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. sqeptiq

    Right after the election, the talk was that the teapublicans were "soul searching," I'm assuming, because they didn't find one, that's why they are doing an autopsy.

    November 28, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mr. Norquist said he'd work to unseat any republican who breaks their tax pledge. Sir, I'm afraid your vote counts for just ONE person and that is you Mr. Norquist. See, in this election a whole lot of republicans and conservatives put their differences aside and voted to re-elect President Obama simply because they're no longer brainwashed and fooled by your right wing fear mongering, intimidation and propaganda. Furthermore, these people saw the President's agenda as the only feasible and sensible agenda that would serve to strenghten, improve and move our country forward. Republicans and conservatives are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and they're starting to abandon a sinking ship aand saying NO to your party's right wing garbage Mr. Norquist. So please go away!

    November 28, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. RW

    Funny, the GOP is ALL TALK, let's see if they are willing to reverse the trend of VP's getting 500% pay raises while the rest of us suffer. I'll bet we have seen the last of the GREEDY ENTITLED GOP and their war on the middle class......hopefully

    November 28, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. ST

    Mr. Caterpillar, you didn't deliver anything during your assignment for duty. I do wonder now that you still have the courage to talking on something. For us it is quite fine. The more you stay, the more we see huge opportunities.

    November 28, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Alger Dave

    Any 'autopsy' should start with the fact that Romney needed to buy the primaries, often outspending his opponents (usually Santorum) 10:1 or better. When your candidate cannot connect with GOP base voters in the primary, you've got to wonder how excited that base will be for him in November. And I know the argument – the candidate needs to be center-right by November – but has that worked for McCain and now Romney? Has the country changed that much since Bush was in office? I doubt it! Put a spending limit in the primaries on all candidates so that the one that resonates most during that 'weed-out' time will be the candidate. At least then you'll have the sense that the 'natural' candidate is up against the Democrats in November.

    November 28, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. JD

    Priebus thinks Romney was a good President choice, evidently 329 electoral votes didn't! You lost the election because people got tired of your lies and slander. You'll loose the next one because people are tired of paying you to do a job you are not doing. You are not getting paid to stand around and scheme on what you are going to do to try and win an election, you are getting paid to take care of issues that effect "we the people". This seems to be a problem for your party. That's why you lost! You stood around for 4 years trying to get rid of a President because of his skin color. People don't forget that! You can find you a cuban to run, he's still part of your beliefs! We the people are not dumb! Tea party holds no weight with us, taking care of "we the people" does!!!!! Now get to work or get out of the way!

    November 28, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. Obama Cares

    To do an autopsy now means you have to go back and dig up something that has been declared dead. Keep digging and all you'll discover is a bunch od old gray-headed farts who refuse to accept change.

    November 28, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. onlyfacts

    Wow! So many intelligent posts! Notice there isn't one intelligent Pro-GOP post. Are they capable?

    November 28, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. jnpa

    Autopsy? Doesn't that apply to dead things? Oh wait, we was talking about the GOP, so the word does apply!

    November 28, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. DCThompson

    The way that the Republicans can win in the future is to start doing what is right for the country instead of doing the bidding of the wealthiest few individuals and corporations. They have not figured out that Mitt Romney was the perfect candidate to represent what they were selling. We the people rejected what they were selling! Policies that concentrate wealth in the hands of a few at the expense of the poor and the middle class while dismantling Social Security and Medicare was rejected. Allowing religious extremists to dictate national policy was rejected. The idea that the election could be bought by super PACs funded by anonymous donors was rejected. The American people have had enough of the myth that cutting taxes endlessly and getting rid of regulations while continuing to spend more and more on the military will somehow create prosperity. We have had enough of the lies and conspiracy theories. When the Republicans figure out that we need government services and regulation to maintain our society and that we are a nation of immigrants with a range of beliefs as diverse as our population they might have a chance of winning an election again. Personally, I am looking forward to 2014 when the Democrats can take back the House and finally put an end to John Boehners extremist reign.

    November 28, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Bermille

    Keep thinking its not you, republicans, and you will get a repeat of 2008 and 12 forever.

    November 28, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. capnmike

    When you run a candidate who is a lying, flip-flopping, job-exporting arrogant dog-torturing tax-dodger on a platform that is anti-minority, anti-women, and anti-poor-people, how much brains do you need to figure out why you lost? It's not about which way you spin it, it's about what's really IN IT! Americans aren't as badly-informed as they were 50 years ago. You could have fooled them then, but things have changed, and the GOP hasn't. We aren't buying your codswallop any more.

    November 28, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Lindsey

    Religious zealots will never win national elections. But the GOP will never learn this in point is I hear Santorum is going to make another run in 2016. Oh yeah, a man who wants to send women back to the 12th century and throw gays in jail is going to win the presidency in a landslide.

    It's just one example of why the GOP is dead. They will never change. Might as well play Taps for them right now and be done with it.

    November 28, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Catherine

    Well, let's start with the obvious quest by the Republican party nationwide to suppress the vote. Add Governor Ultra-sound and his like minded politicians, a dash of secretive presidential candidate who talked out of both sides of his mouth, a bunch of ultra-wealthy people who thought they were buying an election, Trump, and finally Reince and you have your answer.

    November 28, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. slipthalo

    Facts are simple:
    1. Nominated terrible candidates with 'off the wall' talking points
    2. Alienated women, African-Americans, hispanics, asians and the young voters. They don't realize the older, white male voters can't carry them to victory by themselves.
    3. Mitt was found out to say anything and everything to win and people saw the real facts instead of his lies and twists
    4. The only reason Mitt would have been a 'good president' per Priebus stated was the fact he was bought with PAC money. He would have been a figurehead president – would have been told what to do by those who bought him. All he would have needed to do was sit there and smile, look good and follow orders..........
    Republicans are slowly killing themselves while saying one thing after the election but still pursuing the 'taking down' of the middle class and poor while trying to hide their agenda against the African-Americans, Hispanic, Asian, women and young people – hoping they can pull the rug over the eyes of these groups......ain't gonna work anymore but they'll keep on keeping on until it's way too late............

    November 28, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. ZoeyKay

    'Many Republicans in recent weeks have called for a "bigger tent" party that will be more representative of the country's changing demographics.'

    The problem is that the Republican base can't stand the concept of the country's changing demographics, and they have a hard time trying to hide that fact. Too late, the country is very aware of it. They already have a big tent, and under it is every hate group in the country.

    November 28, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. ZoeyKay

    Hey Rinse! How about trying to run a candidate that the people will like, trust, and vote for, instead of trying to take away the voting rights of anyone you think won't vote your way? It worked for Obama.

    November 28, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. Amy

    Autopsy results: collective suicide; the GOP simply imploded–spectacularly–this time around.

    November 28, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  19. John in swing state Colorado

    The problem is that he GOP's ideology is Bankrupt. It isn't even cloaked in a thin veil of legitimacy. It is all about the special interests; of them and for them. The elites used to be more skilled with the argument that what's good for GM is good for the country. But now, their general regard for the American people is so low (as voiced by their most recent failed presidential nominee) that they don't bother. Their feeble attempts are seen through by most of the American public and they don't buy it. Any attempts to broaden the base of the GOP will run square into the concrete wall of conservative ideological purity. They continue in denial that the American public do not buy off on this dribble. This is what the Tea Party care about first and foremost and not in winning elections. Until the GOP can reclaim the party from them, they are destined to lose election after election.

    November 28, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. Zenger Folkman

    "The GOP is running around trying to become more like the democrats thinking they lost because they are TOO conservative. In fact they lost because they are not conservative ENOUGH." Yeah, Jonx, that's the ticket! Double down on the villification of the 47%–say it's 94% of Americans who are takers! And move forward with your platform plank to end all abortion in all cases! And go ahead and promote privatizing Social Security and voucherizing Medicare! And promot spending billions of dollars on Herman Cain's electric fence on the Mexican border. Yes, the GOP needs to become MORE conservative!! Uh huh, THAT will surely win the GOP the next election!

    November 28, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. Larry in Houston

    the "autopsy" is exactly what you guys need there, 'ol Pubus, That's exactly what you need when a person (or party as in this case) dies, In other words, whn your party has deceased, you need an "autopsy" to find out how it has deceased.

    November 28, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  22. Canuck

    " In fact they lost because they are not conservative ENOUGH. "

    Seriously??? Well, good luck with that attitude...

    November 28, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  23. mcskadittle

    well in a nutshell its about the 47%, republicans cannot hope to win with just the older angry white guy

    November 28, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. dan

    The GOP has to change. That means they must change their voices, Hanity, Rush, Sara, Trump, Beck, Karl, these old heads have got to go if the party wants to win elections.

    November 28, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. JohnReedjr

    Talk about irrelevant people and political parties. When the Republicans realize that their ideas are 19th century ideas, they will start to understand why they lost. Big government is not the issue to be debated. It is a fact. The question is how do we use preserve the status quo and enhance the position of business and the wealthy or to benefit the majority of the people using our collective wealth to create a nation where health, education, and income security are paramount.

    November 28, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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