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. Zenger Folkman

    OK, Gurgyl, I did a Google search on your assertion of voter fraud in PA. I found one site, something called "the Blaze", which appears to be severly right-leaning, and it referenced an article in the Philly Inquirer. If you'd have read the Inquirer story, you'd have seen an explanation (small inner-city voting disticts in Philadelphia that are 99% black). The columnist in the Blaze–despite linking the story–rejected this explanation and instead wrote his own conclusion. He supported it by showing a map of Cleveland which also had many precincts that went overwhelmingly Obama. Those precincts were identified in deep blue, which the legaend said meant "80-100% Obama". In his interpretation, he claimed those precintcs were >100%< Obama, ignoring the legend on the map. That allowed him to "prove" voter fraud in both Philly and Cleveland. Sheesh, where do you guys find these hacks, and why do you read them with an uncritical eye?

    November 28, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. american

    As an American first and a registered voter next, I am proud to see that there seems to be a sense of "Let's work on this together". Everyone wants our economy to grow, to get out of this Fiscal cliff mess. It seems that if the people speak louder than the extremist, this can work. Let's do it.

    November 28, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. CTed

    The plan isn't out there yet becuase negotiations are ongoing. This is going to be closed door so everyone can save face. Obama's not going to lay out his plan then be faced with only getting 30% of it, neither are the republicans. Nobody want's to "loose" it will be peddled as a bipartisan solution which is fine with the people. We don't need to see how the sausage is made but the election said we trust Obama will fight for the middle class and that's what we want, not protection for the 1% who have seen their share of the pie skyrocket in the last 30 years.

    What the RNC is really doing here is trying to figure out how to hoodwink people in the enxt election into voting for them. They want to figure out some way to get the votes but not change their platform. The solution is simple... have a platform that appeals to the 98% not the 1% and you will do better.

    November 28, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Joe the plumber

    The indirect correlation is that once the demographics change they have to change how they count their electoral votes. What a tricky game. They look at their demographics and quantify larger places with bigger demographics. It is like setting up your pieces in a chest game while the game is at play and pretend its a fair game.

    November 28, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. cory

    Priebus's "broken leg" analogy has it backward. It's the Democrats who are trying to heal the break, and give it the proper rehab. The GOP wants to continue to hammer away at the leg, and then blame the victim for being "too lazy" to walk.

    November 28, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Pam from Iowa

    Why? Is the GOP dead?
    When is the funeral?
    I would love to send a sympathy card!!

    November 28, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. To tell the truth.... no NOT

    Do the republicans want a truthful and accurate autopsy? I doubt it. They'd rather whine and wring their hands than face the truth.

    November 28, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Dave

    Here's your autopsy, GOP! You are not trusted by a majority of the voting public. Your policies were an abject failure when you had full control of congress in 2000-2006. The Bush legacy will be YOUR legacy. As our country faces down the problems Republicans caused, we remember well not to trust your ideas OR your word. We will be dealing with the problems caused by Bush for the next half a century at least – during which time, GOP, you will remain in a minority position.

    Your only hope is to completely retool your party. Not just make it more extreme. New ideas. New people. Get rid of this obsession with lying. Start to tell the truth in campaigns.

    This is your only path back to power.

    November 28, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. scottf

    They need a complete psychiatric examination and most likely a lobotomy. That would be a cleansing of the sociopaths that have taken over the GOP.

    November 28, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. stevechicago

    I think we were HOODWINKED again. Note states without voter ID!!!!!!!!! The chicago mob knew those were the states to "hit". Another tidbit: HOW could all of the polls be wrong. It will come out in time. I hope the 2012 shift awakens us.

    November 28, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    They only do autopsies on the dead, right RP?

    November 28, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. outoftouch

    Hello All:
    The party is out of touch, outdated and old minded. The approach of wealth leads all does not fit my standards. I have a job and make very well as well as my spouse. Please wake up party your out of touch with reality.

