November 27th, 2012
09:28 PM ET
10 years ago

Priebus: It's time for a 'full autopsy' of 2012

(CNN) – While many Republicans have already diagnosed their party's problems after the presidential loss earlier this month, the chairman of the Republican National Committee is saying not so fast.

"I don't think you can draw any quick conclusions other than the fact that we lost and we know that," Reince Priebus said Tuesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," the chairman's first television interview since the election. "But in order to get back in the game, you've got to look at and do a full autopsy of what happened."

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Priebus said that over the next several weeks the party will dive deep into analysis of the recent election and come up with a four-year game plan tailored to avoid the mistakes it made this time.

Many Republicans in recent weeks have called for a "bigger tent" party that will be more representative of the country's changing demographics. They cite President Barack Obama's overwhelming victory among minority groups. Obama took 71% of the Latino vote and 93% of the African American vote, according to CNN exit polls.

Priebus, however, did not wade into specifics Tuesday, saying only that the party will undergo a review and draft a plan that "both the grassroots and the donors and everyone in between can buy into for the next go-around."

Asked whether he believed the party's choice of Mitt Romney as the nominee was a mistake, Priebus said, "No, I don't think so at all."

"I think he would have made a great president," Priebus told Morgan.

He did acknowledge, however, that Obama's campaign had "something that was pretty good" in terms of its ground game and pledged that the party would look at taking a similar approach.

"What we can conclude is that we've got to be better, and that's something that we're committed to doing," he said.

Priebus also weighed in on the efforts to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, a massive amount of tax hikes and spending cuts that will kick in next year if Congress fails to act. The RNC chair accused the president of not sharing his plan with the American public.

While White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama's proposal will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion and include more than a trillion dollars in cuts "to discretionary, non-defense spending," Priebus said he wanted to hear it from the president himself.

"We haven't seen the plan. I haven't seen the plan," Priebus said. "I don't think the plan is out there. I think Jay Carney might be, but I don't see the plan."

Obama sat down November 16 with congressional leaders for the first round of negotiations, but a second White House meeting has yet to be scheduled. In the meantime, Obama has been meeting with labor and business groups to rally support for his push to raise tax rates on the wealthy as the best way to raise revenue.

Republicans disagree. They say closing loopholes and limiting deductions would be the better route and less damaging to the economy.

Engaging in a heated discussion with Morgan on Tuesday, Priebus said the fiscal cliff debate should not be focused on taxes but on the other side of the deficit reduction equation: spending cuts.

"It's absolutely, intellectually dishonest to have a conversation about tax increases until you talk about massive cuts in spending to the federal government," he said.

Priebus added: "That's like going to the hospital with a broken leg, taking a bunch of pain pills, and after a few hours you still have a broken leg. You have to fix the broken leg."

Elected to his position in 2011, Priebus said he intends to run again for the same position. He's expected to once again claim victory when the RNC votes for the chairmanship at its annual winter meeting in January, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"We've turned things around here both financially and as an organization but now I think we need to lead to the next election," he said. "We need to figure out what we can do better and how to do that."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal Cliff • Reince Priebus • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (341 Responses)
  1. Fritz

    So the GOP can't explain why they lost the election? Well, let me explain it to you. You picked a nominee that basically wrote off nearly half the population as being a bunch of mooching victims. You are percieved as protecting your rich cronies over the middle and lower classes then trying to conceal that fact. (Bohner chewing out Joe Barton for apologizing to BP over money) You have members that say idiotic things concerning rape and abortion. You are dominated by evangelicals that spout their creationism, intelligent design, 6,000 year old Earth rubbish. Until you folks wise up and accept that the nation has changed while you folks have remained static, you won't be winning too many elections.

    November 28, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Debbie

    I would love to vote for a moderate republican. That said, it will never be possible as long as the GOP aligns itself with the evangelicals, tea party and Rush Limbaugh.
    I was seriously interested in what Huntsman had to offer, but since the GOP candidates had to appeal to the weirdos, we never got a chance to take Huntsman seriously.
    And what it is this Fox "News" thing. Pretty much everything that is said on that channel is manna for late night comedians. In other words, it isn't news and it isn't helping. Think "Conservative Entertainment Complex".

    November 28, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. RAWoD

    Any rational, thinking person would conclude:
    1) Steele and Priebus failed the party.
    2) The evangelicals took the wheel and drove towards the cliff (because they really think they're already savecd).
    3) The SCOTUS doubled down on their quaint mistake that corporations are part of We the People.
    4) Women know that they have no friends in the GOP.
    5) Asians know that they have no friends in the GOP.
    6) Hispanics know that they have no friends in the GOP.
    7) Scientists know that they have no friends in the GOP.
    8) Middle class, working families are scared to death by the GOP.
    9) More of us believe that coal is a dying energy source. Surprise: nobody in the GOP agrees.
    Bottom line: it doesn't matter what an autopsy reveals, the GOP died in November 2012. RIP.

