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Gov. Bobby Jindal drops out of the 2016 presidential race

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 17, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, 'SPECIAL REPORT,' HOST: Some of the President's advisers held a conference call today with governors over the issue of Syrian refugees. Here to talk about that and the 2016 race is Louisiana governor and Republican presidential candidate, Bobby Jindal. Governor, thanks for being here.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R, LOUISIANA: Bret -- thank you for having me.

BAIER: I've been told you have an announcement to make.

JINDAL: I do. I want to thank you for having me.

Look it has been a great honor for me to run for president of the United States. To put this in perspective, my parents came to this country45 years ago. They came here for freedom and opportunity. When they had me, they were actually living in married student housing at LSU. I don't think in a million years they would have ever imagined that I would be governor or one that I'd running for president of the United States.

The reality though is they told me as a young child, Americans could do anything. I believed them then and I believe them now.

But you know, this is not my time. I've come to the realization this is not my time. So I've come here to announce that I'm suspending my campaign for president of the United States.

BAIER: Why didn't your candidacy take off, do you think?

JINDAL: You know, Bret, we spent a lot of time developing detailed policy papers. And given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there just wasn't a lot of interest in those policy papers.

But the reality is I think the Republican Party has to lay out the pathway why we're the party for opportunity and growth. Let the left be the party about redistribution, about government spending, government dependence. I'm going to go back to our think tank, one of the things I'm going to be doing -- I'm going to go back our think tank called America Next that I set up a few years ago to develop these policies.

Look, the conservative approach is about, it doesn't matter the circumstances of your birth. You don't have to be born to wealthy parents. You don't have to be born in the right zip code. You can do great things in this country if you want to work hard.

Let the left be about division and redistribution, we need to be about growth. We need to be about specific solutions.

BAIER: So you've seen the candidates up on those stages, the debate stages, you've been out on the trail talking to people. Where do you think your party needs to go?

JINDAL: Well look, the left is all about redistribution and weakness abroad. Where I think my party needs to be, where the Republican Party, the conservative movement needs to be is specific solutions and also taking on the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.

Bret, we've got a president who's a community organizer at a time of war. He doesn't even want to say the words "radical Islam".

The reality is earlier this year I went abroad, I went to Europe and I gave a speech. I came back here and said Europe has a problem. They're not assimilating many of these Muslims. We must not let that happen here. Now the left hated that.

The reality is that we, we've got to continue to tell the truth. Immigration without integration is not immigration, it's an invasion. We must not let that happen here.

BAIER: I want to talk about the refugee issue and you're a Louisiana governor and there's a lot of issues pressing. Is there a sadness to this announcement? I mean what's your feeling today?

JINDAL: Well look, we live in a great country. I can't think -- America has given me and my family so many blessings and opportunities. I'm not going to stop fighting for my conservative beliefs and principles. Certainly, we thought it would end differently, but the reality is this isn't my time.

Here is my message to Americans out there. As conservatives, I know we believe this country is on the wrong track and I believe that. But this is still a great country. Every morning we need to wake up and give thanks we are blessed to be in the greatest country in the history of the world.

And those of us that believe in American exceptionalism and freedom need to be willing to fight for it. This is our moment. That same freedom and opportunity that brought my parents here, that is slipping away in front of us. It's not too late for us to fight to get it back. But we better fight for it now.

BAIER: Are you going to endorse?

JINDAL: You know, I haven't given that a lot of thought. I know the press loves to see whether a politician endorses another. The reality is though I don't think people care. I think at the end of the day I trust the American voters to select our nominee for the next president. We haven't given that a lot of thought.

BAIER: You know, Scott Walker on his way out seemed to say, and as did Rick Perry, that he was warning against certain people in the party. Do you have a similar warning?

JINDAL: This is who I want to be our nominee. I want somebody -- it's not enough just to elect a Republican -- Bret. We need to elect somebody who is going to make big changes. If we elect somebody who's just going to go and do more big government spending, if we elect somebody who is not going to be serious about the threat of radical Islam, we're not going to get our country back on the right path.

So I want somebody who has the courage and the smarts to make big changes. Look, we have a big field. And again I will decide whether we get involved or not. I will be supporting our nominee.

