In response to Dole, Priebus declares RNC 'open for repairs'
June 2nd, 2013
04:16 PM ET
10 years ago

In response to Dole, Priebus declares RNC 'open for repairs'

(CNN) - Responding to criticism from Sen. Bob Dole, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus bluntly stated Sunday that the GOP is in fact "open for repairs."

Last week the 1996 Republican presidential nominee said his party has changed so much in the past decade that even former President Ronald Reagan wouldn't find a place in it.

Instead of operating daily in a nonelection year, the national party should focus on broader plans to rehabilitate itself after the losses of 2012, Dole said.

“I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says ‘Closed for repairs’ until New Year’s Day next year. Spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” the former Kansas lawmaker said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Appearing on the same program Sunday, the party's chief praised Dole as a hero but argued the party has nominated two men – Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney - who paint a different picture than "what Mr. Dole had to say. "

Priebus also pointed to the RNC's months-long review after losing the November election and its efforts to change the party's messaging strategy to reach a broader range of voters.

'We basically went around the country, we talked to 52,000 people, we have a serious project that we're working on, we unveiled it," Priebus said. "And I would say we're not closed for repairs, but open for repairs."

Priebus argued the party hasn't "decisively won" a presidential race in 24 years.

"This is not something that suddenly happened, but it is something that the national party and Republican Party, et al., have to address, which we did," he added, referring to the RNC review.

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Reince Priebus • RNC
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yep.. That sign should be right next to the " Excuse our mess" and "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" signs. Nice try Reince, but there's another sign that applies. It reads "No Sale"

    June 2, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Zippo

    More like shut down by the department of mental health, till further notice. What a bunch of squirrels.

    June 2, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Tim

    Appearing on the same program Sunday, the party's chief praised Dole as a hero but argued the party has nominated two men – Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – who paint a different picture than "what Mr. Dole had to say. "

    Oh REALLY, Priebus? In what WAY? Seems that the American people agreed far more with Dole than we with you, and no, you did NOT "fix" the Republican party in your "review." You merely worked on cosmetics. Both of your statements indicate that you truly do not have a clue about what it wrong with your party........

    June 2, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Rickapolis

    Suggestions for GOP: Repair your honor. Repair your dignity. Repair your integrity. All are seriously deficient.

    June 2, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. John

    Larry L has it right: "The conservative base is a liability because the complex problems of the modern age can't be solved with overly-simplistic, narrow-minded, bigoted, and hateful solution sets." It is a truism that the only thing permanent is change. It is reasonable to try to steer change, but it cannot be stopped, and so human beings drift ever more to the progressive as conservatives age and die off. Each generation grows up used to being that much further left-go ahead, even you 'conservative' people-would you really want to return to your grand-parents time?

    June 2, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. cjacja

    THeir only hope is to move to center and become main steam. The demographics are shifting so they will have to continue to move over the next 20+ years. They seem to be getting even more conservative which is the wrong way. Their real problem is they have to "wings" that are missfits. The fist is rather small but powerful: rich people who don't want to pay taxes and the second wing which has the numbers: rednecks who live in fear of people not like themselves. Soon the rednecks will be out numbered and there will be few middle class voters. They will have to move left or die.

    June 2, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. josephine

    they can't even agree amonst themselves on what the solutions to their problems are. They should stop the infighting before they have a chance of winning the voters again.

    June 2, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Ahhh Sheit Midrauers

    Open for repairs? It would just be cheaper to get a whole new party

    June 2, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. stormsun

    As an ex-Republican, who became an independent a couple of years ago, I think the chairman of the GOP badly underestimates the disaffection of the American people toward the GOP. Make no mistake, I am not a big fan of the Democratic party, either. In fact, I would say that the parties ARE the problem with politics in America. But the GOP has particular problems; they have turned their agenda over to the religious extremists in this country, people who think that if you don't agree with them you are bound for hell. They have been on the wrong side of virtually every civil rights issue that has come up in years. They sound like Luddites, in the very Age of Change. I have little confidence and less hope that the Republican party will rehabilitate itself any time soon. Unfortunate, because it leaves us stuck with the debacle that is Obamacare, and a foreign policy that can't agree on principle twice in a row. A pox on both parties – as President Washington said, political parties are not good for America. They impede democracy and bring out the absolute worst in people.

