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. Fredo 305

    We're paying more for the shipping of products that are not even made in America. We're paying for shipping costs. In all reality when was the last time you seen anything made in America. I try to shop American...... But it's so hard because there's nothing made in America anymore. It's sad see a country like ours builds copycats rebuild and sell for a lower price. If we just try to take control of the gas prices I think this would be a totally different game.

    November 28, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  2. David Crosby

    Do they really not get it ? Or are they just wed to doomed ideas?

    November 28, 2012 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  3. Gregory M. Newbold

    When will Rience be let go as Chairman? Afterall, the Republicans have stated for 30 years that they are the keepers of the meritocracy flame. Did not the GOP, under Preibus, lose the Presidency, lose the Senate, AND lose seats in House of Representatives? In contrast, didn`t Michael Steele [you know, the Black Republican that held the job before him] lead the GOP to gain seats in the 2010 midterm elections AND STILL get booted out? Why would Rience have a different fate? Sounds to me like that the Republicans do not favor successful people afterall or do I have that wrong?

    November 28, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  4. DENNA

    Let me break it down for you Reince. Get rid of the crazies in the GOP and rule from the center like President Obama and the Democrats do. Face it; there weren't enough rightwing crazies to put you over the top. There may not ever be again. The old GOP must die in order for the party to live. Stop depending on the rich businessmen to cover your butts. You did that this time and it was a disaster. Stop your darned "game plans". We the people don't like to think we are being lied to. Learn from President Obama's tactics. You went after your "base". He went after EVERYONE with a message of hope, despite the financial problems we have. He was upbeat and honest. Find yourself a decent candidate. Mittens looked like an oily conman. We felt we were being tricked. Finally, you people need to disconnect from the crazies that follow you. Be aware that if your candidates and others in your party are speaking in front of a microphone, we can ALL hear them. Hello Todd Akin!!!

    November 28, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  5. Mr. deShon

    Haaaa! They are mad because the close- minded, arrogant, rich white guy lost to the inclusive, open- minded, (once was poor but now) rich black guy...Again!? They still dont see that Americans see them as a party for racist. Even the people who are minorities that join them are viewed this way. When they say they are retooling for the next time, we view it as pandering. Its not sincere. Much like Mitt Romney.

    November 28, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  6. Howard

    A full autopsy? This, from one of the guys who presided over the losing strategy of the party. When are people like Priebus going to wake up to the fact that the majority of Americans do not want and will never embrace ultra-conservatism?

    November 28, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  7. Pippa

    "ROADKILL", that's what the diagnosis show the state of Republican Party after Election 2O12 is today!

    November 28, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  8. Dave

    It is not in need of a full autopsy. It is basic math, fewer people believe in what the Republicans have on their platform as did beleive in the Democrat's platform. Rewrapping a message that people don't support is not your answer. For me? A Democrat by nature; consider taking your noses out of my bedroom as much as you believe I should be able to run my own business without your interference. Removing government from our lives should mean out entire lieves, especially personal lives. By the way, when you reduce government by as much as you want and claim you would do, how will you explain the huge increase in unemployement, mostly to the middle and lower class and to women who hold a majority of those jobs? Those are the faces to a smaller government.

    November 28, 2012 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  9. Collin

    I'm not sure why they are confused.
    You said blacks were lazy welfare parasites.
    You told Mexicans to send themselves back home.
    You told women they have no choice when it comes to their health and body.
    When you insult more than half the country don't be surprised when more than half the country doesn't vote for you.

    November 28, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  10. mattski

    This is the guy who's responsible. He should have led and not sat by while Rove and his madmen ruined the GOP's chance. So start by replacing the RNC chair. Two goofs in a row in that position.

    November 28, 2012 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  11. Chris

    So after a brief period of self-reflection, the GOP has concluded that there is nothing at all wrong with their policies – the problem lies with the American people. And then they can't understand why their party is fading.

    November 28, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  12. Marie MD

    He finally gets it. The gop is dead!!! Let's bury it now.

    November 28, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  13. kuewa

    Priebus is a failure in every respect. Why hasn't he been fired? On the other hand, I suppose that at least some of us are thankful for his failures.

    November 28, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  14. Michael

    Stop working on YOUR Party and start working on OUR country, then maybe I will vote for you. Our leaders are more concerned with winning the elections then doing the job that they are paid to do. If they spent half as much time on working together to come up with real solutions for the country as they do on blocking their opponent and campaining(this applies to both parties) we would not have this "cliff" looming. After one term they recieve more benifits then I will in 30 years and we pay all of their expenses. I would like to start with their benifit/salery cuts before we go to cutting education again. Congress views that as a "drop in the bucket", but I suggest we start with their bucket since every little bit helps.

    November 28, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  15. Ed

    First job is to replace Priebus to save the GOP, his talking points helped to destroy the crdibility of the RNC.

