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. The King

    Prince Reibus? Really? The GOP Chairman is a prince??? Why not.

    June 2, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. YoungNiceGuy

    The Republican Party suffers from the fact that people who aren't White, Straight, Christian, Males don't think the Party wants them. I ask all of my African American friend why they don't vote Republican and its mostly because they think the GOP is full insane, racists.

    I will admit, I can see why they would say that given how Republicans are trying to suppress minority votes and how all of their government cutting policies tend to hurt the poor and minorities more.

    June 2, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. BeverlyNC

    There are no "repairs" possible to this extremist dying Party who has no idea who they are or what they stand for. All they know is they hate our black President and will do anything to create fake conspiracies instead of doing any actual work for the nation.
    The Republican Party should be "torn down", all the extreme parts thrown away, and the sane people need to sit down and decide who they want to be in this current day reality and create a sensible platform that is not to be against everything.
    Until then they are irrelevant and destructive to our nation and not one should be allowed to hold a seat in any local, state or national seat.

    June 2, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Floydzepp

    The GOP is doomed. It can't or won't move into the 21st century.

    June 2, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    First of all, anyone who would question Bob Dole's bona fides with regards to whether he is conservative enough ought to have their head examined. Dole has been around long enough to recognize that there is a difference between an ideological shift and a wholesale abandonment of conservative principles. Ideas that are thrown out in papers at the Heritage Foundation do NOT necessarily translate into workable policy, or even a fruitful discussion: the recent fiasco over immigration at Heritage should prove that wrong. Measures that are negative and punitive will never be embraced by the Party, much less the public at large. The GOP has become a sort of Right-Wing Curia, hell bent on purifying its ranks and then the country, using any crisis or problem to drive home its ideas of punishing those who do not adhere to their values, which change by the day and by the hour depending upon whatever crisis or opportunity present itself. Reacting to situations is not forward-looking or liberating.

    June 2, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Michael

    'Open for Repairs?" Unless your ideas support our current President, blacks, hispanics, women or the poor. But other than that the floodgates are wide open!

    June 2, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. mjbrin

    I would like to see their own list (specific) of what they think is wrong that needs to be fixed. No little catch phrases. An honest to goodness itemized list.

    June 2, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. kamsword

    The most important thing the GOP leadership must look at is its does its charter allow such operating variance that the people can't even recognize it as the same party they knew only a few years back. Most of its leaders act in the most arrogant manner; propel their platform and agenda based on other party's weaknesses, not their won strengths. Its like saying 'you should vote for me because the other candidate is not as good'. Share party's values all year long; educate the candidates regularly about key party anchors, which define what the party is all about. A positive, forward, all inclusive mindset, and alignment with its key core values would do it much good in making it a vibrant party, again. We want healthy choices, not arrogant ones.

    June 2, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. kamsword

    Initially I used to like the GOP as it supported building strengths and creating opportunities. Than its character changes, not its core charter. It no longer represented majority of Americans...the party it aspires to serve. Why?

    June 2, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. Vern

    He holds up McCain (and, by extension, Palin) and Romney (and by extension, Ryan) as examples that the GOP is doing it right? And he did so with a straight face? That's pretty impressive.

    The fact is Bob Dole is right. The GOP has swung so far to the right that they're slowling taking themselves off

    And above, Winky333 complains that the GOP ignored their base last election. Well, Winky333, if they want to win more elections, and not become irrelevant in the next few decades, they need to do more of that, not less of it. Their base-the white, rural, prudish, ignorant voter, is dying off. They need to turn away from that base. Instead, they keep bashing gays, minorities, women, liberals-everyone that can help them become a more inclusive party. They'd rather stay more true to that base than evolve and head into the 20th Century. And that's not a type. The GOP is taking their followers back to the 19th Century, so right now, let's not even mention the 21st Century. Then again, the GOP doesn't believe in evolution, maybe that's why they are dying off.

    June 2, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. JeromeSteinhauser

    Rience Priebus showing (again) that he's the dumbest man in American politics. If you close a business and then renovate, you can do a lot, then have a grand reopening that (re-) establishes your brand and connections with stakeholders/consumers. If you try to keep things open and tell customers to "nevermind the mess", then you better have some good planning and discount prices to draw in a wider clientele. Priebus, Boehner and McConnell have done none of that. Instead, they've decided that marketing by constant screaming about the hotel across the street is the way to go. And they've been losing since then.

    Today's GOP is a vapid, empty shell that has no program, no ideas and no convictions. Its only reason to exist is to further the time at the DC feeding trough for its members and backers... no more, no less.

