s coming to your neighborhood.

HH: Having been through this kind of experience, and I also think of the Deepwater Horizon, do you think people overlook that in your argument to support you for the presidency, that those are real world situations that require real world executive decision making?

BJ: Absolutely. Look, I think that we have a president today who is a great speaker, who had never run anything, gave great speeches as a Senator. We need somebody, because as the president, the next president is going to face unexpected challenges that, Hugh, you and I, as smart as you are, we can’t predict everything that’s going to come across the president’s desk. Nobody knew 9/11 was going to happen when George Bush was running for office. Nobody knew about some of those great financial or economic pressures, or whatever the crisis might be that we can’t predict. You want somebody who knows, who has responded to a crisis before. No job prepares you to be president. Let’s not be arrogant enough to say that. But you want somebody who’s been battle tested. So for example, when we saw during the Deepwater Horizon incident, President Obama always trusted the bureaucrats. He always believed the best case scenarios. They kept telling him they were going to cap the well. He never thought, you know, he never seemed to be a step ahead of the process. As somebody who had been governor for a while, I knew that look, you can’t always believe the best case scenarios. They’re always going to tell you what you want to hear. You have to probe. You have to ask some tough questions like what if you don’t cap this well? Then what? What are your contingency plans? What if the hurricane does come here? What if it does spread? What if this route is flooded? What if people don’t have power? And so you’ve got to have somebody who’s been battle tested, and just giving a good speech or reading a good book is not good enough. That’s why I’m biased towards governors. I’m biased towards me, of course, but I’m biased for governors in general.

— – – — –

HH: Two subject I want to cover with you, Governor Jindal. You were a member of the House. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, likely to be elected Speaker, whenever John Boehner retires, said about Benghazi that it’s done its job, and by the way, Hillary’s numbers have fallen. I don’t believe he was saying other than that there was a cause and effect, but that the cause, that was not the motive behind the hearings. What do you make of it? And do you think Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker, as I do?

BJ: Well, two separate questions. One, yeah, I didn’t actually see the actual interview, but look, the Clinton folks are just trying to change the topic here. You’re right. The House did this investigation, because they didn’t have answers, and we had dead Americans. And they’ve been apolitical about this. They’ve been fair. They’ve been down the middle of the road on this. And they’ve been getting at the truth, and I’m glad they have. I think that Congressman Gowdy has done a great job. I think it’s one of the reasons we know about these emails, or we’re beginning to learn more and more about Benghazi. They’ve still got a lot more work to do. And there’s no doubt that it’s also factually true that as the American people learn more about Hillary Clinton’s own actions, her numbers have gone down. She can’t blame anybody but herself for the cover-ups and the multiple revisionist stories. The honest truth is any private person who has mishandled classified information the way that she had would face serious consequences. There shouldn’t be separate rules for her. So I know the Clinton folks are trying to make this into a distraction. They don’t want to talk the subject. We can’t let them simply try to divert us, distract us, change the topic. It is factually true that the Republicans initiated this fair look because we didn’t have the facts, and it’s also factually true that it has been damaging to Hillary as the American people learn the truth. And in terms of who’s the next Speaker, here’s what I would want. If I were in the Republican conference, if I were in those private conversations, I would want to make sure the next Speaker is willing to fight for us, you know, whether it’s defunding Planned Parenthood, stopping a bad Iran deal, fighting Obamacare, fighting amnesty. Our side needs to fight with the same intensity that the other side fights, Hugh. I mean, the reality is Pelosi and Reid, I don’t like what they’ve done to our country, but one of the things that, you know, it’s a backhand compliment, I admire the fact they’re willing to do whatever it takes. And I don’t want us to break the rules and the Constitution like they do, but they do whatever it takes to fight for Obamacare. They didn’t give up when they lost the 60th vote on Obamacare, or on confirming the President’s judges in the Senate. I want the next leader in the House, I want the next, and I want the leadership in the Senate to be just as committed to fighting for our principles as the left is for fighting for socialism.

HH: And do you think Kevin McCarthy is that way, Governor Jindal?

BJ: Honestly, look, I think he’s a nice guy. He’s got a great personality. But I think it depends on what are the answers he’ll give in conference. I think when the members rise up and say all right, we elect you as Speaker, what are you willing to do, what are you not willing to do, will you take this fight to the president, will you take this, will you force the Senate to act? Those would be specific…and then for example, if we can’t defund Planned Parenthood now given the barbaric videos that have come out, Hugh, at some point, you have to wonder what good is the party. There are too many in the D.C. establishment that are looking for reasons not to do things. They’re looking…

HH: But if they elect them, though, are you willing to go with their judgment?

BJ: Well look, I don’t have a vote, but I think, if you asked me would I vote for him, it would be based on whether he’d give me those commitments. And then let’s judge what he actually does.

HH: All right.

BJ: I mean, if he is elected Speaker, let’s see if he actually follows through and fights for us.

HH: Now let me ask you, I just had Dr. Carson on, and he’s been talking with a lot of people, Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, about whether a Muslim could be president. I asked him the much more likely question would he ever appoint a Muslim-American to the Supreme Court? What’s Bobby Jindal’s answer to that?

BJ: Well look, it’s the same question in terms of running for president. I want to see who this person is. Who is this Muslim who is going to be as committed observing and applying the Constitution and the American laws, whose whole life, who was not going to write the laws when he was on the Court? Who is that judge? Who is that individual that’s going to uphold our Judeo-Christian heritage, and understand he’s got a job not to apply international laws, but American laws? So I think we’ve got to get away from hypotheticals. Find me that person, and I’d be happy to look at that person and see if they’re qualified to be on the Court. But…

HH: Well, there’s been a Muslim-American appointed in Alabama to the federal district court, and he went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and he went to Dartmouth. Now the Dartmouth thing, as I said to Dr. Carson, is sketchy, but we overlook that. Nevertheless, ought a Muslim-American be subjected to any kind of questioning through confirmation that is different than, say, Chief Justice Roberts, who’s an orthodox Catholic, or Justice Alito, who’s Catholic, or any justice has gone through when they’ve been nominated, because they are Muslim?

