RNC's Priebus weighs in on convention, 'birther' issue, Akin
August 26th, 2012
10:23 AM ET
10 years ago

RNC's Priebus weighs in on convention, 'birther' issue, Akin

(CNN) - Following the decision to delay the start of GOP convention speeches and events until Tuesday afternoon, the Republican National Committee chairman said Sunday it was "the right thing to do" and confirmed most of Monday's planned events would be folded into the remainder of the week's schedule.

"So far the word is that almost all of it is going to be accommodated into the Tuesday/Wednesday programming and everything is going to move ahead," Reince Priebus said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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"Everything is going to be back to normal on Tuesday," he continued, though he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley some of the speeches may be shorter than originally planned.

On the program Sunday, Priebus also weighed in on a comment made by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney on Friday that critics have labeled an apparent swipe at the so-called birther controversy regarding President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship.

Speaking in Michigan, his native state, Romney said Friday: "I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."

Some Democrats quickly pounced on the comment, calling it an inappropriate slam against the president that only fuels claims by those who question where the president was born.

Priebus, however, said people were taking the remark too seriously. Pointing to the fact that Obama himself has poked fun at the "birther" issue, Priebus said the political climate needs to lighten up.

"Have we really gotten to the point where we can't have any levity at all in politics? I mean, we have gotten to a place in politics that is ridiculous, and no one can say anything that is remotely humorous," Priebus said.

The RNC chairman also continued his call for Rep. Todd Akin to drop his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, saying Akin's decision to stay in the race will hurt the GOP's chance to pick up the much-needed Senate seat this fall.

"I think that it is more difficult. I think that is very clear," Priebus said. "He has time to get out of the race, and he ought to put the mission of liberty and freedom ahead of himself."

Akin sparked an outcry a week ago when he claimed a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy during cases of what he called "legitimate rape" - an argument that Priebus labeled "biologically stupid" on Sunday. Following Akin's remark, a large number of top Republicans - including Priebus and Romney - called on the congressman to withdraw his candidacy in the Senate race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.

On Friday, however, Akin vowed once again to stay in the running.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Dave

    When you really think of it, the USA is a 3rd world country when it comes to social issues. The Christian Right is no different from the Islamic Right. Some under-developed countries have emphathy and common sense then do we.

    August 26, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Anonymous

    "I think that it is more difficult. I think that is very clear," Priebus said. "He has time to get out of the race, and he ought to put the mission of liberty and freedom ahead of himself."

    Let him stay in the race, Dude. He hasn't said anything Romney and Ryan haven't already endorsed - both in Legislation and public thought. Talk about hypocrisy. Ryan is now on public record as stating (AFTER Akin talked his nonsense about legitimate rape) that rape is nothing more than a method of conception. Where is the outrage to get Ryan off the ticket? You know, for the mission of Liberty and Freedom ahead of himself.

    August 26, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. The Elephant In The Room

    If Romney was so uninformed or so careless to stoke the "BIRTHIERS" with an innocent joke, he doesn`t have the right stuff to be president. If he is crass annd petty enough to try to motivate the racist portion of the Republican party, then he isn`t up to the honor of the Presidency.

    This guy [Romney] is supposed to be the all-knowing, competent, CEO. He`s not suppose to make these kinds of mistakes.

    August 26, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    This is not about political correctness or levity in politics. When the birther joke is based on bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance, it only makes Romney appear insensitive and brutish.

    August 26, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Mitt has time to get out of the race, too!! He probably would if he fessed up in his tax returns and showed the American people. Maybe he WASN'T mistaken when he introduced Ryan!!

    August 26, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. emma

    A guest analyst on MSNBC said she did not believe Romney's birther innuendo was intentional. Anything that comes out of one's mouth is a reveal of how how one thinks and behaves. Romney was tasteless and looked as though he will use any demeaning remark to get what he wants.

    August 26, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. Darryl

    The Debt between President Obama & Romney is going to show Mr. Romney for who he is. He's never going to get a Pass to the W/H. They guys been running for POTUS for 10 years and just can't get it through his head that he just doesn't have what it talkes. But Mr. Romney actually feels he DESERVES the Presidency and so does his wife. They both said on National T.V. that it's their trun and they DESERVE it this time. That's nothing more than arrogance and self-righteous entitlement. He's not going to beat Pres. Obama !

    August 26, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. Stephen in VA

    How come Republicans only expect us to "lighten up" to levity in politics when it's THEIR levity?

    August 26, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. ted

    It was Romney's gaffe on the birther issue that got him in hot water. if this guy is supposed to be so smart, one would think he would have thought out his comments better. I know nothing about Mormonism, but is there nothing in the beliefs that say to be kind and sensitive to your fellow man OR is he just another 'sunday go to church, get his ticket punched' church attendee and go out and sin again? Moron.

    August 26, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    First Congratulation to Candy Crowley

    Its over for now , in GOP we have many smart good people like Jon Huntsman , Jeb Bush unfortunate we won’t see there names in the ballot

    Priebus said his party won’t fund Todd Akin Campaign let see

    August 26, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Sorensen

    Prairiebus is bound to screw up something as usual. His very presence is embarrassing.

    August 26, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Craig

    There was nothing humorous about Romney's 'birther' remark.

