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. kylefromohio

    Your RNC problem is how you lost seats in the house and senate and still got your job MR Reince Priebus; But Mr Michael Steel won seats in both the house and senate in 2010 and was ran out of the RNC. Explain that and you will find your answer on winning the President Job.

    November 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. us_1776

    Once you open the patient up you will see a whole bunch of extremist tumors inside.

    The largest is the Norquist-TEA Tumor.

    Then you'll see the Religious-Right Tumor.

    And after that the Racist Tumor.

    And then you'll see the Fascist aka Corporatist Tumor.


    Had these tumors been removed early enough the GOP might have been saved.

    But, it is now too late. The patient actually died years ago.


    November 28, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Wake up People!

    @rs. That's exactly what I've been saying all along. They believed their own BS. I have often commented that Willard should be very mad at Fox News. He just knew he would win. I keep thinking back to the last debate where he kept saying over and over....... When I'm President.

    November 28, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. sarge from Utah

    Get rid of Prince Reibus! He is a major obstacle to the GOP ever getting to the top!

    November 28, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. cedar rapids

    '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."

    Whereas the repubs stance is to not even discuss giving you a pain killer. They want you to grit your teeth while the leg is set.

    November 28, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. asm_ith

    Nick said that it was statistically impossible that there were entire precincts in PA where not one single Republican vote was tallied. Of course that is wrong... it may be statistically improbable but it is certainly not impossible. He should learn something about probability and statistics before asserting that a huge fraud has been perpetrated. Next thing we'll hear is that it must be a fraud that Romney got so few African-American votes even though polls before the election showed essentially zero support for Romney. People should have some actual facts and evidence before asserting things like voter fraud, and the absence of votes for Romney is not actual evidence of fraud.

    November 28, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. winchester74

    results of autopsy: 1) bad candidate 2) bad platform

    November 28, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Kings on the back row....

    ...Official cause of death = roof-racked platform, hair-cutting planks, 47% wooden-headedness, trip to England, Reagan wannabee pose, "LET THEM GO BANKRUPT" business plan, $10 K bets, legitimate rape, DEUS VEUT births due to rape, too much Grecian formula, and a tea party outlook on humanity.

    November 28, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. harry taylor

    They know what the problem was. Talking down to the 47% and trashing the minority groups. And throw in a little voter suppression. That is enough to pi$$ off the voting public.

    November 28, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. cnnmembuh

    The GOP is dead on the presidential level. The cause of death? Creeping entitlement mentality and continued growth of the ignorant masses, combined with a complete lack of understanding of the impact of the country's debt and insatiable desire to simply print more money. Add to that a perception that republicans don't care about minorities, the poor, the middle class and have a general disdain for women, and it's easy to see that the GOP is a party of the past. The U.S. will never be what it once was.

    November 28, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Kevin

    Cut entitlements? Take away your children's birthright if you do. Tax the wealthy at the same rate as the poor (who already get reamed by sales tax) and they will remain wealthy.

    November 28, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Carol Johnson

    IF the republicans dig in and refuse to raise taxes on the top two percent and all taxes go up on January 1, 2013 there will be not republican congress in 2015 for it will be all democrats, bet on it!!!!

    November 28, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Kevin

    Also remember that the GOP still has a massive congressional majority and controls the purse-strings. Not a dead party by any means. Should be, but isn't.

    November 28, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. ivan bial

    The republican party is busy pointing fingers at each other tying to discern how they lost.

    A little self refection will answer that questions.

    Romney was forced into 30 plus debates with the extreme fringes of the party
    John Huntsman was eliminated early because he believed in science, evolution and global warming.

    Romney had no backbone and had to agree with the most extreme elements of his party or he would have joined Huntsman on the sidelines.

    Romney was a flawed candidate from day one. However he was head and shoulders better other republican challengers.

    November 28, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. N. Shapiro

    I see some Repubs are claiming a voter fraud.
    BS, the last voter fraud was when 5 cynical Supremes elected Bush!

    November 28, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Bob

    Based on what they're saying, what they're asking for is an autopsy of the Republican party.

    November 28, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. CA23

    What's to analyze? They lost because of the EXTREME tea-party/ (fake) born-again Christian hateful ideaologies that scared the hell out of normal people. [I don't mean to imply that all Christians are fake... but you can't call yourself a Christian and in the same breath scream that you don't want a cent of tax dollars going to help people get healthcare]

    November 28, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. California Gary

    There are several theories as to what killed this patient. Some think the patient just leaned too far to the right and fell under it's own weight. Others think the patient died from a severe case of over confidence. Some say it was a fatal case of arrogance. Still others claim it was a case of keeping with bad company. But I think in the final analysis, they will find that what did this patient in was simply a bad case of "cluelessness"........

    November 28, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Solutions for these guys?
    1. Replace Priebus with someone with Gravitas and a Personality. Reince is severely lacking in both.
    2. Get rid of the anti-science/anti-intellectual types who keep shoving junk science down everyone's throats.
    3. Stop using the "favorite son" method of pre-selecting the nominee for President. It denies the really qualified candidates in favor of the "old boys".
    4. Stop letting Grover Norquist decide who is a true Conservative, based on his narrow definition.
    5. Stop treating Republicans who are seen to publicly speak with Democrats as pariahs.
    Failure to follow those steps will result in the continued marginalization of the Republican Party until it follows the legacy of the Whigs that preceded it.

    November 28, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Rosslaw

    Bigger tent! Filled with more old white men who think the 1950's were the pinnacle of civilization? Sounds like a winning formula. And if you want to attract Hispanics, you might consider not publicly discussing the desire of all right-wingers to deport or kill hispanics, electrify fences and massive incarceration in privatized Arizona prisons of all "suspicious" looking brown people. In other words, Preibus, you are lord and master of a sinking ship.

    November 28, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Larry L

    @The REAL Truth...

    -------------------------------------------------We can all learn from your informed and thoughtful comments. Thanks.

    November 28, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. sbreezy

    i'll give you an autospy on the election – there arent enough fools left in this country to vote against their own financial interests anymore. the GOP is on life support and the plug will be pulled in 2014 for the good of the country

    November 28, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Mary1972

    Don;t expect the public to pay for any of this.

    November 28, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Jim Hahn

    Until the GOP stops protecting the wealthy and starts showing more concern for the middle class and minorities, they are going to become the minority party. The larger the geographic area for any given elective office, the less likely Republicans are to win that election. They won't be winning the White House any time soon because representing just 30 percent of the country is going to cut it.

    November 28, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. M945

    Sounds like a plan to find out what the people "want to hear". I wonder what they are going to flip flop on now?

    November 28, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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