November 27th, 2012
09:28 PM ET
1 year ago

Priebus: It's time for a 'full autopsy' of 2012

(CNN) - While many Republicans have already diagnosed their party's problems after the presidential loss earlier this month, the chairman of the Republican National Committee is saying not so fast.

"I don't think you can draw any quick conclusions other than the fact that we lost and we know that," Reince Priebus said Tuesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," the chairman's first television interview since the election. "But in order to get back in the game, you've got to look at and do a full autopsy of what happened."

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Priebus said that over the next several weeks the party will dive deep into analysis of the recent election and come up with a four-year game plan tailored to avoid the mistakes it made this time.

Many Republicans in recent weeks have called for a "bigger tent" party that will be more representative of the country's changing demographics. They cite President Barack Obama's overwhelming victory among minority groups. Obama took 71% of the Latino vote and 93% of the African American vote, according to CNN exit polls.

Priebus, however, did not wade into specifics Tuesday, saying only that the party will undergo a review and draft a plan that "both the grassroots and the donors and everyone in between can buy into for the next go-around."

Asked whether he believed the party's choice of Mitt Romney as the nominee was a mistake, Priebus said, "No, I don't think so at all."

"I think he would have made a great president," Priebus told Morgan.

He did acknowledge, however, that Obama's campaign had "something that was pretty good" in terms of its ground game and pledged that the party would look at taking a similar approach.

"What we can conclude is that we've got to be better, and that's something that we're committed to doing," he said.

Priebus also weighed in on the efforts to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, a massive amount of tax hikes and spending cuts that will kick in next year if Congress fails to act. The RNC chair accused the president of not sharing his plan with the American public.

While White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama's proposal will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion and include more than a trillion dollars in cuts "to discretionary, non-defense spending," Priebus said he wanted to hear it from the president himself.

"We haven't seen the plan. I haven't seen the plan," Priebus said. "I don't think the plan is out there. I think Jay Carney might be, but I don't see the plan."

Obama sat down November 16 with congressional leaders for the first round of negotiations, but a second White House meeting has yet to be scheduled. In the meantime, Obama has been meeting with labor and business groups to rally support for his push to raise tax rates on the wealthy as the best way to raise revenue.

Republicans disagree. They say closing loopholes and limiting deductions would be the better route and less damaging to the economy.

Engaging in a heated discussion with Morgan on Tuesday, Priebus said the fiscal cliff debate should not be focused on taxes but on the other side of the deficit reduction equation: spending cuts.

"It's absolutely, intellectually dishonest to have a conversation about tax increases until you talk about massive cuts in spending to the federal government," he said.

Priebus added: "That's like going to the hospital with a broken leg, taking a bunch of pain pills, and after a few hours you still have a broken leg. You have to fix the broken leg."

Elected to his position in 2011, Priebus said he intends to run again for the same position. He's expected to once again claim victory when the RNC votes for the chairmanship at its annual winter meeting in January, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"We've turned things around here both financially and as an organization but now I think we need to lead to the next election," he said. "We need to figure out what we can do better and how to do that."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal Cliff • Reince Priebus • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (341 Responses)
  1. MarkinFL

    Coroner's finding will obviously be toxic levels of tea.

    November 27, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. Josh

    It's rich that now republicans want to talk about a bigger tent. Thugs like Priebus flat out insulted Ron Paul, his supporters, and even insulted Gary Johnson and all Americans who lean libertarian. The GOP has the gall to call for a bigger tent, but refuses to listen to anyone with different ideas. They still bow to the religious nuts, don't fight for civil liberties, etc. If Priebus wants an autopsy then he should acknowledge the day is either coming where the GOP will adopt more libertarian ideals, or that the GOP will eventually go extinct.

    November 27, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  3. Silence Dogood

    I can't wait for when the data mining gets released, detailing how everyone voted, allowing the winners to take revenge on the vanquished.

    November 27, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  4. LegalizeReason

    "You have to fix the broken leg."

