November 27th, 2012
09:28 PM ET
2 years 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. Vince

    Why waste money on an "autopsy"? It was clearly death by tea intoxication.

    November 28, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Reince, sweetheart. Why waste all that money and time on performing an autopsy when we already know the results simply by reading comments still coming from FOXbots after having suffered another landslide presidential defeat. Complete ignorance and a willingness to continue the status quo of deceit and hate and divison and anger.

    While amusing enough in itself ... deceit, hate, division, and anger has ever been a winning argument.

    You, my friend, have done your own fair share of perpetuating that deceit and division. So, yeah. I very much doubt all the word salad window dressing in the world will chance the results any time soon.

    November 28, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. sifto

    seems libs are bitter about winning the election..still trying to trash republicans?! or running scared because of all the misleads?

    November 28, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. DC

    How about a full lobotomy!

    November 28, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Jared

    Here's what happened. The RNC policies are untenable to the majority of the American people, thus they did not want them running things. So, they voted for your opponent. I am glad they want to look in the mirror, but I doubt they will see what I do when they do.

    November 28, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. rs

    Four things-

    1. Your candidate lied- lots. These weren't even "lies of convenience" that politicians are prone to, they were just distortions of real-live facts. They demeaned the process and insulted voters.

    2.Your candidate was secretive and was not forthcoming about his finances. Mr. Romney historically used other candidates tax returns against them in previous races, yet despite tradition (some say started by his Dad), he hid his taxes- all the while Republicans manufactured lies and untruths about the President, his citizenship, education and family. Disgusting to anyone with a room-temperature IQ.

    3. Mr. Romney was an unapologetic plutocrat. He made it clear that he was in this race to help himself and the richest 1% to more federal largesse via even greater tax cuts. He made no bones about his dislike for the Amercian worker and working class, and desparaged the poor (his imfamous 47% commentary).

    4. Mr. Romney was an embarrassment abroad. HisSummer trip would have been funny if not for revealing that he knew virtually nothing of foreign affairs- Shoot, G.W. Bush looked like Henry Kissinger next to Romney.
    More proof that for the GOP Romney was a way to win- not actually be a good leader for all Americans.

    November 28, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Sky Wizard

    They will think it's brand, a few will think it's messaging, and a tiny few will recognize that the current strain of Republicanism is a product with serious flaws. The die-hards will insist that these "flaws" never waver (such as bowing to religious extremists). They could be a great party, and I really think they should have an important voice in our national process, but until they agree to some moderating changes, I can never vote for 'em. (and I'm a white guy small biz owner!)

    November 28, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Facts don't Lie

    one member of the GOP put it very well on what is wrong with the party.....you have too many members that follow the political entertaiment industry to get all their information...the right wing talk shows, FoxNews, people like Priebus that all live in a bubble not willing to accept reality, so they try to create their own. If the polls don't favor them it's because they are skewed, if the unemployment numbers go down it's because the books are cooked, Obama wins the election because it's fixed.....and on and on..the "evil left wing media" is out to get you and the government is your enemy. This produces nothing but low information voters who do not realize the nation is passing them by. First turn off "Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod" on the cozy couch every weekday morning and come into the real world. That would be a good start.

    November 28, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. NVa Native

    GOP tombstone ~ "always trying to go backward".

    November 28, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Mark

    Evidently membership in the dem party requires faulty reading comprehension skills. No where will one read and find the terms landslide and mandate regarding the recent election. Maintaining the status quo by a relatively slim margin certainly does not qualify as either a mandate nor a landslide. The nation is divided as indicated by the election results and the split is near 50-50. So do not assume, dems, that you are riding a wave of liberal change. Your margin of victory is tenuous at best.

    November 28, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Thinkergal

    Do all the autopsy you want - dead is still dead!