BJ: Well, two things. One, you’re right, that whole Dartmouth thing is very sketchy. My brother went there, and that’s a definite strike against anybody who went to that school. And I say that, and obviously, I know I’m going to get a lot of angry emails from Dartmouth alumns. I’m saying that because my brother went there.

HH: They can’t write. They can’t write. Don’t worry.

BJ: But no, look, in terms of this person, if, and I don’t know the particular person you’re talking about in Alabama, but if there is somebody who meets those qualifications, and those are pretty strict, those are pretty important qualifications, you know, of course we’d look at that person and see if they’re the best qualified. I wouldn’t support them because they were Muslim. I wouldn’t go out of my way to say I’m not.

HH: No, but I guess it’s a harder question. It’s because of the taqiyya doctrine, which radical Islamists hold that it’s okay to lie to advance Sharia. Well, maybe I’ll if I can hold you through break, I’ll hold you, Governor, because we’ve got to go to break. But I’d love to ask this to you, because you’re a very smart guy. The problem becomes if there is a radical Islamic sect that doesn’t believe in telling the truth. How do you hold confirmation hearings when the oath doesn’t mean the oath if you’re a radical Islamist? That’s the problem that Dr. Carson’s been trying to articulate. If Governor Jindal can stay with me, I’ll have him back after the break to talk about that.

— – — – –

HH: Here’s the problem, Governor Jindal. Many Americans are worried not about Muslim-Americans who they go to work with, who they live next door to, who they serve with in the Armed Services. They’re worried about radical Islamists, and whether or not radical Islamists will keep the oaths they take to protect and defend the United States. Dr. Hassan obviously did not. That raises the question of how ought Muslim-Americans to be questioned if they are going through the confirmation process or holding themselves up for office. I’m an Article VI guy. I don’t think you ask people about their religion. But what do you think?

BJ: Well look, I’d say a couple of things. One, I think it is absolutely legitimate if you’re putting anybody in any position where they have access to sensitive information or a position of responsibility, to see if they don’t have ties to radical Islam. I think that that’s reasonable. That’s the enemy we face today. We shouldn’t be politically correct or ignorant about saying well, I mean, unlike the President who went out there and said well, we’ve had crusaders in the Middle Ages. We’re not worried about crusaders right now. That’s not the threat we happen to face right now. That is a real threat we face today, and so I think it’s legitimate to say if anybody’s got any kind of suspected ties to radical Islam, we should be obviously looking into that. But the bigger question is what kind of judges you appoint, this is, there’s a bigger point here, though, that Republicans too often try to appoint judges with no history of rulings or writings who are afraid of the confirmation battle. And then we’re surprised when we get a Souter or a Kennedy or even a Chief Justice Roberts on the Obamacare cases. You know, Hugh, the left doesn’t do that. You know, the present viewpoint is somebody that worked for him, forced her through the Senate, and has one of the most liberal justice on the Court who will be there for many, many years. As a Republican…

HH: But Governor Jindal, I’ve got to raise my hand. We tried that with Harriet Miers. George W. Bush stepped up with a woman he had worked with for five years on a daily basis, and the Republicans shot her down.

BJ: Well, I think there were many that would argue that she doesn’t, she wasn’t as conservative as the Democrats were able to find somebody who was liberal. My point is let’s find real conservative judges with real, or individuals with real histories of rulings and writings so we don’t have to guess. You know, I want somebody who’s been a member of the Federalist Society. I want somebody who’s written and spoken about their views on applying the United States Constitution on religious liberty. I want somebody who’s got known views. I don’t want somebody who’s a blank slate and you have to guess, because when we guess, it’s the Republican judges that evolve and become liberal.

HH: Last question, though. Harriet Miers question, I’ve had this argument a thousand times with conservatives. There was no safer choice to reflect George W. Bush’s views than his White House Counsel. And Republicans killed that. Did conservatives overreact then?

BJ: No, and look, I’m not as familiar with her record, but I think a lot of conservatives were rightly concerned, and maybe you hit it on the head. You said you know, consistent with the president’s views. I have a lot of respect for what the president did to keep us safe after 9/11, but I have a lot of disagreements with his No Child Left Behind and his spending. And there were some other things I think that weren’t very conservative. And so look, bottom line is I think the justices on the Court that I admire, the three, are Alito, Thomas and Scalia. You know, the other six, I just, I think those are the three models in terms of actually applying the Constitution and applying the law. I think it’s incumbent upon presidents to find folks not that are blank slates, but folks that have proven track records so we don’t end up with what we’ve got. Look, if Republicans had voted the way that, the Republican appointee had voted the way I thought they should have, we wouldn’t have Obamacare, we wouldn’t have had the ruling on gay marriage. We all knew how the Democrats were going to vote. We’re only guessing about the Republicans. Republican presidents need to be bold enough to appoint folks with proven conservative records. A lot of conservative groups didn’t think Harriet Miers, she met that criteria. And again, I think that we need to find justices with real proven conservative track records.

HH: Next time you’re back, Governor, I’m going to argue Chief Justice Roberts with you and remind you of Hobby Lobby, Citizens United, and the two gun control cases. But thank you for your extra time tonight.

BJ: Well, thank you for having me. He’s had some good rulings. He’s just had a couple of very big ones very wrong. But thank you very much for having me, Hugh.

HH: Thank you, Governor.

End of interview.

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