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. Yon

    Funny, the comments are open for GOP hate, but not the AG who told a judge about a potential co-conspirator and flight risk, yet denies he would have ever done such a thing. Both parties are messed up and broken! I am an independent, because I can see that. Stop playing sheep people – and CNN, you too!

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

    Quite simply, the republican party is "too old". Any hopes of defeating the Dems lie in a younger candidate, able to appeal to a younger, more mobile voter base. A voter base who for the majority, dont believe in the conservative and ultra conserative stance of the older Republican party. If the Republicans hope to win the next general election, they need wholesale changes in personality and platform, otherwise, it will be another Dem run......

    June 2, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. David

    The GOP is evil. It should not be repaired. It needs to be dissolved. No conservative will be allowed to gain power.
    Only when the U.S. is run by just the democrats, can the country move forward.

    June 2, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. BlueDem1

    Good News! It won't cost anything to get the GOP repaired.

    Now the bad can't be repaired.

    June 2, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. Morgan King

    If the Republicans want to fix their party and spread their economic message of small government and the power of the free markets, they need to dump the Tea Party's socially regressive nonsense and try to pick up the Libertarians. The Democrats have been foolish not to embrace their more centrist ideas.

    June 2, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. Name

    Mr. Bob Dole is saying Reagan looked out for everyone not the 1 percent.....Come on people wake up!!!

    June 2, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. Texas

    You need more than repairs, you need a labatomy.

    June 2, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. ken2112

    If the Republican party has any chance to redeem themselves, the first order of business should be to dump the tea party. They are nothing but a bunch of right wing radicals.

    June 2, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Greg G

    The Republican Party has DEFINITELY lost sight of who they are and who they should be. Watching the electoral process in 2012, all I could see was a party that was ready to spend ANY amount of money to defeat Obama, but with ABSOLUTELY no interest in governing the nation as a whole. All I saw was a mean-spirited, confused party that proved it could not govern effectively. No wonder Bob Dole made the observation that he did – and no wonder that the GOP lost so badly. Time to get back to foundational principles, while there is still time.

    June 2, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  10. OldSchool

    What is the point in supporting the GOP when they ignored their entire conservative base last election?

    Because nowadays to be considered a "conservative" you have to be a Randian chicken hawk Christian zealot....

    June 2, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. Ho Hum

    I used to be a conservative republican with Reagan and Bush Daddy. I Quit the republicans when Dubya came in and stole the first election. Then he tried to destroy this nation with help of his henchmen. I can say that I will never ever vote for a republican. The present GOP is filled with bigots and hatemongers so far to the right that its sickening. The GOP needs to regain the center or die.

    June 2, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. biohodge

    Congratulations, Reince, you managed to mix your metaphors you dipstick. It's "open for business", and bob Dole s still right.

    June 2, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. skeptic001

    Give up your crazy religious agenda so that the Independents will come back.

    June 2, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. bspurloc

    or what? it is working fine... Benghazi!! oops nothing there. IRS ooops nothing there. AP reporters ooops Patriot Act made that legal... They should get back to the Birth Certificate SCANDAL

    June 2, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. wildernessyes

    As far as I am concerned, they are closed forever. I will never vote for someone with an R next to their name. Never.

    June 2, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  16. The Prince of Common Cents

    Fire everyone: McCain, Rubio, Priebus, the whole lot of 'em and start FRESH! This is your ONLY hope to win an election...

    June 2, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. Elucidated1

    I'd just like to know how in the heck Darrell Issa obsessive witch hunt is going to help the GOP? Do they really think that Solyndra then FF then Benghazi then AP then IRS is going to get them more US women and latino voters? Those ARE the target audiences in future national elections.

    June 2, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. Dont matter

    It would seem that the GOP month of trying to rebuild has failed to change their message. Now their agenda is to try to paint Obama as something they are failing at painting. The IRS issue is actually an issue except the Tea Party was only 40% of the targeted people, the other 60% were democrats and for that the GOP look foolish. They are failing miserably at getting their point across trying to create controversy instead of doing what they need and that is reach more people.

    June 2, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  19. bryan

    why can't both parties work together for the common good of both the people and the country?

    June 2, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. Jc

    Until the Republican Party returns to the mindset of citizens first, I cringe at the idea if being labeled a republican. There has always been an air of religion in politics, even though there's no place for it, but the tea naggers ruin conservativism by spewing their religious garbage at every issue. And Preibus is right, the last two candidates were definitely moderates, but McCain lost his mind after the election, and Mittens was far too corporate to fill the spot. Far right wingers need to break off and form their own party. Being conservative is now associated with extremism, which is exactly what conservativism is not. The ramifications of that are that it's made the left more extremist. Now everything is so polarized, and neither side is willing to budge. Liberals can call the right obstructionists all they want, but their party is no different. The only real progress is made by moderates that understand compromise, and today's liberals and conservatives have zero interest in that. It's pretty sad. The comments on here are either blaming Obama for everything from Sandy to the run in their nylons, and liberals either can't stop blaming Bush or defending Obama no matter the issue or how bad he's screwed up. People need to get a grip and realize what's important. Personal agendas are selfish. What's good for the whole is far more righteous.

    June 2, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  21. Aimhere

    @ Larry L,
    "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."

    This. A thousand times this. The Republican Party's conservative base is just too puritanical for its own good (or anyone else's, for that matter).

    June 2, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  22. Tracey

    The GOP would be more successful in winning over a more diverse group of people if they begin to work together with Democrats and President Obama to fix the problems that we as a country face. Instead fighting at every point and trying to think of ways to belittle the President. That has grown to become a turn off for many. Along with their fight to help the nation's rich and turn their backs on the needy. Wanting to cut social security and Medicare. These are not entitlements, it's something that we all have worked hard for, only to be told we don't deserve it.

    June 2, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  23. Jocho Johnson

    Rencie Priebus what a pretentious jerk, if the GOP wants to do something good for itself get rid of Rencie

    June 2, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Pat in il

    The trouble with staying "open" is that the idiots, haters and backward thinkers who created this mess will continue to open their mouths and sabatoge good work for all Americans. McCain, etc. need to back out. The current group of lawmakers are not even listening to their constituents so hopefully they will get voted out eventually.

    June 2, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  25. Doc

    Preibus really thinks etch-a-sketch and he who released she who shall not be named were good ideas? McCain was sacrificed in an election that was almost a foregone conclusion. He should have been the candidate back in 2000 not GWB but the party was worried he couldn't be controlled. Etch-a-sketch proved to the base that he was saying anything to get elected. I'm severely conservative at one moment and then mirroring the president the next. We weren't sure who would show up in the whitehouse if he got elected.

    June 2, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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