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. Marcia

    The man needs to quit-he helped lead the party to defeat and the word "autopsy" is correct-the whole party is dead unless the change their ways-which it looked like they might do -but NO now they are doubling down on their mistakes-the state leaders are now considering more restricitive women's health issues-more restrictive immigration- they learned nothing from their defeat and the whole party may disappear-America does NOT agree with their policies!!

    November 28, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |

    He will soon be thrown under the bus by the money people in the RNC. The one thing wealthy people hate more than losers is someone who loses their rmoney.

    November 28, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  3. Met

    Getting rid of you, Mr. Priebus, would be a good place to start!!

    November 28, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  4. Thomas

    Autopsy? Simple, they will find no heart.

    November 28, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  5. Bob R., Maryland

    Deep and shallow, it is clear that the GOP's "broken leg" is the current GOP un-American policies and uncompromising, rigid stance. Cater to the bottom of the barrell as they have and end up with represntatives of the bottom-of-the-barrell as they got. And their dumb pledges are to Grover, not their silent-majority constituance.

    November 28, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  6. One L

    Don't you do an autopsy on something that's already dead?

    November 28, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  7. DJ

    Reince Priebus should get a clue the US has changed and we are not back in the fifties or eighties when it comes to policy here today. The Party he is supporting needs to come into the 21st century!! Now the first thing he can do is tell the idiots that are currently in Congress to stop being obstructionist and start putting the country first!!

    November 28, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  8. yoshi

    I will give you the answer in a nutshell – most people today 65 and younger, have a liberal outlook on social values – they got this during the free love Woodstock days. This bent that the GOP has to try and control these social issues alienates 80% of the voters right off the bat. I thought the GOP was about less government – these social issues are basically ways for the evangelicals and the righteous rich to control the candidates, yet, they can never win with this attitude. Drop it. It's unfortunate, because there is merit there, but convince people to follow your way, but don't try to legislate it.

    November 28, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  9. Robertliness

    An 'autopsy'? Does this mean it's dead? Does this mean I can start singing, "ding dong the witch is dead (which old witch) the wicked witch. Ding dong the wicked witch is dead..."?

    November 28, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  10. BostonBob

    Looks like the repuglicans didn't learn their lessons from the last election.

    Their ideas lost. The President's ideas won.

    If they continue to play obstructionist they will cease to exist after the next election cycle because they will drive the country off the fiscal cliff and voters – even those die-hard racist rednecks who keep voting against their own best interests will probably start voting demoratic in droves.

    November 28, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. Barry

    Good 'ol GOP – let's do an autopsy so we can "draft a plan everyone can buy into" (i.e., how to make the American public vote for us regardless of who we are), not gee, maybe we should change our ideals and platform so we appeal better to the American public. Clinton 2016.

    November 28, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  12. Dirk

    This very post said he was talking to business leaders about his plan. How is that not going to the American people? Maybe the reason the President hasn't scheduled another round of talks is that he is President and has other things to do while everyone is thinking about the first round? The RNC chairman sounds like an idiot to me whether he is or not.

    November 28, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  13. Anthony Quatroni

    What happened? I'll tell you what happened. . . hundreds of thousands (or millions) of Obama voters voted in either several jurisdictions or more than once. It was extreme voter fraud because they wanted him back in at any cost, even at the cost of committing a crime.

    November 28, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    It's time to stop relying on the Dem screw-ups to help the GOP. The people don't care about the Dem screw-ups anymore. They vote party anyway, and nothing else.

    November 28, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  15. DocHollywood

    An "autopsy" huh? Good idea. You might want to start by cutting out the cancerous parts, beginning with the Limbaughs, O'Reily's, Hannity's, Mourdock's, Akin's, the obstructionist strategy from the last 4 years, the tea party's radical philosophy of uncompromising positions, leaving the social issues out of politics, leaving evangelicals at the church's door and perhaps cutting yourself out also, since you're partly responsible for both encouraging the philosophy of the above and the candidates that were selected and backed.

    November 28, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  16. DDM

    Consider this during your 'autopsy': Republicans support greedy CEOs that "simply taking advantage of the so-called 'fiscal cliff' to push the same old agenda of more corporate tax breaks while shifting costs onto the poor and elderly." No surprise. CEOs rake in unbelievable pay/bonus, which is unconscionably beyond their possible work value, while cutting everyone else. They bloke any hope of a level playing field for others by grabbing all for themselves.

    November 28, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. JLL

    I've never seen so much collective whining. Get over it.

    November 28, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  18. MrBeenThere

    Yes............ by all means drag it out, try and make it sound better, prettier more flowery, skew the facts change things around, alter the data and make your loss a actual win !!! See your still in charge your still leading the Moral Minority to think they have complete control of what the MAJORITY of Americans really believe in. Your Party's problem is that you can't believe someone's belief can change and mature over time, were all not such in your little time warp bubble....

    November 28, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Does the autopsy include mass suicide or seceeding and returning to the countries of your anceatral roots??? I just hope so!

    November 28, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Many conservatives have been pointing the finger at "Obama's ground game" as the reason why Republicans lost in 2012. I think they're right. These same conservatives wrongfully believe that the solution is to create a wide ground game of their own to distribute their message, but are seeemingly at a lost as to how to do it. The problem is that they're just simply too arrogant to realize that is was their own message that drove the "Obama ground game."

    November 28, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  21. john

    "The RNC chair accused the president of not sharing his plan with the American public" Not true....everyone knows Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich. I have watched him say this during the campaign and since reelection. Remember Romney's tax "plan" which was short on details? As usual, these clowns are talking out of both sides of their mouths

    November 28, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. Steve

    When you pretend like black people have no vote things turn out this way. Polite racism is not what I want in a leader. And that was all that was showed from republicans. Just because Obama is black does not mean he automatically got my vote. He earned my vote. Mitt said nothing new that was above what Obama said. Next time get a person who most can relate to and is not afraid to like most people. A president who only would work for 47% of the people is never some one who would win.

    November 28, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  23. john

    "We need to figure out what we can do better and how to do that." Start by eliminating the word "BUSH" from your vocabulary.

    November 28, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  24. Rhonda Rahn

    We don't believe or trust a word the GOP says. They are the obstructionist party of NO and their entire agenda consists of two things: 1) make it difficult for Obama and 2) make it easy for the wealthy.

    The Republicans lost because they are the self-centered party of the rich and they are the party of fanatical religious and reproductive extremism. For the so-called party of "liberty," the GOP sure wants to police us. Let's vote the bums out of the house in 2014.

    November 28, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. True American

    Come on are you kidding??? Wake up. Your anti-American values don't work. First the SS thing. Starting with RR you Gingrich, Dole, Alexender, Thompson and many others decided to tax the SS receipents when taxes has already been paid for. Then you stick it to them by making it retroactive to first of year. Then you allow yourselves to get money out of the SS trust fund and put in an IOU. Now several harvard professors and other ecnomists have said pay back the IOU's from RR to Bush jr, (trillions of dollars) take the cap off SS and never ever allow anyone to borrow from it again. Know what, they figure it will never run out of money NEVER, why now republicans get your crayons out so you can get this, Baby Boomers will be dying off starting 2015 and there won't be as many taking out by 2028 as is putting in. Plus this money is going back in the economy. Why do you want to pull our economy to fall out the bottom. And you sit there and wonder why you lost. SS system is NOT BROKE you need to FIX IT. KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF!!!!! Plus you don't deserve any vacation, health benefits, percs because you are part-time employees and you should be made to pay into the SS system. Bet you won't touch it then.

    November 28, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
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