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. Jim8

    I love how the Republicans are willing to change their beliefs because they aren't as popular as they once were. There's a name for that.

    November 28, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. JimK2450

    Results...ya with

    November 28, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Larry L

    @America elected the wrong person president (Twice)

    Fear not America will overcome the commie liberals in the next presidential electon. Time to start looking for a true conservative to run against the commie liberals. I would suggest Rand Paul.

    Those of you who think the Republican Party is salvageable need to read the above posting. Only when your base of these right-wing Fox News drones becomes irrelevant in primary elections can you hope to return the Republican Party to the National arena and make a difference. Stop the mindless conspiracies and Benghazi-type witch hunts, step away from hate media, and listen to the pragmatists who still call themselves Republicans. They exist and can help America solve real problems!

    November 28, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Kentucky Windage

    .....Now, if they would have nominated PALIN, BACHMANN, CAIN, PERRY, GINGRICH, or SANTATORUM, would it have been ANY DIFFERENT ?

    November 28, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Allie's Mitt...

    ..The obvious reason why the tea party protects RICH FOLKS is to perpetuate candidates like WILLARD MITTHOUSE ROMNEY ......THEIR PRIME SOURCE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS is THE TAXES THE RICH DO NOT PAY !!

    November 28, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. nothing new here

    Granted, I will agree that tax loopholes need to be closed, but they need to be closed to everybody, and not just the middle-class taxpayers.
    The problem with GOP tax philosophy is that they want to keep extending kudos to the very rich, on the basis that the rich are job-creators. If that was the case, we would have very little unemployment at this time. The rich are not the ones that are the backbone of this country. It is the middle-class store owners and shopkeepers that keep this economy going. The same people that get messed over by corporate hacks and certain special interests.

    November 28, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Rick 7809

    How can a common person take a guy named Reince Priebus seriously?

    November 28, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. AK_steve

    The GOP loves to twist words to make it sound like what the people want is what they are doing.

    Cut all the spending you want GOP and don't raise revenue... that is a great plan – seems have worked for Europe. NOT!

    Nobody believes you "job killing" fear talk and nobody is saying that raising taxes alone will fix our problems. The GOP lost the election because of a complete lack of will to compromise. And it seems they think they need to continue to DO NOTHING. Thanks for ruining this country you self-centered, party before people, idiots

    November 28, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Rose Mary's Baby

    Should of done a Complete Autopsy on 2008, same scenario – different Republican Actors.

    November 28, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. John Stockton

    A necropsy, more like. Decaying teaocon road-kill will be the finding. Good riddance!

    November 28, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. RAWoD

    Consider the failures of Michael Steele and Reince Priebus. Neither man contributed ANYTHING POSITIVE to help their members to get (re)elected. The evangelicals (now becoming hated by MANY of We the People) did not bring ANYTHING to the GOP except grief. Republicans screwing around with early election, hiding behind "voter fraud", and flatly refusing to do ANYTHING helpful to our great country sealed the deal. The GOP will cease to exist in 2014.

    November 28, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. sparky

    Some Tea Party members may have jumped ship to vote Democratic. . .the Party may be over

    November 28, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. GOP_Left

    The GOP Leadership needs to abandon their Ultra-Rightwing Platform as it was worst this year then it was 4 years ago and that turned off the Moderate GOP and Unaffiliated once again. Get the radicals out of the GOP Leadership and start finding the Middle Ground that the Voters want. I dropped my GOP affiliation right after the election as I am sick of the GOP's anti-everything policies. Scrap the GOP Platform and the Leadership and start over with Moderates!!!

    November 28, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Larry L

    Republicans must avoid taking actions to simply gather more voting power. It won't help if they "pretend" to respect the rights of minorities, gays, women, and union workers. They can't magically transform into a political power dedicated to all Americans if they remain bigoted, rich, angry white men mired down in the society of the 1950s. The progressive ideas of Teddy Roosevelt and the compassionate conservatism of Barry Goldwater could serve as models for transition to a new Republican Party. We need ideas that don't come from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter.

    November 28, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. MJD

    To Larry L.

    Yes! America voted for the wrong president twice. His name was George W Bush!

    November 28, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. vidal808

    The Republican Party is desperate and angry. Too bad, I told you so! Stop medling in private people's affairs, stop playing the moral police and stop feeding the rich more money. It's your fault and take the loss as a reminder that the people are fools sometimes but not all the time.

    November 28, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. alleygator

    I guess by "full autopsy" they mean they want to find out why their attempts at preventing Americans from voting failed.

    November 28, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. VW MAN


    Myself and others can not help you with your denial. Your looking for excuses and you will find them. Good luck to you and your party.

    November 28, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Over the hill

    Mr Priebus needs to re examine his attempt to keep people away from the polls. Maybe he should spend some time looking at what is happening in Egypt. People who fought for freedom will revolt when you take their rights away and try having complete rule. Ohio and Florida might have been a different story if you hadn't hacked the people off.

    November 28, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Loathstheright

    "Full Autopsy", as in the votes Republicans attempted to flip and someone put up a firewall to prevent them stealing another election, that kind of Autopsy?

    November 28, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Dave

    Everyone keeps saying the demographics in this country changed, and that's why the Republicans lost. This is only partially true. I'm a 40 year old white male. I'm college educated and I have a have a job. According to the GOP, if you look at my profile, I should have voted for Romney. But, I didn't for many reasons. First, Romney was not credible - he changed his position on too many issues, depending on his audience. Secondly, I disagreed with his position on paying down our debt. Most economists would agree that the best way to do this is through a balanced approach - revenue and spending cuts (and, Romney never adequately explained his plan to increase revenue through closing loopholes and limiting deductions). Finally, I think the Republican brand is tarnished. There are too many high profile (and not so high profile) people in the GOP saying some pretty odd stuff (ex: Santorum saying colleges are 'indoctrination mills". While I don't support everything that Obama has done, he has done enough positive things to outweigh my negative feelings for Romney and the Republican party. And, that's why Romney didn't get my vote.

    November 28, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Rick

    Reince ought to learn how to run a lemonade stand before he continues in the Republican party.

    November 28, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. JM450

    Do whatever you need to do.....on your own dime.....or your failed superpac boys cash. Maybe Rove has some free input time to do this research for the party?

    November 28, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Uncle S.

    Simple. Tea/Republicans are out of touch with the majority of Americans. They're living in the past, ignorant of the present demographics of this nation and incompetent to prepare for its future. Oh, and arrogant to boot!

    November 28, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. columbus

    The GOP has to come wayyyyyy back towards center, the extreme ends of the political spectrum are only a fraction of the electorate, they will not win elections from that far right. Fiscal conservatism isn't a dirty word, most people realize it's a necessary sacrifice that needs to be debated and applied, but the GOP let themselves be manipulated into conservatism and class warfare. They have to figure out who they want to be and how to broaden their base to cover the actual demographics of America in 2012.

    November 28, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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