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)
  1. Emily in Michigan

    Hee. This is just like how AIG thinks its problem is that its name is associated with bad behavior and the solution is to change the name. Will the GOP now be known as "The Cool Party Full of Awesomeness?"

    April 29, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. is that like when they are rustling cattle?

    and they try to turn the existing brand into another to hide the fact they stole the cattle?

    GOP trying to pull a fast one... sell the public a lemon car with BMW logos on it

    April 29, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. liberal gal

    Okay and Who Cares.....mcbush and friends have had more then enough time to rebrand themselves. Let us know once this task is complete

    April 29, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. malclave

    CNN boilerplate hate speech to begin in 3...2...1...

    April 29, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Veronica

    Jeez. The GOP just doesn't get it. Sticking a new, shiney label over the old, dusty label on a bottle of the same old product is NOT "new and improved".

    As long as the GOP continues to allow their party to be taken over by the extremely paranoid and obnoxious right-wing, to the detriment to true conservatives, and true moderates, the GOP will continue to isolate themselves. Right into oblivion.

    April 29, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. truth is liberal sort of

    tell CNN to pound sand

    April 29, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  7. Mike

    The GOP needs to get back to the roots of Reagan. This "media" lie of rebranding the party is typical. The liberals will bury themselves in stupidity as they always do. Obamunism will fail as Carter failed with his miserable Presidency.

    April 29, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. Michael

    Who are they reaching out to? What could this new brand be?
    A few suggestions:

    "The Party of Torture"
    "The Party of War Profiteering"
    "The Party of Catastrophic Industrial Deregulation"
    "The Party of Neo-Nazi Nutjobs"

    Good luck breaking 10% in the next election, anyway.

    April 29, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. Ed's Kate

    Oh, please, give us a break. JOHN McCAIN and JEB BUSH!!!
    Just what we need another BUSH on the scene and a has-been candidate McCAIN. The Republicans are really in trouble when they are relying on McCain and another Bush as well as the likes of Limbaugh, Rove, Hannity, etc. to straighten out their party.

    April 29, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Moderate Democrat

    So let's see if AFTER the 'meetings' they regurgitate the 1775 flat earth policies of:

    Lower taxes for rich people
    Don't help anyone else
    Kill some foreignors
    Torture is Cool
    Gay Marriage, kill them all
    Don't educate the children, screw em
    Poor people suck
    Smaller Government, but elect me, me and me!

    April 29, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. Chuck

    Sooooooooo What? Talk about Mr.'s Irrelevant banding together to give us an option to what is proving to be a historic success story. Just stay in the background and try not to embarrass yourselves. Soon, you can explain why you have been obstructionists to the will of the country.

    April 29, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Myassis Dragon

    Just pathetic isn't it.

    April 29, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. Shelley

    Problem is, is that the Republican party is opposed to divirsity... or so it seems.

    A party of the south? Mostly white?

    Where is the outreach to other races? Where is the tolerance for different opinion?

    Where is the separation of church and state?

    Until those questions are answered....... I don't see them growing any time soon.

    April 29, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Kathy

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig and right now it's a big stinker.

    April 29, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Swine Flu denier

    McCain is a democrat. He needs to switch over.

    April 29, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. Andi

    "And now," (drumroll) New and Improved! wait...

    Improved from earlier this week....wait, no

    Better than before...er no

    We love one-armed midgets!....ooooh, no bad, um

    We're not elitists! We hate everyone, equally!" Ding ding ding

    We have a winner

    April 29, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. Bill

    The GOP can call itself whatever it wants. They're still the same people that have devastated our country. The American people are smart enough to see through the GOP's "rebranding". The GOP is what it is. Period.

    April 29, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. Eric

    Is having a Bush on that panel really going to help?

    April 29, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. wishing

    John McCain should listen the Rush, the leader of the Republican Party today. Clear out! Become an independent.

    April 29, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. Lisa P

    Snake oil.

    April 29, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |

    The Republican Party seems to be more concerned with holding their party together than what's best for our country! I can't believe that people still can't see the downward spiral turn this country took over the last 8 years of the Republican Administration! It's time for the Democratic Party to clean up "ANOTHER" mess the Republicans made!

    April 29, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. NC

    Boehner and McConnell and rebranding = OXYMORON

    April 29, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Naldo

    What? ANOTHER Tea Party? ....or is this just the first step to renaming the GOP? First, they "invent" a new, more moderate ideology, calling it New America, by dusting off the old "Contract With America" talking points. Next, they see who shows up and start drawing the lines. Finally, the New America Party (NAP) rolls our their purple campaign colors (blue and red together) with a silhouetted hound dog holding a rifle as it's symbols. They roll out their new slogan: "Guns, God, and Guns for Real Americans!" and "This New Dog Will Hunt!"

    A day later, they realize their mistake with the colors, and Disney offers them a contract to perform 3 times a day with meal breaks.

    If you're tired of DC politics, join the big NAP.

    April 29, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. Joe the Troll

    They're also changing the name from "Republican Party" to "Royal Order of the Water Buffalo."

    April 29, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Edwin

    So is this the "third" ring of this circus? Or is it just part two of a very badly written play?

    April 29, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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