    June 2, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  12. Neal Powers

    Gee. Did he just confirm Bob Dole's point?

    June 2, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Cleigh

    They aren't going to get far when they have people like congresswoman Marsha Blackburn saying women aren't interested in equal wages. She certainly doesn't speak for me.

    June 2, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. John


    The GOP sought help to secure wins in elections with turnouts well under 50%, and it found it in the extreme right who make up a tiny fraction but A) always vote as they're told and B) don't care if they have to commit fraud and intimidation to win as they see anyone who isn't "one of us" as subhuman. That was the worst mistake they made because after those wins, combined with Rove's "Permanent Majority" and unlimited money, the GOP thought itself unbeatable in all elections. When the elections moved beyond rigged districts and courts filled with those whose only qualification is good little conservative drones, things went south. Badly. The Democrats gaining seats across the board – including in places like Indiana – was proof that something had gone horribly wrong in a short 2 years.

    If the GOP wants to avoid the fate of its predecessors then it's going to need to do far more than just hang new tinsel on its message. They need to purge the fear-mongers and social-conservatives who think that the panacea to everything is the Bible and rolling back the clock on everything to 1850. They need to eject the Ron Pauls and Rand Pauls who want to retreat from the rest of the world into a fantasy where the federal government is the lap dog of states who spend more time bickering about who is at fault than creating a uniform code of law. They need to realize that if after 30 years "Reaganomics" (otherwise known as "trickle down" or "welfare for the rich") hasn't worked, its not going to work in another 30 either. Most of all they need to understand that sometimes the solution to a problem is not less government but more. Even the people who influenced the Founding Fathers understood that.

    June 2, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. tonyl

    A broken party made of glass and mirrors cannot be put back together.

    June 2, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. Rick

    Dole suggests a focus on "Positive Agendas". That would be a reversal of at least a decade of Republican Politics. He is 100% on target.

    June 2, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. cc

    I was a liberal 100% until the 3 scandals. Go GOP!!!!!! I m switching my vote n the whole family to the GOP.

    June 2, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. SouthernFriedInfidel

    Priebus is absolutely NOT the guy the SLAP (Sore Loser Anarchy Party) needs to be in charge of things if they want to correct what has gone wrong with them. Ever since he got put in charge, he's been happily carrying out the 2008-2012 Republican strategy of trying to ruin the nation and getting people to blame Obama for it. There is no way to take the party seriously so long as he is in charge, and people like Issa, Cruz, Bachmann and Boehnner are acting out the way they have been all this time.

    June 2, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  19. Morgan

    Want to repair yourselves? Show compassion and common sense again. Stop being the party that votes against hurricane relief, and start showing up at disaster sites to help. Stop being the party that cries "Adoption, not abortion" while not doing anything to make adoption easier (and preventing women from getting contraceptives). Stop voting to bail out banks while tearing down unions. Stop de-funding science while calling for more defense spending. Over and over, when I think of GOP policies, I think of how they favor ignorance and wealth, instead of the common good. Want to repair yourselves? Change who you're helping.

    June 2, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. Seyedibar

    The source of the GOP's fallability lies in their religion. They can't expect to be taken seriously when they can't address the political reality of any situation without falling back on superstitious nonsense. Were it not for the fairy tales, I would vote mostly conservative.

    June 2, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. IvotedforObama

    It is only open to the crazies and racists.

    June 2, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. Hawk in Texas

    Preibus said that they were open for repairs. openly mocking a war hero and sensible republican. what the republicans are doing now is not to make themselves look better but try and make the other side look worse. going after the president with all these witch hunts led by a convicted felon thief of all people. i wonder if they have thought of the fact that Obama won't be running for reelection in 2016. 2016 will be a whole new ball game. and they still have to face 2014 first.

    June 2, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "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. ""

    Actually, they clearly WANTED to say much the same as Dole and because of that the far-right extremists posing as Conservatives labeled them "Democrats in GOP Clothing."
    They had to say some different things to keep the Tea Partiers and other negative groups showing up at the polls.

    Get rid of the Tea Party and other extremists or a new Conservative Party will eventually take the GOP's place.

    June 2, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. mlblogsurbanshawk

    They ignored the conservative base in the last election, they ignored the majority of Americans on background checks on guns, they continue to ignore the scientific community on climate change and the rights of women in the work place and in the military.
    The republican party doesn't need some repairs, they need a complete overhaul.

    June 2, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. Justin

    Can we sell it for scrap instead?

    June 2, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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