    The American people are fixing the broken leg. They are voting out your party. It is clear to more and more Americans who and what the GOP represents. You are on the wrong side of the issues and no amount of salesmanship, planning or billionaires funding disinfromation can change that.

    November 28, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  5. Alfred E. Neuman

    The two worst things that have happened to the Republican Party are Karl Rove and Reince Preibus. Keep following the advice of these two will lead to more defeats.

    November 28, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. J.V.Hodgson

    I am getting really tired as the fiscal cliff approaches that even compromise from republicans = allowances as opposed to a rate increase IS OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. This long long and winding highway argument that tax increases slow economic growth is a flawed argument in this case because even Repulicans agree the solution is Increased tax in effect. On the same part of the economy i.e over $250k earners AND SPENDING CUTS,NEITHER WORKS ALONE IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT DEBT REDUCTION. Going for allowances does not bring the same revenue either.
    THEY DO NOT LISTEN TO THE CBO OR EVEN 2-1 AGAINST THEM POLLS.
    Time for Obama to get real tough:-
    Rates on the top 2% go up as part of $1.6trillion in tax revenues over 10 years. The rest is my budget plan of $4trillion overall. In other spending etc cuts.
    Dont even think of undermining PPACA that gets a veto as well. My god our way or the highway again.. they lost on both counts.
    We will ( Dems) look at full scale tax reform and entiltements and benefits ( looking at medicare and medicaid) as long as we don't short term go over the cliff. In this war the red lines are tax rates on the rich go up and leave PPACA out of cost cuts in this round as the veto awaits.
    Regards,
    Hodgson..

    November 28, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  7. kamanakapu

    The republican convention was a graphic example of what the future of the republican party would look like.
    Old, deathly white people seated upright in chairs as if they were in a morgue, already dead. Few young people or people of color could be seen in the pictures.

    November 28, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  8. Larry

    Sure cuts but why arent the republicans willing to talk massive cuts to military spending. We have the worlds best and most advanced military and we spend more than the next 10 or so countries combined on military. Cutting it a few billion wont instantly make us the smallest or least effective wed still far and away have the biggest and best.

    November 28, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  9. Meadmaker

    One of the main reasons they lost, was the exact same thing that Priebus is accusing the president of doing. Romney said he had a plan to restore our economy, eliminate our debt without raising tax rates, and build up our navy, but would never lay it out for the American people. If you are going to eliminate the debt, without raising taxes, what deductions are you going to eliminate? If it was primarily through spending cuts, where are you going to cut? How can you add ships to the Navy, and balance the budget, without raising taxes? Better, the devil you know, than the devil you don't. Plain and simple.

    November 28, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  10. MrManhattan

    Autopsy is right. The Frankenstein Monster made by sewing together Libertarians, Religious Crazies, Rich guys and assorted racists and misanthropes has finally torn itself apart.

    November 28, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  11. XWngLady

    Here we go again!! ... Hopefully, for the health and sanity of our country the Republicans will come out of this pow-pow with something other than "let's just block, stop and/or oppose any and everything Obama (because it pains them so to call him the President) does" like they did in 2008... But if Preibus is leading this thing, I'm not at all optimistic 😕!

    November 28, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  12. toydrum

    If the Republican party wants to know why they lost, they should ask why many Republicans refused to vote for them this time. For me, it wasn't about the fiscal cliff, religion or being tired of the anti-intellectual fearmongering that has come to characterize the loudest voices in the party. My biggest problem is that the Republican party chose to characterize my neighbors as my enemies, rather than fellow citizens that had differing opinions. There is a big difference between "United we stand" and "My way or the highway". I can not vote for a pary that wants to divide my country into us and them.

    November 28, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  13. FREEDOM

    Sounds good – let's do it.

    November 28, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  14. Frank

    Cult boy needed to show his tax returns. Once he refused that, he stood zero chance.

