April 29th, 2009
11:00 PM ET
12 years ago

GOP set to launch rebranding effort

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Coming soon to a battleground state near you: a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama's characterization of Republicans as "the party of 'no.'"

CNN has learned that the new initiative, called the National Council for a New America, will be announced Thursday.

It will involve an outreach by an interesting mix of GOP officials, ranging from 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and the younger brother of the man many Republicans blame for the party's battered brand: former President George W. Bush.

In addition to Sen. McCain and Gov. Bush, GOP sources familiar with the plans tell CNN others involved in the new group's "National Panel Of Experts" will include:

*Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former national GOP chairman
*Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
*Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

It will report to GOP congressional leaders, and among those signing the announcement that will be made public Thursday are:

*House GOP Leader John Boehner
*House GOP Whip Eric Cantor
*House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence
*Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell
*The No. 2 Senate Republican, Jon Kyl
*And the Senate GOP Conference Chairman, Lamar Alexander

"However, this is not a Republican-only forum," reads the letter announcing the new effort, a copy of which was obtained by CNN from Republican sources involved in the effort. "While we will be guided by our principles of freedom and security, we will seek to include more than just our ideas.

"This forum will include a wide open policy debate that every American can feel free to participate in," the announcement letter reads. "We do this not just to offer an alternative point of view or to be disagreeable. Instead, we want to ask the American people what their hopes and dreams are. Since January, the President and the Democratic Majority in Congress have – rightfully so – put forward their plan for the future, now we must listen, learn and lead through an honest, open conversation with the American people that will result in building policy proposals that will yield the best results for our nation's long-term success."

The first meeting is planned this Saturday in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of the nation's capital. Northern Virginia is one of the suburban areas that has shifted decidedly in favor of the Democrats in recent years, helping President Obama carry the state for the Democrats for president for the first time since 1964.

Sources familiar with the effort say it was born of conversations between Cantor and the members of the experts panel. After Bush and Romney agreed to take part, the conversations expanded and the idea won the blessing of both the House and Senate GOP leadership. Additional town halls are planned in the weeks ahead, each likely dedicated to a specific issue, with health care, the economy, energy and national security leading the issues menu the group says it hopes to discuss heading into the 2010 midterm elections, and possibly beyond.

UPDATE: South Dakota Sen. John Thune will also participate in the group. The Republican congressional leadership is also slated to travel the country and attend town-hall meetings as part of the new effort.

Filed under: Republican Party
soundoff (93 Responses)

    They are out their minds...... Jeb Bush? Mitt Romney? Please.....
    Mitt, Jindal, and even Jeb, want to be President in 2012...... They're getting their faces out there for publicity.....nothing more. And they're missing the pont of what Americans want....... Healthcare, Education reform, and a fixed economy..... Again the President has beat them to it!!!!! They've discovered socialism, fascism, and other names don't work.....so now they'll spread there disenfrachisement from state to state.....Great 🙁

    April 29, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. Wendy In Houston

    Look at the list. No African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or women. The Republican just don't get it. This country is getting browner and I hate to say it people want to see people that look like them. Haven't they looked at Obama's cabinet. Seems like a good ole boys meeting with the standard exception- one dark person in the crowd.

    April 29, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  3. CK1

    I wish the liberals on this site would engage in intelligent debate rather than sophomoric name calling. It is tiresome. I think this effort is a great idea, and I applaud efforts to listen to America and come up with real solutions to everyday problems. Let's all hope the effort leads to promising alternatives to more spending and more taxation.

    April 29, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  4. Rob

    Scumbag liberals – only four years before republicans take back the senate and white house – to clean up the mess that the messiah and president pelosi will leave our children and grandchildren – and correct the puke policies of the liberal elite

    April 29, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  5. D.Tin

    Government should be involved in healthcare and education, especially education. Some states have dumb leaders who like to keep the people of their respective state ignorant, so that they do not become enlightened and believe in science. On the other hand government should not be involved in peoples lives in areas such as same sex marriage and a woman's right to choose.

