Jindal: GOP must end 'obsession with zeros'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) told conservatives to get over their "obsession with zeros" and stop focusing only on the federal budget, arguing Republicans must take a broader view in order to succeed.

"We somehow think that if we can just unite behind a proposal to cut the deficit and debt, if we could just put together a spreadsheet that all will be well. I'm here to say this obsession with zeros has everyone in our party focused on government ... on the phony economy of Washington, D.C., instead of the real economy out in Billings or Baton Rouge," he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

"We as Republicans have to accept that government number-crunching, even conservative number-crunching, is not the answer to our nation's problems."

Jindal, who many believe wants to run for president in 2016, sharply contrasted with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Washington-based politicians who spoke at the event.

He said the Republican Party has become far too focused on Beltway policies rather than the good of the nation. The speech repeated many of the points he'd made in a January speech to the Republican National Committee.

"Balancing the government's books is not the end all and be-all" Jindal said. He argued that fighting for budget proposals in the city didn't accomplish much because "nothing serious is deemed serious in Washington, D.C."

He said that meant moving on — not rehashing the mistakes of the past.

"We must shift the eyeline and the ambition of our conservative movement away from managing government and towards the mission of growth," he said. "I'm not calling for a period of introspection and naval-gazing. Far from it. I'm calling for us to get busy winning the argument."