Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) – After the divisive measure gained almost no traction among Republican National Committee members, a "purity test" for GOP candidates was withdrawn Friday before it could be voted on at the party's winter meeting in Hawaii.
Instead, RNC members voted to adopt a watered-down resolution that "urges" party leadership to "carefully screen the record and statements of all candidates who profess to be Republicans" and to determine "that they wholeheartedly support the core principles" of the Republican Party platform.
The new resolution was offered by Bill Crocker, national committeeman from Texas.
The purity resolution – which was first circulated among party members last November and immediately drew criticism from Republicans within the committee and on Capitol Hill – would have required candidates to support at least eight of 10 conservative principles in order to receive financial support from the RNC.
Jim Bopp, the Indiana committeeman and chief sponsor of the purity resolution, insisted that Friday's compromise was not a defeat.
"For the first time in history we are calling upon all Republican leaders to consider the positions of candidates on issues," Bopp told reporters after Friday's general session.
Read the full text of the RNC's resolution after the jump:
But even those who supported the softer measure as an alternative to Bopp's litmus test said the new language is not binding and would have no practical impact on the party's financial decisions.
"There is nothing mandatory in there, and there is nothing required," said Oregon GOP chairman Bob Tiernan. "I am not going to take that back and make my candidate sign it. That is ridiculous."
California GOP chairman Ron Nehring, one of the state party chairs who voted unanimously earlier in the week to oppose the purity test, called the new measure "a nice statement" but said it is "purely advisory."
Others said the issue of candidate support needed to be addressed, especially in the wake of the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district. In that race, a moderate Republican supported and funded by state and national GOP officials was driven out of the contest by conservative activists.
"Most of the GOP and all of the grassroots, all of them have been upset about the Republican Party giving resources to moderate candidates," said Virginia committee member Morton Blackwell. "Unless Republicans can persuade the new grassroots activists that something has changed, then the idea of incorporating them into a permanent Republican majority will not happen."
Even after the purity test was set aside, it was clear that the resolution remained a source of tension between committee members.
When Bopp was speaking to reporters, Tiernan interrupted to dispute Bopp's claim that the new resolution requires party leaders to only support conservative candidates. Bopp turned to Tiernan and snapped: "Shut up."
During Friday's meeting, resolutions committee chairman Henry Barbour addressed the controversy, telling members that certain resolutions "are beginning to water down our message."
"We need to focus more on defeating Democrats in November," Barbour said.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who opposed the purity test, did not mention the measure during his remarks to the committee.
Instead, Steele trained his fire on Democrats and blamed their recent losses in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts on "arrogance" and political overreach.
"The Democrats are in effect daring the American people to stop them," Steele said. "They are playing with fire, and they are going to get burned. And we are going to help burn them."
Full text of the RNC resolution adopted Friday:
RESOLUTION CONCERNING PARTY SUPPORT OF CANDIDATES
WHEREAS, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have recently supported primary or special election candidates who professed allegiance to the Republican Party but who, as their circumstances changed and to serve their own interests, turned against the Republican Party and became or supported a candidate of another party; and
WHEREAS, many Republican leaders and Republican organizations were undermined and lost credibility as a result of the actions of such candidates; and
WHEREAS, there will be many more decisions regarding the support of candidates, and many more opportunities to enhance or diminish the credibility of Republicans and Republican organizations, in the coming election cycle; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee urges its leadership and the leadership of all Republican organizations to carefully screen the record and statements of all candidates who profess to be Republicans and who desire the support of Republican leaders and Republicans organizations, and determine that they wholeheartedly support the core principles and positions of the Republican Party as expressed in the Platform of the Republican Party adopted at the 2008 National Convention; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee urges that no support, financial or otherwise, be given to candidates who clearly do not support the core principles and positions of the Republican Party as expressed in the Platform of the Republican Party adopted in the 2008 National Convention.
As approved by the Committee on Resolutions, January 28, 2010.
Updated at 7:15 p.m. with additional information and full text of RNC resolution.