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. Accountability

    Lipstick on a pig...nothing more....

    May 4, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Lee in Ohio

    Perhaps the "Party of Lincoln" should start off by recognizing and honoring one of the fundamental principles that informed the political decisions of that greatest of Americans: respect for the Constitution of the United States. Mr. Lincoln would never have signed the so-called "Patriot" act.

    May 4, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Frozone

    The GOP is an increasingly irrelevant, regional party.

    May 4, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Boisepoet

    He just doesn't get it...

    Cantor: "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."

    But when your stands on social issues only appeal to the small minority of evangelicals (7% of population) and your economic policies are designed specifically for the top 2% of income earners, you are still excluding a majority of Americans.

    May 4, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. David Peter

    As long as the GOP keeps gambling its future on "social issues", they will always lose.

    May 4, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    There isn't enough lipstick in the entire world to hide the fact that the GOP elephant is in fact, a pig.

    May 4, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. MARK

    Republicans are still shoveling the same ole crap. They'll never learn, the GOP is doomed.

    May 4, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. montag

    "traditional family values are a part of everything we do."

    Blatant hypocrisy. I find it extremely amusing to listen to people who have absolutely no values at all speak about family values.

    May 4, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Charlie

    Mr. Cantor needs to understand that many of us have left the Republican fold precisely because the GOP has become too cozy with political positions that are:

    -heterophobic,
    - infanticidal,
    -biased against race (affirmative action/anti white), gender (males), -religion (Judeo-Christians) ,
    -anti-constitutional (does not avidly support the spirit of 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th Amendments)
    -Socialist (penalize responsible and successful people who live within their means and scrimp to save and invest for their futures)
    - avidly open border
    -do not subscribe to American Exceptionalism (one worlder)

    If the GOP will no longer support the people who have traditionally create the jobs, invest and generally make this country work, then they are no better than Democrats.

    May 4, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Carol

    The social issues are what kills their chances of getting my vote.

    There is no way that I would EVER vote for someone who is anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and takes an Evangelical Christian slant on everything they do.

    They say they want individual rights............. as long as they are the "rights" for the "individuals" that they approve of.

    NO WAY. I don't care who they nominate or what they say.

    May 4, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. BP

    translation: they are out for themselves, always have been always will be or to say it differently: you can't put lipstick on a pig.

    May 4, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Zaley

    Republicans have played God and justified their hatred of everybody...just who do they think is perfect enough to elect them?

    May 4, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Dale

    The Republican party is the standard bearer of traditional Christian family values... like unnecessary war and torture.

    May 4, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Terry Sullivan

    This is totally comical. How many ways can you reshape a heaping pile of steaming dog crap not to resemble a heaping pile of dog crap. You can mold and shape it to look like the Virgin Mary but its still a heaping pile of steaming dog crap. The Conservative Republicans agenda is just that, a heaping pile of steaming dog crap. When you have clowns like Cantor, and Romney out in front mouthing what the "New" Republican image is, how can anyone take it seriously. Get some credible people if there any who call themselves Republican out in front of the public and there might just be some credibility to the "New Republicans" otherwise you are just recycling old, tired, lame ideas.

    May 4, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Jackie

    Cantor dances to the tune of Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove. Moron.

    May 4, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Matthew

    Why on earth would anyone with a shed of intelligence believe that the GOP has cornered the market on "liberty, opportunity and the devotion to the individual"? What? Are the Democrats all of the sudden anti-liberty? anti-opportunity? anti-individual?

    The last one really cracks me up. The GOP is devoted to the individual as long as that individual happens to be a white, Christian, straight, native-born American who believes in lower taxes and is anti-abortion. If not they fall outside of the realm of "Family Values"

    May 4, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. AnnMM

    ........... so they're going to stay a party of right wing theocrats pandering to the Christian Taliban, they're just not going to talk about it. Hey, Good Luck with that.

    May 4, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. carlos

    first, get rid of the hissing conservative radio comedians....out with the beener, the cantors and the rest of those repugnant reptiles.....religious right to the trash bin, man, I could write forever on these sorry people, it will do for now.....enjoy your day if you can!!!!

    May 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Memo to all the “christian” members of the Party of NO:

    "…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."

