BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - An upbeat Gov. Bobby Jindal walked out of the governor's mansion to address reporters the morning after he ended his presidential campaign. And Jindal's return to the state full-time comes as his administration unveils a plan to erase a funding shortfall for the fiscal that ended in June and the new one that began in July.
"This clearly wasn't our time," Jindal said.
Jindal said he was privileged to run for the highest office in land, but it was time to suspend a campaign that failed to catch fire.
"It is not the way we wanted to end our campaign, but the reality is I am still optimistic about the future of our country," he said.
Jindal expressed frustration over the GOP debate structure that kept candidates who were polling poorly from being on the main stage during televised debates.
"I'm always for more debates, more opportunities. I think the reality is we're supposed to be the bottom-up, not the top-down party. I think it would have been better to let anybody who wants to sponsor a debate, and let the candidates decide whether, or not they want to participate. Having said that, I want to be very clear I'm not blaming anybody. I will take full responsibility for the outcome of this campaign," Jindal said.
Jindal admits he got into the minutiae of his platform during a campaign season where it appears many voters in early primary states were looking for something else in the candidates.
"Clearly, this has been a crazy and unpredictable election year and clearly those policy plans aren't nearly exciting as some of the other things folks were doing." he said.
Jindal does not know what his next job will be but he said he will continue to work with America Next, the think tank he created. And he feels good about the job he has done as Louisiana's governor.
"Look, I'm proud of the work we've done every single day that I've been governor. We've got more people working here in Louisiana than ever before," Jindal said.
But Jindal ends his run for the presidency as his administration is confronted with a nearly half-billion-dollar budget shortfall. Late Wednesday afternoon, Jindal's administration issued a news release stating that to address the deficit, Jindal's plan for tackling the red ink includes general fund appropriation cuts of up to three percent. The plan also calls for further reductions to the general fund, statutory dedications and self generated revenue by up to five percent.
"We will balance the budget just like we've done before, we're not going to be leaving this problem for the next governor, we'll be doing that by being more efficient, we'll be doing that by not raising taxes," said Jindal.
During the press conference Jindal would not say if higher education and health care would face more cuts, but later his staff said their plan includes no layoffs or further cuts to colleges and universities.
Low oil prices and tax credits are heavily impacting the budget, but Jindal does not believe the state's well-publicized money problems undermined his national campaign.
"I was the only one who's actually reduced govt spending, all these other republicans talk about it," he said.
Jindal said emphatically that he believes Donald Trump will not get the GOP nomination, and he believes the next governor will benefit from his two terms in office.
"I get it that people don't agree with all of the decisions, decisions and policies that we've pursued, but I think they've been good for the State of Louisiana, and I think that I will be leaving our state better off than we were eight years and by the way I'm confident we'll be better off four years from now after the next term of the next governor," he said.