    November 28, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Perhaps the Republicans could look at the fact that they have insulted and denigrated such a large portion of the population that they were very lucky to score as highly as they did. Blacks, Latinos gays, any religion other than protestant or Jewish and women were all made aware of the fact that Republicans only care about them at election timke. People like Rubio and Herman the vermin are trotted out at election time to show how inclusive Republicans are. They are then herded back into their little box and stored until the next time something happens that has aneed for an etnic spokesman.

    Look at the Democrats. Lots of women, minorities out the wazoo, openly gay national figures and darn near everey religion on the planet in their side of the Congess. And those people are listened to. We know it is the turn of the century, but it is the 21st, not the 18th. catch up or be left behind.

    November 28, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Saboth

    It's really easy to diagnose why you lost. Your party spent the last 2 years obstructing any progress for this country. You actively attack Obama for not improving conditions fast enough from multiple economic meltdowns that happened under YOUR (GOP) watch. Since then, you've presented no real ideas for taking this country forward, and your party spends 90% of it's energy simply attacking the government Americans voted for. I see absolutely NO reason to vote GOP, in any position of government.

    November 28, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Wes Scott

    Reince Priebus is just too arrogant and ignorant to get it. His party's whole philosophy of starting wars (that THEIR sons and daughters do not fight), promoting racism and hatred, giving tax breaks to the wealthy who then invest their money overseas and move our jobs there, and choosing candidates from another planet (Kolob) who wear magic underwear and believe that all people can become god, or who can see Russia from their front yard just does not resonate with the majority of Americans.

    Saying things the "47%" want to hear without actually doing anything to make life fair and equitable for them is not going to cut it. The cancer in the GOP is the Tea Party, Reince Priebus, Grover Norquist, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Perry, 999 Cain, Michelle Bachmann (and her gay husband), Ron and Rand Paul, political churches and a deeply Fascist core. That's a LOT of cancer that is festering inside the GOP and eating it alive, though it is mostly now dead.

    Can the GOP change? Can a leopard change its spots? Like a chameleon, the GOP could find a way to change its appearance, but the chameleon is still a chameleon, and the GOP will still be the GOP regardless of which clothes it wears. As long as the core of the party is hatred, jealousy and racism it will continue to lose viability.

    November 28, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. America elected the wrong person president (Twice)

    Fear not America will overcome the commie liberals in the next presidential electon. Time to start looking for a true conservative to run against the commie liberals. I would suggest Rand Paul.

    THE TEA PARTY IS ALIVE AND WELL.

    November 28, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. Larry in Houston

    Mr. Priebus – You guys sould have ran someone like Huntsman, who was the only one who was a real moderate, anot to mention he was more rational than anyone you had in the primaries. He spoke from his heart, and meant what he said, and believed what he sad. Too bad he "bailed out" way too early, but Romney's Dollars were way too much for anybody with common sense.

    November 28, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. Bobpitt

    Hilarious, 73% of Latinos voted for Obama, care to know why? Because you can call someone a moocher, welfare case, a lazy bum and then expect them to vote for you. Just look at what Sifto wrote.
    The majority of Latinos work for a living, we don’t look at the government to take care of us, and there are a larger percentage of blacks and whites on welfare than Latinos.

    November 28, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. GonzoinHouston

    The GOP is where the democrats were in 1989: back then, the dems had lost 3 straight and 5 of the last 6 presidential elections. They then jettisoned their radical fringe, moved to the center, went looking for new faces, and went on to win 4 out of the next 6. If the GOP stays far right and runs the same folks in 2016, the dems will go 5-2 and the pubs will choke on the words, "President Hillary Clinton".

    November 28, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Karaya

    You let your party to be highjacked by fringe groups and extremist lunatics. All paid by trans-national corporations, who would happily turn the USA into Bangladesh to get higher profit margins.

    What else do you need to know?