    August 26, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. once upon a horse

    both Romney and Priebus are tit for tat.....they have a habit of telling things about the president that really are not true. And as far as the birther joke goes, Mitt could have saved face by saying something along these lines after he told it..." Haha just kidding I know the president was born here just a little joke folks" and left it at that since he had to tell it. But then again I'm sure if he had said something along those lines he might have gotten booed and Rush Limbaugh would not have been going crazy with the Right On, Right On, Right On.

    August 26, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. T'sah From Virginia

    ►... people were taking the remark too seriously. Pointing to the fact that Obama himself has poked fun at the "birther" issue, Priebus said the political climate needs to lighten up.◄

    Romney was NOT joking – SNL and maybe President Obama POKES at it but you instantly know, it's a problem that is ongoing and REAL when it comes to the right. Romney saying it, or Ryan or any other Republican from the right saying it is NOT a joke; they mean it!! If Romney was JOKING, immediately following his JOKE, he should have stated – "I'm joking and I truly believe that President Obama is an American citizen like I have always said in the past and truly believe today. Sometimes we need to relax and joke about things every once and a while and that comment should be taken as just that..." He could have said something like that and "instantly," he would have been forgiven. Romney actually stood there after that statement and "gleefully absorbed" the applauses that came from his "not so diveresed" audience; just like he "gleefully absorbed" the BOOS coming from African Americans at the NAACP audience where again, he wanted to appease the far-right.... that's the difference!!

    August 26, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. myviewis


    A guest analyst on MSNBC said she did not believe Romney's birther innuendo was intentional. Anything that comes out of one's mouth is a reveal of how how one thinks and behaves. Romney was tasteless and looked as though he will use any demeaning remark to get what he wants.

    I guess your rule applies to VP Biden who made the comment to the effect of their going to put you back in chains.

    August 26, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. rs

    The GOP has a full-on visibility problem here. They are "Pro-life", which means they totally oppose abortion, including any exception. So, they have painted themselves into a corner with "personhood", granting zygotes and eggs greater legal standing than the women who might carry them. One might logically assume then that the party of Pro-Life would support women's health initiatives (after all we want healthy babies), support for single women (as they are apparently going to be forced to bear those kids), equality in pay (so women can afford those kids). education for those children.

    In Fact the GOP supports none of this. They support zygotes, but not real-live people. That goes beyond hypocracy into full-blown mental illness- if they expect people to believe thm.

    After the Bush years- the rising unemployment and poverty and homelessness along with the shrinking middle class (that began in 2000), their threat to end the ACA; their two bloody and unssupportable wars (that killed not only 7,000 Americans, but 130,000 Iraqis and made more than 2 million refugees), we clearly see the GOP is the party of death. We are the fodder for thier war profits. Throw in Capital Punishment and anyone believing the GOP is the "Party of life" is a fool.

    August 26, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. rs

    The difference is that Mr. Biden is correct. If Romney/Ryan win we are in chains.

    August 26, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. mike

    Please Issac, make them cancel another day!

    August 26, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. Real Conservative

    Remotely humorous is about as close as Romneys comlment comes to being funny

    August 26, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. DeeAnn

    It's not Akin that has risked the GOP Senate takeover, it is the Republican policies. He just made the mistake os saying out loud one of the ways the GOP rationalizes personhood legislation. If women knew the depth of their commitment to abolish abortion, few women would vote Republican...ever.

    August 26, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. DeeAnn

    Biden was riffing off the GOP pledge to "unchain" us from regulations. In reality, the lack of regulations is what got us Into this financial bind.

    August 26, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. carlos

    ISAAC the PRO everything going to Tampa to visit the anti everything nauseating CONS and REPUGS, hoping it will stall for the next 3 days, of course we wish safety for the Tampa residents.

    August 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Pete

    Just remember republicans ,you are the hypocritical racist you stupidly set out to be.It's on videos nationwide since before the presidents inaugeration.You didn't want a black man in the presidency even if he cured cancer,remember McConnell,he made that perfectly clear on day one in the senate that he'll do whatever he can to make this president a one termer..No one has ever went that far politically or otherwise,its unpatriotic,unamerican and should be treated as treason,if you're not for the Commander in Chief leave the premises now or forever hold your tongue.Remember republicans who you work for ,if not for us citizens Democrates,republicans or independents,then you don't work for anyone,enough said to all you righteous white republican bigots...President Obama,our first black president "IS" the only adult in this race,get that in your head,hypocrites,your judgement day is almost here!!!

    August 26, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Winning

    In November, you'll be able to look back and pinpoint when Romney lost the election. It was with that birther comment, which in no way was a joke. I've watched the speech, and this was a calculated statement meant for a very specific group of idiots. This is not how a leader behaves. A man doesn't lead by encouraging people's stupidity. The news ought to be all over the place with this story, because it's a big deal. I despise Romney now, he lost all hope of getting my vote. I liken this moment to when Palin had her interview with Charlie Gibson: it was clearly the beginning of the end for the McCain campaign, and this is the end of Romney's.

    And that's sad in a way because America needs a strong, principled opposition party. Maybe with this year's loss the Republicans will learn something, but I doubt it. My bet is that they misread a huge loss as a reason to move further to the right. What morons.

    August 26, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. gord

    i don,t think america can handle another round of bush policies -i know whats left of the middle class would not.

    August 26, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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