November 27th, 2012
09:28 PM ET
9 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. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are a lot of issues that they have to resolve. I don't think that they can really resolve all that needs to change in one election cycle.

    November 27, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Gem

    Ok, I'll say it - Priebus is one of the most divisive, broken records – rambling the same message time and time again. He is exactly part of the problem. Who elected this guy?

    November 27, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    First a Proctology exam, now a full autopsy.... I guess the GOP should be grateful for Obamacare. At least they'll be covered...

    November 27, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Not much to figure out. Just look at the GOP/Tea Party chairperson committee assignments for the House of Representatives, all men and no women or minorities. The GOP/Tea Party looks like the white man's country club or gathering of the KKK. Looks like nothing will change for 2016.

    November 27, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. ted

    Well Reince, this full autopsy needs to include you as you are delusional. The thing is that the GOP is being torn apart by forces IT is allowing to take over the agenda. Think of Rush Limbarf, Faux News, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove adn the TEA party. the GOP has abdicated its policy stances to this buncy of idiots. Stop with the autopsy malarkey. What is wrong iwth the GOP is plainly in sight; fix it and stop beating around the bush with this autopsy crap

    November 27, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  6. jimranes

    I think Mr. Priebus meant a "full lobotomy" instead of an autopsy. Although autopsies are usually performed on the dead and the GOP is certainly dying if not dead as a brand.

    November 27, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    First a Proctology Exam, now a full autopsy. I guess the GOP does have a reason to be grateful to President Obama. At least with Obamacare they'll be covered......

    November 27, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. Name

    do that autopsy!

    November 27, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. Ho ho ho

    Get rid of Norquist, the KKK brothers, and stop being the party of NO and maybe just maybe you'll rise from the ashes.. the old shtick doesn't work anymore.. your pool of idiot voters is shrinking.

    November 27, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  10. cnndog

    I mean, the RNC Chairman the leader of the RNc or just its spokesperson? I mean, listen, if Reince is really the leader, then the RNC is in a world of trouble, I mean, listen.....

    November 27, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. Over the hill

    Mr Priebus, in order for your party to win again, you must step aside. If you were to perform an autopsy you would find your head stuck up the behind of the party. The RNC handpicked its candidates for the Senate and spent ungodly money to lose ground. You used your influence to back Paul Ryan who brought nothing at all to the ticket and in fact probably hurt it.. but he was your home boy so you did your best.
    As a liberal I am happy you were in charge this cycle, and probably wouldn't mind seeing you in charge next time, but I have a feeling if your party got rid of Steele after the 2010 election (well ok, you stabbed him in the back several times too) they are sure to get rid of you soon.

    November 27, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. TNPatriot

    Well, they don't really need an autopsy, but they do need corrective surgery albeit a LOT of surgery. The party is riddles with cancer and those cells will need to be cut out. First they must remove the tea party and all of the people endorsed by the tea party. Next, they need to remove the large tumor in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, followed by John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Eric Cantor and John Boehner. After that they must completely cut away Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers and the Addelsons. Priebus of course must also go, along with any connection to Rush Limbaugh and all contact with Faux news and it's miscreants. Once the surgery is complete, the entire party needs to exit Washington, go home, and recuperate for at least 10 years to allow the stench to clear.

    November 27, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Yeah GOP. Vote the guy back in. He's one of the best the Dems have! Priebus makes Michael Steele look like a freakin' genius.

    November 27, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. Dude in Colorado

    Priebus is simply not going to get the real answers he's looking for is he refuses to admit to himself and his party that their selection of Mitt Romney as their Presidential candidate was a poor one. Mittens is certainly not the cause of all their problems but he is exemplory of their problems: a person who wouldn't release tax returns or the details of their tax reform plans and tell the voting public they don't need to know that info... The GOP failure in 2012 has as much to do with trust as with minorities.

