RNC's Priebus weighs in on convention, 'birther' issue, Akin
August 26th, 2012
10:23 AM ET
6 years ago

RNC's Priebus weighs in on convention, 'birther' issue, Akin

(CNN) - Following the decision to delay the start of GOP convention speeches and events until Tuesday afternoon, the Republican National Committee chairman said Sunday it was "the right thing to do" and confirmed most of Monday's planned events would be folded into the remainder of the week's schedule.

"So far the word is that almost all of it is going to be accommodated into the Tuesday/Wednesday programming and everything is going to move ahead," Reince Priebus said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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"Everything is going to be back to normal on Tuesday," he continued, though he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley some of the speeches may be shorter than originally planned.

On the program Sunday, Priebus also weighed in on a comment made by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney on Friday that critics have labeled an apparent swipe at the so-called birther controversy regarding President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship.

Speaking in Michigan, his native state, Romney said Friday: "I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

Some Democrats quickly pounced on the comment, calling it an inappropriate slam against the president that only fuels claims by those who question where the president was born.

Priebus, however, said people were taking the remark too seriously. Pointing to the fact that Obama himself has poked fun at the "birther" issue, Priebus said the political climate needs to lighten up.

"Have we really gotten to the point where we can't have any levity at all in politics? I mean, we have gotten to a place in politics that is ridiculous, and no one can say anything that is remotely humorous," Priebus said.

The RNC chairman also continued his call for Rep. Todd Akin to drop his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, saying Akin's decision to stay in the race will hurt the GOP's chance to pick up the much-needed Senate seat this fall.

"I think that it is more difficult. I think that is very clear," Priebus said. "He has time to get out of the race, and he ought to put the mission of liberty and freedom ahead of himself."

Akin sparked an outcry a week ago when he claimed a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy during cases of what he called "legitimate rape" - an argument that Priebus labeled "biologically stupid" on Sunday. Following Akin's remark, a large number of top Republicans - including Priebus and Romney - called on the congressman to withdraw his candidacy in the Senate race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.

On Friday, however, Akin vowed once again to stay in the running.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. insurance guy

    One of the planks at the GOP convention is about sharia law. That strikes me as funny because sharia law is a group of people trying to impose their will on all the other folks whether they like it or not. Sound familair there GOP/teaparty.

    August 26, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. myviewis

    The difference is that Mr. Biden is correct. If Romney/Ryan win we are in chains.

    Okay, I guess you do think Biden is correct when he told an African American audience "put YOU all back in chains" notice Biden didn't say WE, Biden said YOU.

    August 26, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. carlos

    Thank you ISAAC, keep it up, after all the CONS and REPUGS need a good bath, MOTHER NATURE works wonders.

    August 26, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. John

    On the Brither thing I think It was a Bad Joke that make Mitt Romney look more like a big FOOL. Has for Akin ,he only saying what all Republican are Really thinking. But now Most Republican are saying they don't stand for what He said.

    August 26, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. myviewis

    insurance guy

    One of the planks at the GOP convention is about sharia law. That strikes me as funny because sharia law is a group of people trying to impose their will on all the other folks whether they like it or not. Sound familair there GOP/teaparty

    Sounds just like Democrats imposing abortion on everyone, making all businesses pay for abortion including Christians and non-Christians who are against abortion.

    August 26, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. enuff

    Romney made a poke at Obama like a bully pokes at their victims. They say "just kidding" when someone says it was inappropriate, but know they got their point out to all others around them. Romney is known for being a bully.

    August 26, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Pander Bear

    Surprised they didn't try the "lighten up, it's just a joke approach" to Todd Akin's comments. Anne Coulter has made a career of saying horrible inflammatory statements and then accusing people of having no sense of humor. The GOP never holds their members to any accountability for their words or actions.

    August 26, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. ColoradoJoe

    to say the least, his sense of humor is bad. Is this like when he was in high school? He was just "having fun" with the gay student? Also on the international stage, his "humor" has already caused problems.
    Search "Florida Governor Snubbed by Romney After Political Gaffes" By Michael C. Bender – Jun 20, 2012 4:00 AM MT (Bloomberg). Read first paragraph.

    August 26, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Kenny K

    I wonder how much of BIRTHER jokes goes on in Romney family because one of his sons made birth certificate comment before.

