Jindal tries for GOP nod from back of the pack

Republican 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal on ABC's "This Week" Aug. 30, 2015. (Screengrab)
Republican 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal on ABC's "This Week" Aug. 30, 2015. (Screengrab)

Bobby Jindal has struggled to capture attention in the crowded field of candidates hoping to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The Louisiana governor has trailed in fundraising, bringing in $9.2 million through June 30, according to reports filed with the federal government. By comparison, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has raised $51.3 million (and GOP frontrunner, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, is bankrolling his own campaign).

Jindal, a two-term Congressman before being elected governor in 2007, has likewise trailed in the polls. He places 14th out in recent polls.

Jindal likely won’t make the main stage again during the second Republican debate on Wednesday but has still traveled to early voting states, such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

PolitiFact had checked nine of his statements as of Sept. 10, 2015. Of them, one was rated True and four were rated Mostly True. Three claims were ruled Half True, and one was False. None of his claims earned the lowest rating, Pants on Fire.

Below is a sampling of those checks. A summary of all Bobby Jindal fact-checks are at http://www.politifact.com/personalities/bobby-jindal/.

"In New Orleans, nearly 100 percent of our kids are in charter schools."

Bobby Jindal on July 15, 2015 in comments on "Fox News Sunday"

Jindal has made the case several times that Louisiana is a success on policy and taxes. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday in July, he especially lauded the state’s advances in education.

"In Louisiana, we privatized our state charity hospital system. We've got statewide school choice, where the dollars follow the child instead of the child following the dollars. In New Orleans, nearly 100 percent of our kids are in charter schools. Doubling the number doing reading and math on grade level in five years."

Not a lot of school districts across the nation can claim charter school attendance rates that are quite so high. Using data from the 2012-13 school year, 92 percent of school districts had less than half of their total students attending a charter school.

But New Orleans is different.

As of the 2013-14 school year, 91 percent of student in New Orleans go to charter schools.

The high percentage is a reflection of the fact that the majority of schools in New Orleans are charter schools. Most were established after public schools within "in crisis" school districts (read New Orleans Public Schools) were handed over to the state-controlled RSD in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Over the years, these schools were converted to charter schools.

We rated Jindal’s claim True.

Says Hillary Clinton opposed an individual mandate and favored an employer mandate back in 1993.

Bobby Jindal in an op-ed for Politico Magazine on May 13, 2014

Jindal has long been a critic of the Affordable Care Act and found an unlikely ally to help him criticize the law: Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

He quoted Clinton from 1993 in an op-ed for Politico as part of his opposition to the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance, a key tenant of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

"It is a well-known fact that Clinton came to strenuously support an individual health insurance mandate in her 2008 primary campaign against Barack Obama," Jindal wrote. "Less well-remembered, however, is that Clinton considered an employer mandate — not an individual mandate — the best way to achieve ‘universal coverage’ in her health care task force’s ill-fated 1993 proposal, put forth while she was first lady."

In fact, Clinton in 1993 said that the existing private insurance system was heavily reliant on employer-provided coverage and an employer mandate would be the "least disruptive" and most familiar to people.

Over the last two decades, though, fewer individuals are receiving health care benefits from their employer. It’s still a plurality of Americans, but it has dropped steadily.

We think readers would be wise to review the red flags we raised surrounding Jindal’s characterization of Clinton’s comments and how they apply to the current state of affairs.

But when it comes to reciting history, Jindal is largely accurate. Clinton had serious misgivings about an individual mandate to buy health insurance, and strongly preferred an employer-based model.

On that point, we gave Jindal a Mostly True.

"I'm the only (Republican) candidate that has actually reduced the size of government."

Bobby Jindal on Aug. 30, 2015 in comments on ABC’s This Week

Jindal gave kudos to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump by saying the billionaire developer did a "great job tapping into the anger" of voters, but also painted himself as the only true conservative in the Republican race.

"I think after we get past this summer of silliness and insults, the voters are going to begin to look at who is prepared to do the job," he said on Aug. 30. "Right now the American people are saying we've got to shrink the size of the government, grow the American economy. I'm the only candidate — there are not two — I'm the only candidate that has actually reduced the size of government, and I think that experience matters."

So is Jindal the only candidate out of 17, including eight former or current governors, who can make that claim?

The answer is, it depends on the analysis.

He was talking about the cuts in spending. A report from the libertarian think tank Cato Institute backs his claim, showing he reduced spending by an average of 1.76 percent annually during his seven-year term.

However, there’s more than one way of looking at spending cuts. Looking at all-funds and adjusting for the time differences, four governors in the race actually out-cut Jindal.

That makes his claim partially accurate. We rated it Half True.

"I'm predicting (the Saints) will go not only undefeated, but all the way through the Super Bowl -- something that's never been done before."

Bobby Jindal on Dec. 7, 2009 in a radio interview

After the New Orleans Saints squeaked by with an overtime win over the hapless Washington Redskins on Dec. 6, 2009, Jindal was apparently feeling pretty confident about his then 12-0 Saints.

"I'm predicting we'll go, not only undefeated, but all the way through the Super Bowl -- something that's never been done before," Jindal said in an interview with radio station WWL in New Orleans the day after the game. "I think the Saints are going to set a national record right here."

Clearly, Jindal hadn’t seen the annual champagne celebration by some members of the 1972 Dolphins after the last undefeated NFL team falls.

Led by coach Don Shula and quarterback Bob Griese, that Dolphins team laid claim to the first and only "perfect season," going 14-0 in the regular season and then going on to win the Super Bowl.

Jindal couldn’t have known what we now know – that Saints ended the 2009 season with a 13-3 record.

But we’re all about the facts here, and he fumbled this one.

We rated his statement False.

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ROAD TO 2016

Bobby Jindal

Age: 44, born June 10, 1971 in Baton Rouge, La.

Political party: Republican

Political experience: Ran unsuccessfully for Louisiana governor in 2003. Elected to U.S. Congress in 2004 and re-elected in 2006. Became governor of Louisiana in 2008 and is now in his second term.

Education: Graduated in 1991, at age 20, from Brown University with majors in biology and public policy. Although he was accepted by Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, he studied at Oxford College as a Rhodes Scholar. He received a master’s degree in literature with a focus on political science and policy.

Family: Wife Supriya Jolly, three children.

Interesting factoid: Jindal’s legal name is Piyush but he announced as a child he wanted to go by Bobby, after a character on "The Brady Bunch." He converted from Hinduism to Christianity and was baptized a Catholic as an undergraduate at Brown University. He has since made his faith a centerpiece of his public life.