    November 28, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Jim

    I think they should do an audit. They are not very good at math. Snicker.

    November 28, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    "...autopsy of 2012."
    They still don't get it. Do they? The problem runs a lot deeper than just the past 12 months. Try the past 30 years.

    It works like this. Suppose you're driving from NY to LA, and you wind up in San Francisco. You try to figure out what went wrong. Here's a hint. You didn't make a mistake after you crossed the CA border. You probably made the mistake way back in Kansas somewhere.

    November 28, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Elphaba

    The GOP has a golden opportunity to look within themselves to determine just what it is that made them a party out of touch with the voter. Instead, they continue to point fingers at each other. This is a perfect example of a disjointed, fractured party. It may take more than four year re-package their brand. But the onus is on the GOP. As Ricky often said to Lucy; " Priebus, you got a lot of 'splaining to do."

    November 28, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Sy2502

    When the Republican candidate race just got started, there were plenty of disgruntled and disappointed Obama voters who were very open minded to voting a GOP candidate. Then that lineup of losers came up, and those same people decided they'd rather stick with Obama. People are willing to vote for fiscal conservatism, as long as it comes from a credible candidate, and doesn't come with religious bigotry as part of the package.

    November 28, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Thinker

    The republican party will continue to lose. they don't get it. The reasons they lost are fairly simple.
    1. Alienating women, blacks, hispanics, gays, young people, lower income people, and the disabled is not a way to build up you election totals.
    2. Continuing to back legislation that denys, or attempts to deny American citizens their civil rights, (voting, marriage), will only lose more voters for the GOP.
    3. The anti education stanse of the gop will cause the US to lag behind in science and technology, and will effect our standing in the world markets.
    4. Backing tax cuts for corporations and the very rich will only continue to show how out of touch the GOP is with the average working person.
    5 Supporting the some backwards social issues stances will continue to alienate more young people.
    The GOP is out of touch and will not have major victories unless they wake up and realize that the american people are not going to let them run the country into the ground.

    November 28, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Jack Martin

    Seems to me that the republicans had better do an autopsy on themselves and why their party is so freakin dead! Just sayin'

    November 28, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. tffl

    Not sure that Priebus should be so eager to push for a full "autopsy", especially if he is running for RNC chairman again, as he should figure prominently as one of the causes for their failures. He explicitly backed the hard-right plunge, the Tea Party, the us vs them "real American" distinction, the catering to monied interests over the concerns of the electorate, and so on. He is a relic and supporter of the "good ole boys" small tent big money approach, and I don't think he has it within him to change that.

    November 28, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. lolo

    The first mistake was hiring Priebus and the second was choosing Romney as the GOP candidate. The main downfold was letting the tea partiers take over the party. The sad part is the GOP still does not get it. Oh well another one bites the dust.

    November 28, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. John

    While he's at it, he can do a full autopsy of the Republican Party.

    November 28, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. John Neighbours

    Perhaps if the Republicans spent more time and effort exploring and developing substantive policies more reflective of the majority rather than 'game playing' political strategies they might *naturally* become a more 'inclusive' party rather than the anal retentive, judgemental control freaks their leadership sems to want them to be.

    November 28, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. JustAO

    The RNC needs to listen to their former chairman Steele. He seems to understand that talking about social issues as if we are still in the 1950s and not having a fact-based realistic platform will FOREVER be a losing condition for the GOP.

    Suppressing the vote and calling a black president a secret muslim unamerican socialist will not help the GOP either moving forward. But they can keep pondering why they lost if it suits them and we can just keep purging them from our government until there are no more of them representing.

    November 28, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. So.......

    Bill Mahrer calls this the "bubble". Nothing gets in....sad.......

    November 28, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. James Banday

    Most western civilized countries solved the political debates that Republicans are struggling with 50 years ago. Time to embrace the 21st century, GOP'ers

    November 28, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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