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Gov. Jindal prepping for national stage

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana addresses activists from America's political right at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON - A rising star within the Republican Party continued to make his case for national leadership to the conservative base. Although the GOP is in the middle of a long and hard-fought presidential primary, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal mentioned none of the candidates' names, using this speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to promote Louisiana-style conservatism - and himself.

Speaking early Saturday morning in a nearly-filled ballroom at a Washington, D.C. Marriott, Governor Jindal said people in Louisiana are proud to be "bitterly clinging to our guns and religion."

The crowd erupted in ecstatic applause over Jindal's reference to a comment President Obama made at a fundraiser in San Francisco in 2008.

Attacks on the president are hugely popular here at CPAC, but other than a few jabs, Jindal stayed away from bashing the president, and instead used the platform to introduce his personal story and his political record to conservative activists.

Early in the race, the son of Indian immigrants popular among Republican establishment leaders was considered a possible contender for the Republican nomination, but he chose not to run. He instead became a proponent of his neighborly counterpart, Texas Governor Rick Perry, before Perry dropped out in January.

In Jindal's speech today he focused mostly on his initiatives, including his education policies. He boasted about the high number of charter schools and school vouchers, and he promoted teacher accountability through evaluations and pay. All three of those topics received thunderous applause.

Exciting the crowd the most was his attacks on the teachers' union. He said the Louisiana teachers' union has tried to stop every move he's tried to make to the education system.

It's not about adults, Jindal said; "The most important thing is student achievement."

The Louisiana American Federation of Teachers have fought Jindal's education plan and is promoting a petition in opposition.

"The governor's overreaching, dangerous agenda threatens our students, our schools and our profession," the union says.

Governor Jindal also touted slashing the number of state employees, and his proposal to overhaul of state employees' pension system, which would raise the retirement age and increase employee contribution.

"Put conservative ideas in action, they yield great results," Jindal said.

Insinuating that his leadership would bode well at the national level, the second-term Louisiana governor said Washington should apply some of his ideas.

"Washington can learn something," he said before walking off stage to a standing ovation.

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