Priebus to Newsmax: We Need Permanent Campaigns

Friday, 01 Feb 2013 10:28 AM

By Bill Hoffmann and Kathleen Walter

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The GOP erred by not running a more “permanent” campaign in its quest to retake the White House last November and must change strategy, according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.


“Believe me everyone’s disappointed and … obviously depressed, too — but it’s also an opportunity for us to do the things that we need to do in our party,” Priebus said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV.


Mitt Romney and Republicans across the country “did a pretty good job of running a nine-month campaign,” he said. “The problem is the other side did a really good job of running a four-year campaign.

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“While we were debating each other 23 times, the other side, the Obama campaign, was spending $150 million or whatever the number is on technology and data all across the country.

“So fundamentally we sort of have to accept the fact that we are in a permanent political environment and that nine-month operations aren’t going to work anymore, obviously.”

Story continues below the video.





As the Republicans begin to plan a new presidential campaign blueprint, Priebus is optimistic about the GOP holding on to the House of Representatives and possibly growing its membership there as well.

“I feel really good about our off-year chances. We’ve shown that in the off year in state elections, we do really well,” he said.

“But it’s going to take us continuing to grow our party, continuing to reach out at the community level and support our state parties in ways that we haven’t ever before.”

As far as gaining control of the Senate, it’s too early to tell, according to Priebus.

“But … if anyone opens up the map and looks at where our opportunities lie, obviously, we have a potential race in Maine and we’ve got to protect Susan Collins,” he said, referring to the Pine Tree State’s senior U.S. senator who will be running for a fourth term.

“Beyond that, we have a whole bunch of pickup opportunities and, as everyone knows out there, candidate recruitment is going to be key. Having the money in the door is going to be key.”

But the GOP must not be lulled into thinking that victories in off-years will translate to the big race in 2016, he warned.

“We have to have a long term view on these races and that’s what I’m hoping our shift in our sort of mentality and approach at the committee takes shape here over the next few months,” Priebus said.

The focus, he said, will be to make sure the GOP is “a granular party; that we’re community-based, that we’re based in the grassroots; that it’s not about buying ads on television over the next few years. It’s going to be all about growing the base, espousing our conservative principles.”

Priebus also wants the party to stay unified on immigration reform talks and doesn’t seem concerned over the recent slamming of Marco Rubio’s ideas as naïve by Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter.

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

“I’m encouraged by how Marco’s handling this. He is focused in on the right things, first and foremost, which is making sure that we don’t go through this every 10 years. I don’t think it’s naïve at all,” he said.

“And I can promise you if Marco and people like [Sen.] Jeff Flake end up saying we’re not supporting this, then it’s not going to pass.

“So I’d rather have people that I trust, like Sen. Flake and Sen. Rubio, involved in the conversation than not. And it’s a better option for all of us.”

Editor's Note:
See excerpts of the Newsmax interview with Reince Priebus below:

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