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. king

    when are you going to start telling your repubs party to start working on our economy mr weizel sir, and stop cutting money to our middle class and poor to give to the rich. the rich has more money than anytime in this country's history, yet you repubs are still yapping about making them invest in this country's modernization through taxes. lesson folks the repubs have a new stragedy of destroying the IRS, so that their big corporate buddies can take our jobs to china. the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider and wider and wider, so to take the American people mind off that situation, the repubs start all these fake scandals with no facts only insinuations and gut feelings, while trying to destroy the IRS, so that their corporate buddies doesn't have to pay any taxes.

    June 2, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  2. Ed

    Unfortunately there is no evidence yet that the GOP isn't going ahead and doubling down on the same things that keep losing for them.

    June 3, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. Name Uche Agonsi

    Any hand that enters a pot of oil does not leave it empty.......maybe is time the Repub deleted RACISM from their policy. It blurs their political concepts.

    June 3, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. p

    No offense Mr. Priebus, but in my book, you are just an arrogant j e r k...

    June 3, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  5. pprty

    Number 1: GOP = Get Out of Politics!

    June 3, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  6. TimW

    GOP does not need a review: It needs a purge. They need to kick out the Southern Strategy leftovers, religious zealots, and tea partiers. Each of those sections can form their own parties.

    June 3, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  7. DH

    It really doesn't matter what the GOP says...............they put their hateful, bigoted, unamerican agenda in WRITING at their convention. That is who they are and they will contine to lose because of that platform.

    June 3, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  8. Randy

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

    I think Larry L has it right. I'd also add that I really think there is an echo chamber within the very vocal base of the GOP, that only watches Fox, listens to Rush & Hannity & all darn day long this one, single message is pushed & they are just shocked when it turns out that not everyone agrees with them. To tell you the truth, I can't see the right getting it's **** together anytime soon. They let the kooks (the Tea Party & the religious right) in and now they are shocked when the country looks at them as the stupid party. Get rid of those guys & you might have a shot at it again.

    June 3, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. Skeptic

    Yes, but who is qualified to do the repairs? Nobody I see...

    June 3, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  10. Andrew

    Unrepairable. Dissolve it.

    June 3, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  11. Paul

    They think they have a marketing problem... in reality they have a platform problem. They continue to oppose gay marriage... are against any sort of healthcare option for the poor... they make no effort to compromise any of their positions as shown by their record filibusters.

    In 2000 the GOP told us that global warming isn't happening. In 2006 the GOP told us that torture was acceptable.

    June 3, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Albert Leo

    The former Republican Party, symbol elephant, now the Irresponsibility Party, symbol dinosaur.

    June 3, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  13. nothing new here

    I have said this time and time again, and frankly I am getting tired of repeating myself –
    The GOP lost it's way when it abandoned true conservatism, and became the party of God, and bashing gays. Barry Goldwater himself tried to warn the Republican party NOT to pander to preachers and the Religious Right. The GOP needs to get back to basics, economic conservatism and personal freedoms, and leave the preaching to the preachers on Sunday morning.

    June 3, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. GOPSux

    Why not just ban the GOP in blue states and force the red states to secede? That would be the sensible solution.

    June 3, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  15. Christopher T

    Larry L is right. Pandering to the most extreme 10% of conservatives doesn't win a national election. Taking a national stance that panders to the most extreme 10% of the party basically scares moderates – and without moderates – it is pretty tough to win an election. I am frankly amazed Romney did so well – he deserves Kudos for that. As long as the GOP is deaf to the majority of what the American people want, they will suffer. And, the American people don't want what the far 10% of the right want. The fact that I even feel it needed to state such an obvious fact is silly. And yet, there's the GOP

    June 3, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  16. navaJohn

    The ongoing problem with the GOP is that moderates are increasingly not welcome. Many of your moderates in Congress have recently retired or are retiring citing frustration with the inability to get things done beyond partisan lines.
    The voting public has been no different.

    To Do Start List:

    Distance yourself from the far-right.
    If they want to start their own party, fine. But they are plain out ruining yours. This includes talk show hosts and Evangelists.

    Distance yourself from Grover Norquist.
    Publicly "expire" the "pledge" and remove that noose from around every Republican in office. That was probably one of the dumbest things you've ever done as a group.

    Stop the herd mentality.
    It's nice that you can all say NO together as one voice. But that also shows that you most likely discourage independent thinking. tsk tsk.

