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. The GOP need to pack up and leave

    They still don't know what they did wrong?

    Shall we start with Reagan? No? Too far back?
    How about Bush 1? Still too far back?
    We could definitely talk about the damage done by Bush II. That will taint the GOP for years.
    Then there Palin. Let's face it, NO ONE with any intelligence wanted her around the White House. This woman was a mistake from the word go.
    Then for the 2012 election, the GOP had a crappy candidate for president. They chose someone absolutely reprehensible for the VP spot.

    So you want to do an autopsy on the election? You need to do an autopsy on your political party. You're bad for America, Americans don't want you in any office where you can do more damage. Maybe the GOP needs to vivisect itself and get rid of the garbage like the Neocons, the Tea Party and the right wing nut jobs and become a viable party again.

    November 28, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  2. Lisa

    Knock yourselves out, RNC. You won't actually learn anything, because your minds are tightly closed. Just make sure you pay for it out of your own pockets.

    November 28, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    @Collin. I couldn't agree more! It's like the GOP went out of their way to offend so many groups of people, and still thought these same people would vote them in. I'm still wondering how Willard even came close percentage wise?

    November 28, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  4. Rina

    Unbelievable how the GOP turned more than half the country against them, got SPANKED in the election, and they are still doing the same things! Right after the election, it's back to the same old obstructionist bs. Benghazi – give me a break! How about investigating those WMD's? How about the 12 embassy attacks under Bush where MORE people died? They keep doing the same thing over and over getting the same results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?

    November 28, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  5. JC in Western US

    Republicans are the last people who would understand why other people didn't vote for them. They will conduct an autopsy on the election and find all the problems with organization and message delivery and miss the real problem. The Republican party isn't inclusive and it has no heart or soul. It is government of the Rich, by the Rich, for the Rich. They can't just try to pretend that's not the case.

    November 28, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  6. John Stockton

    Priebus, heh, what slimy little man. I think necropsy would be a more appropriate term. The party of angry, old white men finally appears to be witnessing their demise yet everything they do to try and fix it will be from the same old Rove play book because that's all they know. These uncompromising angry fascists have no place in government! Down with the teaocons!!!

    November 28, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  7. Oneslydragon

    Wow, go figure more partisan name calling and denying.

    November 28, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  8. Paul

    Here is an autopsy: House Republicans elect all white, male committee to every single post in the House. There you go.

    November 28, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. Rameses007

    Interesting that Dr. Priebus is asking for an autopsy after he gave his patient an unregulated medication prescribed by a voodoo doctor named Karl Rove. Republicans should revoke his license and commit him to the asylum run by Bachmann and her husband where they can pray away his mental instability which is a pre-existing condition under Obamacare.

    November 28, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I think it is well past time for an autopsy. The carcass is starting to stink.
    It is time to accept condolences, bury the body, and move on with their loss.

    November 28, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  11. CNNuthin

    "Oh, did you think we were going to start using our time to help the economy, the middle class, fix the various problems in Washington? Nah, we are going to hold tax-payer funded 'power meetings' to figure out why insulting people doesn't win their favor. Can someone pass me a bagel while we brainstorm how we are going to start the brainstorming meeting?"

    November 28, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  12. dc

    The GOP need look no further in its autopsy than people like Ohio's Bohnner and Kentucky's McConnell. Both are out of touch wealthy elitists who have no scruples or common sense. Just listen to them say no to everything that they don't think of. The voters have loudly spoken and while I would prefer someone other than Obama, I absolutely did not want Romney and his job killer attitude and personal beliefs that he is above the law (hiring illegals, for example).

    The GOP dug its own grave and pulled the first in behind after them - so they deserve the resounding pounding which should essentially keep them hidden from public view for years to come. As unhappy as I am with Obama, I was never inclined to vote for the Party of No (Mitch McConnell's own quote a day or two after Obama was elected the first time). The GOP must get real in order to survive. That is not to say the Dems have anything whatsoever - but the Dems do not have the GOP's albatross hanging around their necks and people are tired of the GOP vengeance and vehemence anfd virtioloty of the last 15 years or so.

    They GOP can survice IF they change their viewpoints of hatred and subservience of others. If unwilling, we will have a one-party system in this country and the GOP has no one to blame but themselves. Hateful people breed hateful attitudes that continue for generfations. I oppose much of Obama's policies, but I oppose every single solitary GP plank in their falling-apart platform. Hatred. Bigotry (yes, screamed out in the Congress by members!!). Deception. Lies. Killers of our children in wars started by Bush II. Blind following of people like Cheney.

