GOP rising stars take center stage at governors convention - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

GOP rising stars take center stage at governors convention

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Hundreds of Republicans are in town this week for their annual Governors Conference, celebrating their recent midterm victories and strategizing for the 2012 presidential election.

"We're on probation," Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told News 8.  "This is borrowed time."

 Republicans gathered Wednesday at the Hilton Bayfront say they realize they have to make good on their promises to the American public.

"We have to keep faith with the people who elected us," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. "That means cutting spending, not raising taxes

"I think we have a two-year time window until the 2012 elections to prove ourselves," added Governor-elect Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, 'that we are going to do what we talked about doing."

Over that time, Republican leaders say they need to capitalize on the sizeable gains they made this November. Republicans gained a net 61 House seats, six senate seats and five governor's mansions,  meaning that overall the Republican party will control a majority of states - 29 - come January.

"The election was, without any doubt, a repudiation of the policies of the Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reed Congress," said Barbour.

 At this year's conference, Republicans were eager to showcase a growing number of women and minorities elected to lead their states.

"I think the changing nature of the Republican party... voice, faces... reflects the changing face of the country," said Minnesota's current Governor Tim Pawlenty.

"It's no longer about labels, and I think any party that thinks it is about labels will be the party that fails," added Governor-elect Nikki Haley of South Carolina.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is scheduled to speak at the conference Thursday.

Gingrich is widely expected to make a run for the White House in 2012, along with a handful of governors here, including Pawlenty and Barbour.

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