    Good, that means the Party of No has learned nothing from the last two elections!

    Please explain why you complain about America losing the moral compass as perceived by you Bible beaters?

    Were that to happen, all of you good “christians” would all be swept up in God’s “rapture”, oops I mean John Darby’s defined “rapture” my bad, but with the legions of the Party of NO gone, it would just be us heathens left to deal with plague, disease, pestilence and a number of those pesky Horsemen.

    However, if you are not here, then the vision of the High Priestess of Heathens, Belinda Carlisle’s proclamation that “Heaven is a Place on Earth” will finally come to fruition!

    Of course, after 7 blissful years, we may have to rejoin you religious fanatics and that by definition, would indeed be Hell!

    May 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Fred the Moderate

    Wow, Jeb Bush. I live in Florida. We couldn't wait to see him go. Remember this is the guy caught on tape talking about his "Divious Plan" of how to derail the small class size admendment nearly all of Florida supported and passed in the election. He used his power no differently than his brother and had the most vendictive administration sense reconstruction. No one would elect him here for anything above school board were just the people in your church can elect you.

    And the GOP thinks he's a forward thinker? You guys will remain in the dump for a long time to come!

    May 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Michael

    What a shame. "Traditional family values?" In a society where most families are either divorced or unmarried couples, it's just too bad that the republican party continues to progress an agenda that just isn't up to par with the facts. Gay and lesbian families across america are staying together longer, raising children better, and participating in community events alongside their straight counterparts, with none of the protections or securities offered to them. Face it: Nothing in America is "traditional" anymore... and is that such a bad thing? Sometimes, being open is not just popular, but it's the right thing to do.

    May 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. John W. Olver

    "the principles that we know have made this country great – liberty, opportunity, and the devotion to the individual and free markets."

    How about universal education, Social Security, Medicare, the G.I. Bill, building of the Erie Canal, the Hoover Dam, the Bonneville Dam, the national highway system, the Holland tunnel, the George Washington Bridge, extending the vote to blacks and women, etc. The list of socially liberal programs and infrastructure that have been the major factor in the greatness of this nation could go on for pages.

    The idea that "devotion to the individual and free markets" is more important than is commitment to community and a well managed economy is false and has been shown to be false by the current financial mess and past financial messes.

    Our system has been tilted in favor of the rich for a bit too long now and needs to be focused on broadening the currently shrunken middle class.

    May 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Trent

    The Republicans social issues are crap. You can re-package it with
    a sparkled bow and it's still crap.

    May 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Independent GOP Democrat

    It seems the GOP still doesn't understand. Haveing a small exclusive meeting on the issues in plain site is still not what this country wants. It sounds more like a mind tick here from the evil empire. To exclude the language of what the real issues are to insert what the GOP "thinks" life is about is both dim witted and ignorant. The people choose/ chose the Democratic Party because of its values. Somehow, since President Bush was in office the GOP does not hold to the same principles it used to; hypocrisy. In addition, the Grand Old Party is at a loss on how to move forward. The future belongs to that of the youth. Times have changed and the Republicans do not know how to change with it. Inclusive should not mean "just our children, educating them, keeping our government small and blah blah blah." As a multi-faceted Nation, we should be able to move us all in the right direction and not just the Right-Wing agenda. Yes, they've lost their center and I for one am sick of their message. Tolerance, Equal Rights, True Liberty and Change should be the goals of this Party. Its unfortunate that after the many writings on the wall over the last 10 years, they still don't get it. Until they do, the Republican Party will lose more ground and face further ersosion in government. The real minority are the ones that think shoving morality on others (their values), hatemonges, those w/ fascist overtones, and an inability to cope as the "Party of no". This is not what the country stands for! Its a travesty that real life issues are at a standstill because my fellow countrymen want to play politics...fuding like children instead of working towards real solutions debunked of "this wing" or "that wing's" political agenda that will gain them traction to stay in control. The overall message is "WORK TOGETHER PEOPLE" and "REPUBLICANS HAVE LOST THEIR CREDIBILITY". Honestly, do you think the American public at large are stupid. Stop underestimating and change your focus; your core can be tweeked...

    May 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Tim S

    How can the Repubs even talk about reform while using a Bush as a spokesman?

    May 4, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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