    June 2, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. MaryM

    Until the GOP gets rid of the TeaPeople in office, they will continue to decline to the point of oblivion.

    June 2, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. Michael

    In other words, they intend to do absolutely no repairs at all. Apparently they haven't had their fill of humble pie yet.

    June 2, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. regenesis0

    You mean the month-long review that turned out a new messaging document which Republicans ignored?
    You don't need to fix your message, you need to fix your party. Distributing a better set of talking points to the same losers you're fielding now is putting a fresh coat of paint on a house with a rotten foundation.
    A really smart guy called Matthew... something... said "From an abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."
    The problem this last election cycle _wasn't_ with the mouths of the Republican candidates... that was just a symptom. The problem was with the heart of the party.
    Drafting new talking points tries to fix the mouth, and from an abundance of the heart they are ignored.

    The problems facing the Republican party can't just be fixed on paper. Real, substantive change is needed.

    June 2, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. impact0900

    I really had to laugh when I read this. The spoiled little rich boy still thinks that all he has to do is lie a little more convincingly and we will all fall in line. I don't know what their project is, I haven't seen it. If it was any good we all would have heard about it by now. So, which country clubs did you go too dig up that 52,000 people Priebus?

    June 2, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. becky

    Ridiculous. He cannot control the members of the GOP. Their voting records tell it all from letting contracts go to companies without bids to boondoggles. Oh well, as long as he thinks he is in charge! There are members who will not tollow his lead.

    June 2, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. teedofftaxpayer

    The Republican party is beyond repair. It's dead and should be buried. The knife in the back was the teaparty.

    June 2, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Arthur Gibson

    Mr. Priebus obviously did not hear what Sen. Dole had to say. Priebus went right on to praise two big mistakes of the GOP – nominating John McCain ( a relic warmonger ) and Mitt Romney ( a plutocrat of the highest order ). He praised the two mistakes as accomplishments. He was not listening to Sen. Dole.

    June 2, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Nodack

    I see the strategy. Make the other side look bad enough and people might vote for you even though they know you suck. They certainly can't run on their accomplishments.

    June 2, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. samsam

    You addressed it? How? Last I checked, the party was waiting in the sidelines waiting to criticize the President. Until about 10 years ago, I voted for the GOP half of the time. Not anymore until I see some big changes. I would not consider the GOP open for repairs; rather I would call it on life support

    June 2, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Frank

    GOP has lost fiscal conservatives like me because they embraced the tea party nut jobs on the far right. They created this monster and they have to live with it.

    Since running a fool like Bush instead of the "old version" of John McCain in 2000, they lost all creditability. People can clearly see that they are a party run by big money war mongering puppeteers in the background with no regard for American people. Worst of all they do it in the name of Patriotism. Sorry the real GOP is dead and gone. Time for a 3rd party to come in and replace them.

    June 2, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Mercury

    Deeply ingrained avarice and ethnocentrism are not character flaws that are readily "repaired."

    June 2, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Mark

    From "open for business" to "open for repairs". Well done.

    June 2, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. annettecmn

    Someone really ought to tell Mr. Priebus that changing "the party's messaging strategy" WON'T WORK when you still have the same crap message...

    June 2, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. BB

    78% Asians voted democrats. 70% Hispanics voted Democrats. Why? My household income is above $250k. We voted Democrat? Why? The GOP is totally out of sync with main stream America. Hating immigrants, non-white, Hispanics and Gays is not a winning agenda. As the older conservative white population shrinks and younger whites and all the other races become adults, the social fabric will be much more liberal. The GOP needs to move to the center on social issues. They need to become more responsible fiscally. I am fiscal conservative, but after George Bush's disastrous 2 terms, any Democrat will do for me. Remember a "conservative" GOP President Bush added 1 million strong TSA, created unfunded Medicare Part D, squandered billions in war with Iraq and almost went to war with Iran. The talk about cutting benefits for the poor while buying tanks from private corporations that the army does not need. GOP of today is a crony capitalist party that caters to far right social groups and corporate interests and hates non white people.

    June 2, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. eddhur

    the Democrat party is the one that needs repaired they have got caught up with your lies will always track you down

    June 2, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Jo Black

    Person to GOP: GOP irreparable.

    June 2, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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