May 4th, 2009
11:55 AM ET
5 years ago

Cantor says new GOP group won't avoid social issues

(CNN) – A driving force behind the new effort to renew the GOP's image denied Monday that the group is looking to avoid addressing social issues that excite the conservative base but can be off-putting for moderate and independent voters.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia was joined at the group's town hall style kick off event Saturday by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"During your meeting over the weekend, you didn't talk at all about abortion, gay marriage or immigration," American Morning's John Roberts said to Cantor Monday. "Those are three big Republican social issues. . . . Why were those issues left off the table?"

"The National Council for a New America is meant to be a wide-open policy debate," the Virginia Republican responded. "There is no exclusion about what we'll talk about, who can be involved.

"...The traditional family values are a part of everything we do. The value system that we hold raising our children, educating our children, delivering health care –these issues permeate everything, so there is absolutely no intention to veer away from discussion of any of that."

Less than a week after Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter defected from the GOP to help save his 2010 re-election prospects, Cantor conceded that his party is struggling in parts of the country.

"In the Northeast, in New England, we've certainly taken our licks," Cantor told Roberts. "There's no question that the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive at this point. We shouldn't be an exclusive small bunch satisfied with the minority."

The GOP's rebranding effort will focus on rallying the public around "the principles that we know have made this country great – liberty, opportunity, and the devotion to the individual and free markets."

Listen: CNN Radio on the new push to revitalize the Republican Party



Filed under: American Morning • Eric Cantor • GOP
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Tulsa

    If you repackage garbage, it's still garbage.
    Until the Republican party denounces the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh, there will be a very slim chance of America seeing them as a viable party again.

    May 4, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. RI Moderate

    Hope this goes better than 'compassionate conservatism' (which wasn't)

    May 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Had It

    Don't try to tell us when and where to pray and how to raise our children when we SEE some many of your children - and they ain't perfect, buddy.

    May 4, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. HJA

    Quote-The GOP's rebranding effort will focus on rallying the public around "the principles that we know have made this country great – liberty, opportunity, and the devotion to the individual and free markets."

    Liberty (You are free to look for a job)
    Opportunity (Lets grab all the lobby cash we can)
    Devotion to the individual (All hard core right wingers welcome)
    Free markets (Deregulate, Deregulate, Deregulate)

    May 4, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Dave C - NJ

    AS USUAL...Cantor doesn't answer the question. He's brilliant at that...I've seen a dozen interviews with him and NEVER ONCE has he answered a direct question with a direct answer.

    May 4, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Melissa

    No kidding, no to birth control, no to abortion, no to gay marriage. They're not avoiding social issues at all, they just think that their religion should interfere with government and control all social issues.

    Republicans, your job is not to further your religion, its to govern in a bipartisan way. But you don't like that job so you try to twist things.

    Sorry, we are done with the Rethuglican ways. You still aren't getting it and you never will because you're a party of rich old white men who wouldn't have a clue how real people live.

    May 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. KMAN

    Good luck BOYS with what will be yet another failed attempt to put fresh lipstick on a very old and shop-worn pig.

    May 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. michaelam

    "The GOP's rebranding effort will focus on rallying the public around "'he principles that we know have made this country great – liberty, opportunity, and the devotion to the individual and free markets."

    Did I miss something..........like the "new" part? What is new? Will liberty and opportunity be available for ALL or just a select few? Like the racists, bigots, sexists, homphobes, religious extremists, and gun nuts, et. al, that dominate the Party of No.

    May 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Chamorrita, MD

    Me thinks Eric Cantor has drunk too much of his own Republican Zombie Kool-Aid. This guy is truly off his rockers. Every time he opens his mouth he makes voters realize just how clueless he is. He contradicts himself repeatedly without any help from the Democrats.

    This guy consistently gets eaten up by the media because he's so stupid. He NEVER answers any questions and he's completely incompetent as the "Golden Minority Whip". Who picked this fool? They need a serious refund on their investment.

    Eric Cantor is truly A GIFT that keeps giving to the Democrats.

    May 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Mississippi Mike

    The GOP is its strongest when it sticks to its core values. Picking up social causes that are contrary to the core of conservatism brought us Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain, both of which have been huge disappointments.

    May 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Moderate Democrat

    They still have the same flat earth policies as always, and they still don't believe 'all men were created equal'. They still draw a line between 'rich' and 'poor'. They have never and will never want to represent ALL of american, they feel only 5% of it matters, the rich part. The rest can go to hell.