    August 26, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. CBR

    Mr. Priebus wants us all to lighten up because Mr. Romney made a "joke" that did not get alof of laughs. He needs to remind his own party spokespeople to lighten up as well. It seems as if we hear "the DEmocrats reached a new low" almost every day. It would be nice if the whole tone of this election changed. All those who wish to make id cards mandatory for everyone would just stop and think about what they are doing. The right to vote eclipses everything else as the most important privilege we all have. The leaders in the states where this has been endorsed know all too well that many people in this country do not have cars, and therefore do not have driver's licenses. The states do not have enough time before the election to give a voter id card to every citizen. That fact does not seem to bother them because they still are going forward and have passes laws. This is their way to stifle those people in the inner cities who traditionally vote for the Democrat.

    Once they take one right away what will follow. Our most basic rights and needs are being trampled on in the name of "voter fraud." In comparison to the number of voters any fraud is minimal. Those in charge would like us to believe that fraud is rampant. They tried that in Maine only to find that fraud did not occur and the Secretary of State in Maine and the GOP chairman look ridiculous. Stand up for the right to vote and do not let others take that away,

    August 26, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Republimoron

    Yeah....the Biden thing was correct.....He is not black. Black people were slaves. Romney/Ryan essentially want to put black people so low on the rights list that they are metaphorically no better off than when they were slaves. You All was an appropriate statement. Akin on the other hand....he wants to put women in chains. So the Republimorons HATE equality. Bottom line. Republimorons.

    August 26, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Thomas

    When Romney's son starts up with the Birther jokes , I wonder how he jokes about avoiding voluntary military service.

    All five of Mitt's sons avoided military service , are they speaking at the convention on behalf of those that have better things to do ?

    August 26, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Brett

    The crowd didn't laugh at the birther comment. They cheered. They didn't think it was a joke.

    August 26, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Dgood

    His mother was a US citizen, the physical place of his birth doesn't matter, the GOP is lame...

    August 26, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. steven harnack

    This is how lunatic the Republicans have become; They have made Sharia Law opposition part of their platform! This Party thinks that Sharia Law is an immediate threat , but that global warming (while half of the country is turning into another dust bowl) is a hoax and should be ignored. Can they get any further away from reality? Of course, everytime that I've said that, they manage to exceed my wildest imaginations.

    August 26, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. fernace

    A man's words reveals what's in his heart! Forward–Obama/Biden 2012!!

    August 26, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Bessy

    Biden was correct in what he said. Also, he meant all of us, except the rich, will be in chains, not just the blacks.
    Don't try to twist it as though he only meant the blacks. Educated blacks understand what he said.

    August 26, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Marie

    His father was born in Mexico. Mitt Romney says he was born in Michigan. I want proof. Where's his birth certificate?

    August 26, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. rexdogcanadien

    Mr Romney was born in the USA so too was President Obama and the indiginous peoples of your great nation. Just think.

    August 26, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Ancient Texan

    enuff- Obama had just recently made reference to Romney and mentioned "the dog thing". Turn about just might be fair play?

    August 26, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. The Unsub

    thanks for sending the RNC Hurricane Isaac. Amen!

    August 26, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Name oman

    Romney needs to leave the jokes to the comedians. He needs to use his joke time to layout a plan to fix the economy. Here is the punchline, he doesn't have a plan.

    August 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. The Ohter Dale

    This is just going to be ugly. Wednesday is the anniversary of Katrina, and it appears that Tuesday Louisiana is going to be hit hard with another hurricane. And each and every one of us will be reminded – through no help of the "evil, nasty media" or the "dastardly Democrats" – how the Republican President at that time really fouled things up for those suffering and dying.

    Then, the news Wednesday will be on the anniversary and no doubt will show people struggling once again in the state to make do after another natural disaaster.

    And ... oh, what's this over here? Why it's a bunch of white people over in Tampa having a party and a good ol' time boosting about the rich, white guys running for president.

    Man, the Republicans might as well just give up now. It may not be God, but certainly fate has it out for them this time around. Better luck in 2016.

    August 26, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. Age of Fools...

    USA..One Country..Two Parties...............................
    USA..Two Parties...One Government.......................

    If The Washington and WnnaBe Politicians did not get it yet...than the American-People must stand-up, unite and tell them
    "There shall be one Governmaent only"..namely.." The Government by the people for the People"...

    August 26, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    I wonder had Obama made a joke like " I'm a Christian but nobody ask me if my religion is a cult" would that have gone over just as well....I have a feeling it would NOT. Just saying.........

    August 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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