RNC Chairman Rence Priebus held a blogger teleconference today. What follows are my notes, not quotes from the teleconference (unless a quote is specifically indicated.)
I’ve always felt that the Republican Party isn’t in a contest with the conservative movement; we’re part of it. There’s one question I get all the time. It’s my name. It’s R-eye-nce.
We’re having a debate whether we want to have a country of more takers or more makers. I promise all of you on my life, I don’t care about the title of “chairman,” I’m doing this because I want to win a battle for freedom and help save our country from economic disaster. We all know this election is different and this President is different. We are talking about a President who will accumulate more debt than every other single President combined.
“I ran because I believe we needed a functional, operational RNC, which I don’t believe we had over the last couple of years.”
When the time comes and we need to take out this President to save the country economically, I need to have a RNC that’s in place to do that.
Americans don’t believe Obama has fulfilled his promises on debts or jobs. He has just a lot of empty rhetoric. I have a problem buying that a President has a 9.1% unemployment rate, debt coming out of his ears, and is destroying Medicare will be re-elected. I think he’s going to have a hard time getting re-elected. That being said, a billion dollars goes a long way.
Will Paul Ryan’s path to prosperity be integrated into the platform in 2012? The short answer is, I can’t tell you.
“The President’s plan is to bankrupt Medicare.” So, we need to do something. The Republicans who voted for it in Congress should be commended.
What steps are you taking to break the perception that the RNC only backs RINO candidates? How do you cooperate with the Tea Party? Look at my history in Wisconsin. I think we need to have a movement where people don’t care a lot about who gets the credit. We need to go to events everybody else puts on without taking the podium. I participated in the Tea Party movement — and I didn’t always speak. Sometimes I just attended. We want a Tea Party coordinator who works with the Tea Party. I can say all day long that I get it, but I have to prove it.
We had a problem with Republicans getting involved in primaries. Are you going to do that?
If you look at our rules, rule #11 prohibits us from using our resources to pick a candidate in a primary. We could conceivably do it, but it’s difficult under the rules. As chairman of the party, I don’t want to get involved in primaries.
The “Hope isn’t hiring campaign” was clever. Are you keeping it going?
It worked well.
Summary: Priebus said all the right things and came across very well. He did a good job of hitting the President, he sounded cautiously optimistic about the GOP’s chances in 2012, he attends Tea Parties, wants to stay out of primaries, and is focused on raising money and getting the RNC in shape to win in 2012. Of course, theres’s always a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk, but he at least SOUNDS like a guy who intends to walk the walk.