The reality is we cannot afford to go towards socialism. We cannot afford Hillary Clinton, four more years of a weak foreign policy. Our country deserves better than that.

BAIER: On Paris -- your reaction to this? You just saw what Secretary Kerry said today. You were shaking your head here on set. Your thoughts about this whole thing?

JINDAL: You know, first of all, it's amazing to me, you heard he tried to clean it up. He tried to say a legitimacy, a rationale. Bret, there's no legitimacy or rationale. These are crazy, evil terrorists.

We've got a president who won't use the words "radical Islamic terrorism". We've got a Secretary of State using this ridiculous language abroad. The reality is they're evil. We can't negotiate with them. We can't contain them. We need to hunt them down and kill them. There's no alternative to that. We've got to hunt them down and kill them.

They hate our freedoms. The attack on Paris was not just an attack on the French. It was an attack on our way of life. Look, we have a president who loves to go out there criticize America. He doesn't defend religious liberty at home. He attacked Christians earlier this year in a bizarre comment at the National Prayer Breakfast.

So we've got an administration -- unfortunately we're going to have another year of this where I don't think he's going to fully prosecute the war on terrorism. And that's shame for America and that's a shame for the world. We need different leadership.

BAIER: You're a governor there are now 20-plus governors who have said we're not going to take Syrian refugees. First of all, can governors say that to the federal government who is responsible for this? And what's your thought on it?

JINDAL: We have look -- I issued an executive order telling my agencies do everything we can. We don't want these refugees in our state. I've ordered the state police to track the ones that are already in Louisiana. They didn't tell us when they sent these refugees to Louisiana.

The reality is --

BAIER: They didn't tell you?

JINDAL: No. We had no warning up front ahead of time.

BAIER: How many?

JINDAL: It was 14 originally and one of those has been relocated to D.C. And so it was --

BAIER: Because there was a story online that one of them was missing.

JINDAL: That's right.

BAIER: And that's not true?

JINDAL: That is the one that's been relocated to D.C. But state police has -- knows where those that are in our state are. But they haven't committed to us that they're going to tell us ahead of time when they send additional refugees.

And this reminds me, they sent almost 2,000 unaccompanied minor children from the last couple of years, they didn't tell us that either.
This is so important.

Now I know the ACLU, you're asking can governors do this. The ACLU has already threatened us saying this isn't constitutional. The ACLU has also said to a principal in Louisiana, that you can't say "God bless you". They're a crazy group. What they choose to litigate doesn't make sense to me.

But at the end of the day, this president needs to understand, when you've got governors, and I understand there's a Democratic governor as well saying this is dangerous. Now, the President, who doesn't defend religious liberty, saying it's religious discrimination not to allow these people in our country. That's nonsense, Bret.

Why would we allow people in the country when ISIS has told us they're going to send terrorists with these refugees? We've already seen one of the attackers in Paris had a Syrian passport. Why in the world would we allow them to come into our country?

Look, we know that immigration can either make our country stronger or weaker. This president's policies are making our country weaker. This is a mistake. This is a threat to our way of life.

You have a president who won't even call the attack on Fort Hood a terrorist attack. He still says it's an incidence of workplace violence. How is he going to defeat radical Islamic terrorism when he won't even name the enemy?

BAIER: Final thing Governor. Ending this campaign here tonight, you started it by telling your kids on this online video. What's your family's reaction to this whole experience?

JINDAL: Well look, my wife is here with me. We've talked to our kids. I've been blessed with the best family you could ever have. I've gotten from my parents the love of high expectations. My dad is one of nine, the first to get past the fifth grade, proved to us that you can do anything in this country if you work hard and if you apply yourself.

Got an incredible wife, my best friend, we've been married 18 years. Three young kids, their biggest question is can they still get a dog. If you remember when we talked about running for president -- not that got -- look, they're great young kids in school. They've got dreams for our country.

For their sake, even though I'm not going to be a candidate for president, we had better elect the right candidate so we can restore the American dream before it's too late.

BAIER: Well, Governor -- thank you for your time.

JINDAL: Bret, thank you for having me.

BAIER: Good luck.

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