May 4th, 2009
11:55 AM ET
14 years ago

Cantor says new GOP group won't avoid social issues

(CNN) – A driving force behind the new effort to renew the GOP's image denied Monday that the group is looking to avoid addressing social issues that excite the conservative base but can be off-putting for moderate and independent voters.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia was joined at the group's town hall style kick off event Saturday by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"During your meeting over the weekend, you didn't talk at all about abortion, gay marriage or immigration," American Morning's John Roberts said to Cantor Monday. "Those are three big Republican social issues. . . . Why were those issues left off the table?"

"The National Council for a New America is meant to be a wide-open policy debate," the Virginia Republican responded. "There is no exclusion about what we'll talk about, who can be involved.

"...The traditional family values are a part of everything we do. The value system that we hold raising our children, educating our children, delivering health care –these issues permeate everything, so there is absolutely no intention to veer away from discussion of any of that."

Less than a week after Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter defected from the GOP to help save his 2010 re-election prospects, Cantor conceded that his party is struggling in parts of the country.

"In the Northeast, in New England, we've certainly taken our licks," Cantor told Roberts. "There's no question that the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive at this point. We shouldn't be an exclusive small bunch satisfied with the minority."

The GOP's rebranding effort will focus on rallying the public around "the principles that we know have made this country great – liberty, opportunity, and the devotion to the individual and free markets."

Listen: CNN Radio on the new push to revitalize the Republican Party

Filed under: American Morning • Eric Cantor • GOP
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. nick

    It is amazing to most people that the Republicans can use all the catch phrases that propelled Obama to the Presidency, yet have no idea how to explain them or use them.
    Eric CantorĀ“s responces to the reporters questions, were as "off point" as Mrs. Palins responces to reported questions.
    It is equally amazing that they do not see the harm that is being done to their party by the extreame views, lies, and misinformation, being spread by Fox News, Hannity, Beck, Huckabee, Morris, Coulter etc. and by their "unoffical" leader Limbough... Poor Republicans, being lead by blind men.

    May 4, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Renee

    Most of the Republicans that I know say they lost the election because they weren't conservative enough in the last eight years. They are partly right about that because they were spending money like it is was loaned to them from the Chinese. Oh wait, it was.

    On the other hand, the Republicans I know are wrong about not being conservative enough. Their stance on social issues is ultra-conservative. They want to be right there in everyone's home telling them how to live their lives. They have become the party of the fundamentalists.

    If they would get more conservative in their spending and stop putting so much concern on how people live their individual lives I'd consider them again.

    Talk with a republican about promoting contraception to reduce the number of abortions. It will show you just how "fundamentally" nutty they are.

    May 4, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Sally from N Dakota

    what the heck is a NEW gop btw???

    Most of the OLD mourons and their rigid, impractical ideas STILL haunt our party!!!

    We need to get rid of the following (with the exception of Rush)

    Romney AND

    May 4, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Jayden,FL

    Mr Cantor what new GOP are you talking about? Bush ,Romney , Gingrich, Hannity, Limbaugh, Steele, and You- Nothing New

    May 4, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. MSH, Miami, FL

    For some reason, all this Republican "rebranding" talk brings to mind putting lipstick on a pig....

    May 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    You can't be a hawk on the military, a fiscal conservative, and a social conservative at the same time. They are mutually exclusive. This multi-personality problem is what has led to the demise of the Republican party. That is why they failed at all of them, and they are chasing away all the fiscal conservatives because they are not social conservatives. They let the social conservatives in the party, but they were supposed to stay in the back room. Now they are in the front room pushing everyone else out the front door.

    May 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Dennis J Allen

    I grew up in a very republican family......I still remember the hate and the I don't care about anything ideals....its this way or no way....I'm glad I'm free of this one track mind going no where...Dennis

    May 4, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Dante

    i think the worry about the gop is overblown and simply part of the mainstream media's campaign to portray the gop as a mortally wounded animal to maintain political momentum as people are starting to realize its amateur hour in the white house.....
    i believe the republican party's benchmarks, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense, should remain as the main draw to its members....i think that other issues which tend to divide all americans (democrats and republicans) social issues such as religion, gay marriage, abortion, etc should remain part of the national debate until compromise is found....
    1. As far as the first two issues.....obama's out of control spending will bankrupt the country or he will have to raise taxes dramatically to support his leftist agenda........ in the meantime there will be no real economic recovery....look at the failed socialist states of NY and Calif....thats where obama is taking us...
    2. As far as national defense, obama is dismantling our anti-terror operations and making us vulnerable.....we are no longer respected by our enemies and in fact they are laughing at us.....i suggest everyone read andrew mccarthy's letter to AG holder about his misgivings about obama's policies....the president is putting your family and mine at risk.....
    as for the electorate; 68 million people voted for obama and 60 million didn' will never change the minds of the far left or the far must only change the minds of those moderates in the middle who are in constant flux......when only a few million people in the middle realize that obama has completely left us open to attack and demoralized our intelligence operations, and the economy flounders under the weight of his spending, democrats will once again be left to ponder, "what happened"?.....have a nice day

    May 4, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    The GOP is still clueless. It's not the "brand". It's the hypocritical, intolerant, and ignorant composition of the 'brand'.

    May 4, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. arithmetic is liberal

    Mississippi Mike May 4th, 2009 12:10 pm ET

    The GOP is its strongest when it sticks to its core values. Picking up social causes that are contrary to the core of conservatism brought us Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain, both of which have been huge disappointments.

    And they will have marvelous success in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. And pretty much nowhere else.

    May 4, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Ariana

    Is the GOP going socialist ? Mmmm....

    May 4, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Tired of the GOP

    New GOP........same as the old GOP!
    What's the difference? New shade of lipstick on the same old pig.

    Joe in Denver

    May 4, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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