May 3rd, 2009
09:27 AM ET
13 years ago

Cantor: 'We've got a lot to learn' from Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Cantor acknowledged that the GOP is playing catchup on technology."](CNN) - House Minority Whip Eric Cantor tells CNN's John King that the GOP still has a lot to learn from President Obama.

"President Obama is a great communicator. We understand that," he said in an interview that aired on CNN's State of the Union Sunday. "He's also been very adept at adopting the technology of today to access the youth vote and the younger population of this country. That's the future, and I believe we've got a lot to learn. The Republican Party can't keep doing things the way it always has in terms of technology."

Cantor, along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, held the kick off event Saturday for the National Council for a New America, a high-profile Republican effort to engage a diverse group of voters.

One new GOP face who seems to disagree with Cantor's point of view: Meghan McCain, whose father John McCain is involved with the NCNA effort.

"Simply embracing technology isn't going to fix our problem," the 24-year-old told a gay Republican group last month. "Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn't going to miraculously make people think we're cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don't divide our nation further will."

The NCNA is planning to hold a series of town halls across the country in the coming months in an effort to re-cast the party’s image.

Filed under: Eric Cantor • Meghan McCain • State of the Union
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Mac

    The Republicans seem to be obsessed with technology and image. The reason that they are daily becoming more of a minority party is not image but content. As long as they are exclusive – shutting anybody not like them out and with policies rooted in the 19th century (I'm being charitable here), they will continue to decline.

    The phrase "Lipstick on a Pig" comes to mind. All they have done so far is to research new colors of lipstick.

    May 3, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Doug in Columbia, SC

    The Rethuglicans have to do a lot more than learn how to use Facebook and Twitter. They have to fundamentally change their message that embraces their right wing, evangelical based social ideology of being anti women's rights, anti gay, and, appealing to the lowest common denominator of the bigoted classes with their thinly disguised hate speech about any people that aren't just like them.

    Also, they have to let go the apron strings of big banks, Wall Street, and multinational corporations. When the do this they may have a chance to move back into the mainstream of American politics. Sounds like they need to become more like the Republican party before Reagan, or maybe more like middle of the road Democrats, ya' think?

    May 3, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Listen to Meghan! A tool is just a tool! Real communications requires a lot more than using a technological tool! Learning to listen to younger people and have a real conversation is a tool that has never been used and has always been forgotten not how to use the younger people but how to live with younger people...remember when you were young and full of ideas, hopes and dreams...and no one was listening or wanted you to change anything...remember all of your best sides and get rid of the rest!

    May 3, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. srichey321

    It figures... A 24 year old girl is the only conservative that is talking sense.

    "Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn't going to miraculously make people think we're cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don't divide our nation further will."

    May 3, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Michael Allen

    As a life long Republican. I remain deeply disappointed by my GOP leadership. The GOP keeps putting Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin up front as though they were the chosen candidates for 2012. If this is all we have got then we lose before the election even begins. Republicans have already rejected Romney as one of the Billionaire Boys Club members who gained his wealth by moving companies and jobs overseas. And Sarah (not smarter than a fifth grader) Palin is the star of her own circus. Her unwed teenage daughter gave birth to her illegitimate baby while the Father is on TV makeing a fool of himself and the Palins. Sarah's sister in law is a drug addict who has just been arrested for burglary. Palin is not a candidate she is a soap opera. The GOP needs to break away from Limbaugh and Hannity and find a leader who has the attributes of Reagan. A conservative who truly cares about the working middle class.

    May 3, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. once upon a horse

    Eric Cantor is one of the negative images that the GOP has right now in my opinion. He along with Michelle in Minnesota and Steele may be younger than most of the GOPers but still have been known to say some of the dumbest things I've ever heard. If that bunch is the future face of the GOP they will still be down for quite sometime.

    May 3, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. jim

    That's it! That's the reason they lost, they did not embrace technology. If they had embraced it, Obama would've lost and the republicans would have at least a 70 vote majority in the senate. The repub's are drowning and they don't even realize that they're in water!

    May 3, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. JAB

    The GOP really needs to listen to Meghan McCain as she is correct. They can be on Facebook, they can Twitter but until they can change the image of being old, white guys with old ideas they are going to continue to lose.

    May 3, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Ric

    How starting to learn about basic human values such as compassion for the less fortunate and enough of the "looking out for number one" value.

    May 3, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  10. Bill in Austin

    First, I'm amazed that Cantor has agreed with anything that the President has done. He hasn't so far and President Obama has pointed this out several times. Meghan McCain is dead on when she said that embracing technology is not the only thing that has to be fixed. All they are doing is changing the vehicle so they can get their worn out ideas out there more efficiently.

    May 3, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. Kim

    There is so much more to learn from Obama than this. I'm wondering when did Megan McCain become the spokesperson for the Republican Party? During the campain she just stood there with nothing to say. Now she is being asked her opinion on issues I'm sure she doesn't quite understand....give me a break!