    If you are gay, not white, female, muslim, poor, blue collar, need an education, need healthcare...then they will tell you "too bad, we don't care".

    They will never change, they are simply a party of haters.

    May 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Al-NY,NY

    Of course they didn't talk about them. Why would they bring up the main issues why most Americans think they're completely out of touch. NO abortion. Guns for anyone. Gays goodbye. Prayer (christian that is) yes. For now, let them trumpet the usual rusty old mantra that failed them before and will not bring about any new members

    May 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Alex

    When the party of "small government" stops trying to interfere with personal choices of the citizenry, I might be ready to listen.

    May 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Chris ~ Albany, NY

    The GOP's rebranding effort will focus on rallying the public around "the principles that we know have made this country great – liberty, opportunity, and the devotion to the individual and free markets."

    All things that were greatly depressed during the shrub administration!

    May 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Really

    "The National Council for a New America is meant to be a wide-open policy debate," the Virginia Republican responded. "There is no exclusion about what we'll talk about, who can be involved.................

    I will beleive that when I see IT, and I dbout that I will see anything like that stated above.
    Whats with the council for a new America any way? It's not what you call yourselves that is the issue here it is what you propose and who you really represent. This is just another clever (not) ploy/shine job you all do to fool those who will readily buy something just because it has that oh so fresh "new" label. You guys are TRANSPARENT this council offers nothing new, you have the same social agenda, same tax cuts for the wealthy mantra, and the same people who quite frankly are not new, even the spin is the same. Re-brand all you want it is your position on policy that has been rejected. Come back to the adult table when you figure that out.

    May 4, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. chelle

    I just love that good old catch phrase "traditional family values". Which tradition are they referring to?? The Middle Ages, 1700s, 1800s, early 1900s, 1950s....which ones have they chosen to be "traditional". Are we going back to marrying our children off for material advantage? Sending them to another good family to be raised and educated? Or are we women all to stay home now and not work? Which tradition is it GOP???

    May 4, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Jason B.

    Translation: "We won't mention those things because too many people don't like our views. So we won't discuss them, get people to vote for us, and then we'll bring up our views and do what we want."

    Take a hint guys...you're losing some parts of the country because they don't agree with the stuff you're selling.

    May 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. gypsyz

    Again-if they are so focused on their 'image', they have completely missed the point. Rebranding? Political views should extend beyond trademarks.
    And please pardon me-but I thought the Constitution's guarantee of Life, Liberty,and the Pursuit of Happiness was what made America great. Where in our Declaration of Independence does it say anything about Individual markets and Capitalist Opportunities? Did I miss something here? Idiots.

    May 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Jim in San Jose

    Republican version of liberty: you can do what you want as long as it's what we tell you to do.

    May 4, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Cantor Oil

    So you still have them as your top priority but you just wont talk about them to incite middle of the road folks? What a strategy. And Did you see this boz and Roney blame the "markets" on the wipe out in 08 elections? Same old same old, don't change just lie different a lie

    May 4, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. patticake

    i am 63 years old and white and i can tell you the republican party will never regain what they have lost until they recruit young ,strong, this generation candidates to build a new party. the hate filled attempts from palin,hannity, rush ,beck and the likes of the above have destroyed the faith we the voter ever had in the republican party. saying NO to everything president obama is trying to do was a kiss of death an simply shows they have NO plan except to cut taxes for their rich white voters. their reign is over and the sooner they accept this,the sooner a new generation can start to build a second party for the government. to have bush,romney and cantor as spokemen for the group proves they do not understand what must be done.

    May 4, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Jen from PA

    Lipstick on a pig Eric. As long as the GOP is run by the current close minded bigotted bunch there is no possibility of inclusion. You can't rebrand intolerance.

    May 4, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Corgi Dad

    Right, so now all of a sudden they want to be inclusive? Please.

    May 4, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Roger

    Tulsa is absolutely right. Unless and until the Republican party gets away from the bigoted, radical, holier than thou ramblings and extremist views of the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, etc., the Republican party will have no voice in the policy making and forward movement of our great country. The devestaton Bush and Cheney caused will take more than one political cycle for America to give the Republicans another bite at the apple!

    May 4, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. shoegazer

    "the principles that we know have made this country great-liberty,opportunity,and the devotion to the individual and free markets"..
    and the inherent greed and corruption that those beliefs create without
    some sort of regulatory watchdog..........

    May 4, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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