    November 28, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  16. J0nx

    These guys are clueless. They lost because they ran yet ANOTHER RINO and nobody showed up to vote for him because there was little to no difference from the devil that's already in there. The GOP is running around trying to become more like the democrats thinking they lost because they are TOO conservative. In fact they lost because they are not conservative ENOUGH. They will not figure it out until they have given the farm away to illegals and poor blacks and anyone else that will never vote for them, all at the expense of their base I might add. I mean who seriously entertains the idea of giving 30 million illegals free citizenship in the middle of a depression with 16% REAL unemployment?? These people are insane all of them.

    November 28, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  17. artraveler

    Wow, let's see how many people we can turn off. You have the right-wing fundamentalist religionists acting like a version of the American Taliban. just like the Muslim Briotherhood wanting to enshrine their hatred into the Constitution. You have the "anti-anybody who isn't white" group, the "let's trun off anyone with any knowledge of science or reality" faction, and of course, the "we love only the rich and everyone else is a leech" faction. Maybe if they would get their collective heads out of their a– and look around, food stamps are up because of the GOTP failed policies but they want to punish these same people who are the victimes of their policies. They write off the two largest minority groups and hang their hopes on the anti-anybody white southern straatgegy of Richard Nixon, their beloved leader along with Ray-Gun who quadrupuled the national debt in his star wars scenario. When are they going to see the relationship between giving unneeded tax cuts and the run-up of the national debt? Why do they continually re-write history like the old USSR? Want anything else to think about? If you don't have these already on your list, you don't really give a hoot and all of this is for show as 3,500 of your old white male haters die off every day!

    November 28, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  18. Chuk

    Priebus, here's a problem: you're still dellusional. You can talk the big game about how you want you party to change to prepare for 2016 but unless you're ready to do the real work, and you clearly are not, it's all for not. For instance, you and your fellow right wingers are still opposing everything the President wants to do based on your ideology. This is only weeks after taking a beating from him. Even though he ran on those positions during the campaign! When will you get it that the American People support his positions and not yours!
    Here's advice for you, not that you asked for it: if you and your party are serious about real change, start with dropping all your obstructions to everything the government wants to do so it works for everyone. To become the obstructionists in chief so you can stay relevant is no change at all. You still haven't learned anything!

    November 28, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  19. kevin

    Loser!!! I hope the repubs do pick him again...

    November 28, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  20. true blue

    Full autopsy, How about a tall glass of common sense, How about get the hell out of that old elephant ass and get into the new world order, its changing and your lost in time. DUMBO, sorry Walt about the elephant.

    November 28, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  21. onlyfacts

    Here is a perfect example of why the GOP is done. Priebus says, "we haven't seen the plan, I haven't seen the plan, I don't think the plan is out there". Really? So you are telling America that the President of the United States is clueless or sitting in his office just staring at the wall. The GOP will always make stupid comments and accusations to try to make their "team" look better than the other. The problem here is more than half the country can see these idiots for what they are, lying narrow minded, greedy thugs. The GOP needs to learn that trying to mislead people over and over will not work anymore. I don't think they can do it. When your hands are in the pockets of big corporations, and you know its wrong, but you love the money, you're going to lie! Good bye GOP!

    November 28, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  22. Facts don't Lie

    if the GOP wants to do a remake of the party they can start by dumping this guy..a total loser. He talks big trash against the president and the Democrats and he could NOT even deliver his own state for Mitt Romney. At least when Mike Steele was in charge of the RNC, even if he might have been chosen as sort of a "token Obama" the GOP did show some wins. Priebus has done nothing but talk then runs and hides when he can't back it up.

    November 28, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  23. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Dive into the reason that 3 million republicans stayed home to let Mitt the twit twist in the wind on Nov 6.

    November 28, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. amlcpamaine

    Priebus can start with the brain cancer named Priebus. The Republican party has walked from just about every ethical principle that attracted many of us in the 80s and 90s. It acts as if responsible government is a joke and that politics is nothing more than its ticket to influence others the way a handful of its benefactors want us to be. Though they claim "patriotism" they've dragged away millions from our founding fathers' principles of fairness and equality. Priebus can't fix it because he's the worst example of the cancer in the head of the GOP.

    November 28, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  25. craig

    Oh goody! They're going to do an autopsy, and come up with a plan so they won't repeat the same mistakes.

    Instead of all that hassle, why not simply look at the hatred and filth you spewed during the election and consider if that's what will make America a better place for people to live. HINT: It won't! Then, do some serious soul-searching about your beliefs and consider how really out of date you are! The solution won't be found in an autopsy. The solution is to look at the world around you, accept the FACTS that science can tell you (HINT: The climate is changing) and then consider adopting some ideas that are in harmony with reality.

    November 28, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
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