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Jindal: GOP should change 'just about everything'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is calling on the Republican Party to “recalibrate the compass of conservatism” as party leaders on Thursday promised fundamental changes to help stave off future losses.

The governor delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Thursday night in Charlotte, becoming the latest high-profile conservative from outside Washington to call for sweeping changes inside the GOP. In speech excerpts released earlier in the day, Jindal said the GOP doesn’t need to change its values but “might need to change just about everything else we do.”

“We do not need to change what we believe as conservatives — our principles are timeless,” Jindal says. “But we do need to re-orient our focus to the place where conservatism thrives: in the real world beyond the Washington Beltway.”

Hours before the speech, Republican leaders promised to release in March a report, dubbed the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” outlining recommendations on party rules and messaging designed to appeal to a rapidly changing American electorate. President Barack Obama’s November victory was fueled, in part, by overwhelming support from the nation’s Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities.

“Losing is not fun. We want to win,” said GOP strategist Sally Bradshaw, who is among five people appointed by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to craft the report.

“I think you’re going to see a very renewed, aggressive effort by this party to put on a different face,” Bradshaw said. “We are going to go into areas that we do not go into and see folks that we do not see.”

Jindal, too, says the GOP is too focused on number-crunching on Capitol Hill and not focused enough on connecting with voters across the nation.

“Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs,” he says. “We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping. This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play.”

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