Priebus: GOP Must Add, Not 'Divide and Subtract'

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 04:38 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The Republican Party should focus on basic mathematics to build its base, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday.

"We have to grow our party through addition and multiplication. We can't divide and subtract," Priebus told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The Republican Party game plan should involve working on all aspects within it to move forward, Priebus suggested. Republicans need to work on strengths to build "where we're strong," while also "building our party where we're weak," he said Wednesday.

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The GOP has been engulfed in divisions between conservative and moderate factions regarding its direction. Conservative tea party members, who want smaller government, have been at odds with more moderate party members.

Priebus said the door to the party should be wider to welcome "all aspects of our party."

Traditionally, a Republican offers a single response to a president's State of the Union address. This year, Republicans aired three responses after President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday evening.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state;  Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; and Utah Sen. Mike Lee offered three separate Republican counterpoints to Obama's address.

Priebus said the tea party response by Lee was good for the party as a whole.

"I think it's a positive thing for the Republican Party, for the tea party, to put in a good Republican, giving a good Republican response. Saying this president isn't delivering on his promises, and that there's a better way. And there's a Republican senator that's explaining the better way. How is that not good for our party?" Priebus asked.

When a party is "five years out of the White House," it's expected there will be "a lot of voices," Priebus explained. He said his challenge is "to keep all of those different voices in the same room and speaking out of same hymnal."

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