    November 28, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. kayla

    if you are dead, then just bury you.

    November 28, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Candace Clough

    really, lets have a good hard look at the GOP, 2010 they sweep the election under the direction of Steel then fire him. and under Preibus, they lose their shot ot the whthse, senate and some of their hse seats... and they expect to continue with Mr Priebus at the helm... hmmmmmmmm

    lets forget the demographic horse puckey for a minute and look at what went really wrong – you can run against a fictional; character that only your wingnut base believes exists, and you can't win by convincing those wingnuts that the polls are all wrong... probaganda only works for the ppl who already believe it.

    November 28, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. TheMiddlest

    The Republican was originally founded to support freedom and liberty, equality, minorities, workers, industry, and home improvement projects.

    The Modern party is completely opposed to every single one of these ideas. You want to know your problems Prince? Go back to basics, stop leading the party the wrong way. Become a leader.

    November 28, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. howabout

    How about an autopsy of how scores of voting stations is philladelphia came up with 0 Romney votes 100 percent Obama- same in Ohio. Not 1 or 2, I think 40-50 in pa over 100 in Ohio. Anyone concern about a over powered, massive government- riging the election ? Does anyone think that it's beyond they're capability- or beyond they're inclination? Scary where we're going.

    November 28, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Vence

    You can't do autpsy to a zombie they stil bite!

    November 28, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Vence

    I am wondering if autopsies are covered with Obama health reform?

    November 28, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Charles

    Easy.... Next time run with someone who is not so....... Republican. On a serious note, Romney reminded you of someone who could easily be someone who is trying to get you to join a cult. It became very obvious that he would just pander to whatever audience he was in front of. You need someone much more in the middle that Romney. Obama is very much a moderate, You can't sway democrats to vote Republican with such a conservative candidate, but given the Obama track record, I bet you could have swayed TONS of democratic votes with a candidate that looked like he was more in the middle.

    November 28, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. svann

    How do you do an autopsy when there is no corpse? Seems more like it would be a blame game.

    November 28, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. ememen

    There you have it. The GOP is a party of elections and instead of figuring out where America is and how their platform relates to the people they are just busy bodies eyeing the next election cycle. Their policies are always geared to get votes vs. what good for the country. Once again they are talking about Social Security and Medicare that are self funded and have nothing to do with the deficit as a bargaining tool. The only way they have the house majority is because they gerrymandered to create GOP strongholds and that’s just another election tactic that has nothing to do with the good of the country. The GOP party and ideology is more important to them than the country.

    November 28, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Deb J

    First step is that the Republicans need to disassociate themselves with The Tea Party and find a more moderate candidate that will appeal to people in the middle. Secondly, they need to find a candidate that doesn't change their mind on their platform depending on whom they are speaking to. Mitt Romney was the WRONG choice for the Republicans, whether they want to admit to it or not. Personally, I voted for Reagan twice as well as Bush in 1988. Republicans will have to go a long way to get MY vote back again!

    November 28, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. markfromdover

    Sounds like andy reid...we've got to do better

    November 28, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Saboth

    @Mark:"Election results: US Senate – no change, US House – no change, Presidency – no change."

    Ermm..might want to check your stats bud. Dems picked up more seats in both House and Senate, and Obama won by a large margin, which puts him in a pretty elite club. See, in a bad economy, it's really really rare for the incumbent to win. That's not just in the US, but any election in history around the world. Very impressive. The GOP is dying off. No solutions to any problems, they offer nothing to the discussion but obstructionism and failed policies.

    November 28, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Peter

    Here is the very simple post-mortem:


    2012 was a bumper crop year for nuts. Todd Aiken ("a woman's body shuts down after a rape"); Richard Mourdock ("It is God's will to have a baby after you have been raped"); Paul Broun ("evolution and the big bang theory are lies from the pit of hell"); Ralph Hall ("I don't think we can control what God controls") Bill Maher said "then why put out a fire?". Not to mention Rick Santorum ("I would like to ban condoms"), Michelle Bachmann (quotes too numerous to mention), and a host of assorted Republican birthers and conspiracy theorists where even the most laughable theory is accepted as fact. Oh, and Donald Trump.

    I really believe that enough of mainstream America got spooked by the fact that this freak show parade would follow Mitt into the White House.

    November 28, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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