    May 3, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. kathleen

    Would someone in what is left of the Republican Party please listen to Meghan McCain? As a moderate Republican, who voted for Obama, it got harder and harder to stomach the insincerity and pandering of my own party. If you want to imitate Obama, replicate his authenticity, his intellect, his humility and his self-control. You don't have to take up his positions, just be real.

    May 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. Dave in Houston

    Meghan McCain lays the smackdown on Cantor.

    The Republican ideals on economics, science and foreign affairs have been so thoroughly discredited, the party needs a wholesale change of platforms and ideas. But given the entrenched power, it ain't gonna happen.

    Meghan, I personally invite you to join the Democratic Party. Your views sound more like a conservative Democrat that anything that has a voice in the Republican party today.

    May 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Neil

    So basically, the message of the NCNA is, "We haven't got a clue. Do You?"
    Why is it any time the Republicans say the word "new" there's nothing new to be heard?
    "Cool is as Cool does."

    May 3, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. Jim

    Funny thing is I really believe Cantor gets it.

    But the RNC is run by the lock-step Limbaugh/Hannity/Coltier storm troopers and it will never change.

    See this is the problem, they think they neeed to change the IMAGE of the Republican party, not change the PLATFORM of the RNC which is why they lost in the first place and will continue to loose as long as they think they kow whats best for us.

    Poor Republicans, you didn't have to worry about the Commies or the Radical Islamic Terrorist – you had to worry about eating your own dead...

    May 3, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Marie in Texas

    aaaah, so since repubs have NO ideas of thier "own", then decide they need to learn from Obama and "copy" his ways and means...LOL, OK, so go ahead and copy his ways, however, no matter how many sites you get on to "twitter, blog etc", until you have some GOOD ideas of your own, it will gain you nothing ! this is just another way for rewpubs to "divide the country to conquer", not realizing that it has to be UNITE the country to conquer ! which IS what Obama has done and they still dont "get it" !

    May 3, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. magella

    Meghan McCain could not be more right–taking a lesson from Obama's mastery of technology is not going to be enough. Honestly, I don't know that there are enough people in this country who genuinely believe in the things the Republican Party now stands for. Young voters care about their own future, not whether gays are allowed to marry or whether all abortions should be banned. They hear "tax cuts" and think, "so what? I hardly make enough money to pay taxes anyway." Other than the hard-core evangelical Christians, the GOP is still offering nothing but negativity and worn-out "solutions" to problems. Obama seems willing to try fresh approaches to everything, to engage his dissenters, and to genuinely care about people. I can't say that's true about any of the leading Republican figures involved in these discussions.

    May 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. Bob from Pittsburgh

    "Simply embracing technology isn't going to fix our problem""

    The best governments have been the ones that govern from the center, is the case here in the US and other countries as well. Extremisms such a Limbaugh, coulter, etc only brings disunity and very little accomplishments.

    Some economies have survive the downturn very well, such as Canada, Chile, etc.. Even in the downturn they still have vibrant markets. These countries have centrist goverments.

    May 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Paul Coate

    The Republicans have a lot to learn from Obama? No, the Republicans have a lot to learn from the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS who VOTED for Obama!

    May 3, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Bud in NC

    Cantor and the Repups just don't get it. Their message and their machine to deliver it is BROKEN. So a little twine and duct tape is not going to fix it. They do not talk about substantive changes that are needed. They want to copy Obama, but only on the superficial level. They miss all the real changes the President is making. They are out of touch with America.
    They say America does not like the way the President is moving the country. WRONG. He has 70-80% approval. Only Meghan McCain seems to have a glimmer of understanding. But all the right wing nuts like Rush, Coulter etc cast her aside.
    Hey Cantor, forget the twine and duct tape. Work on getting a new better machine. Try working for America.

    May 3, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. SA in OO

    Cantor has it right

    "using Twitter and Facebook isn't going to miraculously make people think we're cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don't divide our nation further will.

    Better communication is the solution, but only if you understand communcation as a two way dialogue. For the Republican party right now, listening to the poeple they would like to attract – not just the current base – is the key to turning the party back to being a viable and valuable force in american politics.

    And I'm not even a Republican.

    May 3, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Kimi Gerred

    I like CNN much better now because of the Political Thinker! Please add share buttons to each post so that I can put them on Twitter and on my Facebook account. Thanks

    May 3, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Kwesoe

    Sounds like putting old wine in new wineskin to me.....same old ideas by the same old people.

    May 3, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. sdenice

    It is going to take a lot more than technology and strong speaking skills to revamp the Republican party. These guys don't get it. Even in their "image-changing" quest, the focus seems to be on projecting an image comparable to President Obama's that will attract more voters in order to climb out of the political abyss that they've placed themselves in. President Obama's success was more than just image. It was a genuine honesty and desire to move this country in a new direction. You can put new clothes on an individual but unless the inside is changed, the person is still viewed as they've always been. Same here. Unless the Republicans reach out beyond their base and core constituencies, they'll remain the butt of jokes and in utter disarray.

    May 3, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. daisyInAtlanta

    it is sad to see a 24 years ago is more observant and intelligent than the rest of the GOP.

    May 3, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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