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Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announces presidential campaign

By Andrew V. Pestano
Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announces presidential campaign
Louisiana two-term governor Bobby Jindal announces his candidacy for President of the United States Tuesday June 24, 2015 at Pontchartrain Convention Center in Kenner, Louisiana He joins a crowded field of candidates who have announced for the Republican Party Jindal was born in the United States after his parents immigrated from India. Photo by Ellis Lucia/UPI | License Photo

NEW ORLEANS, June 24 (UPI) -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Wednesday that he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

"I'm running for president of the United States of America," Jindal posted on Twitter.

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Jindal, 44, was expected to make the formal announcement in Kenner, La., at 5 p.m. Wednesday. He would be the first Indian-American to make a serious bid for the White House.

The announcement posted on his campaign website includes videos of Jindal and his wife giving the news to their three children, who used the opportunity to cash in on the promise of a puppy.

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"My daughter Selia cut to the chase: She wanted a puppy," Jindal said. "I gave in, but with some conditions."

"One you have to take care of the puppy better than you took care of the fish or all those frogs," Jindal told to his children. "The second condition, you have to behave."

Jindal became the first Indian-American Republican governor in 2007 with 54 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2011 with 66 percent.

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Born as Piyush Jindal, meaning "ambrosia" or "nectar" in Hindi, to Indian immigrants, Jindal chose to instead call himself "Bobby" after The Brady Bunch character Bobby Brady, whom Jindal said he identified with as a child.

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Once a rising star in the GOP, Jindal's support has dropped in recent months. He's dead last in the polls, with 0.8 percent, behind North Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's 1.3 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's 12.7 percent, according to poll averages by Real Clear Politics.

As governor, several polls put Jindal as hovering at about a 30 percent approval rating, partly due to a $1.6 billion budget shortfall that has alienated him from even his own party. He refuses to roll back income tax cuts or corporate tax breaks to make up for the deficit.

Jindal finds high approval from Christian conservatives. He converted from Hinduism to Christianity as a teenager and then to Catholicism while in college.

Besides Bush and Graham, Jindal faces a wide field of competitors for the Republican nomination.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have announced campaigns.

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For the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley are in the running.

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