January 7th, 2009
11:27 AM ET
6 years ago

RNC members vote to grill candidates behind closed doors

The RNC meeting will no longer be open to members of the media.
The RNC meeting will no longer be open to members of the media.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A much-anticipated special meeting between Republican National Committee members and the men seeking to lead the party will now take place behind closed doors after the members voted to prohibit non-party members from attending.

The meeting was originally scheduled to be open to reporters and other Republicans not on the committee, but after a roll call vote, it was determined there were not enough RNC members present for a quorum. Since the meeting would then only be an unofficial gathering, the members present were allowed to vote on how to proceed, and chose to bar the media from the session.

Now, the six contenders for RNC chair will present their cases and face more than an hour of tough questions from committee members without television cameras and reporters looking over their shoulders.

One candidate, former Mike Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman, said he would have been fine with the media in the room, but also said he welcomed the chance to speak candidly with members without the presence of reporters.

“Every candidate has got a different idea of where they want to take the party, and I think its important for us to get together, talk about it, and obviously let the membership decide where they want to take it,” he said, “because I see the members as the board of directors of this company.”

Filed under: Chip Saltsman • Mike Huckabee • RNC
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Kim

    Will there be torture involved?

    January 7, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Love Huckabee

    FreeNLovit, I only like Huckabee. He's too honest for the GOP. That are a dry folks, not that Democrats aren't, but GOP is dishonest, and uses racism to get the uneducated vote.

    January 7, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Luis

    Is waterboarding involved?

    January 7, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. MikeH

    For all those who like Huckabee, the guy is a religious extremist. He preaches intolerance. He is anti-science, he would try to rewrite the Constitution to turn it into a "Christian Document".

    On the surface he seems like a pleasant person, and maybe he is, now. He likely would be a good neighbor and friend, but power corrupts, and no one corrupts so much as a religious extremist, particularly a fundamentalist christian one.

    No Huckabee, no way.

    January 7, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Matt

    please, it's not a Q&A session, it's a bible meeting...

    January 7, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. dave

    I love the mentality, "I can be honest with you, but only if no one else knows what I'm saying." It can only mean you intend to lie to the listener, or you intend to lie to everyone else. Transparency is only for honest people and suckers!

    January 7, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Terry

    I can only hope that the Republican Party will disappear soon, to be replaced by a responsible party that will actually try to solve the nation's problems, not prevent them from being solved.

    I would not hire any of those guys to run a shoe store nor trust any of them with a red-hot stove.

    How much damage can Conservatism do to our nation before we say, "Enough!"

    January 7, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. chuck


    January 7, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Pathetic. RNC haven't yet figured out where they want to take their party after their lost to the democrats. If they haven't figured it out by now, then they never will.

    January 7, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. jean in MN

    Behind closed doors. Kind of says a lot about the mentality of the Republican party. Transparency isnt in their vocabulary and some of the reason they lost in the 2008 elections.

    When "stupidity" suffices, why search for any other reason?

    January 7, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. dr.mimi de la cruz


    1) IQ OF LESS THAN 90







    January 7, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. god bless the US

    What is with the republican party? why are they in such a state of chaos? sure they lost every election since 2006 but seriously.....

    Despite the defeat in 2000 and 2004 the democrats didn't scramble like roaches in utter chaos, they stayed pretty much on message

    January 7, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. starzzguitar

    This meeting should be private. Nothing worse than politicians mugging it up for the media, and the Republican leadership has some real image and direction problems to address without a circus to contend with. Also, they should make sure that Democrats are not voting in the state primaries for who will be the Republican candidate in the future. John McCain would not have been the presidential candidate if this rule was in place. More than likely Romney would have prevailed. Romney-Palin would have been awesome!

    January 7, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. TJ Johnson

    Saltsman, don't run. You ruined yourself by sending out that racially tainted video. I know it is tempting to lower our party to that level of the democrats, but let's keep our morality and dignity no matter what! The country will soon enough see through all the bling of "hope" "change".

    January 7, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. starzzguitar

    Okay, after reading some of these comments, I can truly say that Democrats are totally obnoxious. If you are a corrupt Democrat, so what? If you are a corrupt Republican, they want to hang you in the town square. Hippocrites all. I will be glad when we take America back from the brink of third-world-dom. Barack the Messiah is going to crash and burn.

    January 7, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Valarie

    Working gal January 7th, 2009 12:56 pm ET

    Gee, I see all the out of work Democrats blogging still (not again). You guys need a life, a job and a shrink!

    Well apparently if you have time to see all of this, you aren't doing too much with your time either, perhaps you're in the same boat as them, so you obviously need a life, job, etc. also.

    January 7, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. artvpp

    Contrary to other opinions, I believe that the initial meetings need to be close doors so they can be free to express their opinions.

    On the other hand, the interviewing process does not seem democratic. Why only six? Are they only interviewing the former primary presidential or VP candidates?

    I believe that the Republican party, unfortunately is in disarray. The capable people within its ranks are not leading, the current leaders have done a terrible job of distancing themselves from their true constituents by feing inflexible in their opinions, not fiscally conservative, unwilling to be held accountable for their mistakes, and plainly lying to the american public in many instances.

    January 7, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Nan

    Why am I not surprised that a bigot like Saltsman wants to run the Rethuglican party? It just proves how ugly the Gross Old Party has become!

    January 7, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. ran

    As long as they continue with the same people at the top the Republican party is lost. Need new blood now. Get ride of once and for all the religious/antiabortion/gay hating leaders.

    January 7, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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