    People. You got what you deserved. I sincerely hope you offer a reasonable and sensible choice in the next election. If so, you have a chancce if you can keep McConnell's hateful mouth sewn shut for four more years. If you do not, then the party till cease to exist and the Tea Partiers will be largely to blame along with your elitist attitudes that dragged you down to despair this time. The change is in your hands. If not voters will continue to reject you and your policies.

    November 28, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  13. Wake up People!

    First one rethuglican said they needed a proctology exam, now one is saying they need a full autopsy. I think members of the GOP need to be calling President Obama and thanking him. With Obamacare, at least they'll be covered.......

    November 28, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. Kay

    What's to straighten out? The problem was the same as in 2008, they nominated someone who failed to get the nomination in the past and why would they support a candidate they didn't fully endorse? If McCain and Romney were such great choices why didn't they get the nod the FIRST time they ran?? And amazingly enough they're suggesting the SAME approach in 2016 by possibly nominating Santorum. Come on GOP, nominate winners instead of losers for a change!

    November 28, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Mete Krop

    GOP miserably failed this year primarily because of people like Priebus. His arrogance, hateful speeches and curs avoided many Americans from this party. GoP need to avoid people like him in order to survive in the future.

    November 28, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  16. scrod

    Perhaps Republicans should look under the hood of the car that has them stranded on the side of the highway. You can't fix everything under there with one solution: the message that Obama sucks. It makes a great bumper sticker, it's easy to say loud, even easy to prove and convince folks of. But if that is their entire message, and they insist on doubling down on it, it better work. America is not stupid enough (by a 4% margin) to award elections to vocalists of that sole message. "Autopsy" is a great word... though I doubt Republicans have any intentions of seeking that. Autopsy would involve too much science, fact, reality, imperical evidence and sense. Lack of these traits is the chief reason the RNC will continue to flounder. The truth hurts... for everyone. The problem with the RNC is they don't like hurt... so they demonize, alienate, marginalize, attack or slander any agent of this message. Unfortunately for them, those tactics no longer function on a majority of the electorate. An autopsy will uncover that they ignore autopsies. That data, of course, must be flawed, so they will ignore that too.

    November 28, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  17. Honestly?

    Good luck with that. The republican party had/has me so disgusted, you need to skip the autopsy and roll right into cremation. Then and only then can you rise from the ashes ... with someone else as the leader. Someone sane.

    November 28, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  18. nicole

    Seriously? An autopsy? To use another graphic image, no matter how many times this dog returns to inspect its vomit, it will not turn into a filet mignon. I agree with Barry on this. The only thing that the GOP wants is power and it will apparently say or do anything to get it, which includes drafting a plan to tell people what they want to hear. But Americans aren't stupid, we won't fall for that old party line.

    November 28, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. gladiatorgrl

    they should have used the 400 million spent on the campaign to buy a CLUE!!! cause they ain't got one.

    November 28, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  20. Michael

    @Anthony Quatroni – Your evidence of such slanderous statements? The Party of NO lost; Americans are tired of obstructionist idiots that are doing what Grover wants and not what the constituents want, need or demand. I could not trust Mittens – I learned NOTHING about him, hwat he really thinks, feels or wants during the campaign. I am against the subservience of women I see coming from the GOP. They talk about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS but all I see is obstructing bills that would have created the same. I see calls for smaller government and containing spending but the GOP wants a larger Navy, $2 Trillion additional for an over-stuffed DOD and they want to control every aspect of my life, especially if I happen to not agree with them. So get over it, Dude, your boy (and party) lost. Deal with it, Bubba ...

    November 28, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  21. Nelson

    They should not have to look too far if they are honest with themselves. They cannot win on a platform based on supporting greed, sexism, homophobia, and very thinly veiled racism. They cannot win when they have so little heart that they have nothing but disdain for the truly downtrodden poor, and do nothing to help the middle class. They cannot win when they detest American workers and try to prevent them from having a decent wage that a family can actually live on.

    November 28, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  22. 22

    The republicans can start by denouncing Norquist- Your pledge is to uphold the USA constitution .Their allegiance to a lobbyist and the top 1% is why their party is going burst,secede already and let the rest of the country discuss ideas that help everybody and not a select few,That's the America I want to see.

    November 28, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  23. Mark

    Election results: US Senate – no change, US House – no change, Presidency – no change. The president won by 4 million votes out of 125 million cast. How do 2 ties and a narrow win result in an autopsy? Had the GOP run an electable candidate, and they have many, the dems would be performing the autopsy.

    November 28, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is time for a full autopsy...
    -------------------------------------------------
    Start with an anal probe...that's where most GOP brain trusts seem to reside.

    November 28, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. Dollar Bill Clinton

    Barack left the GOP body sloppy, so they couldn't perform an autopsy...

    November 28, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
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