Priebus on Romney: 'Not the best week'
September 23rd, 2012
12:44 PM ET
11 years ago

Priebus on Romney: 'Not the best week'

(CNN) - The Republican National Committee chairman on Sunday said Mitt Romney could have had a better week, but he hit President Barack Obama for not being serious enough on the campaign trail.

Reince Priebus described the emergence of secretly recorded video featuring Romney making controversial comments at a May fund-raiser as a "defining" moment.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"It probably wasn't the best-said, you know, moment in the campaign and probably not the best week in the campaign," Priebus said on ABC's "This Week."

He continued: "But I will say that I think we can look back at last week as a campaign in a couple months and say, this was the defining week in both campaigns, where I think both campaigns are crystallizing around a central theme, which is going to be, what kind of future do we want for our kids and grandkids?"

In the video, Romney argued nearly half of Americans are "victims" who are dependent on the government because they don't pay federal income taxes.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that for tax year 2011, 46% of households ended up owing nothing in federal income taxes. But if payroll taxes are counted, the number of nonpayer households drops precipitously - to an estimated 18% in 2011.

Last week, Romney said his comments were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated," but he defended the main message of his remarks.

"We have a very different approach - the president and I - between a government-dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams," Romney said.

That difference, Priebus argued, came to the forefront of the campaign last week, as Romney's comments further fueled the debate over entitlement spending. Most notably, strong intraparty disagreements took place over Romney's comments, with some Republicans coming to his defense, while others, including some Senate candidates and influential conservative columnist Peggy Noonan, took highly critical positions on the Republican presidential nominee's remarks.

Priebus, however, said the Republican Party was not at a crossroads.

"I promise you on my life, I'm not sitting here talking to you because I'm worried about the future of the Republican Party," the RNC chairman said.

Pivoting the discussion, Priebus said Obama acts as though he's "entitled to four more years" and argued the president should be more focused on the economy and national security.

"I think he should worry about intelligence briefings, getting the economy back on track, instead of debate prep and, you know, interviews with, you know, Pimp with the Limp and meetings with Jay-Z and Beyoncé," Priebus said. "I think he needs to get serious."

Obama attended a fund-raiser hosted by the famed hip-hop couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles last week in New York City. Priebus was also referring to Obama's interview with Miami's "Pimp with the Limp" DJ Laz, which was pretaped and aired on September 11.

On the same program Sunday, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod took issue with Priebus' characterization of the last few days.

"Well, I don't know what prism he's looking through. I don't think anybody else would define it as a good week. But it was an enlightening week," Axelrod said.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Reince Priebus
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    Popular Wisconsin republicans don’t agree with Romney and past two years Wisconsin republican gave three super heroes to nation they couldn’t help Romney in Wisconsin

    September 23, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. edog

    I am voting for OBAMA! Every time I see this Reince guy I can't help but feel like he is a liar. Reince, Romney, Ryan all look like guys who are out for themselves and no one else. The reason Romney is not campaigning and going to all these fundraisers??? Romney thinks he can buy this election. He is so out of touch, he thinks money will win this thing for him and not actually engaging the people of America. Wrong! Money will not buy this for you Mittens. Time to get out and meet the people. Get in touch!!!

    September 23, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Joanne

    I'm a Republican and I would be happy to see Romney lose if it means getting rid of Rinse Pubus. His corruption and cheating have tainted the entire GOP.

    September 23, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Jerubbal

    The problem for the repubs is not the messenger per say, though the messenger is significantly lacking, it is the message of the new conservatism that is wholeheartedly being rejected by the American people. Consider the 18,000 people showing up in the rain at Pres Obama's Wisconsin rally yesterday. Romney/Ryan do not generate that type of enthusiasm. The electorate has decided to move forward and the most important measurable metrics in the polling data illustrate this point. President Obama leads in who best can handle the economy, foreign policy, taxes, jobs and medicare. He leads in who cares more for the middle class and who can relate with people like me. In short, no matter how much lipstick you put on this pig Mr. Priebus, it is still a pig.

    September 23, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    as my youngest kids would say "DUH" in response to Priebus. There is always a bad week when the truth comes out about your candidate, unless of course that truth is good which in this case it was NOT. You know you have issues when you are being attacked by your own base. Priebus can spin this until he gets dizzy (which won't take much for him) but you can't change facts.

    September 23, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain: Mittens 47% ... Veterans, grandma and the disabled are all moochers!

    Hey, Rinse, when are you going to grow up and accept that your policies are all PROVEN FAILURES and that our country has enjoyed its greatest success and stability under DEMOCRATIC administrations?

    Why? Because Democrats believe in all 100% of Americans and know that when we work together – private sector, public sector, old, young, women, men, gay, straight, native-born, immigrants, you name it – we can accomplish great things. Like:

    – 40 years of economic expansion following FDR
    – Defeating fascism in World War II
    – Putting a man on the moon
    – Securing voting rights for ALL citizens
    – Environmental protections (under Nixon, I'll give you that, with Democratic support)
    – Innovative and advances in medicine and technology
    – Infrastructure (electric, rail, airports, seaports, highways, public parks, clean water out of the tap, etc., etc., etc.)

    And most recently, 30 straight months of economic growth and the elimination of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the most devastating attack on our soil (which, BTW, happened under GW Bush's watch!).

    I'm voting for President Obama and a straight Democratic ticket because they know how to GET THINGS DONE for ALL Americans.

    September 23, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Blue

    It is now a proven point that Mitt is a bigot. Our country would suffer greatly under Romney. We would really have a two tier country (Rich and Poor). No country can survive, just look at the Middle East. I hope we do not have a second Civil War in the US, but the poor will not accept a second class living.

    September 23, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |

    The only good thing about the unhinged GOBP tea potty is that they see it coming but deny reality. The fall will be much worse.

    September 23, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Squigman

    Every time this pin head, opens his pie hole it makes me more resolute to vote the other party. It's empty suits such as this, that make the republican party laughing stocks and the butt of jokes.

    September 23, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Jon Galt

    1PercentRevolution suggests teaching voters how to cut through the smoke and mirror deception combined with thought viruses used by politicians. Please learn how to defend yourself and install an anti-virus for your mind. Right Makes Might – Stand And Fight! Carpe Diem 🙂

    September 23, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |

    Romney Cares Less! He's so 1970's!
    Obama 2012 Forward for America!

    September 23, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Thomas

    "I promise you on my life, I'm not sitting here talking to you because I'm worried about the future of the Republican Party," the RNC chairman said.

    It would be great to see him keep his promise , the guy gives used car salesmen a bad rap !

    September 23, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. brian in denver

    Look up the word "Dweeb" in the dictionary & right next to the definition is a photo of Rience Priebus.

    September 23, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney, Priebus and the rest of the GOP are sounding more like Guiliani, a noun, a verb and then Obama. How in the World are people going to ever know who Romney is when they use all their media time speaking "Obama, Obama".

    September 23, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |