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. Autopsy Cleanup

    @Mark: you wrote "No where will one ... find the terms landslide and mandate regarding the recent election. Maintaining the status quo by a relatively slim margin certainly does not qualify as either a mandate nor a landslide."
    So, you call 332 vs 206 electoral votes a "slim margin"?? (2008 365 vs 173 electoral votes). What then would you call George W Bush's 'victory' in 2000 (271 vs 266 votes, just ONE vote over the required 270)???? Seems republicans just don't do well with the math, the math of the country that is. They do well with their own incomes and stacks of dollars they hide overseas. Thanks mittens romney.
    But they don't get the math about how people voted. They DID Not want romney as president. Pres Obama won two elections by a combined margin of 318 electoral votes over his 2 gop challengers. (a combined 14 million Americans voted for Obama over his 2 opponents) Slim margin? Only if you consider a 350 pound citizen as "slightly overweight"... We all know that gop math doesn't work so well for all the people (except the rich country club boys)
    You call that slim?

    November 28, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Even if they do get their "Autopsy" of results they will do nothing but deny the truth"

    Indeed. GOPers and truth are a lethal combination. The good news: Wal Mart continues to report a larger than normal profit margin on Tin Foil.

    November 28, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. The REAL Truth...

    @db – The LBJ days of the Great Society have pushed welfare and entitlements to a point it now takes up the largest piece of the national budget. Social Security is not an entitlement, the workers of the USA have contributed all their lives into that fund through a payroll tax and it's their money. Leave it alone but cut off SS fraud, investigate and review large disability claims better. Congress drained the SS fund back in the LBJ days when he allowed them to "borrow" the untapped funds and leave an IOU behind. Now all we have left is a stack of unpaind IOU's that will never be paid. It emulates the largest Ponzi game around.
    Waht is the answer to our current political and national crisis? It is our political leaders themselves. They don't know how to control spending and stopped representing the citizens long ago. The crooks take bribes and that is how they get so rich, it sure is not off salary. Term limits must be enacted or career theifs will continue to rape America until we are a 3rd rate country.
    While I agree with most of the above commentary, Defense spending is still the LARGEST piece of the Federal Budget, not entitlement programs like SS. Sure, LBJ started the raids with his "unified budget", but it was Reagan that did the most damage. As a right-of-center conservative (but not a Republican or Dem) it is very irritating to have professional politicians running the country and being given HUGE life-long benefits when they are already independently wealthy.

    NO! We do NOT need term limits, we already have a method. It's called your vote. SEVENTY percent of eligible voters DO NOT VOTE !!! We, yes "WE THE PEOPLE" have allowed this travesty to occur due to complacency and apathy and lack of political education. We do not study our candidates and tend to vote the party line. I have many friends from all walks of life – rednecks to PHD's – who vote GOIP because they believe in "less govt and lower taxes". If one studies the FACTS (and TRUTH) one finds that has NEVER happened under a single Republican Federal administration. It's BS. Not that the Dem have much to write home about either.

    All philosophy and convictions aside, politics is ALL about compromise. As always, the devil's in the details, but the answer is really much simpler than you imply. We MUST DO OUR CIVIC DUTY, educate ourselves on the platform/candidates and VOTE OUT those who refuse to work for us !!

    November 28, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. MTATL67

    One of the main assassins is going to conduct the autopsy of their loss. That is just laughable. They are delusional if they think the ugly disgusting Republican primary is so easily or quickly forgotten.

    November 28, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. snowdogg

    Hope the "autopsy" isn't on the taxpayers' dime.

    November 28, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. felix el gato

    The Republicans represent the interests of 10% of the American population.

    November 28, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. sammieb51

    They need to keep doing exactly what they are doing with the "fiscal cliff" and Bengazi .... they lose more and more each day they persist with their uncomporomising unreasonable obstructionist tactics. They are like trying to reason with hurricane season, it doesn't work as is evident by their failure to produce any jobs (remember was Boehner's mantra after all!). Of course they have been too busy trying to figure out how to control the vagina and how to channel their hatred of Obama without looking like bitter spoiled children to focus on anything else.

    November 28, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. CitizenAJ

    Well, I am not sure what the chairman is looking at or has been listening too, but the President has been proposing a plan that cuts the debt by approximately $4 trillion for quite some time now, over a year at least. Are you paying attention?

    November 28, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Nick

    More to the point, their needs to be an autopsy of the voting process. There are entire precincts in PA where not one single Republican vote was tallied – that is statistically impossible and a sign of a huge fraud perpetrated on the American people.

    November 28, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. rs

    In the end my friends, the GOP lost because it believed its own lies. The lies were spun by the campaigns and the party and fed back to them through FOX, ush, and a whole host of wingnuts so that by the election they didn't believe polls, facts from government agencies, the news media, or even the public. They lost because they are delusional, and they will fail in this autopsy exercise because they won't like what they find there either. Their sympathizers (few though they are) here today are still saying "Romney wasn'tconservative eough" or repeating the lies that their loss wasn't "all that bad".
    You can't fix a party or a politicial that chosses to avoid facts or reality.

    November 28, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Sniffit

    Autopsy? Why not? The GOP already had a lobotomy. What's one more dissection?

    November 28, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. some guy in New Hampshire

    The mistake is having antiquated policies that are based on ideological purity instead of factual reality. PR messaging and game plans don't matter a heck of a lot if they don't solve the policy problem first.

    November 28, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. PoBoy

    After the Republican autopsy it should become more evident then ever, that the first organ they need to throw out is Rence Priebus. He just doesn't get it. You can't when any future elections with your current strategy of trashing everyone in the country who does not adhere to your definition of an American and patriot.

    November 28, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Reince Priebus is one of the main problems.The GOP is a self deluded party with no ideas or leaders.

    November 28, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    No, for 2014, just paint the GOP clown car a bright, new color and update the tail lights with LED lights and drive it head on into the wall of reality you hit in 2012!

    November 28, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. kathy/Minnesota

    Ahhh, the autopsy was already performed...."EXIT POLLS"

    November 28, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Expat American

    The demographic landscape of the country will continue to change.
    But the GOP will never accept minorities, the poor and middle class, gays, non-Christians and women as more than a lower caste.
    The GOP doesn’t even care about the poor to middle class whites who voted and continue to vote for them.
    This is unlikely to change; which is good news for more progressive victories in the future while inversely, more peanuts will be thrown at minorities at future Republican National Conventions.

    November 28, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. faboge

    republican party used to be a sober alternative to the democratic party, now its largely a wing nut outfit!

    November 28, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Zenger Folkman

    "There are entire precincts in PA where not one single Republican vote was tallied " Nick–please give us the source of this story.

    November 28, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Political Agnostic

    Very simple process. Divorce themselves from Grover Norquist, drop all attempts to legislated morality and end their assault on women's rights.

    November 28, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Tony

    Autopsy is appropriate when the patient is dead. Way to go, RNC Chairman Priebus, pronouncing your party dead.

    November 28, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Not here

    Nothing gets out the vote like telling Americans they can't...

    November 28, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  23. trex

    .....The GOP better THINK before sending us OVER THE CLIFF again. 2 years from now, there will be a DEM Congress if theydo, ..........BOOK IT.

    November 28, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. independent

    You can only perform an autopsy on a dead body. Are we taliking about the GOP?

    November 28, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. BooYah

    They lost because they don't see reality. An autopsy won't fix that.

    November 28, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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