    November 28, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. db

    I have been a Republican all my life and to be quite honest I was very disappointed in the ultimate selection of Mit Romeny to represent the party during the last election. Sure he is a great business man, probalby to honest and direct in his approach which goes against all political actions, and he chose to take the high road to what appeard to be Super Pack Gutter politics on the Democratic side. My problem with the Republican Party, actually both parties, now days is their inability to choose a person to run who is not already a millionair plus and part of the problem to begin with. We are losing the ability to chose a person based on his beliefs, his abilities, and is convictions and instead fall for the gimic's of political games wherein they throw dirt at each other until we are left with a choice of the lesser of two evils. I don't want an evil, I want a winner, a person who can lead this nation and make it proud again. Dirty politics must go, super packs that never pay their bills after an election must go, limits of political contributions by any corporation, company, or individual must be put in place or we will continue to have the best leaders that can be bought. Of course they will represent who put them there, why not as that is their bread and butter. As far as the Republican Party goes, they have lost the ability to lie better than the Democratic Party does to the gullable minorities. Promises of more handouts, continuing present handouts, and pandering to outdated welfare and entitlement programs must be reviewed and reigned in if this nation is to survive. People that have never worked a day in thier lives and yet have been supported by government handouts need to get a life and learn how to work. The LBJ days of the Great Society have pushed welfare and entitlements to a point it now takes up the largest piece of the national budget. Social Security is not an entitlement, the workers of the USA have contributed all their lives into that fund through a payroll tax and it's their money. Leave it alone but cut off SS fraud, investigate and review large disability claims better. Congress drained the SS fund back in the LBJ days when he allowed them to "borrow" the untapped funds and leave an IOU behind. Now all we have left is a stack of unpaind IOU's that will never be paid. It emulates the largest Ponzi game around.
    Waht is the answer to our current political and national crisis? It is our political leaders themselves. They don't know how to control spending and stopped representing the citizens long ago. The crooks take bribes and that is how they get so rich, it sure is not off salary. Term limits must be enacted or career theifs will continue to rape America until we are a 3rd rate country. Just my two cents worth.

    November 28, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. Sorensen

    Prairiebus is wrong, irrelevant, foolish and stupid as usual. When does the GOP figure out that this idiot costs them
    votes every day?

    November 28, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. rs

    Now for the problems of the GOP as a party. 4 things:

    1. Your economic theoy makes no sense. The CBO and CRS both show that 30 years of tax cust to the richest make no jobs. Yet, here we have Mitch McConnell on the news today "protecting the job makers".

    2.You're in bed with some very strange and dangerous people: anti-government nutjobs; anti-tax creeps; religious wackos, and the whole TEA Party crowd. No one sane will vote for any of that if it makes its way into the party platform, much less federal oilicy.

    3. You are there only for rich, white America.

    4. You stand oppossed to some very American values. You are against: Voter's rights, civil rights, worker's rights, birth control, abortion (pro-life-yet you hate people...). You believe "corporations are people", You are anti-education (and Science). You want to trash the world's environment.

    November 28, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Larry in Houston

    Mr. Priebus – You guys sould have ran someone like Huntsman, who was the only one who was a real moderate, and not to mention he was more rational than anyone you had in the primaries. He spoke from his heart, and meant what he said, and believed what he said. Too bad he "bailed out" way too early, but Romney's Dollars were way too much for anybody with common sense.

    November 28, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. Zenger Folkman

    Here's an idea, Preibus: Why not outflank the Dems by transforming the GOP back to the party of Theodore Roosevelt? The demographics predict the country will keep getting more progressive. And what could be more progressive than the party of Teddy? I'd vote Republican if the GOP promoted leaders like TR and the Dems keep getting more conservative, as they have been doing for the past 20 years.

    November 28, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. rs

    Mark-
    Romney lost 47% (gotta love that) to 50.7%, 332 Electoral College votes to 206
    You lost 12 seats in the House
    You lost 2 seats in the Senate
    Your overall vote total went down
    On social issues, the GOP lost big at the state level

    Face it, you guys lost on popularity, on issues, the economy and on ideas.

    November 28, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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