    November 27, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. Lisa P

    Expect more of the small-mindedness that now characterizes the "stars" of the Wisconsin GOP. Why aim for big tent compromise and good governance that benefits all the people when "divide and conquer" extremism has inspired so many billionaires to keep the bland smooth-talking prevaricators babbling away instead of addressing our state's, and country's, real problems head-on, and all those "genius" media and political strategists still in business? Priebus is a front man so thin you can practically see right through him; he isn't about to rock the boat.

    And so the GOP continues its' slide into total irrelevance.

    November 27, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  16. CraigRB

    The first thing the Repubicans have to do is to find an appealing candidate. A solid, appealing candidate. Not a superficial flip-flopper. Not a used car salesman. They also must learn not to rely on Fox News & Limbaugh for their information as these two sources are based on lies and distortions. The Republicans must also not kiss the butts of the billionaires but instead appeal to the "people"...of course this will be very difficult for them....just imagine, the "people"...what a thought! They also have to tell the Tea Party to take a long walk on a short pier. Oh, I can go on but I won't.

    November 27, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  17. CBR

    Strange language to use about a campaign. Priebus may not get a huge vote of confidence either. He did not do much to help his Party. He certainly did not come across as well as Mr. Steele. The Republicans may need someone with charisma. wide support. and answers without tearing the Party apart.

    November 27, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Prince Reebus should look in the mirror. He echoes the same failed ideas of the party of the wooly mammoth. WHile hate, diviseness and conspiracy theioies play well in Afg

    November 27, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  19. RandyKC

    Here's the preliminary cause of death: Blunt force head trauma leading to brain death caused by repeated blows by an object such as a tea cup filled with lead. After brain death, the head was apparently inserted approximately 47% of the way up the colon causing a obstruction of the bowel and preventing the voluntary self-deportment of bodily waste. The time of death was somewhere in the middle of the primary elections that the candidate won due to extremist views taken after the repeated blows by the affore mentioned lead filled tea cups.

    November 27, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  20. Strategic Bob

    an autopsy will reveal that the Republicans lost due to mental malfunction. research has shown conclusively that conservatives suffer from a strong tendency to reject any information, no matter how truthful, that conflicts with what they want to be true. religious conservatives want the Bible to be the inerrant word of God, so the earth can't be more than about 10,000 years old, evolution is not real and dinosaur fossils were put there by God to test the faith. similarly, cutting taxes raises revenue, even though it has resulted in disastrous deficits every time every time it has been tried. the tax and spend Democrats are responsible for the deficit, even if it has only been the Democrats in recent decades who have balanced budgets. Democrats are also responsible for weak economies, even though employment, profits and wealth have all increased more under the Democrats than under Republicans. finally, letting the poor starve and go without medical care must be the epitome of Christian charity because it is what all these good conservative "Christians" are willing to let happen in order to keep taxes low (and more money in their own pockets) and, as good "Christians," they could not have any public policy preferences that were not in keeping with the tenets of Christianity. fortunately, there are enough people who don't suffer from this particular mental malfunction that the Republicans lost this time. Let's hope it continues until the GOP actually does die out, hopefully at about the same time that a new, mentally-balanced party emerges to offset the Democratic parties own wrong ideas....

    November 27, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. Larry L

    They are represented by a guy named "Reince Priebus". Where would you need to go to find a guy named "Reince Priebus"? We're not talking about an immigrant here... Could their problem a total disconnect with the people of America?

    November 27, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. Thomas

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


    TRENDING: It's time for Priebus to find new employment .

    November 27, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  23. Momof2in1year

    So the next plan will be one the "grassroots and the donors and everyone in between can buy into..." Ironic use of BUY.

    November 27, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  24. Larry L

    What if the Republicans find the population rejects both the message and the messengers? To get elected in future elections do you forsake your ideals, assuming the platform presented in 2012 were the actual GOP ideals? If you failed to articulate your actual core values did you do so just to trick your own base? Could it be the radical right-wing represented by Fox News really isn't good enough for the Republican Party? Maybe you need to deal with your own identity before pretending to embrace the whole population of modern America.

    November 27, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  25. Name. Colin

    Lets start by voting you out the party and put back Steele.

    November 27, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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