CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 25 (UPI) --
Republicans must "stop being the stupid party," recognize voter maturity and "go after every single vote," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told party members.
"We've got to stop being the stupid party. It's time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults," Jindal, widely considered a possible 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, told some 200 members and guests of the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Charlotte, N.C.
"It's no secret we had a number of Republicans who damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments," Jindal told the audience Thursday night.
But the party can come back by returning to its conservative principles, which he said "are timeless."
He called on conservatives to shift their focus from Capitol Hill number crunching to "the place where conservatism thrives -- in the real world beyond the Washington Beltway," referring to the interstate highway that surrounds Washington and the inner suburbs.
Instead of being the "party of austerity," Republicans must "boldly show what the future can look like with the free-market policies that we believe in," he said.
"We must compete for every single vote -- the 47 percent and the 53 percent and any other combination of numbers that adds up to 100 percent," he said.
His "47 percent" comment invoked a remark 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made at a closed-door fundraiser about a bloc of voters he said Republicans should forget about because they would vote for President Barack Obama "no matter what."
The GOP "must reject the notion that demography is destiny, the pathetic and simplistic notion that skin pigmentation dictates voter behavior," Jindal said. "We must treat all people as individuals rather than as members of special interest groups."
"At present we have one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can expand it, and one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can get it under control," CNN quoted him as saying, referring first to Democrats and then Republicans.
"It's a terrible debate," he said. "It's a debate fought entirely on our opponents' terms."