    April 29, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  6. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    What will the rethuglicans rebrand as, the Black Shirts or the Brown Shirts?

    Which shirt will Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck look best in? We know from CPAC that Rush Limpbaughs prefers black as he jumped around on stage.

    April 29, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. Zach

    I can't wait to see if the republicans rebranding scheme actually works and you liberals run and hide.

    April 29, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. gl, Pittsburgh

    The still don't get it they need to reach out to minoirty race. They are a bunch of the same old white men. What a big joke they have become.

    April 29, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Stephen

    Well first off you can't stop bashing Muslims, Gays and Lesbians, Atheists, Abortionists, and try to look at why Women, African Americans, Latinos/as, and Asians don't tend to vote for you. Perhaps they're just too choc full of God-Fearing white males that to realize that their plans are bigoted?

    April 29, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  10. joe in Orlando

    Those are good suggestions for new brand names for the The Republican Party.

    Also, how about:

    The Losers Are Us Party

    The One Elephant short of a Party Party

    The Teabaggers Party

    or in honor of George W. Bush,

    The Completely Incompetent Party

    April 29, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. Seth from Delaware

    GOP Rebranding... um... I think the whole "lipstick on a pig" thing was played out during the election campaign... either way, I always thought that was a bit trite... perhaps a more apt description is "putting another coat of spray tan on a backwoods Ohioan good ol' boy and sending him out into the world thinking stubbornness and a lack of good ideas can some how make up for intelligence" ... oh wait... Mr. Boehner has already gone to Washington?

    April 29, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Sonya

    Hmmm, rebranding? How do you rebrand a bunch of self-centered, out-of-touch, dumb obstructionists? Personally, I'd be happy if they'd all drop out of sight forever and open the door for a new opposition party. We all know their faces and we're all sick and tired of them. Rove, Limbaugh, Cheney, Bush, Hannity and.FIX NEWS!!! The list goes on and on and THEY ALL MAKE ME SICK!

    Bye the way, if Texas wants out of the union, I say.. don't let the door hit you on the ass TEXAS!

    April 29, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  13. Aaron

    From the comments here it seems the only party that can't stand diversity of thought and supports hate speech would be the Democrats.

    All of you are saying the same thing...just in different ways...

    Oh George Bush!!!...Ohh...aBushLied...OhhRepublicans are racist...Ohh..Party of no

    You guys claim to be for diversity but somehow conservatism is unacceptable as a political ideology.

    You betray your own principles with out batting an eye. You use hate to beat down dissent, as displayed on all the major cable networks , minus FOX, with the tea parties was foul. If Republicans had done that you would be throwing fits and throwing shoes.

    When will you people just admit that you are so ideologically committed to leftism that you would find a way to justify detention, interrogation..even torture as long as it was conservatives as your targets.

    Remove the log from your eye and then we can talk about the speck in the eye of the Republican party.

    April 29, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. SA in OO

    It's not just the rand, the product they are selling needs to be re-thought as well. This isn't a bad group to start with, but there should be more voices from younger, and more moderate Republicans at the table in order to come up with a truly inclusive new vision for the party.

    April 29, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. No Incumbents in 2010

    Rebranding is a good idea, in theory. The problem is the people in charge of the rebranding believe in ideological purity and will do everything possible to drive away moderates and independents from the party. Thus, the type of rebranding they will accomplish will be counterproductive. The white men in charge of the party won't listen to Olympia Snowe or Meagan McCain. They ONLY listen to Boss Limbaugh.

    April 29, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. Kim

    Republicans, Don't bother until you can prove that you are there for the American people and that is coming from a republican for the last 20 years and now voting against republicans because of there defience (sp?) to credible solutions.

    April 29, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  17. Had It

    Too little, too late

    April 29, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  18. Pepper

    Instead of Republicans trying to always bolster their image into a Freedom loving folksy for the people party why don't they try something quite revolutionary: help pull this country's foot out of the economic mud by offering solutions instead of blocking any suggestion that just might benefit the people of this country. Geez!

    July 30, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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