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. Erik

    I am sorry but as long as these Republicans field water down wannabe conservatives they will fail. Reagan would be more then welcome. Bob Dole is a fool to think otherwise. Romney failed because more then 4 million Conservatives said no to him. They did not vote. I agree with them, I voted for Ron Paul. I would rather vote for a candidate I want versus one I do not.

    June 2, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  2. midnitemgt

    Sorry everyone I see i made a typo at the end of my previous comment It should have ended with.

    (and most importantly understand that we are all Americans who want a better and more prosperous future)

    June 2, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. PS

    Aaaaand this is what happens when you don't teach children to respect their elders.

    June 2, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Thomas

    The RNC is going to need more then a Lube Job Mr. Priebus

    June 2, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. CaliforniaAC

    Deceit will not work anymore for the GOP. We see the face of the Republican Party and it is the Tea Party Wackos who represent the base: Southern states still hung up on the civil war.

    June 2, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  6. chinaman03

    @winky333: i don't think the GOP ignored the conservative base. they just let the mindless, ignorance small group of people, mostly tea party members, to claim themselves front runners, representatives, or whatever word they found in their very limited vocabulary. well, on the bright side, there are 2 wonderful things happened: 1. the media has had plenty of material (comic material that is) to play with. 2. the rest of the world has felt much relief that now there is at least one country whose intelligence is way below theirs (well, every country has felt that, though). it's just classic (tragically)

    June 2, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. Z

    The Republican Party of yesteryear is dead. The moderates of the Republican Party have been slowly smothered out since Reagan's term. The Tea Party was the last Straw, the only thing left of the Republican Party is the name but even that has been consumed by the Tea Party brand. This Republican/Tea Party is unrepairable and will continue to be that way until the Extremist's have been sent back to their caves(purged out at election time) where they belong. The Republican/Tea Party has shown they do not know how to govern by their actions of the last 2+ years in the House and Senate and have also proven they are not mentally capable of dealing with the problems our country faces. The sleeping Giant(the people) have awaken from their deep sleep and the people will no longer tolerate such inaction with these type of politicians in our Government. We need politicians that will work for this Country and the American people, not hold us back, as these Republican's are intent on doing. Enough of this Republican/Tea Party Extremist Obstructionist Nonsense, the people have had ENOUGH!

    June 2, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  8. Smoke and mirrors

    Why did the GOP stop making honest, intelligent arugements for their cause and turn into the stupid party. It seems that every time I talk to a Republican these days only hateful, angery, paranoid delusional stuff comes out of their mouths. Half of them sound like they are crazy. There are so many good things about the GOP and so highly intelligent people in it... When did these crazy & stupid people hijack the party and why did the rest of them let them do it? The GOP is turning into the Independant party... If they keep it up they will also be irrelevant.

    June 2, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. PR

    You idiots lost becuase you have no clue how to reach the voting pubic. Quit kissing the ass of the extreme right wing. Forget preching the bible and religion in politics and focus on real issues that matter. Until you do you will contiue to lose.

    June 2, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. Howard Snell

    What most people don't relize or even the republican party doesn't relize is the GOP split into two different parties. And when that happens there not just going to win.

    June 2, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. Joe

    @ Larry L

    Romney's dishonest "etch-a-sketch" attempt to shift from hateful conservative to electable moderate was foolish and cost him any chance of winning.


    II must have missed something. When Romney won the GOP race I told my brother that if he (Romney) was smart, he'd choose a moderate for his running mate. When he chose Ryan all he did was lock in the votes that were already in the box. The neo-con vote was a sealed deal. If he'd chosen a moderate he could have had most of them and a large part of we "middle-grounders" too.

    June 2, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. Common sense grandma

    Perhaps if they put as much energy into ideas as they put into attacks and hateful rhetoric? Perhaps if they climbed out of the pockets of the Koch brothers and their ilk? They need to set places at their table for some that are not angry white men and nutty wackos? They pretend they are inviting everyone to the party, but it turns out they only want the diverse invitees to serve the meal, not sit at the table.