    November 28, 2012 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  15. TPharm

    Piers Morgan showed a bit too much partisanship in this interview. I'm disappointed with CNN. This election has revealed them as MSNBC light.
    Current federal debt: $16.3 trillion
    Next years federal debt with Bush tax cuts intact: $17.3 trillion
    Next years federal debt with Bush tax cuts repealed. $17.2 trillion
    Please note that repealing the Bush tax cuts yields only $100 billion per year. Drop in the bucket.
    Houston, we have a spending problem.
    Those of you who fell for Obama's Tax the Rich to Solve the Deficit Problem should have done your homework. You were duped. The 2012 election showed the world why the US is 25th in the world in math, and of course removed the last shred of doubt that we are in decline

    November 28, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  16. Dave

    The RNC just doesn't get it...and won't. My vote for Obama had nothing to do with "a pretty good ground game." I voted for Obama because the positions of Mitt Romney (of course, they changed every week) and the Republican Party are what drove me away. In my mind, they became the Party of Mean...they came off as a bunch of old white conservatives more interested in protecting wealthy folks, and caring little for people of little means. They espouse Christian values, but they're platform was all about "judging" people...gays, same sex marriage, contraception, etc. They were all about "right to life, but not about right to live." And, their far right ultra conservative ranks would NEVER accept a candidate who would lean toward those things. Too bad the far right didn't accept the moderate and rational thinking of John Huntsman...he would have made a great GOP candidate. However, the GOPers were too obsessed with the fact that he served under Obama that they couldn't see how he would appeal to the independent voters.

    November 28, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  17. Tony

    Bad candidate. Even worse platform. Republicans getting their news from FOX News and talk radio, and were blindsided by reality on Election Day. That pretty much sums it up.

    November 28, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  18. John Chachas

    Priebus is correct to push for this analysis. There are so many "monied constituents" in the political system that all will do some version of the post-mortem but each will have their particular spin to suit their purpose.

    November 28, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  19. StoptheBS

    Their campaign definitely needs an autopsy but their supporters need a lobotomy for supporting their nonsense.

    November 28, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  20. LizardLance

    It's not too difficult to figure out. The GOP has completely lost touch with most Americans by pandering to the extremists of its party and to the wealthiest of the wealthy. The common person is left out of their entire thought processes.

    November 28, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  21. Mr. Patton

    Mr. Priebus certainly can raise money for the RNC as did the many super PACs that supported the Republican efforts but money isn't what the RNC needs. I certainly hope that a real leader can be found versus something as ineffective as a fund raiser has proven to be.

    November 28, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  22. Larry

    I see he hasn't learned anything

    November 28, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  23. Frank in Valparaiso

    He does understand that autopsies are done on the dead doesn't he? No wonder they have no clue about health care.

    There should be a seriious mental health evaluation with medication as required and institutionalization as needed.

    November 28, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  24. fernace

    As usual Priebus refuses to listen to the People, which is step 1! We have repeatedly said, before, during & after the election, that we want to see W's temporary taxcut for the upper 2% to expire! We want reformed ent.itelments to cut waste & fraud, but that should not result in cuts to already meager benefits! We want those jobs, jobs, jobs the GOT-Party promised in '10! We want a strong military, but not at the expence of our economy! We want religion to stay out of governance, per the const.itution! We want equality for all Americans, education for our kids & safe, inexpensive healthcare for women w/out government intrusion! These are the things Obama ran on & why we voted for him! Unless Reince & his T-Party crew wake up to these facts, they will not be relevant to any1 but rich, old, white people, still stuck in the last century! Times are a-changing, Reince!!

    November 28, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  25. Fredo 305

    What the republicans have to realize, accept and admit is the Bush Tax Cuts were ment for the middle class but also for the wealthy to create jobs..... But the wealthy are taking the jobs over seas. As they are getting fatter like their pockets. (for now) Who is going to be able to afford to buy any of it later if no one is working and we'repaying

    November 28, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
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