    Start teaching respect for the office to your freshman. This is not a ball game. We will all be better off if we work together, listen to and negotiate our differences rather than thumb our noses in unison.

    June 3, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. TheTraveler

    Hmm, more like a "remodel" than a "repair". Same old structure is found underneath with a new glossy coat of paint over it. The GOP will have to do more than provide lip service to convince voters in the next election cycle that they are anything more than the same old party they have been for years.

    June 3, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  18. briawinde

    The Republican party will never be "fixed" until it realizes that catering to narrow-minded as well as naive individuals who tend to be older (over 55) and white will not win elections. The economy nor "life" is as simple as the conservative Tea Party/Republican party would love us all to believe. Most of us realize there is no clear "right or wrong" and most of us also realize that to the Tea Party honesty and integrity only applies to "others' not them. There are NO easy answers and every decision has negative consequences. The Republican party is neither willing to admit that or consider alternative solutions. It is very clear they just don't "get" it.They won't concede without a fight because deep down they do understand they are wrong..but try telling that to an angry self-serving group of people who know their time has come and gone. Bring back the "old party"! At least they knew life wasn't "simple" and it was important to at least play "fair" some of the time!

    June 3, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. Phill

    Has anyone else thought maybe the Republicans could pull it out if they just dropped the phony populism, the neo-fascists and the fat cats? I mean, I'm a pretty strong liberal, but I think my vote would be up for grabs on libertarian terms if I didn't feel the "libertarian" ideas Republicans wanted would simply mean corporations and trust fund babies would have the liberty to ride roughshod over the rest of us. Essentially, go for a 100% personal inheritance tax and Federal laws to inhibit corporate feudalism and basics like murder, theft and robbery, then let us all do as we please. That way there's no powers that be – either governmental or corporate – holding their thumb on the little guy.

    If the Republican party were willing to revolutionize their platform, cut the bigots and greedy folks out, and truly stand for personal freedom, responsibility and self-determination (which means preventing poor little rich boy from having his ass wiped by daddy's money or not so happy poor boy being forced, from lack of any real opportunity. into a wage slave for Wal-mart) that would smell like real libertarianism to me and I could get behind it. Sure, they'd probably lose their major donors and their current militant KKK-member base. But they'd be a relevant party and one I think many Americans would reconsider. The caveat, of course, is that after Bush voters would need a lot more than lip service paid to these principles. We'd need to see the party leadership publicly come out for enforced equality (for everyone), tough corporate restrictions and an even tougher crackdown on the aristocracy, in the name of preventing these factors from inhibiting freedom. We'd want to see the current Republican base start screaming and crying and leaving the party wholesale. Then some of us might be willing to call it home.

    June 3, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  20. Chedar

    "Open For Repair" ? They need a brain surgery. The group just turn wild and demented when the nation elected a black president.

    June 3, 2013 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  21. Peter Grenader

    Larry L: Thank you for saying that. Took the words from my mouth. The initial comment you responded to is a perfect example of just how much the far right minority does not get the plain fact that if they do not adopt a large part of the democrats treatise they have attempted to villainize, that they will remain unelectable.

    June 3, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  22. briawinde

    The RNC as it stands today has passed its prime. The conservative base was exactly the reason for its loss. The Tea Party and current conservatives cater to those that are angry, biased and bigoted. They have a simplistic approach to everything..and truly don't understand the economy nor that life is "not that simple". They believe tossing out twisted facts and distorted statistics on numerous websites will win over the masses. It wins over the naive and the ones that are full of anger.. It doesn't win over those that are educated in such matters. They are past their prime and its about time. We deal with enough anger and hate in our society without intentionally adding to it with false information and angry rhetoric by those that want power at the expense of their supporters.

    June 3, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  23. MasterPo

    The GOP is actually two parties. The wealthiest 1% who don't want to pay any taxes and the social conservatives who do their bidding. I can't believe that the GOP has lasted this long.

    June 3, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  24. jeffrey miller

    Hahahahahahahahahaha. The GOP made a deal with the Devil and now they wonder what happened. Too funny.

    June 3, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  25. Teamski

    As long as they allow candidates like Sanford on the GOP ticket, there is little chance. Oh and pandering to the Tea Party is doomed to failure. Only Cristy can save a broken party of finger pointers.

    June 3, 2013 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
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