    June 2, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  13. StateInvestigationBureau

    Son, debt is due. TIme to tighten belt. Learn to behave as a regional power you are, before severe consequences.

    June 2, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. SFRich

    "Open for repairs..." It's more like the GOP is BEYOND repair.

    June 2, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  15. K. in MIami

    I think it's a lost cause, the extreme fringe right wing Tea Party secular division within the GOP has doomed it's future. This is aiken to the monster eating it's own creators, as long as common unity in hating President Obama is what holds them together, expect the slightest crack to expose the internal strife that serves to further lead this party into extinctsion.

    June 2, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. S.B. Stein

    I don't see the GOP really doing something to make itself really inclusive. What is their arguement saying that they are going to accept other people and welcome their ideas that could be different from what is already in the GOP.

    June 2, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  17. DW

    Interesting article. I see that the GOP contacted 52000 people about their perceptions of the party. As a former long standing republican, I wish that they would have contacted me. I'd love to share with them why I was turned off, and remain turned off by their politics and obstructionism since circa 1990- something. After a search for an email address to contact Reince Priebus to share my thoughts, I've come up empty. Perhaps the party isn't interested after all in hearing what former supporters have to say.

    June 2, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  18. John N Florida

    All they've done is follow the Sarah Palin Plan;

    they put lipstick on the pig.

    June 2, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  19. start with issa

    If you're open to repairs, then start with putting a collar on your dog Issa. This guy is so out of touch with the difference between mismanagement and scandal that I'm afraid to speed down the highway because he might blame Obama for it.

    June 2, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  20. maybe me

    GOP has no reason to exist. They just waste air.

    June 2, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  21. Rick C.

    You want me to take a look at you in the next election? This needs to be done:

    1. Dump the teabillies–operate as though they never existed.
    2. Stay out of our bedrooms. My private life, my medical choices, etc, are mine.
    3. The middle class is THE FOUNDATION of this country. Their thriving survival is vital to the future of the country.
    4. Remember #3 when crafting any legislation which may affect them.

    June 2, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  22. craig

    The problem isn't the "messaging strategy." The problem is the message! He's defending the nomination of McCain and Rmoney. How can we possibly take McCain seriously when he picked Sarah as his running mate? Come on, let's get real here. If that's the message, the messaging strategy doesn't matter.

    Rmoney? No matter how you try to spin it, the message was loud and clear. He was running FOR the 1% and AGAINST anything the President said or proposed, not because those proposals were bad but simply because the party demanded (and still demands) that not giving the President a "win" is more important than the welfare of the country or the American People.

    The messaging strategy needs to begin with a message that you actually care about people, understand that you're elected to serve those people, and people with whom you disagree aren't automatically "bad people." Of course, it also wouldn't hurt if you did two other things too: quit saying really stupid things, and quit trying to make the US into a theocracy. In the meantime, you're not "closed for repairs"'re closed because a lack of customers has put you out of business period!

    June 2, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  23. James H

    It is insulting to call the GOP the stupid party. We should be more kind, after all half the population is below the median in intelligence and they deserve a party too. Perhaps they could be called the slow learner party. No, that was also deemed too obvious. They should be the hyper-active party, That sounds good.

    June 2, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  24. ericgoestoholland

    All they have to do is start accepting more people and rejecting less people. Many seemingly common republican attitudes come across as antagonistic to groups of people. They don't really open the doors for everyone to work within the party. If they want to succeed in future elections, then they're going to have to stop antagonizing gay people and immigrants, for example, or muslims, scientists, and people who care more about the environment than corporate profits. The democrats seem far more open to groups of people, except for people who want less gun control, maybe. The party needs to embrace the growing diversities of our population.

    June 2, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  25. rude

    He better listen. The Tea Party is hampering the GOP. Those idiots say the dumbest things and it rubs off on the GOP.
    The Birther, Raised in Madrassa and he's a Muslim LIES are like crying wolf- NOBODY will believe you now!!!

    June 2, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
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