Washington: As Republican presidential candidates sought to position themselves as best able to take on Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, Indian-American Bobby Jindal slammed both her and President Barack Obama.
"This president`s trying to turn the American dream into the European nightmare. He`s trying to make us more dependent on government," he said during the Voters First Presidential Forum in New Hampshire, the first primary state.
"Give Bernie Sanders credit - at least he`s honest enough to call himself a socialist," said Louisiana Governor Jindal referring to independent Vermont senator who is emerging as a key challenger to Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
"Hillary Clinton, President Obama - they`re no better. They`re just not honest enough to call themselves socialists," he said.
Returning to a familiar theme, Jindal said if he were president, there`d be "no more hyphenated Americans, no more divisions."
Fourteen of the 17 presidential candidates took part in the forum, which comes ahead of the first Republican primary debate on Thursday.
But Republican front runner Donald Trump was a glaring absence from the stage. He blamed a blistering editorial from the New Hampshire Union Leader condemning his candidacy as the reason he skipped the forum.
Earlier, at another forum Monday, Jindal said he would hold mayors of so-called sanctuary cities "criminally culpable" for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in their cities. Sanctuary cities like San Francisco often do not honour federal authorities` requests to hold undocumented immigrants in custody so they can be deported.
"Absolutely," said Jindal on Boston Herald Radio when asked whether he believed mayors of those cities should be arrested. "I would hold them as an accomplice. Make them criminally culpable."
Jindal added that he thinks those mayors should also be liable for civil damages.
"Especially if the prosecutor isn`t taking action or if the mayor`s not changing their ways, I`d allow the families to go to court and sue them civilly as well to recover damages," Jindal said.
The comments come after Jindal announced last Thursday a "partners in crime" plan to hold city officials accountable for the crimes of undocumented immigrants in their cities.
The plan calls for Congress to pass legislation that would make city officials "an accessory" to those crimes and give victims` families standing to sue.